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Trip Report Number 5 is alive

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Melskius, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Well our trip has officially begun. So thought I'd get the trip report started.
    We are currently in a motel at Tweed heads before our morning flight from GC. Have found this is a more pleasant start than leaving home at 5am.
     
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  2. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Loaded onto the plane. Just sitting on the plane, still at the gate. Already 15mins past our due take off time. We'll get to Japan eventually
     
  4. Jonkl

    Jonkl Hard Yards

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    Hokkaido is forecasting a snow storm tonight and tomorrow. Should have some powder fun when you arrive, providing it doesn't blow a gale ;)
     
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  5. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    The plane took off about an hour late, but arrived in Narita on time. We followed our usual routine of dinner in terminal 3. Then we taqubin all of our bags, 2x large roller and one ski bag (¥8,800) to Shiga kogen, where we will meet them on Monday. Off to the bus stop we caught the shuttle to Narita Tobu Hotel. We have a quad room for ¥14,940. We will wake to my daughter turning 10.
     
  6. Sandy

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

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    You're expecting your bags at Shiga Kogen on Monday? It may or may not happen if you sent them today...
     
  7. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Flew in on Sat. Not skiing Monday, just checking in late arvo. What will be, will be.
     
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  8. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We have found enlightenment! An a human traffic jam in the dark underneath Zenkoji temple. 6yr old was keen as to do the darkness walk, the now 10yr old and hubby found it a challenge. Spending the night in Nagano before heading up to Shiga tomorrow.
     
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  9. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We started the day slowly having spent the night at Nagano Mash Cafe & Bed. It was a short walk to Lawsons for some breakfast, then back to the cafe to eat. We strolled a bit of Nagano and boarded the 9:51am train to Yudanaka.

    Here's where the bulk of our near 13km walking began. We strolled the uphill path to Shibu Onsen. Note there seems to be no real distinction, you just arrive in the main street and, oh look we're here, kind of happens. Shibu Onsen is a pretty place for a stroll. Once we were done, we realised we should eat lunch. So back to near the beginning we go to an open restaurant. It was fukuan, a small place run by one man, and the food was fantastic. Kaarage, yakisoba, and gyoza we had. Then we happened to be at a bus stop 3mins before the bus was due. Off to the snow monkey Park we went.

    Oscar was 2yrs old last time, so at 6 he was able to enjoy it more. Dale loved having her camera with her. There was some snow around, but it was by no means snowy. We spent some time here, and got back to the bus stop about 5mins after a bus left. So we waited for the 4:10pm, off to Shiga Kogen. By now the kids were stuffed, so were we. Ichinose is quite snowy. But staying at the Prince we ate what was closest, the Chinese Restaurant. Man that place is expensive, but we paid for convenience.
    (Sorry for the photo order, its mucking up, but I'm too tired to fix it).
     
  10. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Now for the snow part of our trip - oday we woke to a nice morning, got ready and had the hotel breakfast. We exchanged our tickets for an electronic pass. Then hit the slopes at Yakebitiyama - the slopes of the Prince Hotel.

    We made our way from left to right, the kids gaining confidence with every run, they kept going right up the sides of the runs to get more speed going down into the centre.

    We took one wrong turn and needed to head to gondola 2, but we were on a path for gondola 1, so our option was an icy mogul run that the kids ended up butt sliding down.


    We ended up under gondola 2 for lunch at the dotunburi bowl place. During lunch it started snowing, so we did another run back over to Prince West, calling it quits after 2pm. (I know, bailing when the snow gets better, but I had little people who had tired legs, and we have 5 more days).


    We then took a lively stroll through the falling snow (something us Queenslanders rarely get to do) to Ichinose. The kids were delighted to see snow monkeys along the way. At Ichinose we made a few dinner reservations and then wandered into Shiga grand, and found the hotel lobby that doubles as the Taco place after 3:30pm. It was 3:30pm so we decided to stay for a drink and eat. Then we walked back through the still falling snow to the Prince. Where the Miss10 and I went and had a relax in the onsen, looking out to the falling snow.
     
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  11. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where did you see the Snow Monkey on the walk? I cant pick that area.
     
  12. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    It was just before the first row of hotels you reach coming from Prince.
     
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  13. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice, just near that Y junction and the car park that sometimes has busses in it. That is super close to Chalet Shiga. We haven't seen snow monkeys in the wild yet! Very much looking forward to meeting you all on Saturday.
     
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  14. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    After a snowy night, we woke to a blanket of snow outside the window. So after the standard hotel breakfast fare we suited up and headed out for the lifts.

    There wasn't really much of a queue, but there were more people around compared to yesterday. Visibility was ok down low, but up top of all lifts and gondolas it was very foggy with only about 50m vis in places.


    The kids had a ball chasing daddy through the trees on the edges of runs. Before lunch we headed off into the side of a run and had a play in the snow. Snow angels, and a kind of snowman were made.

    We then lunched at the Prince west wing restaurant. Kids and I did some laundry, while hubby lapped the quad chair a few more times. Then miss10 and I hit the onsen again. We then caught the bus into Ichinose and dined at the fabulous Nepalese place. The naan is amazing, the chicken Tikka was good too.

     
  15. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We woke to find it still snowing, the car park was very white and cars had about 15-20cm on them.

    When we hit the slopes we experienced our first taste of powder snow. Much fun was had making new tracks off to the sides of runs, hubby and the kids found new lines in the trees just on the edge of the runs.

    We moved over to ride the gondola, as this much more pleasant in the snow than the chair. Gondola 2 runs were better than the runs off gondola 1 for us due to more wind at gondy 1. We stopped for an earlish lunch at the dotonburi bowl place under gondola 2 again.

    Then we went back out and enjoyed the snow some more. The good part was that due to the cold (-5 to -10) you didn't get wet at all.

    The kids wore some snow at times when they stacked it. Hubby and I each had an off of our own. One of Miss10's stacks in about 40cm of powder had us searching for a ski that came off. Luckily it was found.

    The onsen was great after a day like today. Tonight dinner was at Altopiano in Ischinose. It was an interesting entry path due to the snow.

    It was by far the most snow we have ever experienced. A great day was had by all.
     
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  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is from Wikipedia, Japanese monkey : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_macaque
    Japanese monkey is very unique in that they can be seen on very snowy cold mountains. Basically, all primates including monkeys are in warm / hot places. Japanese monkey is the only exception. I've seen wild Japanese monkeys on ski resort mountains but not higher than 1600m asl. If you saw him or her near Chalet Shiga, I think it's the highest altitude I've ever heard(Chalet Shiga is at about 1600m asl, right?), sugoi, it's surely a good experience:)
     
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  17. Sandy

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

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    Now you probably understand the powder bug!! ;)
     
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  18. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We were onto all mountain passes today, so we could go all over the 18 ski areas that make up Shiga Kogen. We had a small glitch with them not issuing Oscar a pass, but it turned out being 6 he was to go through the electronic turnstiles with us. Once figured out we were on our way. And what a day it was.

    We went to Ichinose Diamond, then over to Family, Terakoya, before making our way down Higashiteteyama, to Hoppo Bunadaira. Here we had lunch at Aspen Restaurant.

    Since we were close we went to Hasuike, via Giant, then went on a bit of a walk to the Post office ATM. The way back damn near killed us with all the uphill traverses. Starting with the walk from the post office to the Hasuike lift, and the the killer uphill traverse from Hasuike onto Giant. Once they were done it was easy.


    The views the while mountain were amazing. We rode such a variety of chairs and the tiny gondola. The kids and hubby went off road a few times. We went under the road a few times, over some bridges, and skiing alongside a road is unique. I don't know how many km's we skied, but the kids were fantastic.

    Dinner was at Kamoshika again, this time with @Sandy joining us. We had to dash to make the shuttle bus back to Prince.
     
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  19. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    It was a stunning bluebird day in the morning. After breakfast we headed to Okushiga-kogan. Here we skied a few runs, the kids loved the freeride park.

    After that we lunched under gondola 2 again at the donburi place. Then headed over to Ichinose Diamond and onto Family. We did a few runs here with the kids and hubby enjoying going off the sides a bit.

    After this we rode terakoya, and then headed over to Higashiteteyama and found the most unusual traverse, skis off cross the road, then continue onto the gondola. After this we headed back over to the Prince. A quick onsen, then out to dinner with a Sandy, elspike and nanami_JS at the Teppa bar.
     
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  20. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    It was another clear day, set to get into single figures, for our last ski day. We had plans to meet up with Sandy and elspike at 8:30am. Thats them in the chair ahead pic.

    From here we skied a few runs at Yakebitiyama, then we parted ways and headed over to Diamond and onto Family.

    Then we headed back to Yakebitiyama and skied from gondola 1 back to 2, then back to Prince West. Here we had a late lunch, then tackled the task of packing the skis and ski gear bag up. We sent each bag to the airport (¥2700 approx each). So we hope to meet up with our ski bags at Narita. We also shipped a clothing bag off to Fujisan, where we'll hopefully meet up with it after our night in Kofu. So we'll just have backpacks for our next overnight stop.

    Shiga Kogen has been a great trip, 4 years since we were last here. We saw so much more of the mountain and the dining options (thanks to those forum members who posted previously). We also had the most snow of any ski trip during this trip, and had our first taste of powder. It's been great, and we'll definitely be back.
     
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  21. Sandy

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

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    It was great to meet you and your family!! :D
     
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  22. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was great to meet you all too. Thanks for making the time to come out to dinner with us all. I loved talking Minecraft with Mr 6!

    Keep the TR coming with your next three destinations please.
     
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  23. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    You too @Sandy, was great to chat, eat and have a ski together.
     
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  24. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Really enjoyed our group dinner, was great to meet you and Mrs elspike. Mr6 will talk Minecraft underwater. @Sandy got a taste of this while sharing charlifts. Will keep the TR going.
     
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  25. Sandy

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

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    Actually, I didn't mind Mr6 talking.... my daughter was a chatterbox!!! :D
     
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  26. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We checked out, had our last hotel breakfast and caught the 7:57am bus to Nagano. (¥2,100A, ¥1,050C), arriving after 9:30am. We had time to grab some snacks before boarding the wide view train to Shiojiri. This journey was just under an hour.

    At Shiojiri we switched to the Azusa bound for Kofu, another 57mins away. Arriving at 12:19pm into Kofu we walked near the station and lunched at yoshinoya. The bill of ¥1,500 was vastly different from the ¥6,000 odd we were paying at Shiga Kogen. We then found our hostel, Sonomama, where we have a private bunk room and bathroom for ¥12,600. We were able to check in early around 1pm. So we dropped backpacks, and went for a walk.


    We discovered a tourist info, gathered a map, then trekked 2.6km to Takeda Shrine for a look.

    Wandering back we visited Yamanote Goman gate, then walked through to the grounds where Kofu castle was. After this long walk we headed back to the hostel for a rest.

    So far we are the only foreigners we have seen the entire day.
     
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  27. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Its taken 5 trips over 5 years, but we finally got to see Mt Fuji!!

    We were up and out early from Kofu, as the weather was clear and we could go back up the castle lookout to see Mt Fuji, before catching the 8:18am train to Shimoyoshida. We had to change trains at Otsuki, from here we were on private railway, so no JR pass, tickets were ¥980 for adults. The train was decorated on the outside with Fuji themes, and was slow, but very scenic.

    At Shimoyoshida we hiked up to the Chureito Pagoda for the famous pagoda/Fuji picture. There was a lot of stairs, but the view was worth it. We were very lucky to still have Fuji not covered by cloud. From here it was only 2 stops by train or 1.6km to our destination for the next 2 nights. So we decided to stroll the 1.6km to Fujiyoshida. We were glad we did when we noticed signs saying take your photo from the sidewalk, this was the spot where the street lines up with Mt Fuji framing it. So we also took the street and Fuji shots.

    We had a 7-11 lunch on the way - great Kaarage on a stick. We continued on foot to the Hana Hostel, our home for the next 2 nights. The hosts are fantastic, and have children the same age as ours. The beds are so comfy, and have awesome pillows. So after checking in, we took advantage in the clearer weather, it was set to cloud over around 4pm. We then walked the 100m to Fujisan station, then caught the train to Kawaguchiko. From here we walked to the ropeway and rode it. Luckily there was no line up and barely any wait time. ¥900 return, and we got to see the lake from up high 1700m and also got to see Mt Fuji from a different point, though the cloud had surrounded the top part.

    We wandered back to the station, and caught the free bus back to Fuji station. After a rest we went out to a tonkatsu restaurant for dinner. It was very good, filling and cheap. Then we had a great chat and share with the host and her daughter.
     
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  28. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We had a slower morning start, and enjoyed a breakfast provided free at the hostel. A nice mix of cereal, bananas, toast and eggs. As it was a cloudy overcast day we set off to view things other than Mt Fuji. Our first stop was Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinjya shrine. This is one of the original entry points to ascend Mt Fuji. It is set in a beautiful cedar grove with some very big cedar trees, the shrine itself is very beautiful.

    From here we walked towards Fuji Q , where we caught the free shuttle to Kawaguchiko. Once at the lake we walked around and onto the bridge, Fuji was still covered by clouds at the top.

    We once again caught the free shuttle back towards Fujisan, stopping again at Fuji Q. From here we walked to Saizeriya, where we had a late lunch. Another 15min walk put us back at the hostel at 3pm for a well earned rest. In the last 3 days we have walked 13.6km, 14km and today another 13km. I must say the kids are great and don't really complain about all the walking we do.
     
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  29. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We departed our lovely hosts in Fujiyoshida at 8am, catching the 8:22am train to Otsuki. Then we switched to using our JR passes to continue onto Ueno, changing trains in Shinjuku.

    We arrived in Ueno at 11:22am and walked down the few blocks to our fancy apartment style hotel room at Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Okachimachi. For ¥19,980 we have a large room with kitchen, dining area, 2 beds and a set of bunks. We splurged for our last night. Here we were able to check in early, so we did and dropped bags.

    Our first stop was Don Quixote just 3mins away, here the kids and I did a lollie shop while hubby did a whiskey shop. A lot of yen later, we dropped these bags off and headed out again. A 7-11 lunch on the way the Ueno yodabashi store had a small toy section, so we headed to the one ay Akihabara. This one was much better and the kids bought some toys, and I got my annual japanese lego catalogue. We also found a good custard filled fish pancake place.

    From here we headed to Tokyo station to visit the Pokemon store, where the kids got one each. By now it was 5pm, so we headed to Shimbashi to eat at Tonkatsu Matsunoya. On our was there the train was stopped, someone had hit the emergency stop, we were only 1min from our station. We had to wait about 10mins before getting underway.

    Dinner was fine, but not as good as I remembered from Sendai. We then headed back to our hotel at 7pm. This is our last night in Japan.
     
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  30. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    The end - Our last day.

    We set off for Tsukiji in the morning to visit Tsukiji Masamoto for knife. So we used the Metro to get there, once the knife was purchased we headed to Harajuku. At Harajuku we walled Takeshita street. I bought a few hats, we got some ice cream, and visited Daiso.

    After this we set out for Shibuya and saw the statue of Hachiko. Then we set off to Akihabara, and found a place to eat lunch. While we were in Akihabara we had to return to the custard fish pancake place. They were really good.

    We then headed back to Ueno to pick up our bags and made our way to Narita via Tokyo. Once here we picked up our TaQbin luggage from Terminal3, and lined up for check-in just after 5pm. Check in was set for 5:55pm, but they opened it up, and we were first in line. Bags checked, we set off to terminal 2 to get dinner and have a look around. Dinner was at Yoshinoya, we were the only westerners there. From there we headed back to terminal 3 and went to the gate. Flight home was packed, no spare seats this time. But we managed to get some sleep.
     
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  31. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice reading your TR.
     
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  32. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Really nice TR, thanks so much for sharing so much detail!
     
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  33. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Thanks. I actually keep a travel diary on 'finding penguins' for our memories and kids to look back on, and as way to remenber details. So I actually copy/pasted, then I actually removed some detail.. haha.
    I'll wait until school holidays before I edit up trip 5 you tube videos. That takes up some time to complete.
     
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  34. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Here’s the video edit of the yakebitaiyama area.
     
    #34 Melskius, Apr 8, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
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  35. Sandy

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

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    doesn't play directly, but need to go to youtube.
     
  36. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Try now. Hopefully it is fixed.
     
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  37. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Played ok for me.
     
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  38. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Heres the all mountain part.
     
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