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‘Is it because the truth is so boring,” asked the 14th-century monk Yoshida no Kenko in a classic collection of musings known as the “The Grasses of Idleness,” “that most stories one hears are false?”

Boring, unbearable or merely inconvenient? A nuisance, however you look at it, best avoided whenever avoidable, and hoary old Kenko is cited here as evidence of how little has changed in 700 years.

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