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Every day at the Global Indian International School (GIIS) in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward starts with yoga. All the students — from kindergarteners to 14-year-old ninth-graders — have a 20-minute session in their classrooms. The focus is on breathing, which it’s thought helps them to relax and concentrate better during lessons.

So, it was hardly a surprise to find that in a fourth-grade math class that followed, the 9-year-olds were full of enthusiasm to tackle a new problem — how to correctly read such a huge figure as 21,439,127 in the Western way of counting numbers.

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