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Take it from someone who taught swimming at a summer camp, it’s a skill easily learned unless you’re deathly afraid of the water. Then the stuff kids usually master in a lesson or two, including blowing bubbles with your face in the lake, becomes a major challenge.

In Kensaku Watanabe’s “Yes, I Can’t Swim,” this fear is also a source of laughs once its philosophy professor protagonist, Yuji Takanashi (Hiroki Hasegawa), signs up for beginning swimming lessons. Brainy, articulate and towering over his kind-but-strict instructor, Shizuka Usuhara (Haruka Ayase), he plaintively asks her, “What if I drown?” “I’ll save you,” she replies.

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