Before you burn that karaoke machine …

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Here’s some advice: Don’t incinerate karaoke microphones. They give off nasty fumes.

Weren’t considering it anyway? The advisory may be more relevant in Yokohama City, where city officials recently handed out just that advice, more or less, to local crematoria.

Throughout Japan, in keeping with tradition, favorite possessions go into the coffin with the departed before the coffin is incinerated. Back when those possessions were mostly made of wood, cloth, or the like, the smoke didn’t bother anyone. But the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST reports that it’s a different story today, when the favored items may be golf clubs, karaoke microphones, or other modern contrivances made of materials that give off a nasty cloud of toxins. After turning a blind eye to the sensitive issue, some cities are starting to come to grips with it by printing guidelines for crematoria on what should and what should not go up in smoke.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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