Before you begin your research, try taking this survey on happiness:

These will be the pairs that will give presentations in the next class on the topic “What we can teach each other about work/ life balance and happiness.”

Iceland Study Group


Bhutan Study Group


Switzerland Study Group


India Study Group


Moldova Study Group

You and your assigned partner will be members of a government study group that has been given the task of trying to find ways of increasing the level of happiness (satisfaction in life) among Japanese young people. In order to get clues about how life satisfaction can be increased, each group was assigned to study another country in depth…especially in terms of how it deals with the questions…

  • What is important in life?
  • What is happiness?
  • How can a work/ life balance be achieved?

You will imagine that the audience for your presentation will be members of the government and NGOs who have gathered together for a conference called “Achieving Life Satisfaction in Japan: What we can learn from other countries.” In addition to briefly reporting on the situation in your assigned country, your group will have to make some concrete recommendations.

In researching your assigned country, try going beyond the chapter you were given and explore Web sites, magazines, and other sources.

Note that the chapters which I gave you from the Eric Weiner book The Geography of Bliss were just for your reference and so that you can gain an understanding of the factors which may influence the feelings of satisfaction and “happiness” among the citizens of a particular country. The point of the presentation is NOT simply to summarize what you read. You have to come to conclusions of your own and explain what positive aspects of your assigned country Japan can learn from, and what negative aspects of the country Japan should avoid.

You should use all (or MOST) of the following sources to inform your presentation and to help you come up with conclusions of your own:

* The CIA factbook. [Consider if there might be connections between such factors as levels of educational attainment, birthrate, Internet usage, etc. and happiness.]

* Tourism websites related your assigned country

* Wikis (such as WikiTravel)

* Blogs of people who have lived, visited, or studied in the country.

* Embassy websites or, even better, actually going to the country’s physical embassy since we’re in the capital and the embassy would be located here.

* OECD Better Life Index

You will have a MAXIMUM OF 20 MINUTES for your presentation.

When I was traveling to California during a previous vacation, the inflight magazine on JAL had an article about Bhutan in it that was quite interesting. So, I cut it out and scanned it for the Bhutan group. Here it is: Article from inflight magazine about
. It may help the group who was assigned to Bhutan.

Some materials to use in class on May 31st 2014

Would people help a Muslim? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jind7HjIieQ

Would You Stop Muslim Discrimination? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvIDqgyK8fw

Discrimination in a coffee shop

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