3 minutes to happiness

October 28, 2009

This was the name of a shop I spotted in Kyoto Station last week (the Japanese reads 3分間幸せに,  literally “3 minutes to happiness” even though the English does not). The shop sells household items such as utensils, tableware, linen, cosmetics and office supplies at bargain prices. I have since found that it is a chain – there is a store in Tokyo where you can also achieve happiness in 3 minutes. The name generated some raucous laughter at dinner that night, and the usual lewd comments, but I have continued to be amused and bemused by it. What is guaranteed to bring happiness in just 3 minutes? It’s an interesting concept. Something simple like a cup of tea? The help of a perfect stranger? A favourite smell? An unexpected kiss from your loved one? Perhaps a cheesy, kitsch or just downright culturally alien item from the 100yen shop in Japan could claim such an achievement. I don’t plan on exploring an individual’s definition of happiness here or getting into the nitty gritty of modern obsessions of the same but I have to say for me, the name of the shop alone has achieved its proclamation several times over.


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