shen - 
I know this is an old thread, but check out this great Shotokan website, which talks honestly about what Shotokan is and isn't:

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/
24fc is great, but it is the writers experiences nothing more. It is not the ABSOLUTE truth.
It talks about what shotokan USUALLY is, and what is USUALLY is not.. Shotokan, as all styles of karate, comes in many variations. Shotokana is USUALLY not allow full contact -but there are exceptions. Shotokan USUALLY have no bunkai worth a crap -but there are exceptions. Shotokan USUALLY focus on sport karate and do not cover self defense -but there are exceptions.
There are always exceptions, but the exceptions tend to be rare.