I think the fact that the Japanese version is better than I remember and the American version is worse is partially, although by no means complete, due to the fact that I saw them both on pan-n-scan VHS.
Aside from a few loung-music-or-phone jump scares, Ringu is a quiet, creepy restrianed movie with a solid story and some really gripping scenes. If you're interested, check to see if you can get it on Kanopy (which is a free service that partners with libraries, if you're not familiar with it, but I think the content varies depending on your library).
I admit that The Ring does not hold up very well. For starters, nearly all of it is bathed in an ugly-as-shit dingy green, and even aside from that the visuals don't have anything on Ringu. Everything that they have in common, Ringu does better. Also, The Ring has a couple truly horrible scenes 1) the horse, and 2) the scene where the guy electrocutes himself.
The mystery/backstory is different between the two movies. The Ring leans even harder on the characters having to decipher all the stuff in the video, which should potentially be a good point, but it's revealed with such chunky pacing and info-dumpy montages that it doesn't work that well.
I will descent from the idea that the movie doesn't make sense, with caveats that I'll get to in a moment. For the most part I don't think there's any more supernatural handwaving than you get in most ghost stories, and the mystery and backstory do make sense. The way the characters solve it mostly makes enough sense in theory, but the storytelling is fairly jumbled.
My big caveats about whether or not the story makes enough sense have to do with the two points on which the original is more explicit:
-In Ringu they explicitly talk about ESP. In The Ring it seems like we're supposed to understand that ESP is a thing and some, but not all, people have it, but they don't just come out and discuss it like they do in Ringu.
-In Ringu there is more than one ghost. I think we're supposed to think this in The Ring, but I'm not sure if I would have come to that conculusion if I hadn't just watched the original and had the story from that movie fresh in my mind. I think the movie makes more sense if you assume there is more than one ghost.
I have to wonder if those two points weren't clearer in the script but lost in the editing room.
It's hard for me to say whether I would have still had some affection for The Ring if I weren't comparing it to Ringu, but with a vastly superior version available there's no reason to rewatch it now.