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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Donzah, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just found out you can fly into Niigata Airport on Cathay Pacific this winter.
    https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US/explore-destinations/port-launch/niigata.html

    Easy launching pad to Myoko, Madarao or Nozawa. There's a shuttle to Akakura. Otherwise from there catch the Shirayuki to JoetsuMyoko Station. Then either local line to MyokoKogen & get a taxi/shuttle to Akakura/Madarao, or shink to Iiyama Station then bus or taxi to Madarao/Nozawa.
     
  2. Coffeebeanie

    Coffeebeanie Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the advice and details, although I have 16 days in Japan in total, not in Kiroro and Niseko. 4 or 5 days might be all the budget allows for Niseko, especially given the exchange rate. Not really a BC skier, but a 1 day tour at Kiroro could be a good way to try it, and spend the rest of the 4 or 5 days inbounds at Kiroro.
     
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  3. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    So the impetus for Hokkaido is because you have 2 free days in Niseko? Maybe the snow festival?
    Seems like an expensive decision for 2 free lift ticket days. If you are flying into Tokyo and doing a warmup in Myoko, then why not stay on Honshu for the rest of your stay? The savings in domestic flights, rail back to Tokyo, Niseko accom, etc would allow for possibly a car which would give you an awesome experience around Nagano.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree with this. The 2 'free' days in Niseko is a false economy. The lift ticket may be 'free' but is more than compensated by the extra accommodation and travel costs, so basically flying to Sapporo just for the snow festival. Most definitely better off all round spending the extra days on Honshu. Plenty of good options. Save the snow festival for a dedicated Hokkaido trip.
     
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  5. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Crispy and Heinz are on the money.
    If finances are a consideration stay in one area - do Honshu or do Hokkaido. The more you travel the more expensive the exercise gets, especially if it’s not a dedicated roadtrip.

    And no one will tell you Niseko is a cheap option, it’s not.
     
  6. Any

    Any One of Us

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    bc or slackcountry?
    I'd recommend some of the easier gates at Niseko aren't a bad place to start (eg strawberry gate).
    Some of the Kiroro ones can very quickly get a beginner in way over their head. Only a few years ago they added the gate system because people kept dying out there.

    just travelling so much is also a waste of time.
     
  7. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    For those heading to Geto Kogen this season.

    "Shocking price advance lift ticket"
    2020 LIMITED TIME SALE
    August 31th (Sat) noon 12:00 just for sale ‼ ️

    2019-20 Summer Oil Plateau ski resort
    Adult Lift 1 day ticket 4,900 yen is what 3,300 yen
    Standard 2,300 yen lift use ticket is 1,600 yen

    Don't miss the big sale of the end of summer end winter ⛄️
    The Limited number of items will be sold out in a few minutes!
    More details, here's how to ask for it ⬇︎
    http://www.geto8.com/2lift/maeuri.html#time_sale
    The application form will be accessible at 12:00 just on August 31th.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Arai have bumped their tickets up to 7,000 a day for next season. Given the exchange rate that is getting right up there.
     
  9. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Everything about that place seems excessively expensive. I'd still love to ride it though.
     
  10. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Its the only resort on Honshu that has had 10s of millions of dollars spent on it in the last few years, if not decades. 7K is a pretty fair price for the infrastructure, terrain and management, in fact I reckon its a bargain...
     
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  11. Paradox

    Paradox Addicted

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    Especially if you add on the VIP ticket....
     
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  12. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I’ll stick with my Y4500 ticket and lunch combo thanks.
     
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  13. Coffeebeanie

    Coffeebeanie Hard Yards

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    I want to ski Hokkaido, and see the snow festival, but thought 16 days there might be too much ski time, especially around second week in Feb with the snow festival. A few days in Honshu, some '"rest" days in Tokyo, then flying to Sapporo on 11th for smow fest and 8 or 9 days skiing seemed like a good plan. But thanks for all the advice, I'll reconsider my plans.
     
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  14. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bearing in mind you’re talking with people who do a whole season here and still leave wanting more - so your mileage might vary...

    For me, Niseko prices are higher than the rest of Japan, but the value is there IMHO. The gate system here provides opportunity for people to gradually learn the backcountry skills by ‘doing’ in a relatively safe environment.

    Some gates like @Any said are perfect first bc experience opportunities. Others are more high consequence. Lift passes may be more than other places, but there’s not too many places you can ski from 8.30-8.30 under lights either.

    If you’re going to spend a fair bit of time at Kiroro get into the “powderzones” marked on the piste map. These are smallish areas of ungroomed slightly difficult to access terrain that could give you the buzz you’re after. If you’re wanting more please think about booking guided backcountry because as has already been said earlier - it can be high consequence and you really need to know what you’re doing, and given you have to register your intentions at the office before you’re granted access, my guess is your hiking, riding and exit plan wouldn’t pass muster.

    If you’re just after no gaijin, powder on piste all day at great prices - the little lesser known resorts on Honshu or on Hokkaido will do nicely.
     
  15. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hokkaido Updates

    Chitose Airport:
    New car rental desks :D
    They’re still under construction, and there are 13 of them! That’ll make the whole process so much more efficient.


    And if you thought it was hectic there in Winter...


    Deadset chaos in Summer.
    They had moved the info, car rental and bus ticket desk from the original side to the other side while they put the new desks in. I assume it’ll go when the new ones are operational. It’s a bit squeezey having both.

    They also seem to have doubled the international baggage collection area but it’s behind screens at the moment.

    English:
    Everyone we encountered had cracking English, maybe just a fluke but WAY more fluent than any last trips. I wonder if RWC and impending Olympics have seen a targeted increase in English speaking staff at Immigration and Customs.

    Roads:
    we noticed some of the roads were in the same terrible post ski season condition with pot holes on their potholes, however not long after making comment we spotted road surfacing equipment to the side of the road and I’d say more than 50% of the journey from New Chitose to Hirafu was over luscious new roads. Hopefully they’ll have it all done by the time the snow comes.
     
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  16. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    It’s 125 sleeps until the start of the next thrilling adventure of elSpike Skis Japan. I think I’ve locked in the final details for our first Japan trip of 2020.

    Dec 29-Jan 8 — Shiga Kogen staying at Chalet Shiga in Ichinose
    Jan 8 - Jan 12 — Myoko (Akakura) staying at Hotel Refre
    Jan 12- Jan 16 — Naeba staying at Prince.

    Would love to catch up if any of you happen to overlap with us. Two easy going adults and two boys aged 14 and 11. We have reputable* forum references to prove we can play well with others too :D



    *maybe they aren’t reputable but they were fun to have a meal with.
     
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  17. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just one point....
    Myoko has Akakura Kanko & Akakura Onsen, Ikenotaira, Suginohara (plus Seki, which is small, and add Madarao/Tangram about 30 min away). You have you have maybe 3 full days there.
    But you have 9 full days at Shiga Kogen. Not really sure the distribution is the best.
     
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  18. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for your input Sandy. Always welcome. All of these places are not new to us. Shiga is our current favourite place to ski in Japan. It’s also where we’ll do our annual lessons etc. hence the extended stay.

    3.5 days at Akakura (sugi, Ikenotairia and both Akakuras are the plan same as last time) not interested in Madarao again with the worlds slowest romance lifts.

    3.5 days at Naeba which is plenty as we are just showing our boys as they’ve never been.

    We’ll also more than likely have two more trips after this one in the remainder of the season. Still plenty of ski days and places to go.
     
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  19. silva

    silva One of Us

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    We coincide with some of your dates:
    Singapore 27 Dec - 2 Jan
    Shiga Kogan 2 Jan - 10 Jan (Aspen Shiga)
    Myoko 10 Jan - 17 Jan (Red Warehouse)
    2 adults and 1 10 year old boy (all snowboarders) always keen to catch up with others on the slopes.
     
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  20. Amelia1810

    Amelia1810 One of Us

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    Just booked the last of our accommodation. Countdown is on!
     
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  21. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    We should catch up for lunch on one of the days if you are up for it.
     
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  22. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I really love this aspect of this community.
    You’ll likely end up friends for life.
     
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  23. silva

    silva One of Us

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    Sound good. Shall organise closer to January.
     
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  24. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I am taking early leave this season (Jan 8), so unfortunately will miss you both. Both Refre and RW have convivial lounges for a meet up and drinks. Enjoy!
     
  25. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, we booked and it was at 103 I think. By the time we got there 6 months later I think it was 56! A lot of noodles that trip...
     
  26. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Do people find accommodation prices vary like airlines?? Shiga Kogan Prince Hotel last month showed ¥71k, today ¥111k for same dates. This was direct on their website, not through reseller. Have only ever booked accommodation closer to trip like dec for feb/march trip. So thinking maybe just wait til dec, or are prices rising for olympics etc
     
  27. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    My contact had difficulty securing the discounted rates for a friend of mine during the New Years break. Not sure on the feb/march timeframe but it could well be olympic related.
     
  28. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Prince are pushing pretty hard through some tertiary providers here in Australia.
    Deals left right and centre.
    That may be why
     
  29. sn0wbunny29

    sn0wbunny29 One of Us

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    Flights booked!:woohoo::woohoo::woohoo:
    Just accommodation and ground transport to sort. Does anyone have any suggestions for accommodstion near to NHK hall? We're hoping to get tickets for the concert on 1st Feb.
     
  30. Dave6

    Dave6 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The bottom lift at Sugi and top lift at Akakura Onsen would rival those.
     
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  31. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    There were HUNDREDS of Chinese tourists at Naeba Prince from 18th Jan last year. It's clearly a neat package for large numbers. Better for the fact that none of them ski powder though!!! ;)
     
  32. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    No chance. The #1 lift at Madarao is so slow that scientists from NASA are studying it as a potential Stasis chamber for deep space exploration...
     
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  33. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    NY is absolute peak madness travel season in Japan. No hope of discounted rates at that time. A few local friends that I help book for tell me not to ask for any rooms over NY.
     
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  34. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    #1 at Madarao is slow, but I reckon the bottom lift at Suginohara is slower. It take about 7-8 min to go 300m.
    At least #1 at Madarao is short.
     
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  35. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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    Is that our new year or Chinese New Year?
     
  36. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    That would be Japanese NY:
    This year, Wed 1st - Fri 3rd. Add the weekend, Sat 4th - Sun 5th, plus a lot of people will take off Mon 30th - Tue 31st, so they also use Sat 28th & Sun 29th.
     
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  37. Mils

    Mils One of Us

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    You guys have me worried about Madarao, I am staying there cause I was able to get accommodation for effectively free. I have two intermediate kids and a beginner partner. So I thought it would be good spot. Especially for the tree runs and relaxed attitude. My partner and I did nowaza onsen last year and it was a really really good villiage. So you guys are saying the villiage at Madarao is not so good? Or just non existent? We are only there for 3-4 nights as it's the not the main focus on this trip...
     
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  38. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    For 3-4 nights you’ll have a ball.
    Especially if you go in with the right attitude.

    We only did a day trip so I can’t give much info about the hotel/village etc but with beginner/intermediates - ski, Onsen (there is apparently a very lovely one there), food, bed, repeat for a few days.
     
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  39. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's a small village there, which is ok.
    https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/斑尾高原スキー場/@36.8539989,138.2913133,991m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xecb4b54d8851d5f9!8m2!3d36.852525!4d138.289569
    Plus riding wise, there Tangram as well, which you can add on for an extra 500yen iirc.
     
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  40. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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    No, there is no village as Nozawa but there are quite a few restaurants to choose from for dinner and plenty of food options on the hill. We are going back next year, loved the place! Great skiing, good food options and cheap too. Would recommend though you get your accom to book restaurant you would like to go to for that night.our two favourite were restaurant Oono and Madarao Mountain lodge.
    On mountain Heidi restaurant had great crepes and very fine cappuccino and hot chocolate as well as the usual Japanese fare and is available to 3pm.
     
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  41. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don’t stress. There are about 20 restaurants in the village. You should get your hotel to book them on your first night though to secure a table. Madarao is nothing like nozawa, much more compact and not as pretty in my opinion. It feels very rural/functional. But the real draw card is that for beginner/intermediates it is incredible skiing. The onsen at the Madarao Kogen hotel is really nice too.

    My trip report from last year has a lot of information about the skiing and the restaurants we chose. I’ve linked to the part where we transferred to Madarao. https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/e...ao-myoko-and-yuzawa.83178/page-2#post-3790594

    Madarao holds a special place in my heart as it’s the place our family first learnt to ski.
     
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  42. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I stayed 3 nights with no fresh snow and still enjoyed cruising around on and offpiste. Tangram is great for intermediates as well. Onsen at hotel is awesome, there’s plenty of cool little restaurants and beer places. The village isn’t pretty/traditional but it’s functional, nice and quaint in its own way. No ATM there at all as of last season so make sure we you have enough cash. Some of the restaurants take card some don’t. You will be fine especially if accom is free
     
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  43. Mils

    Mils One of Us

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    Thanks for the rebuttal guys and girls. I feel a lot better about it now :)

    I will probably go to nozawa for the day and stick around at night on the 15th when the fire festival is on. Then head back to our accom after a good ole public onsen. :D As that's over our 4 nights. That should be cool to see I think.
     
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  44. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  45. Mils

    Mils One of Us

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  46. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tap and Go update:

    I’ve tried to use my Garmin tap and go watch everywhere we have been in Hirafu this trip and so far it’s just Lawson’s and Green Farm.

    I asked the Japanese guy at Green Farm what the Nihongo for Pay Pass or Tap and Go was so I can ask without a huge confusing gesturing event. He asked all the other people in the store and they all shook their heads and said they didn’t know what to call it. LOL Well ifnthe native speakers don’t know, then I’ve a snowballs chance in hell.

    Might have to save this image to my phone to help my case.
     
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  47. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I know that there's a Suica app you can put on your phone (Suica = card used on trains), to provide tap at most convenience stores. You can load 20,000yen on a regular Suica card, so I assume that the phone App is the same.
     
  48. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah the Suica thing just complicates the whole “can I use my watch to tap and go” thing... but I thought NOW is the time to ask and work it all out so in ski season I already know.

    May get myself a Suica in October when I’m down south and load that up - rather carry and snap that than my kuredito kardo :p
     
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  49. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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  50. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Any likes this.