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Politicians, stop lecturing about do’s, don’ts of dining etiquette

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Every society has individuals who offer professional instruction in offbeat skills, and "Akubi Shinan" (Yawning instructor) is a traditional "rakugo" (coming story-telling) number about a man who opens a studio to teach people how to yawn.

The lessons vary from season to season. In autumn, his disciples learn to yawn by gazing at the moon, while in winter they sit around a "kotatsu" (quilt-covered low table that doubles as a heater).

For beginners, the lesson takes the form of a boat ride in summer.

The rakugo artist would sway his body to simulate being aboard a bobbing craft and utter this standard line: "Hey, boatman, will you go upstream a bit?" And he would go on,........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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