33 posts after: finally Tokyo, ignorant frogs, experiments

One of the most famous saying of Japan roughly translates as “The frog living in the well doesn’t know the big sea”.

 

The meaning is that the people living in a small community, closed in themselves, can’t even imagine how truly big the world is: of all the “Truths” in this world, I feel like this one resonates with me the most. In most of my (relatively) brief existence, I kept accumulating knowledge of many different things, jumping here and there, from a small puddle of notions to another one, like a stupid frog, and finally I reached the big sea: Tokyo. In all these years, I have been proud of knowing many things, but I always approached every new experience with the mindset of a frog: being humble, slowly diving deep into every water with my pace.

 

But now I’ll be in Tokyo and the perspective of the frog really feels heavy in front of a city way bigger than any city I have visited yet. Images, sounds, smells, feelings, tastes, no matter how crazy I can imagine, I already know that none of my thoughts will be close to reality, so I’ll just wait to jump into my flight in 9 hours from now (and the article will be posted 2 days after my actual departure). Shit. But also. Exciting shit. In any case, shit.

 

For all you out there who don’t like these sentimentalism, I’ll say it clear: I won’t be touching the blog until pretty much mid-september. The first two weeks will be hectic because of immigration procedures and documents and many other things so yeah, you may probably hear from me on Instagram (@edgeofbobo) and nothing more. And after that, I have no idea. Completely blank. Of course I’ll try to work onto something while I’m away, but I don’t know how and when so yeah, I don’t know what to say. You can still comment, request songs or anything you want, it’s likely that’ll reply to that.

 

In this summer I experienced some new things on this blog. I translated an entire album from Miura Daichi, an artist I hadn’t even ever listened to, and managed to obtain a somewhat decent result with my interpretation. On top of that, thanks to that the blog received an important boost in view (from an average of 3000 per month, to a whooping 4200 in July and a ridiculous 5500+ in August) and many interesting interaction with some users about my content. I’m very much happy, especially because it felt like it bloomed from the effort I put in the blog (but I’m not so stupid to think that it is all thanks to me and my effort).

 

Also, suggested by a commenter, I decided to open a page on Ko-fi, a site where you can donate freely a “coffee” (3$) to support me. I don’t expect anyone to donate, but it’s there. I did it mostly to think about the blog in a more “serious” way rather than a simple past-time: I hope this change of mind was also reflected in the latest content.

 

At this point, I feel like I’m too hype for the departure and I can’t help but rambling stupid shit that doesn’t interest anyone so I’ll just stop here.

Thank you to everybody, followers, supporters, readers and pretty much anyone who interacted with my work. I’m smiling. I’m happy.

シェルミイー (Shellmy) – 少女地獄 (Shoujo Jigoku) Translation

Kanji: Taken from the video

Translation

Title: Girls Hell

 

Yesterday “Aya” died,

she lied her shoes* up under the blue sky,

she said “No matter how I live, they push me away”.

 

And “Kana” died,

inside a cold, red bathtub**

she said “There’s no reason to live in a world in which you don’t exist”.

 

It’s normal between us friends to part without saying a word

and this girls hell which loves this bitter reality

won’t stop, it’s so horrible but…

 

…How should we live?

Being obedient is no good, telling lies is no good,

we live in an era in which we should

be careful even to just breathe.

People don’t care about the other people,

they just snatch away the food

and with a smile

they say it’s an old story.

 

Today “Haruka” died,

at the noisy train platform of 8 o’clock

she said “The fact that I have nothing to wish is painful”.

 

And “Miyuki” died,

on top a chair in a dark noon

she said “I want to put an end to this day looking like a nightmare”.

 

How should we live?

We just want to be loved,

but we live in an era in which we should

be careful even of where we turn our eyes to.

All the people have departed***,

I’m the only one left,

I expose my melancholic life

ad breathe on.

 

Between us friends,

there’s an unstoppable suicide circle,

this girls hell which loves this bitter reality

won’t stop, “farewell”, but…

 

…How should we live?

We are being forced to walk alone,

we live in an era in which is necessary

to have a reason to even hold hands.

People make people sad,

people love people,

they heal their pasts scars

and end up forgetting everything.

 

The “you” I grasped,

the “you” who left my hand,

everyone end up dying

with the same expression on their face.

 

Today “Yuri****” died.

 

Notes and Other

*=usually in Japan when you enter a building, you take off your shoes and line them up pointing towards the door. This practice has been translated into the act jumping off buildings, in which before jumping people take off their shoes and alligne them.

**= a crude image to describe her dying because of blood loss (probably because she cut her wrists) in a bathtub.

***= in the meaning of “departing from life”

****= Yuri is a common female name, and here it’s written with the meaning of “lily” which is the typical flowers (especially when white) which people bring at funerals. Also, is the flower you see attached to the singer’s microphone.

A very heavy song, talking about girls suicides in Japan. Women discrimination is still an harsh reality in Japan, quite difficult and ignored by many in the nations: here is painted in a very grim way. Still, great lyrics, the message is very well conveyed.

 

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怪盗戦隊ヌスムンジャ (Kaitou Sentai Nusumunja) – 金欠ピラニア (Kinketsu Piranha) Translation

Kanji: Taken from the video

Translation

Title: Penny-less piranhas

 

I’m penny-less

 

I want to meet you

who I really want to meet right now,

but since I don’t want to cause you trouble

I can’t say anything to you.

 

But the main reason why I can’t meet you

is that I don’t have a single penny to pay for the transportation.

 

You don’t send me even a message

because, as you say, “Sorry, I was sleeping”,

so I’ll give you my alarm!

But I don’t have the money to buy the batteries so it doesn’t work.

 

“Where are you? What are you doing?

I’ll come pick you up right now!”

If you actually told me such things I would love you.

 

But it’s fine even if you don’t come,

I can’t open the door,

I’m scared and trembling

because the bill collector is going to come.

 

I don’t understand Kaitou Sentai, I don’t understand, I don’t understand,

if you don’t understand go back to Wikipedia!*

 

Dada Daddadada Daddadada Dada

I’m not a bangya!

Dada Daddadada Daddadada Dada

That’s a lie!

Then I’ll make you all move!

 

Wasawasawasa Wasawasawasa let’s go**!

Wasawasawasa jump up**!

Wasawasawasa Wasawasawasa let’s go**!

Wasawasawasa jump near you**!

 

Aim and shoot for the girl you like***!

 

Raco-Rarara-Raco-Racoon!****

Darling, if you believe at him it will be horrible!

 

You have been targeted for a drinking challenge,

Ban-ban-ban, bangyaru drink it in one go, go, go!

Ban-ban-ban, bangyaru drink it in one go, go, go!

Ban-ban-ban, bangyaru drink it in one go, go, go!

Ban-ban-ban, bangyaru drink it in one go, go, go!

 

If it looks like you are attracted by a different girl

I want to kill you right now.

It tend to look like this often so I want to kill you,

also, I will get a lot of money from the insurance.

 

It’s an unstable love in which I chase you and cry,

if it’s going to be like this everyday I won’t be able to afford it

and if can’t afford it I will become ugly.

But it’s fine, until I won’t end up paying the fee for public services,

if you won’t be in trouble…

Uh? How strange, I don’t care anymore

about being ugly.*****

 

I want you to say that you love me.

I want you to say that I’m cute.

I want you to say that you want to meet me.

I want you to say sweet words to me.

I want you to say that I’m the best one.

I want you to say that you need me.

I want you to say that I’m dear to you.

But don’t you dare saying that you want to share the expenses with me.

 

At the olympics, Japan

took a lot of gold****** medals

but money****** doesn’t come my way at all.

 

You really are going to give me 500 yen*******?

If you do so, I’ll drink dry

this juice with ultra-spicy tabasco in it.

If I order an other one it will be 1000yen*******.

 

So annoying, so annoying, I can’t do it anymore,

I’ll cut off my relationship with you with a snap,

from now on I’ll do my best and save money,

 

I was carried away by my ideals and bought a fancy car,

now my domestic expenses are mainly gasoline,

today too I’ll give my money back,

The Yukichis******** vanish away!

The Higuchis******** vanish away!

I hate payments!

 

Even though I go to my part job by bicycle,

I lie and say I came by train

and get the refund money for transportation*********.

The unlucky me is starving for richness,

like a penny-less piranha.

 

Notes and Other

*=Probably a joke about people not understanding their jokes.

**= in the Japanese these words don’t have a particular meaning, but suggest the sound you make when jumping and cheering.

***=shooting with your finger, that’s a joke of course.

****= Raccoons in Japanese culture are animals which usually trick humans by changing their appeareance. The analogy here is with the Visual Kei artists who, rumors (and perhaps many facts too) say that trick fans into making them pay for things.

*****= I think it’s a bit unclear in the lyrics so I’ll explain here. Fans gets peer-pressured that if they become ugly the artist will stop caring about them, but in reality the artist won’t do so until they can pay and until he needs money.

******=the word for “gold” is the same used for “money”, so that’s why they used it as a pun.

*******= 100yen are rougly 1 dollar or less than 1 euro. In both cases, it’s just not much money.

********= Those are two ways of calling the banknotes, the Yukichis are 10000yen banknotes, the Higuchis are 5000yen ones.

*********= it is not uncommon that workplace pay back their employees the transportation fees.

This took a lot of time, but it was funny, although I had to read the whole lyrics from the video. It is mainly Kaitou Sentai talking about Visual kei fans paying a lot of money for going to concerts, dates and events and eventually run out of money. My translation is not even half the worth of the original song because of the untranslatable puns and inside jokes/alliteration, but I tried. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the lyrics.

 

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シェルミイ (Shellmy) – 優しい世界 (Yasashii Sekai) Translation

Kanji: taken from the video

Translation

Title: Gentle World

 

The earthlings have too much time to spare

and get raised up by saying that “Smiling is best”,

we started hiding our suffering

and laugh about this and that.

 

Time is equal for everyone and everyone are equal to anyone else,

someone said “that is not Justice”,

high school girls taking pictures of a traffic accident,

everyone are pretending to defend justice with their thumbs up.

 

Today too

the sick person falling on the railway road

is offended murmuring “you are so annoying” by the back,

those adults too are the one

praising the social etiquette, so ridicule!

The succesful people glare at that with black eyes

and impose their mob-like personalities,

even person with lower social statuses have dreams,

look, look, look!

 

Such a gentle world,

over the corpse of pretty girls

a dazzling sun ironically laughs,

we live in such days.

Such a gentle world,

words are heavier than you think

and those people climb the stairs of “joke→bullying→suicide”.

 

A rainbow colored poison,

a sweet lethal medicine,

the person shaking your hand laughing

might be a SERIAL KILLER

 

“If only I could let go of everything without thinking nothing at all”

“If only I could cut off everything without thinking nothing at all”

“If only I stopped feeling anything at all”

it would be much better.

 

Today too

the boy fallen in the school yard

doesn’t get any help and everyone say “I don’t know anything”

How great is the Japanese wisdom

of “covering up anything that stinks”.

In this country in which we celebrate “Kindness”

it’s fundamental not to meet eyes with death,

we hold back tears and laugh,

look, look, look!

 

Such a gentle world,

if you neglect your friends and love they’ll become rivals,

but they’ll lose to money, the other sex and cravings.

Such a gentle world,

the “hope” and “despair” you often find in some lyrics are just artificial,

sadness is what is captured in that single moment.

Such a sad world,

You came to a decision and say “I’ll just live for myself” to yourself,

you force yourself to be positive,

you say “tomorrow I’ll be able to laugh”,

you swear that in front of a mirror

but in the end it will fail.

 

Notes and Other

Great song by Shellmy, I’m actually impressed by the quality of the lyrics and the tone of the song: as soon as I listened to it I wanted to translate this song. A very sharp glance on modern Japanese society, with all its contradictions and problems.

 

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ポイドル (Poidol) – Aqua Blue Translation

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

 

Dammit! Even though I’m by your side

I can’t say “hold me tight, hold me tight!”.

This distance so short we can almost touch, is perhaps just a summer love story?

The fireworks blooming all of a sudden and then falling

colour completely your face’s profile.

 

At first glance I was stunned, at second glance I was already in love,

I’m engulfed by these emotions* almost as if they could quench these thirsty days.

 

People around me say that “I’m a woman who gets easily lost in fantasies”, but

my emotions exploded**, I’m drowning in sweetness and yearning, I’m expecting a lot from this summer.

 

Dammit! Even though I’m by your side

I can’t say “hold me tight, hold me tight!”.

We’ve become intimate so quickly, is this perhaps a summer dream?

You mixed into the big crowd of people

so I gently grasped your sleeve.

 

I changed my hairstyle, I looked up what you like,

uh? The only thing that matches me is “honesty”*

 

Summer technique number 2:

“Be more audacious than usual! Strike first and destroy!”

That’s so stupid, love is not about destroying.

 

Dammit! Even though I’m by your side

I can’t say “hold me tight, hold me tight!”.

My loneliness grows, I can’t sleep at night.

 

The pain sounding like an heartbeat

is the consequence of me loving you too much.

 

The fireworks sticks drip down,

they are so fleeting, so fleeting, don’t vanish!

This summer I chased, this love I grasped,

I’ll hold them, hold them tight and won’t let go.

 

Dammit! Even though I’m by your side,

come on! Hold me tight, hold me tight, please, quick!

In the distance in which we touch, the palpitation of my heart won’t stop,

The fireworks blooming all of a sudden and then falling

are in the pattern of an summer end and a love beginning.

 

Notes and Other

*=I’m not exactly sure about these sentences, but I think I kinda got the meaning anyway.

**= literally means “exploding” but it used to describe a shy or quiet person who suddenly changes personality: since it’s untranslatable, I tried to translate it in a similar fashion.

A song about summer love, very upbeat and catchy, reminds me a lot of Fest Vanquier songs. I still don’t get why choose this title which, to me, has not much to do with the content of the song. Perhaps, aqua blue is supposed to be the colour of the “honesty” and “purity” of the main character of the song. Still, very nice song.

 

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ザアザア (Xaa Xaa) – マザレナイ (Mazarenai) Translation

Kanji

Translation

Title: I can’t mix*

 

The emotions that appeared from somewhere were right there,

they slowly grew bigger and bigger, I pretend not to see them, I pretended I couldn’t see them.

 

I didn’t say that to anyone and it turned into a secret,

I convinced myself that it was definitely better that way.

 

Ah, if only I wasn’t myself, it would be much better.

 

I know it’s not going to become true, even so I want to stay by your side,

just forgive my glances at you.

 

Even though we are so close, if I touched you we would fall apart so,

so I

can’t mix*

 

It will be like this forever, I will be crying alone

and you will be innocently laughing.

 

I always knew, so at least the direction of my glances,

I won’t change it, even though I know.

 

Ah, breathing has become painful, I lost control.

 

I know it’s not going to become true, even so I want to stay by your side,

just forgive my glances at you.

 

If I just stay there without saying anything, I won’t be able to ever touch you,

I understand, I understand, but…

I don’t get it.

 

Even if I get closer, even if I touch you, even if I confess my feelings,

there’s no way, white is white, black is black.

 

My worn out feelings seem to be falling apart,

I come back home, today too I cry while hiding everything.

 

The emotions that appeared from somewhere are me.

 

I know it’s not going to become true, even so I want to stay by your side,

just forgive my glances at you.

 

Even though we are so close, if I touched you we would fall apart so,

so I…

 

I know we can’t mix*

so if we can’t mix* , I have had enough.

 

Farewell to this me, farewell to these days,

no matter what, the two of us

 

can’t mix*

 

Notes and Other

*=this word is often used in love to represent the image of two lovers becoming one thing. In the negative form is a really strong word and it’s even made stronger by the almost obsessive use of the katakana to write it, giving the sensation of something really “outside”, which doesn’t belong to the normal.

A very sad (in Xaa Xaa style) song about the impossibility of blending together with a partner which is just too different. It doesn’t matter the love, it doesn’t matter the distance, the two of them just can’t become one, like black and white.

 

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キズ (Kizu) – ステロイド (Steroid) Translation

Kanji

Translation

 

The pain* of living is right here

 

Since only love is the medicine to run away from loneliness

I’ll wait for the moment in which I will lose everything**

Cause serious side effects

 

It’s for sure some kind of illness so stay by my side!

Surely someone will be drawn away on the surface*** of addiction,

I will cut open that body****

 

Since we live a life in which we are loved and run away from loneliness

stop the overdose of warmth

Cause serious side effects

 

Surely that girl too is sick so I won’t let go of her hand

Surely someone will be drawn away on the surface*** of addiction,

I will cut open that body****

 

Bad for each other

Restrain my body

 

Since it’s some kind of illness I will end up making mistakes

without taking my eyes away from you.

 

It’s for sure some kind of illness so give me the medicine!

It’s for sure some kind of illness so stay by my side!

Ah…

 

Notes and Other

Words in Italic are in English in the original lyrics.

*= intended as physical pain

**= with the meaning of “coming to point having nothing more to lose”

***= the terms used here are suggesting the image of falling into a stream and floating on the water surface while being drawn away

****=could also mean “to make two lovers part from each other”

While the video may suggest otherwise, this is actually a love song, talking about love as some kind of painkillers against loneliness. Nothing much more to say about it since the song to me looks kinda straightforward, but perhaps, since I don’t know anything about the band I might be missing something.

 

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大知三浦 (Daichi Miura) – 球体 (Kyuutai): a brief review

First Impressions

I had never listened nor translated anything from Miura Daichi until this time so, before taking on the quest of translating the whole album, I asked to one of my Japanese acquaintance what kind of artist he was: her response was 静かになったブルーノ·マースみたい (“He’s kinda like a more quite version of Bruno Mars”). After listening and translating the album, I’d say that this only partially true, I was in fact actually pleased to discover how he used this “quietness” to describe themes which rarely are exalted in mainstream pop music and usually sound all a bit cliché.

 

A deeper analysis

 

Rather than explaining the content of the album song by song (which, by the way, I already did in the “Notes and Other” section of the translation of the tracks), I’ll divide my analysis in two parts: the first will look at the recurring images throughout the album and the links between the songs, the second will reflect deeper on the album as a whole starting from the theme suggested by the title.

If I had to assign a colour to the album based on the impression the atmosphere and the tone of the lyrics left me, I’d go for “azure”, sometimes even “transparent”. All the emotions in the songs are somehow filtered through a bit of a melancholic lens which anyway doesn’t dim too much the colour of the images. One of the main reason that gave me such an impression is that the most recurring elements are glass and water, the other reason is that the quietness found in many tracks of the album can be described as “transparent” in the meaning that it let the listeners see the objects in their true aspect, with no filter. The glass, especially the glass vase, represents the heart of the author, while water represents the drifting reality of our existence. The airship represents the dreams and hopes of the people and the moon is often the image which brings silence to the landscape, showing memories with no sound. One other interesting fact is that there are actually shifting lunar phases in the album following the order of the tracks: from first quarter to third quarter. Finally, speaking about shifting, time also shifts throughout the album: the first track begins when the sun rises, then gradually becomes noon, then night comes and finally the album ends just before dawn.

Finally, let’s talk about the concept of sphere. The sphere is the geometrical figure whose characteristic is to be homogenous in any of its parts and I would say that musically speaking that is also true for this album: of course every track has its particular tune, but they all similar musical basis. Moreover, it is impossible in a sphere to find a single point which is different from the others, and that goes the same in the album in the term of “beginning” and “end”: the album flows and the lyrics can be read in both ways because beginning and end are tied together. In some way, it feels like the author is almost trapped in this sphere, almost as if what he sang wasn’t just lyrics but more of a law of existence: and perhaps this may be the case, since the Earth we walk on, in which we are trapped on, has a shape similar to the one of the sphere. In greek philosophy the sphere is the geometrical figure of perfection (according to Plato) but I don’t think Miura Daichi went for that: it’s more a discourse on destiny og human kind rather perfection.

 

Final Vote

 

This is not quite my genre and I started translating this album mainly for fun. After having gone through the whole album (both music and lyrics) I cannot say this made me a fan, but still I was pleasantly surprised: if you are already into pop music and are searching for something more profound than the average hit, this album is a must. This works too for people interested in finding in a more intimate sound which is kinda difficult to find without going into the indie part of the music industry. Generally speaking, I would recommend it: it was a nice trip.

 

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Links to the Songs and Translations

序詞 (Joshi)

円環 (Enkan)

硝子壜 (Garasubin)

淡水魚 (Tansuigyou)

テレパシー (Telepathy)

飛行船 (Hikousen)

対岸の掟 (Taigan no Okite)

胞子 (Houshi)

誘蛾灯 (Yuugatou)

綴化 (Tekka)

クレーター (Crater)

世界 (Sekai)

朝が来るのではなく、夜が明けるだけ (Asa ga Kuru no dewa naku, Yoru ga Akeru dake)

R指定 (R-Shitei) – 予言 (Yogen) Translation

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

Title: Prophecy

 

Since ancient times we intensely consulted the oracles,

now the celebration of immorality has shed blood on us.

We have been used like toys by a messiah of false images

and in the end our civilization approaches to an end.

 

That death has cut off many beautiful lives,

a catastrophe that our predecessor brought upon us.

Without destroying sins, we killed the gods

and now growls echoes around, our world is cracking,

destruction and creation repeat their circle once again.

 

A scenario just as the prophecy described, I won’t let you obstacle it,

the cog-wheel of our torment cannot be stopped.

A merry-go-round suspended in mid-air,

now, begins the era of perfection!

 

Since ancient times we intensely consulted the oracles,

now the celebration of immorality has shed blood on us.

We have been used like toys by a messiah of false images

and in the end our civilization approaches to an end.

 

Sooner or later, the Third World War will start

and the human specie will draw near to the risk of extinction.

Sooner or later, the Third World War will start

and the human specie will draw near to the risk of extinction.

A death parade of baptism…

 

Suicide prediction

Suicide annihilation

 

That death has cut off many beautiful lives,

a catastrophe that our predecessor brought upon us.

Without destroying sins, we killed the gods

and now growls echoes around, our world is cracking,

theorists say destruction and creation repeat their circle once again.

 

A conclusion according to your hopes, that’s so ridicule,

we are going towards the conclusion written as in the remaining scripts of the prophecy.

A merry-go-round suspended in mid-air,

now, begins the last finale!

 

Notes and Other

I really wanted to translate this song before but I couldn’t find the kanji lyrics until some days ago. The song is the opening for their last album 死海文書 (Shikaimonjo, “Dead Sea Scrolls”) and links well to the apparent theme of the album even though I still haven’t looked deep into the lyrics.

 

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大知三浦 (Daichi Miura) – 朝が来るのではなく、夜が明けるだけ (Asa ga Kuru no dewa naku, Yoru ga Akeru dake) Translation

Link to Video

Kanji

Translation

Title: It’s not the morning that comes, it’s just the night that become bright

 

There is no one

just before the dawn

 

The shadow of silence

chases the moon

 

From a small window

drips down a light

 

You are the only thing

coming to my mind

 

The day passes on

 

Following the street lights of the alleys,

the fragrance of the flower whose name I don’t know

 

A distress signal

switches on and off

 

The sound of the train

that departs in the past

 

If

this life

was just a rehearsal

next time it’ll be better

 

It’s not the morning that comes, it’s just the night that become bright

It’s not that I’m here, it’s just that you are not

 

It’s not the morning that comes, it’s just the night that become bright

It’s not that I’m here, it’s just that you are not

 

Notes and Other

The last lyrics of the album describing the scenario of the city just before dawn. The love of the previous song has vanished, perhaps it was just an illusion or a memory, now only silence remain, letting the mind of the author run free towards all the sensation he feels: darkness, silence, a small light from a window, a memory of the past, an unknown fragrance, the sound of a train… He realizes that every day will always be the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it’s like a constant rehearsal of our life, a slow training to become a better and happier person. And maybe it is tiring because the person we love is not our side, but it is not tiring just because we exist: tomorrow will be the same, but maybe tomorrow’s darkness and night might be brighter, and tomorrow the person we love might be with us, so might as well go on our journey.

 

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