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Yuma's search for happiness

Shayal Devi
Sunday, June 18, 2017

IT is often said happiness cannot be gained by money or material goods.

That is what Yuma Nagasaki found out as a young adult thriving in a good job in one of the world's most successful countries.

Originally from Osaka, Japan, Mr Nagasaki works for the Free Bird Institute Ltd in Nadi as a manager.

The 39-year-old, whose parents were barbers, graduated from Kobe University in Japan and majored in business administration.

Sometime in his early years he joined the Ship for World Youth program, where he befriended the Fijian delegation.

He says this event changed his life.

"Before I travelled around the world, I was a system engineer," he said.

"After travelling for two years, I decided to come to Fiji because I was inspired by the happy Fijians I had met on the ship 10 years ago."

Mr Nagasaki says being around the naturally jubilant and warm Fijian people, he himself had started experiencing something he had only dreamt of — true happiness.

To detail his experiences, he penned a novel titled Fiji's Happiness Theory.

"I started writing in 2013 and launched a book in Japan in December, 2015. There are a lot of Japanese who commit suicide every year.

"I felt it was necessary for Japanese to come to Fiji and see the country for themselves, which I believe is heaven on earth. So I wanted to spread ways of happiness found in Fiji among the Japanese people."

He says the book focuses on Fiji's ability to weather all storms and the resilience of Fijians.

"In terms of capitalism, Fiji is not a top runner but Fiji is a really happy place according to some statistics.

"We should learn tips from Fijians."

In fact, Mr Nagasaki has grown so attached to Fiji that he has named his two-year-old son Lau, named after the Lau Group of Islands.

He says his work with the Free Bird Institute has allowed him to keep a link to his motherland as well.

"Every year around 1500 students come to study English in our language school and most of them are from Japan.

"The standard of life is different in Japan compared with Fiji so it takes time for them (students) to adjust themselves to new environment and sometimes they need advice.

"I have travelled around 100 countries so I usually give them advice on how to make the most of their time in other countries.

"At first, I felt guilty when I left Japan because I needed to make some contribution to a country where I was born and raised.

"Luckily, the Free Bird Institute has a lot of Japanese students. Even though I am in Fiji, I can contribute to Japan through this education field.

"I feel like giving something back to both Fiji and Japan and bridge the two countries as a goodwill ambassador."

He says his book launch remains so far one of the most momentous occasions of his life.

Recalling his excitement, Mr Nagasaki said he felt he had done something positive for his adoptive home.

"Since living in Fiji, I feel that my way of thinking has been upgraded into a positive and happy way.

"I was originally very pessimist."

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