|By Geoffk on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 06:47 am: Edit|
Ox tail soup (Kkori-Kom-tang) is great and it's not so hard to make either. What's "dae ji gwee"? That's one I don't recognize.
-- Geoff K.
|By Riku964 on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 06:26 am: Edit|
Hmm, both the fishy taste of Nuc Mam and the tripe-ly chunkiness of Menudo repulsed me as a wee lad. Both remind me of my relatives, but alas, neither one seems fit for consumption.
Oddly enough, there used to be a deli across from Community High School in Ann Arbor (Head! Michigan reference!) that served cheap korean food. I think Bulgogi was a lunchtime staple for a lot of kids as a result. Damn I miss that place!
Of course, I can console myself here with an excellent ox tail soup, so life is not all that bad. Yum!
|By Don_Walsh on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 01:48 pm: Edit|
Nuoq mam, made from salt water anchovies fermented, always reminds me of Vietnamese girls.
Nam pla, same thing, but fresh water anchovies the way the Thais do it, is a lot milder.
I like them both.
And I like kimchee too, but only once ina while, with bulgogi or dae ji gwee amd lettuce leaves and OB beer and a Korean girlfrield.
|By Riku964 on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 11:45 am: Edit|
Aha! Secondary effects is it? That would fully explain my lack of Soju tolerance. Lovely how alcohol content plays a minor role in the effects of some drinks!
My aversion to kimchee is also due to its "secondary effects'(those being bad breath like you'd been french-kissing a putrid corpse. Not that I would know from experience...um, about the corpse, that is.) Nuc Mam also repulses me, but I think that is a sign of good taste.
|By Don_Walsh on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 11:35 am: Edit|
It's the congeners in the soju, that fuck you up. There's not enough real ethanol in there to accomplish the result. "Secondary effects" of fusel oils!
As to kimchee and gyoza, well, you have to eat them in self defense when in Korea or around Koreans. I used to pop cloves of garlic at lunch with the Daewoo Precision (M16 factory) corporate mafia in Seoul and even they thought I was over the top.
|By Riku964 on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 08:46 am: Edit|
I was never in the army either, but many years of professional drinking left me well prepared for such things...or so I thought. Soju is stunningly powerful stuff. I used to drink 2-3 pints of Bombay Sapphire a night, 6 nights a week, for nearly a year, and that rarely equalled the mind numbing stupor I achieved with those tasty Soju drinks. (If I had eaten kimchee too, I think I would have not made it)
Now I stick to the milder stuff, like big bottles of Yebisu beer and the occasion Chu Hai (mmm, lemony!), and of course lots of sake. That reminds me...
I attended a Sake tasting a while back at the Japan Society...16 fine companies represented by 3 types of sake each...one domesticly available sake, one Japan only sake, and in some cases, one sake that is NOT available to the public anywhere. Tried all 48 of them, with a short break midway when I was starting to fall over, and then we went back for seconds. By the end of the night I had made a new friend, a fellow from Hawaii who ran a sake tasting club. The wife and I got a standing invite to come and drink with them. Woohoo! It is all in the pacing...and of course, knowing you may never taste that drink again in your lifetime is also inspiring!!!
|By Geoffk on Friday, September 07, 2001 - 03:04 am: Edit|
The brand with the toad is Jinro. It's actually quite famous and you're right--it's very tasty, but lethal in quantity. The Korean dumplings are called "manju" (or "gyoza" in Japanese) and you're right about those too--they're delicious too, although the garlic in them will scare anybody away the next day (especially if you've been eating kimchee along with them). I'm pretty impressed that you got three of those bottles down. One will get me pretty hammered and two is about my limit. Of course, I was never in the army, so maybe that's it...
-- Geoff K.
|By Riku964 on Thursday, September 06, 2001 - 12:14 pm: Edit|
I must jump in with a tale of Soju and Michigan...
Our ol' pal Luther had just returned from a hardship tour in Korea. The experience had changed him a bit. Now he was semi fluent in Korean. Also, he was full of fine tales of camp followers, swapping MREs for homecooked meals, and of course, many horror stories of Soju.
Seems that often frail old men would get tanked up on the stuff, then, whilst feeling fully invulnerable, they would attack Luther (and other servicemen less inclined to buy them another drink), walk in front of busses, wreck mopeds, and otherwise seriously injure themselves. This of course sounded delightful to us, so we decided to try some!
Idiots that we were, this led to a long search for tasty Korean dumplings and Soju. Finally a Korean market turned up the dumplings, after some extended flirting in Korean with the older woman who ran the shop. Seems Luther was stationed near where she used to live, so they had a lot to chat about. The Soju proved more difficult, but a small liqour store near a Kroger's had a DUSTY shelf with several bottles of the stuff. We bought the lot, which worked out to 3 bottles each.
Back home, tasty dumplings were cooked, tales were told, and drinks were mixed. Seems Luther was fond of a local cocktail that consisted of milk, fruit juice, and lotsa cold Soju. Weird, but it turned out to be extremely tasty. Almost too tasty. That stuff was evil! From the happy looking toad on the bottle to the mind numbing delusional feelings of indestructable power, Soju was dangerous stuff! I can still see that damned toad staring up at me as I cracked open my second bottle. Evil!
I often wonder why they had a toad on the label instead of a sweet potato...I suspect toad is a secret flavouring ingredient.
Anyways, 2 bottles of Soju is more than enough to take me out, so I had to wait a bit (until I regained consciousness) to have that third one. Yum!
|By Petermarc on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 10:03 am: Edit|
absente is green in france...oxygénée is not apporved for sale in switzerland because of food-coloring regulations...
|By Heiko on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:53 am: Edit|
btw. I thought Absente was yellow as well - maybe I'm a little green-blind ;-)
|By Heiko on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:52 am: Edit|
"If it is YELLOW it is PASTIS make no mistake."
Why? If it's artificially colored anyways, it can as well be red.
Segarra is yellow, Montana, Herring, Lasala, all yellow in my opinion. And if these are good or not, they're not pastis.
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:34 am: Edit|
In hindsight, it might be more yellow than green. While it tastes something like MM, MM does have a bitter aftertaste that Hermes lacks, so I'm pretty sure that 1. It's start anise and 2. there's no wormwood. However, it's not a bad drink. It's better than regular Pernod anyway.
-- Geoff K.
|By Chevalier on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:31 am: Edit|
Appears to be yellow. Is it?
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:24 am: Edit|
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:23 am: Edit|
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:20 am: Edit|
Here are some pictures from http://www14.u-page.so-net.ne.jp/sk9/kei121/abus.htm
It's more yellow than green. The taste is similar to MM, but less strong, so it's probably star anise. This is grown in Japan, so that makes sense. Finally, that's the label. It hasn't changed in a while, and I translated evrything there.
-- Geoff K.
|By Chevalier on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:19 am: Edit|
So, "abusan" is Japanese for "absinthe".
Well, "abusan" is Spanish for "(they) abuse".
After tasting Hermes, Geoff, do you think that Suntory abusan abusan?
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:18 am: Edit|
c:\my documents\my pictures
|By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 09:01 am: Edit|
G., there was an earlier version of the Japanese back label that reportedly indicated that A.absithium or wormwood was a 'poison' and not included. Generally Japan follows US FDA guidelines.
Can you distinguish between anise and star anise?
The former is not native to East Asia, the latter is. P.anisum does not taste of black jellybean, I.verum does. Which seems to you to be the backbone of Hermes?
There is an old crossborder dispute between pontarlier and the val de travers as to whether or not I.verum was healthy. Star anise is cheaper as it yields more oil. P.anisum is a Euro agro product. I think this is at the heart of the controversy.
Mari Mayans is a good example of a star anise oil based product, as is Herbsaint (which I like better being from NOLA). Does Hermes taste like these?
If it is subtler, then it is better, and I sincerely hope that those pontarlier based experts revise their opinions...
YELLOW from SAFFLOWER?
I thought Hermes was GREEN.
If it is YELLOW it is PASTIS make no mistake.
|By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 08:49 am: Edit|
If I remember correctly, shochu is a byproduct of sake making in same way that grappa/marc is a byproduct of wine making. The leftovers are distilled, with the obvious result of high fusels, etc. The difference is the Euro stuff is grape based, the Asian stuff is starch based, and that means alpha-amylase heaven. It's not an accident that the main fusels are amyl alcohols and the enzyme is alpha-amylase.
As an aside, the Japanese (Suntory) have teamed with Boonrawd (Thailand) to try to break into the Thai distillery business. NOT that they really care about the Thai market (but of course it would be a lucrative sideline) but because they, Suntory, buy their glutinous rice here, and they face not only shipping costs but the terrible emnity of the Japanese ricefarmers, who constitute the historical backbone of the power of the LDP (Liberal Democrats Party). Suntory reasons that if they can make their whiskeys in Thailand they will face lower duties and less political hassles than they now face by importing Thai glutinous rice to ferment into their products!
The Thai monolithic liquor industry has so far stifled their plans but time is on Suntory's side.
|By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 08:37 am: Edit|
I wrote a long post about Korea/Japan but the system barfed on it. So I gave up.
The Japanese contempt for all thinks Korean is one of their peculiar blindnesses, given that, without a doubt, the Yamato plains were settled by, and the Ainu driven northward by, migrants from the Korean peninsula. The tomb records of various Nara tumuli confirm this but have been suppressed. The connection between some of the Imperial regalia and artifacts in the Korean national museum at Kwangju, are unmistakeable. The DNA evidence reflects about a 60% genetic commonality. Sadly, like the Irish and the Scots, a common heritage only seems to breed mutual contempt.
(A Korean bar girl once told me, "America drop (atomic) bomb on the 'irubon' (rude Korean slang for the Japanese), all Hangul (Korean) people say YEA!" I thought that was a bit harsh, considering I'd just come from the Heian-kane in Hiroshima, and the museum, and walked in tears along the canal where burning humanity had flung itself en masse into the water, all in vain. But I also choked up when in Kwangju's old temple complex I read that the place had been razed to the ground by Hideyoshi in 1596. I guess I'm a sentimental old fool when it comes to wars not mine own.)
Anyway I have a love-hate relationship with Japan. Just like America does, only more personal.
|By Artemis on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 08:34 am: Edit|
Ah, I was responding to Don's post about shochu being full of fusels; I didn't see Geoff had already addressed Awamori. Most impressive.
|By Artemis on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 08:30 am: Edit|
I've had some bad headaches from Sake, but if memory serves me right, on Okinawa there was some evil distilled liquor called Old Awamori. I don't know what it was, but it should translate as "Ax in the Brain Pan". God, was that stuff nasty. It stank, too. But GIs in search of a thrill will indulge in at least some cultural exchange.
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 06:56 am: Edit|
Ok, I just picked up some more Hermes absinthe, so here is the complete label, front and back:
Ideal with water and in cocktails
58% Special Quality
Produced and bottled by Suntory Limited
Product of Japan
Back Side (translation from Japanese)
Hermes abusan (absinthe)
1/3 Dry Gin
1/3 Dry Vermouth
1/3 Hermes Absinthe
1 Tsp. Hermes White Peppermint liqueur (Creme d'Menthe)
Shake together. Pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with a red cherry
Vodka 60 ml
Dash of absinthe
Pour Vodka over ice. Slowly pour over absinth for color.
Hermes Absinth 45 ml
Grenadine syrup 15 ml
Soda splash/to taste
Pour grenadine and ansinthe over ice in a tumbler. Slowly add splash of soda.
In Hermes absinthe, anise (an herb) is used. It's a sweet and bitter mixture, and a mysterious liqueur. The green liquid changes to milk white when water is added. Please try it straight, on the rocks or with water.
Vol. 720 ml, Alcohol 58%, Extracts 2%
flavorings. Yellow color from Safflowers.
Made by Suntory Corporation, Osaka Japan
For customer information, please call (03) 3470-1132 (Tokyo) or (06)346-1143 (Osaka).
Underage drinking is prohibited.
[end of label]------------------------------------
Note that wormwood in Japanese is "nigayomogi". That word doesn't appear anywhere on the label.
-- Geoff K.
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 06:53 am: Edit|
You're right about sochu being a bit declasse, at least historically. It's a relic of the Japanese prejudice against all things Korean. When socho started to become popular, they first called it "White liquor" to avoid the Korean connection. Of course, this didn't stick--especially since the best versions came from Korea!
-- Geoff K.
|By Petermarc on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 06:00 am: Edit|
also at the pontarlier museum...plus an antique dealer in pontarlier told me secretly that he thought hermes was very close to original absinthe...nudge nudge wink wink...going on info from this forum, i highly doubt it...
|By Heiko on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 05:27 am: Edit|
"They drink lager beer out of liter size glasses in summer."
So the Japanese seem to be the only people in the world who adopted the Octoberfest way to drink beer: out of liter-mugs.
btw. the Hermes absinthe is the only bottle of modern absinthe that found its way to the absinthe museum in Boveresse (not in B., but I forgot the name of the nearby village). Not bad ;-)
|By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 05:00 am: Edit|
There's a general association in the minds of my generation between shochu and various sorts of Japanese lowlife (from the Japanese point of view): the burakumin, the yakuza, (resident but perpetually outcast) Koreans, day-laborers of the sort with wide belly-bands and soft leather shoes with a seperate big toe. All the sorts that the Japanese would like to forget exist.
(I used to be married to a Japanese woman. Eventually I took refuge in old Siam.)
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 01:30 am: Edit|
This place sells Hermes absinthe on line. Unfortunately, it looks like they don't ship outside of Japan. I'll try to confirm that. Anyway, it's cheap - 1480 Yen for 720 ml (that's about $12).
Here's the URL
By the way, they also sell the Hermes Violet liqueur for the same price. That's here:
-- Geoff K.
|By Geoffk on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 12:09 am: Edit|
The good tasting soju/sochu is the stuff you described. It's invariably imported from Korea, usually in 400 ml bottles that look like beer bottles. This kind is good just drunk straight over ice. There are also some good-tasting Japanese sochus that are brewed from malt or barley and aged in oak casks (but they give you a wicked hangover).
Unfortuately, in Japan, sochu has been corrupted to mean "any half-strength vodka spirit". Enormous two liter bottles of industrial-tasting 25% grain alcohol are regularly sold and drunk here as "sochu". If that's the first thing you try, you'll be disappointed.
Finally, some US servicemen might have had "awamori". That's a distilled spirit that's native to Okinawa (southern Japan). It's brewed from millet and it's about 40%. It tastes mostly like vodka/sochu also, but is supposedly good with barbequed pork.
-- Geoff K.
|By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 12:00 am: Edit|
By the way, shochu is called soju in Korea, but it's the same stuff. Normally, it's fermented from rice, particularly glutinous rice, like sake, by a cold koji method involving Aspergillis niger. The starches, whether from rice or potatos, have to be broken down to glucose to ferment. Alcohol made by this sort of method and from these feedstocks is characteristically sweet.
Shochu is cheap, full of fusels, and gives you a nasty hangover. A lot of old US military tall tales about sake are really about encounters with shochu.
(The glutinous rice comes from Thailand.)
|By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 11:55 pm: Edit|
Thanks anyway, Geoff, that's interesting.
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 11:29 pm: Edit|
The people here are HUGE drinkers. They drink lager beer out of liter size glasses in summer. The other popular drinks are whiskey, sake (called "nihon-shu")--usually cold, but sometimes hot in winter, and shochu. You may not recognize the last one. It's a Korean distilled spirit, usually 20% or 25% and made from potatoes or grain. It's basically half-strength vodka, although the good brands have a nice sweet taste to them. It's drunk either with water ("mizu-wari"), with water and a pickled plum ("ume-toshi"), with cold oolong tea ("ooron-hai") or, most commonly, with lemon juice and soda. This is called "chu-hai" or "lemon sour" (you can also make a grapefruit sour, plum sour etc.)
Whiskey is usually just drunk with ice and water or sometimes soda.
I would say that Japanese drink more than most Americans, and probably a bit less than the Irish or Koreans. Maybe on a par with the English. They definitely know how to drink though...
I don't think that the Hermes label mentions wormwood specifically, but having tasted a couple of the Spanish brands now, I would say that Hermes is a simpler, more Anise-tasting drink. More than anything else, Hermes reminds me of (new) Pernod, but at a slightly higher proof and with an even more intensely Anise taste. Frankly, I'm not surprised that it isn't popular--it's a very intense, but one-sided drink.
Thanks for writing!
-- Geoff K.
|By Perruche_Verte on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 10:40 pm: Edit|
Thanks for all your information Geoff!
I'd be interested to know how the flavor of Hermes compares up to the better Spanish brands, so please give us a full review when your shipment arrives and you've had time for a tasting.
Is there any information on the current Hermes label indicating there's no A. absinthium in it?
I've read here that the labels say as much, and describe it as a "poison"!
So the Japanese don't like anise -- how about other drinks? Do people there drink very much? Compared, say to Russians, Irish, Scots, Australians, Germans, French, English, Americans, Chinese, Turks, Iranians? (I think I've got those more or less in the correct order from most to least; someone please let me know if my national stereotypes aren't accurate...)
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:27 pm: Edit|
Just as an addenda to this thread (if anyone is still reading it...) I have to mention another story that I've read. Most of you have probably read the nonsense over at Erowid (http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/absinthe). If you haven't, pop right over there--it's the biggest hoot you'll get all day. You won't know whether to laugh or cry. One ""experience" really stood out for me though. Like this thread, it's titled "Absinthe in Japan". The whole painful story is at http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php3?ID=1036
Now this guy is drinking 116 proof "absinthe" in Japan, so I'm 100% sure that it's Hermes pastis, i.e. nothing psychogenic except alcohol and anise. He's downing it in shots, literally walking into walls blind drunk and pawing away at poor, disgusted Japanese girls. His poor friend has to intervene, take away this head case's drinks and put him to bed. When he wakes up, he eats a pen (really, I'm not making this up!) I wish I could capture the truly incoherent, James Joyce quality of his original prose.
There really aren't that many Americans in Japan, and fewer still with an interest in absinthe. I'm really delighted to be lumped together with THIS particular cultural ambassador...
-- Geoff K.
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:09 pm: Edit|
I don't remember exactly. I guess it was about $70, since the total for the order was about $175. SC's web page totals everything with postage automatically, and I only noted down the total amount.
Of course, what they charged me for shipping may not be exactly what THEY paid. SC charges the same amount to ship anywhere in Asia or Australia.
-- Geoff K.
|By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 11:33 am: Edit|
Surely, though, you know what SC charged YOU for the shipping of 5 bottles to Japan?
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:34 am: Edit|
Good guess! It was exactly 7.7 kilos (in two packages). Unfortunately, SC is metered with Fed Ex, so they didn't print the actual postage cost on the package.
I would also imagine it would be very expensive. Hopefully, they get some kind of bulk rate.
-- Geoff K.
|By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:23 am: Edit|
As you probably know it's discouraged here to mention just how shippers manage tricks like that. So I'm glad you didn't. I am curious, though, just how much Fed Ex was to carry what had to be about 12-14 lbs of glass and liquid from Spain to Tokyo.
375 Yen duty is nothing, that's what, $3? Cheap duty, considering the usual Japanese penchant for protecting local industry. Of course, excise tax would be seperate and that's where they'd getcha if they knew what was in there.
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:14 am: Edit|
On my last shipment, SC sent 5 bottles (4.4 liters) by Fed Ex (I specified airmail, but they used Fed Ex anyway). For whatever reason, nobody picked up on the fact that liquor was involved, and there was no duty whatsoever.
This page from the Japanese government explains the official duties:
Normally visitors are allowed 3 750ml bottles. An excess over this is charged at 375 Yen per 750 ml bottle.
I'm looking forward to ordering from you (when it's possible). I'm already on your mailing list for the big announcement.
-- Geoff K.
|By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:07 am: Edit|
You will be well positioned when we start shipping. Postage to Japan will be a lot less than to USA. Just a matter of distance. For the same reason, SC probably costs you more than it would to USA. That ought to level things out a bit.
How much duty are the Japanese Customs hitting you for?
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 06:33 am: Edit|
Now that I found SC, I'm in fine shape. There's no problems with customs either. My only point is that it isn't sold locally, only over the internet.
-- Geoff K.
|By Heiko on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 05:41 am: Edit|
Your supply doesn't seem to be bad - if you can easily get Ricard and SC will ship to Japan, what else do you need?
|By Geoffk on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 03:53 am: Edit|
I've never seen a Suntory-only shop, but I'm sure that you're right--a department store or even a regular liquor store here could probably special order either the "absinthe" or the Violet without any trouble. I was simply referring to the times you see it on a shelf.
As for real absinthe, you're on your own here. Nobody stocks it and I doubt that there are local distributors either.
-- Geoff K.
|By Don_Walsh on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 03:30 am: Edit|
Suntory have their own shops, can't you order the Hermes Absinthe at one of these, even though they don't (likely) carry it in stock?
Also Suntory has counters in all the major department stores, likewise amenable to special orders of the more obscure Suntory products.
But personally, since it is pretty well established that Suntory Hermes was made following basically American FDA rules, it can't be absinthe, and your comment re the taste supports this. Therefore I have lost any particular interest in obtaining a bottle.
Ted has some, and will doubtless include it in his studies.
|By Head_Prosthesis on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 09:16 pm: Edit|
Oh!!! You gotta love the color of Serpis.
It's "Iodine for your Intestines".
Geoff, do you ever see a Violet Coridial over there in Japan? Creme Yvette? Missthing was looking for it and it peaked my interest also.
Checking other thread right now...
|By Geoffk on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 08:40 pm: Edit|
Hello everybody! I've been lurking for a bit, so, now that I have an account, it will be nice to chat with you. I'm an American, living in Japan (Tokyo), so, just in case anyone is interested, I thought I'd open with the status of absinthe out here.
Basically, anis drinks are not at all popular in Japan and absinthe is almost totally unknown. It's legal--everyone will ship here, but no brands are available at retail--even in very large shops. There are a few brands of pastis available: Pernod and Ricard are easy to get (usually for about 3000 yen--about $24). I know one shop that also sells Bourdoun for the same price (National Azabu market in Hiroo--you can also get Chartreuse and Jaegermeister there).
The Hermes "absinthe" pastis is hard to find, even though it's made here. It's just not very popular. If you do locate it, it's a good deal, since it's 58 degrees, very herbal and only about 1500 Yen ($12). Because of all the anise, it louches beautifully, but it lacks the bitter edge that I would expect from absinthe. Nice green color too...
By the way, Hermes is Suntory's brand name for all of their liquers. They do make a violet one, which is in the same kind of bottle as the "absinthe". It's even less popular than the "absinthe" though, and very hard to find.
I've got a bunch of Spanish stuff on order from SC, who also ship here (no Serpis though--the cough syrup color put me off). I'm looking forward to trying it out and seeing how it compares to the descriptions.
If anyone has any Japan-related questions, please ask away!
Nice to meet you all!
-- Geoff K.
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