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Japan: Happiest Country in the World…Maybe



Key words and phrases:

Stroll: a leisurely walk

Fragility: easily broken or damaged; fragile adjective

Confess: admit

Reputable: having a good reputation

Dispute: disagreement or argument

Integrity: the quality of being honest

Conspicuously: in a clearly visible way

Reiterate: to restate a point for emphasis or clarity

Bias: to have prejudice against a person or group in a way that is unfair

Arguably: could be said, reasonable to believe

Punctual: on time, not late

Edge: advantage



It’s April and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It’s great to see people out and about strolling under the seasonal treasures. There are so many things to love about Japan, and of course this season is certainly one of them. These small little flowers symbolize something much larger…the fragility or life and the importance of having an appreciation for even the tiniest things and all the brief moments that, when put together, become the story of our lives.


One of the promises I’ve always tried to maintain in my monthly blog and in the classroom is to keep things positive. I will do so today, but I must confess I was somewhat irritated with this year’s world happiness ranking based on a Gallup poll. Gallup is certainly a reputable organization and I do not dispute the integrity or its findings, however, I would like to bring into question the categories of its survey, especially the ones that were conspicuously absent.


The six categories included the following: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of corruption levels in business and government. Let me reiterate, I do not dispute the importance of these categories, rather, I feel that more data should have been included. By adding more, what I see as built-in biases could have been overcome.


We would have no way of knowing the outcome, but I suspect that Japan would have been ranked considerably higher if we could include categories such as safety. After all, Japan is arguably one of the safest countries in the world. What about infrastructure? Japan moves millions of people each day punctually and safely. What about Japan’s healthcare system? It is an incredibly efficient machine that takes excellent care of its aging population. Oh…and I haven’t even gotten to food yet! I would argue that Japan is the best food nation in the world. French and Italians would dispute that, and it may be an impossible debate to win, but one question may be enough to show Japan has the edge. Where would you find the best French and Italian cuisine outside of those countries? The answer…Japan!


So, congratulations to Finland for being number one, and to the rest of Northern Europe for making the lives of its citizens comfortable, but let’s give the great nation of Japan the credit and respect it deserves for taking good care of its residents’ health and safety, commuting and deliveries…and of course, our stomachs! Thanks for taking the time to listen.


Wishing you health and happiness always.


Mark Tofflemire

Tailor Made Inc.

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