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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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The placebo effect is a psychological phenomenon which happens when we believe in the beneficial effect of things and objects that, realistically, do not have it. The influence of the placebo and the placebo effect is usually connected with medicine, but it can be found everywhere around us in our daily lives, e.g. if placebo didn't exist, neither would marketing.

A couple of these interesting facts will reveal the omnipresence of this intriguing phenomenon.

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Although Jigoro Kano invented and promoted judo whenever he could, he earned his living as an educator. In his 1932 lecture Kano spoke on Judo and Education noting, these movements are also automatic acknowledgments of the crying need of efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit. They must be fostered by the educational forces of every country in which judo should have a prominent part.

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