What's a Polite Word for Depression?

The department store down the street from me in Nara abruptly closed last week — and the construction workers dismantling it seemed happy not to be in the position of the salarymen they hear about who get up every morning, go to the park in coat-and-tie and return home at 7 p.m. to a family that doesn't know daddy has been laid off. Unemployment recently hit a postwar high of 5%, and my Japanese friends regularly point out "For Sale" signs proliferating outside luxury houses, or talk of college-age kids who actually want to work for the government (which offers greater...

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