It seems odd to be talking about boredom in such interesting times. Are you bored? Almost certainly you are, if Spa! magazine's insights are reliable. Polling 2,052 mid-career (age 35-45), moderately prosperous (annual income ¥4 million-¥6 million) businessmen (sic, men only), it found no fewer than 85 percent confessing to being bored at work.

Eighty-five percent! They should form a political party and run for office. They'd soon have Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nation's optimist-in-chief ("Japan is back"), on the defensive. With numbers like that, a Boredom Party would pose a challenge the moribund official opposition can scarcely hope to.

Boredom is corrosive. Allowed to fester, it becomes "the gateway to depression," psychologist Satoshi Yoshino tells Spa!. The image that springs to mind is of people with nothing to do, but Japanese company employees are among the busiest and hardest-working on Earth — in fact, "being too busy" is the cause most often adduced by Spa!'s bored respondents (35.8 percent), outranking even "dull routine tasks" (32.7 percent). Being busy, even "too busy," with satisfying work can be exhausting but is hardly boring. Inference: the work is unsatisfying.