Suburban Japan: 1

Japanese Happy Drug Store

During 2008, I found this pharmacy while visiting the town of Aomori at the northern end of Honshu. In the United States, of course, such a name would be condemned for conveying the “wrong message,” especially to “the nation's youth.” But the Japanese are generally unencumbered with Protestant prohibitions and moral probity, freeing them to display a very practical attitude toward social issues. It seems to me, the name Happy Drug is quite accurate, because that's the whole point of drugs, whether they are pain relievers, blood thinners, or laxatives. Their ultimate purpose is to make our lives less miserable and, therefore, happier. The interesting question is why we in the west find this so difficult to acknowledge.