Tip of the day: "Getting around Japan"

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Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

I thought it would be fun to post a tip everyday until the commencement of CJ on the best way of getting around Japan. A few people here have already visited Japan once or twice, and I hope they'll chime in with some tips too!

Tip of the day for May 28, 2008:
Using public transport, especially trains is easy. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going, and when you arrive, simply look up. There are signs in English everywhere!

If you're in a hurry, you don't necessarily need to spend time figuring out the cost of your ticket from one station to another. Just buy the cheapest ticket and jump on the train. There'll be a fair adjustment machine at your destination where you can pay the difference.
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

How about tips for getting to and from the airport? The prices I've heard are staggering!

-chris
 
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ChrisGeorgoulias said:
How about tips for getting to and from the airport? The prices I've heard are staggering!
Hmmm... don't know what you've heard and how staggered you were, but the quickest/easiest way appears to be by bus. 1,100 yen (one way) will get you from Narita to Kaihin Makuhari Stn. You can get it from the bus stop in Terminal 1 (dai-ichi tahminaru, basu noriba). It takes about 35-40 minutes. If you tell me what time you're getting in I can give you some times the bus is leaving.

Or for 980 yen one way you can spend about 1 hour 30 min. on three different train lines. That will only save you 120 yen, funnily enough just the right amount to get a Coke to drink along the way
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

For the trains: a fare adjustment at the station--the sirens go off, the gates lock and everyone stares at you and points to the ticket wall dispenser. hehehehe

 

GBH

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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

ah the memories


nice point about fare adjustment too John

you can also go into the ticket office at any of the bigger stations and buy a Suica card,i think it cost me 5000yen to buy but you get cash back if you return it plus it has a starting credit attatched.its green and silver,works on all the lines (not just JR) and can be recharged in many fare machines.

i found this handy and will be taking mine back with me for this trip.sometimes you can go through a different rail line's entrance and not realize it and be stopped abruptly. so having the trusty Suica negates that problem,you just swipe it across the scanner and youre good to go
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

Good one, GB. Those cards are pretty nifty. They call them "Icoca" in Osaka.

Another thing about public transportation is that it can seem pretty expensive for first-timers. I remember paying more to get to and from Kyoto on the train than I did sightseeing there.

Tip of the day: May 29, 2008
You can feed yourself on 500 yen a meal if you buy from convenience stores and supermarkets (who sell bentos and such). If you really want to cheap out, supermarkets will probably have z-brand instant bowl noodles for 100 yen each.

The smallest, cheapest, dirtiest restaurant can be surprisingly expensive! On my first business trip I went into a dive and ended up paying three times more than I expected. (I compensated by eating z-brand instant bowl noodles for the rest of the week
)
 
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Well, it seems this thread is very helpul so I will ask you to inlight me.

I will be in Tokyo from July 13th to 22th with my girlfriend.

Do you know if I could buy a "pass" for a week in order to use at any time and unlimeted the public transportation like subway, busses.

I also plan to see Mt Fuji, as far as I know we will have to use trains, what is the cheapest way using that kind of transportation ?

And, can those "pass" be purchased online (english version of the web site will be more than appreciated)

thanks for your help both of you
 

GBH

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mate i have news and its all good!

you can buy a 'japan rail pass' over the internet for use in japan.they come in 1-3 week lengths and i highly recommend them.just do a wordsearch on japan rail pass and heaps of options will come up.

they are available in regular or 'green' issue. the green version is for reserved cars on trains,shinkansen,etc but to be honest its unecessary and a lot more expensive. if you are going to jump on a shinkansen (i.e. to see Mt Fuji) just arrive early to the shinkansen ticket office,show your rail pass and you will get a reserved seat the majority of the time anyway.

it may appear expensive at first but you will save so much money if you plan on doing a lot of travelling.one disadvantage though is its only valid for the JR network,but that shouldnt affect you too much.also remember to buy it before you leave home as its unavailable for sale once you arrive in japan,its a special deal for foreign tourists.another option is to buy one from a travel agent.

John i remember the suica card being named differently when i was in Osaka but couldnt remember the name,cheers for the memory jog
 
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You should be able to find info here ("rail pass" section): http://www.japanrail.com/

Tip of the day: May 30, 2008
Cash advance is basically out when it comes to credit cards. There are select ATMs where it can be done, but they are almost non-existent. However, you will be able to use your credit card to buy goods wherever they are accepted.
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

You guys are all just full of facts and figures aren't you?
I haven't been to Japan in 3 years and I already feel lost (and I'm not even in Japan yet!). Thanks and keep it up with all the great info!!
 
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Here's an easy one...

Tip of the day: May 31, 2008
The English word "vegetarian" is not well understood in Japan. Most people understand that vegetarians won't eat beef, but ham, chicken, and seafood are not necessarily included in the Japanese definition. Some Japanese people don't immediately consider seafood to be "animals," so if you say you don't eat any animal products, you may still get shredded dried fish on top of your meal. If you're a vego, you will need to be very careful in Japan. If you're a vegan, you may need to give up eating for a while.

The beer that seems to be a lot cheaper than the others is in fact not beer. It's a beer-like drink made with various other grains to dodge the high tax put on beer.

A few food expressions:
biru - beer
happoshu - fake beer stuff
tabe-hou-dai - all you can eat
nomi-hou-dai - all you can drink
Viking - buffet (I kid you not)
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

John_sH said:
Here's an easy one...

Tip of the day: May 31, 2008
The English word "vegetarian" is not well understood in Japan. Most people understand that vegetarians won't eat beef, but ham, chicken, and seafood are not necessarily included in the Japanese definition. Some Japanese people don't immediately consider seafood to be "animals," so if you say you don't eat any animal products, you may still get shredded dried fish on top of your meal. If you're a vego, you will need to be very careful in Japan. If you're a vegan, you may need to give up eating for a while.

The beer that seems to be a lot cheaper than the others is in fact not beer. It's a beer-like drink made with various other grains to dodge the high tax put on beer.

A few food expressions:
biru - beer
happoshu - fake beer stuff
tabe-hou-dai - all you can eat
nomi-hou-dai - all you can drink
Viking - buffet (I kid you not)
That's a good one! And John is definitely not kidding. A buffet is called "Viking." I've always wondered who came up with that. And make sure, if you say "biru" (beer), it's a long 'i' syllable, almost like "biiru".
 
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Another tip: In convienence stores: when paying for an item, place your money IN THE TRAY (if easily accessible) or on the counter. There will be no hand for you to place it. And they will put the change in the tray or on the counter.

Kiss, kiss
~Alyssa
 

GBH

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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

and use your coins as often as possible (even though they can be a bit confusing at first) because you will get a lot of them really quickly and end up with a wallet/purse weighing 10lbs!!!
 
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GBH said:
and use your coins as often as possible (even though they can be a bit confusing at first) because you will get a lot of them really quickly and end up with a wallet/purse weighing 10lbs!!!
Might be that the coins go from 1 yen all the way up to 500 yen, but as you said they do tend to pile up when you're not used to them. I don't think they can compare to Australian money though. Our coins are so big and heavy that a gorilla could handle them!
 
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Tip of the day: June 1, 2008
In most cases, clerks will bag up anything you buy, including small items that don't really need a bag. If you indicate that you don't need a bag, the clerk will usually put a small piece of store logo-marked tape on the item to show that the item has been bought (and not stolen).

So if you are out toy shopping, be careful when saying you don't need a bag. Before you know it, the clerk may have slapped an ugly piece of tape across the box of your collectible... and you know it won't be fun getting that sucker off!
 
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Tip of the day: June 2, 2008
Keep your passport on you at all times (it's the law).
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

Hey John,
Could you go over the eating etiquette? Is it still:
- OK to make noise - Nom, Nom, Nom

- Not OK to eat with mouth open, so if you have to - cover your mouth with your hand
- No eating in public unless it's a stand-up counter
- Drink at the machines when in public
- Don't skewer food with chopsticks, they are for eating not poking

etc etc.

~Alyssa
 
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Thank you guy's alot. I have one. Don't point w/ your fingers. Point with your whole hand.
 
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Alyssa said:
Could you go over the eating etiquette? Is it still:
- OK to make noise - Nom, Nom, Nom

- Not OK to eat with mouth open, so if you have to - cover your mouth with your hand
- No eating in public unless it's a stand-up counter
- Drink at the machines when in public
- Don't skewer food with chopsticks, they are for eating not poking

etc etc.
Hi Alyssa, it's OK to make slurping noises if you're eating noodles. No matter what you see on the commericials, it's not necessary to scream after taking a swig of beer
Better not to eat with your mouth open if you can help it.

The eating in public thing is more if you're walking. For example, it's not polite to stroll down the street eating a hotdog. I must admit I do this all the time
The convenience of it outweighs my desire to culturally adjust! OK to have picnics and things though.

Not sure what you mean by drinking at machines
Vending machines?

Yep, lots of chopstick rules. You're not supposed to skewer food, especially with one chopstick. You can hold them kind of like a knife and fork to break apart food before you eat it. It's also a no-no to pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another, and you can't shift a bowl or plate using choppies either. Also be careful not leave them sticking up out of the bowl.
 
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Tip of the day: June 3, 2008
Easy one today: take your shoes off when entering a house. Some restaurants will have you do this too. In your hotel room, there may be slippers by the doorway for you to wear while you're in there and there may be special slippers for the bathroom too. You shouldn't wear the bathroom slippers outside the bathroom, but the hotel room slippers can sometimes be worn around the hotel (depends on the hotel).
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

i posted this in another thread not knowing of this one:

i envy you all who get to go to Japan!

I haven't been there in almost 20 years but I can recommend some places.

Since you are all making the effort to go there, don't forget to sightsee!

You gotta check out the electronics! Way more advanced than the US and some items, you'll never see here.
Go to akihabara, the electronics meccha of Japan and perhaps the only place you can haggle. If you can't, check out Yodobashi Camera or Bic(or Big) Camera - their version of Best Buy.

Cool toy store in the Ginza district is Hakuinkan - 5 floors of all toys!

Shinjiku is the red light district if you are into that....

Shibuya is a hip town near Shinjiku and has trendy stores and eats.

Harajuku, like the Gwen Stefani song is a cool place to see young Japanese teens garage bands rock out on weekends.

Roppongi has the famous Hard Rock Cafe tokyo and has just as many tourists as locals. Practically, everyone speaks English their.

Prepare to eat a $5-6 big mac as they have all the chains - McD's, Wendy's, KFC, Dunkin Donuts. For the adventurous, try Japanese fast food places Lotteria (actually a Korean candy company but makes fast food) and Mos burger (get a burger sandwiched between two rice ball patties instead of bread).

Like Noodles - Get the Ramen! my favorite. Chinese style noodles with a Japanese twist!
 
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DarthInwah said:
Prepare to eat a $5-6 big mac as they have all the chains - McD's, Wendy's, KFC, Dunkin Donuts. For the adventurous, try Japanese fast food places Lotteria (actually a Korean candy company but makes fast food) and Mos burger (get a burger sandwiched between two rice ball patties instead of bread).
Lotteria can be hit and miss depending on the store. One thing's for sure is that they have the saltiest chips I've ever eaten! MOS Burger is great, and their regular, more orthodox burgers are good too. We have "Freshness Burger" in Osaka now, another Japanese original. A bit expensive but damn good... I recommend the spam sandwich!
 
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Tip of the day: June 4, 2008
A "local" train is the slowest and stops at all the stations. A "semi-express" skips a few stations, followed by an express and then either a "super express" or "limited express." Any of these can be usually be ridden with the standard tickets you buy at the station. If you come across a train with a funny name, it probably requires a separate, slightly more expensive ticket.
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

John,
I did mean drinking at the vending machines.

Also, when riding an escalator in Tokyo you Stand on the Left side and Pass on the Right side. I hear it's the opposite in Osaka and no rules in Kyoto.

Don't be offended if you get bumped in the subway. Personal bubbles are a luxury during the rush hour.
~Alyssa
 
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I know this has been seen all over the web but wanted to share it again as it is pertinent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axwMxUBL_ws

Also, if you are female and in a crowded train, as the previous poster may have alluded, you may be groped and never find out who did it as it can be super crowded on these trains....
 
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Alyssa said:
I did mean drinking at the vending machines.
Hmmm... I have no idea. I've never seen anybody do this so maybe it's true!
 
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DarthInwah said:
I know this has been seen all over the web but wanted to share it again as it is pertinent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axwMxUBL_ws

Also, if you are female and in a crowded train, as the previous poster may have alluded, you may be groped and never find out who did it as it can be super crowded on these trains....
Jeez... think I'll take the next one!

It's one thing to be a woman and to be groped on the train, but another serious issue is being a man who's been accused of groping. They've recently had experts discussing this, and apparently you have no hope whether innocent or guilty. One lawyer recently said on TV that if you have been accused of groping someone, but are innocent, the best course of action is to run away!
 
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Tip of the day: June 5, 2008
The Japanese summer is really hot and humid, so if you're the perspiring type you're in for a treat. Drink plenty of fluids and don't forget to pack your deodorant!
 
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John_sH said:
Tip of the day: June 5, 2008
The Japanese summer is really hot and humid, so if you're the perspiring type you're in for a treat. Drink plenty of fluids and don't forget to pack your deodorant!
sounds like "Pokari Sweat" time!!!!
 
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DarthInwah said:
John_sH said:
Tip of the day: June 5, 2008
The Japanese summer is really hot and humid, so if you're the perspiring type you're in for a treat. Drink plenty of fluids and don't forget to pack your deodorant!
sounds like "Pokari Sweat" time!!!!
Ahhh, Pokari Sweat!! Haven't had one in ages!! I'm sure I'll be drinking tons when I go back. Aquarius works too!! I really wonder who came up with the name "Pokari Sweat"?

As with the train issue, just remember, it's not all trains and it's not all day. Just try to miss morning and night rush hours, and if you're not in a hurry, take the next one. I've honestly never seen it that bad, but then again, I usually never went out that early in the morning and usually ended up getting home late. The good thing about CJ is that it'll span the weekend so it shouldn't be so bad if you have to travel by train. If you're within walking distance (even a 15~20min walk away), then I'd suggest to walk. Get a little exercise, enjoy the scenery (whatever may be around), and be glad you don't have to stand in a crowded area around strangers (until you get to the convention center that is
)

Alyssa, I'm with John. I've honestly never heard about standing by the vending machines to drink your drink. I know some people would consider it a rude act if you drink and walk, just like eating and walking, unlike here in the states. But if you need to grab a drink and go, I'd say go. Most people just tend to get drinks so they can take a break and sit down/relax for a moment. And, if someone says something while you walk and drink, just use the foreigner excuse
Besides, no one would really say anything. Japanese people tend to not voice their concerns/displeasure to strangers (atleast from what I know).
 
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Re: Tip of the day: \"Getting around Japan\"

Hayabusa said:
DarthInwah said:
John_sH said:
Tip of the day: June 5, 2008
The Japanese summer is really hot and humid, so if you're the perspiring type you're in for a treat. Drink plenty of fluids and don't forget to pack your deodorant!
sounds like "Pokari Sweat" time!!!!
Ahhh, Pokari Sweat!! Haven't had one in ages!! I'm sure I'll be drinking tons when I go back. Aquarius works too!! I really wonder who came up with the name "Pokari Sweat"?

As with the train issue, just remember, it's not all trains and it's not all day. Just try to miss morning and night rush hours, and if you're not in a hurry, take the next one. I've honestly never seen it that bad, but then again, I usually never went out that early in the morning and usually ended up getting home late. The good thing about CJ is that it'll span the weekend so it shouldn't be so bad if you have to travel by train. If you're within walking distance (even a 15~20min walk away), then I'd suggest to walk. Get a little exercise, enjoy the scenery (whatever may be around), and be glad you don't have to stand in a crowded area around strangers (until you get to the convention center that is
)

Alyssa, I'm with John. I've honestly never heard about standing by the vending machines to drink your drink. I know some people would consider it a rude act if you drink and walk, just like eating and walking, unlike here in the states. But if you need to grab a drink and go, I'd say go. Most people just tend to get drinks so they can take a break and sit down/relax for a moment. And, if someone says something while you walk and drink, just use the foreigner excuse
Besides, no one would really say anything. Japanese people tend to not voice their concerns/displeasure to strangers (atleast from what I know) .
But knowing that, I don't think it's a reason to not be polite and be seen as rude people, aren't you agree ?
 
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French_Sidious said:
Hayabusa said:
Japanese people tend to not voice their concerns/displeasure to strangers (atleast from what I know) .
But knowing that, I don't think it's a reason to not be polite and be seen as rude people, aren't you agree ?
Yeah, you're right. Sorry, I didn't mean it as go ahead and be rude. I just meant, if you happen to do it, you're not gonna get arrested or anything. There are just so many cultural taboos in Japan, it's hard to keep up with them all, really. And, unless you live there, they don't expect you to know it all. Some of the stuff John has talked about above, especially with the chopsticks, is true and should definitely not do it (now that you've read about it). But, in this instance, I definitely haven't heard about it, and doesn't look like John has either (not speaking for John; sorry Alyssa) so I can't really say if this would be rude or not. I can see some of the Japanese people considering this to rude though (being one myself and having grown up around many). It's the culture really. You obviously want to be as polite as possible when visiting any foreign country, but they won't hold it against you. That's all I was trying to say;)
 
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Hayabusa said:
French_Sidious said:
Hayabusa said:
Japanese people tend to not voice their concerns/displeasure to strangers (atleast from what I know) .
But knowing that, I don't think it's a reason to not be polite and be seen as rude people, aren't you agree ?
Yeah, you're right. Sorry, I didn't mean it as go ahead and be rude. I just meant, if you happen to do it, you're not gonna get arrested or anything. There are just so many cultural taboos in Japan, it's hard to keep up with them all, really. And, unless you live there, they don't expect you to know it all. Some of the stuff John has talked about above, especially with the chopsticks, is true and should definitely not do it (now that you've read about it). But, in this instance, I definitely haven't heard about it, and doesn't look like John has either (not speaking for John; sorry Alyssa) so I can't really say if this would be rude or not. I can see some of the Japanese people considering this to rude though (being one myself and having grown up around many). It's the culture really. You obviously want to be as polite as possible when visiting any foreign country, but they won't hold it against you. That's all I was trying to say;)
Excellent point. One thing that visitors to a country forget is that a good deal of their behavior is automatic while being culturally dissimilar to the people around them. Everybody will reach a point where they are consciously trying to fit in and behave properly, and where they subconsciously just aren't able to do it (they are what they are). So while you may be trying your hardest not to be rude, you'll probably end up being "rude" without realizing it. I think what Haya is saying is that most of the time Japanese people are extremely understanding of the times when a non-Japanese person who is trying to fit in does something that a Japanese person wouldn't do.

In my case, I've come full circle. A lot of my new behavior for Japan has become automatic for me... but I still enjoy eating on the run, drinking out of a bottle, etc., enough to make a somewhat of a "cultural compromise."

Another really important thing to remember is that some Japanese people don't always follow these rules themselves. That's why they are rules! Obviously there are some that no Japanese person could imagine breaking (e.g. shoes on in the house), but many others are not followed to the letter by any means. That is the same in any society, not just Japan.
 
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Tip of the day: June 6, 2008
Just as shoes are not worn in the house, bare feet outside is pretty much unthinkable. One exception might be when you're indoors (in an office, for example) and sitting at a desk; you can sometimes take your shoes off and rest your feet on your shoes (not necessarily good manners though). No matter how sore your feet get, might be better to keep those shoes on when you're outdoors.
 
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Tip of the day: June 7, 2008
French fries/chips are called "fried potato" (furaido-poteto).
 
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Tip of the day: June 8, 2008
In Osaka it is sometimes customary for people to barter with vendors, especially when buying electronics. It is far less common to do this in Tokyo.
 
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Tip of the day: June 9, 2008
"One more" in Japanese is mou hitotsu.
 
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John_sH said:
Tip of the day: June 6, 2008
Just as shoes are not worn in the house, bare feet outside is pretty much unthinkable. One exception might be when you're indoors (in an office, for example) and sitting at a desk; you can sometimes take your shoes off and rest your feet on your shoes (not necessarily good manners though). No matter how sore your feet get, might be better to keep those shoes on when you're outdoors.
this is a great idea that never caught on in the states. You never know what your dirty shoes step on. There's dog $#!t, spit, etc all over the place.......

In fact, I have everybody remove their shoes before they come in the house. It's cool in Japan that houses are built with a depression in the entranceway to remove your shoes.
 
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