• なりたい自分になれる魔法「なりきりメイク」

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Trends are sometimes born when fans try to recreate the hairstyles or clothing of the TV and movie stars they idolize. Now the latest boom, which got underway via social media, is for “makeovers that transform you into a celebrity.”
    Using makeup techniques, these total makeovers transform your face so that it resembles the celebrity you’d like to become. Many people upload photos of their makeovers onto Twitter and Facebook or outline the makeup process on videos shared on video sites. After sharing their knowhow, those producing high quality makeovers have evaluated and gained popularity, so that some have even published books.
    KAJI Eriko is one of those people. She’s been interested in makeup since childhood and began doing makeovers in her senior year in high school. She shared her photos on her blog and rounded off 2012 by choosing 24 of the best of her celebrity imitation photographs she’d done that year for a compilation. Her blog was retweeted many times and the term “mane meiku” (get the look makeovers) became a No. 1 trend word. This led to appearances on TV and in magazines. She’s published two makeup books so far.
    HANAFUSA Miyako who works in the editorial department at Takarajima, says, “The book ‘Mane Meiku Recipe’ shows how to do your makeup to resemble 32 different celebrities – including KITAGAWA Keiko and Rola – that are popular with women. Special makeup tools aren’t necessary. These (looks) can be easily achieved with what you have to hand. Readers’ comments have included: ‘I was told I looked just like the entertainer’ and ‘Just browsing through (the photos) is fun.’
    Total makeovers have even branched out into CSR (corporate social responsibility activities). Meiji Sangyo Co., Ltd runs a CSR activity for women called “Ah! Meijingu Club” (Amazing Club) under the tagline: “Making myself and my town beautiful!” One of the themes they’ve adopted is ‘trends’ and the seventh and most recent group to be founded is the “Total Makeover ☆ Fukuoka Star Club.”
    Club captain NAGASUE Yuki says, “Fukuoka is a city that many people have moved to either because of job relocation or because of the effects of the earthquake. Our intention is to provide an environment where they can mix with locals. Total makeovers are quite popular, so when we advertised to recruit members, there were five times more applicants than the spaces we had to fill. When we held a party to show off our work, everyone had such a good time and got so excited that we burst out laughing many times. Our members get along together very well and keep in touch.”
    A characteristic of this trend for total makeovers is that many people upload their makeover photos onto social media. Interaction through the Internet is lively as people comment and click ‘like.’

    Text: HATTA Emiko[2014年7月号掲載記事]

    宝島社編集部の花房美也子さんは話します。「『真似メイク RECIPE』は、北川景子さんやローラさんなど、女性に人気がある芸能人計32名の顔になれるメイク方法を紹介した本です。特別な道具は不要で、手持ちのメイク道具でできます。読者からは『芸能人に似ていると言われた』『見ているだけでも楽しい』という声をいただいています」。


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  • クリエイターとお客との近さが魅力

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Design Festa
    Design Festa is an art event at which artists get to display or perform their work. Since 1994, the event has been held biannually at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, Tokyo. No limits are set on age or nationality, and exhibitors include professional and amateur artists. Art of any genre is accepted. There are no auditions or evaluations, so as long as it’s original work, it can be displayed or performed here.
    At Design Festa, a variety of art works and performances are shown. Some people paint pictures on eight-meter-wide canvases, while others deliver collective singing and dancing performances on stage. In a darkened area of the venue works utilizing light and video images are shown. In the outdoor area participants can cook and sell food. There is also a handicrafts section for visitors to enjoy.
    In many of the booths, the items on display are also on sale. At most of the booths the creator is there in person to explain their work to customers. “Design Festa is a place which both exhibitors and visitors can enjoy together. It’s possible to attract many more customers than you would be able to do on your own and through communicating with visitors, new opportunities and possibilities arise,” says ITO Azusa, head of PR for Design Festa, Ltd.
    “We do not divide the space up by genre. The mixture of various art works makes for a chaotic atmosphere, which creates an exceptional space,” says Ito. “Exhibitors are the stars of the event, so we take care to ensure that they feel free to exhibit as they please.”
    “The great thing about Design Festa is that it attracts customers searching for items that don’t appeal to the general public or are extremely unique,” says ASAI Hideo, who has exhibited his work at the event 13 times in a row. Asai is the CEO of Asai Seisakusho, Ltd., a company that makes screws. At Design Festa, they sell accessories made using handmade screws.
    To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Design Festa, it has been decided that Designfesta, Ltd., will host a new art event – the “All Student Art Festival – Gakuten” – on August 9 and 10. “Gakuten” is a Design Festa for students. Those wanting to participate in the event have to be studying in school, in further education, or in a class. There are no restrictions on age or nationality. Original work of any genre is accepted.
    “I expect that the exhibitors at Gakuten will be younger than those at Design Festa, so we are anticipating a more festive atmosphere,” says MINEO Asahi. Asahi is currently attending a product design course at Nihon Kogakuin Hachioji Campus. Mineo and her classmate TAKENAKA Mizuho are making accessories that combine traditional Japanese patterns with the cute colors and designs seen on items worn around the Harajuku area. “We’re hoping that young people will become familiar with the charm of traditional Japanese patterns.
    “We would like to make a music video and do an installation at Gakuten,” says IZUKI Keito of Amphithéâtre, a student handicraft club from Yokohama National University. “We would like to make a video production featuring these accessories to show while selling our products,” she says.
    Text: SAZAKI Ryo[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • 伝統的な着物をドレスに生かす

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Yorozu International
    At Yorozu International in Roppongi, Tokyo, dresses made from kimono cloth and bags put together out of obi material and leather are laid out in rows. When the company was established in Karuizawa in 2010, a store was established in Daikanyama. Because the company wanted people from overseas to become familiar with the charms of kimono, one year ago the shop was moved to Roppongi, an area easily accessible to foreigners.
    MURAKAMI Yuko, the representative director, used to work in the apparel industry. Western clothes were at the center of her life. She says that approximately ten years ago, her husband encouraged her to enroll in a school where she could comprehensively study kimono. In the beginning, she didn’t even know how to fold a kimono. She started out studying how to wear kimono, but afterwards her studies went deeper and she learned about such things as dyeing techniques.
    The more she learned about kimono, the stronger her feeling that “these traditional techniques must be retained.” However, younger people view kimono as being expensive; not something that can be purchased casually. When her husband saw Murakami learning about kimono, he suggested that she establish a business. In order to give more people the chance to come into contact with kimono, she sold products made from repurposed kimono cloth.
    Murakami says that the best thing is when someone enjoys wearing a kimono. However, “When I thought about what should be retained, I thought it should be the colors and patterns of kimono which cannot be found in any part of the world except for Japan.” That’s why she’s not particular about the kimono retaining its form. Rather, she utilizes its patterns to reflect Japan’s four seasons and allows the delicate colors of its natural dyes to come alive in the form of dresses or bags.
    There are other shops that repurpose kimono into clothes, but Murakami has noticed that most of them use Japanese dressmaking techniques for the finish. Because Japanese dressmaking uses boxy fabric, it cannot be made to fit the body when repurposed into western clothes. Kimono fabric is 30 centimeters wide – narrower than western fabric – so Yorozu International is particular about cutting it with three-dimensional shapes in mind. They finely match the patterns, to give them new value as an attractive product.
    In the case of tailor-made dresses, which are basically made-to-order, prices start from 160,000 yen – which is not cheap. However, Murakami says with confidence: “Even though kimono patterns are old, they’re never out of fashion. Once you have it made, it can be something they can be proud of to the next generation.”
    One of the reasons why people have lost touch with kimono is because there are no opportunities to wear them. So Murakami holds a kimono dressing salon four to five times a month. After learning how to dress in a kimono, participants can enjoy a meal in a restaurant around Roppongi while wearing a kimono. Because it’s possible to communicate in English, word has got out and the numbers of foreign visitors have gradually increased.
    The “万” (yorozu) character used by “Yorozu International,” signifies “a great amount.” With this character, Murakami expresses her appreciation of nature and the eight million (countless) forces that created the kimono. Once one touches the smooth texture of the silk kimono cloth, one can feel the fascination of kimono created by these many powers.
    Yorozu International
    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • 歌で日本の心を海外に伝えたい

    [From July Issue 2014]

    TAKEI Ryoko
    President of Foster Japanese Songs
    Using the western scale, nursery rhymes and school songs produced in the Meiji period (1868-1912) represent a unique Japanese world view. This makes them the perfect tool to promote the beauty of Japan to the rest of the world. This was the reasoning of TAKEI Ryoko, when she took on the role of president of Foster Japanese Songs (FJS).
    Takei has been studying singing while at the same time pursuing her academic and professional career. In 2006, she went over to America to get her MBA. While studying at Columbia University, she brushed up her vocal skills by attending a master course as an auditing student at the Juilliard School.
    Returning to Japan in 2008, she thought about what she could do for her country, and it occurred to her that she could be active in disseminating Japanese songs to other countries. “In attempting this, I could make the best use of my knowledge of business management and marketing skills, as well as my singing skills. I thought I was the only person who possessed both of these qualifications. And this above all, made me excited,” said Takei.
    Before getting started, Takei gave some consideration to how she would capture people’s interest. Takei says: “Japanese melodies, such as school songs, nursery rhymes and classic artistic melodies use the western scale, so they are approachable for non-Japanese listeners. Nevertheless, they express unique Japanese views of the world. If we make an analogy with sushi, for example, California rolls are an original dish made using Japanese techniques. So I thought I would start non-Japanese listeners off with California rolls and then have them move on to norimaki (rolled sushi wrapped in sheets of dried seaweed), namely, the world of Noh plays and so forth.
    So FJS was established in 2012, under the slogan of “Transforming Japanese soul songs into global classics.” She keeps herself active and is a member of Nikikai, an organization for vocalists, and sings as soprano on the side.
    In the middle of this March, FJS held its first overseas performance at a U.N. event in New York. “I assured the members that everything would be alright, but I was actually very nervous,” says Takei, explaining how she felt before the concert.
    After the performance, however, some non-Japanese people were found to have shed a tear. The concert attracted the attention of foreign media and she felt that things had gone rather well. “The next day we gave a concert at a recital hall and I was really happy to see that some of the people who had attended the previous day’s event came with their friends to listen to our songs again,” says Takei.
    Takei prioritizes conveying the meaning of the Japanese lyrics. During a performance, she took some time to explain the environment in which the songs were created. Using phonetic transcripts, she got everyone to join in a rendition of “Furusato” (Hometown). She also translates lyrics, but she does this very carefully. “I want to retain an academic appearance. Depending on how you translate it, you can end up with something resembling inferior California rolls. I always take time to make sure that my translation fully reflects the meaning of the original.”
    These days, even in Japan, there are fewer opportunities to enjoy nursery rhymes and school songs. “Japanese songs account for only 10% of the songs found in junior high school music textbooks,” says Takei. She plans to hold the same performance in Tokyo that she did in New York and, in addition, to actively continue her efforts at home. Takei says that FJS’s goal is to have famous opera singers such as Plácido Domingo sing Japanese songs in Japanese on their European tours.
    Foster Japanese Songs
    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • とんぼりリバークルーズ

    [From July Issue 2014]

    This popular cruise plots a course under the nine bridges that span the Dotonbori River in Osaka. From the boat you can look up at the area’s iconic neon signs. During the approximately 20 minutes’ time spent on board, it is also pleasurable to listen to the crew make light banter in their unique Osaka accents (in Japanese). Because it is permitted to bring food and drinks onboard, many people bring along takoyaki and drinks sold around the boarding area.
    Boarding reception: five minutes’ walk from Namba Station (Midosuji Subway Line / Sennichimae Subway Line)
    Boarding dock: Tazaemon-bashi Bridge Wharf
    Price: 700 yen for adults (junior high students and over)
    Cruise schedule
    Weekdays: 1pm – 9pm
    Weekends/holidays/high season: 11am – 9pm
    Departs every 00 and 30 minutes past the hour. 5pm and 5:30pm Services suspended on weekdays.
    (Service subject to suspension due to weather conditions, oceanographic phenomena, tide levels)
    Tombori River Cruise[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • カレーハウスCoCo壱番屋

    [From July Issue 2014]

    In business since 1978, this restaurant specializes in curry rice. They have over 1,200 restaurants nationwide and over 100 restaurants abroad. You can choose how spicy you want your curry to be and how much rice to have. Moreover, since you are free to choose from the 40 topping varieties, you can make your own original curry to suit your own tastes.

    [No. 1] Pork Cutlet Curry 700 yen (721 yen in some areas)

    This generously sized crisp pork loin cutlet is an outstanding match with the curry sauce.

    [No. 2] Vegetable Curry 648 yen (669 yen in some areas)

    Traditional Japanese-style curry with plenty of vegetables, including, potatoes, carrots and onions.

    [No. 3] Beef Curry 597 yen

    The popular full-bodied beef sauce is carefully cooked for a full flavor. But it can be altered to become a hashed beef curry.
    Price includes tax.
    CURRY HOUSE CoCo Ichibanya[2014年7月号掲載記事]


    【No.1】ロースカツカレー 700円(一部の地域では721円)


    【No.2】やさいカレー 648円(一部の地域では669円)


    【No.1】ビーフカレー 597円



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  • 風船を飛ばし宇宙を撮影

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Floating a camera from a balloon and photographing the Earth from far up in the stratosphere. It sounds like a fairy tale, but by using a unique method IWAYA Keisuke, from Sapporo City, Hokkaido, made this a reality. Since the first launch in 2011, he has launched 30 balloons so far. As a result of continuous additional improvements, the camera attached to the balloon can now reach heights of more than 40,000 meters.
    “In fact, not many images taken from these heights had, up until now, been shot. It’s not an altitude at which it’s normally possible to take photographs; rockets are further away from earth.” His so called balloon photographic method is unusual and on top of this, his photographs are unique. Because of this, Iwaya’s space photography is attracting interest from different directions.
    When he was child, Iwaya admired Dr. BROWN who invented the time machine in the movie “Back to the Future.” “I wanted to become an inventor. But as I progressed through junior school and high school I became more aware of reality and gave up on becoming an inventor,” he laughs. After that, he moved on to study at the mechanical engineering department of a university, which was where he heard the news about an American student who had successfully taken photographs from a balloon.
    “I want to try it myself!” he immediately thought, but the details of the method used were not disclosed. So he assembled his materials for around 5,000 yen and tackled the problem using his own original design and method. So he could be sure to gather data, a string was connected to the first unit launched. Although the altitude was low at a mere 100 meters, he discovered many things about the effects of wind on the photographic image and about battery consumption.
    After that, he analyzed the data for each launch adding numerous improvements. Currently, he launches his camera packed in Styrofoam with a large helium-filled balloon of one to two meters in diameter. It weighs approximately 250 grams. Because atmospheric pressure falls as the balloon rises, the balloon explodes and falls when it reaches approximately 30,000 meters in altitude.
    As the camera falls to the ground, Iwaya is extremely careful about not injuring anyone. He attaches a speed reduction device and calculates that the camera returns to the earth at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour or slower. Because it is floating, depending on the way the wind blows, the camera is equipped with GPS so that the location of the fallen camera can be discovered. A buzzer goes off when it hits the ground, so that it can be found even if it happens to land in tall grass.
    There have been occasions when he was unable to collect his camera. On other occasions, 10,000 photographs have been taken but only one decent photo produced. However, Iwaya says, “These are no ‘failures.’” He explains that even if he cannot collect the camera or take photographs, he discovers something new at each launch and these findings can be useful for the next launch.
    There were some people who regarded Iwaya’s dream to photograph space from a balloon as being impossible to realize. Iwaya says, “Taking photographs from space with a balloon has taught me that dreams can come true if I continue without giving up.” Iwaya’s next dream is to photograph the deep sea.
    *Data presented in this article is as of April 18, 2014.
    Balloon Space Photography
    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • 1年間で扱う荷物を積み上げると月まで届く

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Kuroneko Yamato no TA-Q-BIN
    With just four trucks, Yamato Transport Co., Ltd, was founded in 1919 in Ginza, Tokyo as a company specializing in making deliveries by automobile. It’s well known for its tagline “Kuroneko Yamato no TA-Q-BIN (Black Cat Yamato Courier Service). The logo of a black cat with a kitten in its mouth can be seen all over Japan. The word “TA-Q-BIN (takkyuubin)” (express home delivery) is widely known, but, as it’s a registered trademark, can be only used by Yamato Transport.
    In 1976, Yamato Transport founded a private company; Japan’s first home delivery service to target private individuals. That service was named TA-Q-BIN. Until the first half of the 1970s, Japan’s transport companies dealt mostly with business freight. It took as many as four to five days to deliver private parcels. That’s why the then President OGURA Masao put together a service for “collection by phone call” and “next day delivery.”
    Before he started the courier service, Ogura worried about how many branches he should open. In the end he used the number of police stations across the nation – then 1,200 – as a guideline. He thought, “The role of the police is to ensure public order in the area. With the same number of branches, Yamato should available to every resident in the area.” Today they have around 4,000 branches.
    The idea of a courier service quickly caught on and many people signed up to use it. Today Yamato Transport handles around 1.6 billion parcels a year. If the same number of standard-sized tangerine boxes (30 centimeters tall) were placed on top of one another, the stack would be high enough to reach the moon.
    Once the ease and convenience of their courier service became well known, many within the company began to suggest that they offer other services besides to door to door delivery. That’s how the “ski courier service” got underway in 1983. It was originally the idea of an employee in Nagano Prefecture, who wanted to do something to boost the number of parcels after the severe drop in custom following the end of the apple season.
    One winter’s day, he was looking at a national highway and noticed a bus carrying a lot of skies on board. This sight got the employee thinking, “If we transport them, our customers will be freed up to enjoy their skiing trip. This will supply us with a new cargo to replace the apples.” In this way, the first business to couple a courier service with the leisure industry was launched and quickly caught on nationwide.
    Since then, Yamato Transport has been at the forefront of developing new user-friendly services; these have sprung up one after the other, for example, “golf TA-Q-BIN,” “cool TA-Q-BIN” and “airport TA-Q-BIN.” They have also strived to contribute to society, for example, after the Great East Japan Earthquake a “Relief Supply Transport Cooperation Team” was set up in the hardest hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
    Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.
    Text: ITO Koichi[2014年7月号掲載記事]


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  • 日本語学習で自分自身が成長

    [From July Issue 2014]

    TRAN Minh Hoang
    In the fall of 2013, at the “13th IM Japan Writing Contest” – a contest organized by the International Manpower Development Organization, Japan (a.k.a. IM Japan) – “The Color of My Life,” an essay by Vietnamese national TRAN Minh Hoang, won first prize. Many people were touched by Hoang’s ability to write beautiful Japanese and by his idea of expressing his feelings about life up until that time in colors.
    Through a Technical Internship Program that was set up by the Japanese government, IM Japan accepts numerous highly skilled interns sent by the governments of Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Taking advantage of this scheme, Hoang came to Japan in June 2011 with 12 colleagues. He’s now receiving technical training at MHI Ship & Ocean Engineering Co., Ltd. (a.k.a. MSK) in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
    Located at the Nagasaki shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., MSK engineers and manufactures tankers, container ships, cruise ships, and more. Trainees like Hoang learn manufacturing skills like welding.
    Hoang says, “The Japanese language is difficult, especially honorific expressions.” MSK encourages trainees like him to study by providing them with two Japanese lessons a week and advising them to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
    By responding to the company’s expectations that he take an interest in Japanese and throw himself into his studies, Hoang has been seriously applying himself, sparing no effort. He has thus far managed to pass the notoriously difficult N2 grade (second highest qualification) Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
    Before reaching that level, he drew strength from the encouragement of older colleagues. They not only guide trainees at work, but also take an interest in their health and daily lives. Hoang says of his group leader KANAZAWA Akira and manager UEDA Yosuke, “They are like real family.” At times they seriously reprimand him, telling him that “Alcohol and smoking are bad for you.”
    Hoang will soon finish his three years of training and return home to Vietnam. “I’ll be glad to see my family back home, but I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the folks at MSK,” he says. After returning home, he wants to build on the language and professional skills he acquired in Japan and work towards building ties between Japan and Vietnam. His dream is to someday return to Japan and open a Vietnamese restaurant in Nagasaki.
    In “The Colors of my Life,” Hoang writes, “From now on, I don’t know what colors my life will be painted in, nor do I have any idea of what kind of painting it will be in the end, but I’m learning to enjoy my growing maturity through the study of the Japanese language. Why don’t you try learning a foreign language yourself? You’ll certainly encounter a new you.”

    Text: KOMIYAMA Ranko[2014年7月号掲載記事]



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  • バレリーナを目指す少女の成長物語

    [From July Issue 2014]

    In recent years, it’s not all that unusual for Japanese people to win international ballet competitions or to join famous overseas ballet companies. But this was still a distant dream in 1976, when the serialization of “Swan” began in the women’s comic magazine “Weekly Margaret.”
    Fifteen-year-old HIJIRI Masumi travels to Tokyo from Hokkaido to watch Alexei SERGEIEV and Maria PRISETSKAYA, famous ballet dancers from the former Soviet Union (now Russia), perform in Japan. Unexpectedly the road towards becoming a ballerina opens up, when, deeply moved by the performance, Masumi unintentionally ballet dances in front of the two.
    Because of this accidental encounter, Masumi is lucky enough to get lessons with Alexei, the star dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet troupe. There, her slumbering talent is revealed as is a problem that she must surmount. Through a severe regime and battles with her rivals, Masumi rapidly improves.
    Many real personalities and ballet companies appear in these comics. Also, the meaning of each pose and technique is written about in detail. Since it contains explanations and interpretations of ballets, it is also an introduction to ballet for those who know nothing about the subject.
    In addition, it portrays the protagonist’s love affairs – an indispensible part of the woman’s comic genre. Though her first crush is for KUSAKABE Sho, she falls deeply in love with Luci, who she meets in America. Her suffering from lost love and struggle to choose between love and the ballet, stirred the sympathies of readers.
    After studying abroad in the U.K. and acquiring modern ballet skills in the U.S., Masumi becomes a top dancer. Then, she manages to be reunited with her former mentor Sergeiev and it is decided that she will be cast in the same role as one of Sergeiev’s students. One day, Masumi discovers an unexpected truth. With a wavering heart, the challenge to start life as a ballerina begins.
    A 12 volume collector’s edition of this work was published in 2007. In response to demands from fans, the Moscow sequel was also published. The serialization of “Maia Swan act II,” featuring Masumi’s daughter Maia as the protagonist, continues to this day. Inherited by the next generation, the story continues even though 30 years have passed since the series began. From now on, after seeing the heroine appear on the world stage, more and more girls might aim to become ballerinas.
    Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko[2014年7月号掲載記事]

    この作品は、2007年に愛蔵版が12巻まで発行されました。ファンの要望から、この物語の続きとしてモスクワ編も発行されています。真澄の娘、まいあを主人公とした「まいあ Maia SWAN actⅡ」の連載は、現在も続いています。連載開始から30年以上経った今も、次世代に受け継がれた物語が続いているのです。世界を舞台に活躍する新ヒロインに憧れてバレリーナを目指す少女が、これからも出てくるかもしれません。

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