Joshiro Maruyama

Japan continued to roll on the second day of the World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary claiming their second and third gold medals of the tournament. The 2019 world champion in the men's 66 kg category, Joshiro Maruyama, successfully defended his title scoring a half-point with a nice tomoe-nage throw to defeat Italy's Manuel Lombardo in the finals.

Ai Shishime, a world champion back in 2017, reclaimed the women's 52 kg crown defeating Spain's Ana Perez Box with a half-point uchimata throw. Showing the depth of the Japanese judo squad, neither Maruyama nor Shishime qualified for this year's Olympic team.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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A couple of these interesting facts will reveal the omnipresence of this intriguing phenomenon.

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