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mnemosyne23 comments

Posted in: Traditional approaches to Japanese language learning are changing See in context

ThonTaddeo: Amen!

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Posted in: Corporate 'blacklist' circulating among new graduates See in context

PS - Good GOD, I talk too much.

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Posted in: Corporate 'blacklist' circulating among new graduates See in context

While I understand the benefits of this kind of "black list," I also worry about the effect of this united boycott. I have no sympathy for companies that treat their employees like inhuman, mechanical cogs in a wheel that are expected to do as they're told without argument. I think such institutions should be forced to reform through the pressure of market forces; namely, if word gets around that a company is particularly awful to its employees, the buying public avoids that brand. I also support sanctions and oversight by the Labor bureau of organizations that receive a significant number of employee-related complaints, INCLUDING complaints from foreign laborers who come to Japan from China and other countries and get treated like little more than slaves before being shipped back home.

My worry, however, involves those employees who DO work at these companies. The way I see it, if this list is easily accessible and used frequently by job seekers, then the majority of people who will apply for work in these companies are:

A) Desperate people who will force themselves to endure any mistreatment without complaint so long as they have a paycheck and can pay their bills and support their family; and

B) Jerks and talentless hacks who really don't care about working conditions and quickly rise through the ranks to middle management, where they can wield their creepy kind of perverse power over all the poor sods still slogging away in the trenches.

Boycotting employment at these businesses isn't going to solve the problem; it may even make it worse, at least in the short term. These companies have already proven that they care very little for their workers, so what do they care if a bunch of new graduates choose NOT to apply to their company? That just means that the people who ARE applying are less likely to be the ones that are going to complain about poor treatment and Draconian punishment.

For real workplace reform to take place, there needs to be a unified front comprised of labor and consumer advocates pushing for improved work environments. If employees feel that they are vital, appreciated members of the company, they will be more invested in the work they do and will strive to create a quality output, because they know that the company's reputation is in part a reflection of their work on an individual level. If, on the other hand, employees are treated like machines, punished for not being perfect every second of the day and given little in the way of positive reinforcement, they not only won't care about the reputation of their company, but they may actively try to sabotage that reputation. That doesn't mean they'll start spreading rumors about satanic rituals in the boardroom, or deliberately breaking parts on the assembly line, but maybe they'll choose not to fasten a bolt as tight as it should be; or maybe they'll be a little too brusque with a customer on the phone; or maybe they'll take a long lunch one too many times. There are lots of little ways for employees to make their displeasure felt, and the cumulative effect of all those minor malices can have a powerful impact on the business in question. Think of it as civil disobedience for the private sector.

A healthy work environment leads to healthier, happier workers, which in turn leads to improved quality in the products or services provided. This is not rocket science, yet it's a trap that many companies fall into by subscribing to the school of thought that "every minute spent not working is another penny/yen/euro down the drain." That's not true, and this black list is just one example of the effects of that corporate mentality.

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Posted in: Woman fired, another quits as abuse at nursery school surfaces See in context

I agree that sometimes minor corporal punishment is needed to tell a child that what he or she has done is wrong, but nobody -- child or otherwise -- should be subjected to such unnecessary treatment. What possible reason could these women have had for taping the little boy's mouth shut? Did he talk too much? Was he crying and screaming and wouldn't be calmed? Did he steal someone else's lunch? None of those transgressions would warrant such a punishment. Do you hogtie the child who won't sit down and keeps running around the classroom? Children can be little hellions, and parents have the responsibility to teach them proper behavior so that caregivers only have to reinforce those teachings. But in a situation where a child simply will not settle down or cooperate there is STILL no justification for such humiliating treatment as having your mouth taped shut or being taken into a separate room and smacked. A little swat on the bottom or a quick slap of the hand followed by a clear announcement of what the child did wrong -- "That wasn't nice, Sosuke. Pulling hair is bad and a mean thing to do. Now apologize." -- works much better than dragging the child out of the room and spanking them. If a child is consistently disruptive, you have to talk to the parents and inform them that the behavior is unacceptable and detrimental to the other children. Get the PTA involved; not necessarily in an antagonistic way, but just so they know the situation. It's as much about covering your butt as it is about making the nursery school environment a healthy one.

I don't know enough about the lipstick incident to debate the classification of it as abuse or not. it certainly wasn't a very SMART thing to do, but maybe the kids had seen other children getting their faces painted at a local festival and wanted to have their own faces painted, too. Who knows? I'd need more details.

People tend to forget the difference between "discipline" and "abuse." Discipline is intended to teach children the difference between right and wrong and should only be used in conjunction with regular praise and acknowledgment of a child's accomplishments. It should be applied uniformly, never capriciously, and should never exceed the severity of the trangression. You don't send a guy to prison because he stole some bubblegum and you don't spank a child for not eating his vegetables. To use a common idiom, the punishment fits the crime.

Abuse is the selfish projection of an person's internal angst and narcissism onto an innocent party, and is utterly inexcusable. Often it's a way for a person who feels powerless and unimportant to exercise control over people they see as weaker than themselves: young children, the elderly, the physically or mentally challenged, etc. Taken to the extreme it goes from being merely reprehensible to being truly sadistic. Witness the case reported here in JT just today about the woman who starved her five-year-old son because he looked like her husband, while the husband in question did nothing to protect the child. Why subject your own flesh and blood to such treatment? Pettiness, selfishness, arrogance, entitlement, cowardice, and every other negative character trait known to man.

Hopefully these women will learn their lesson and reform. All too often, unfortunately, the abusers are allowed to go right back to their abusive ways, this time with even more anger and resentment after being caught. I hope that won't happen here.

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Posted in: Over-enthusiastic train buffs continue to be a problem See in context

I believe a "head mark" is the round identifier on the very front of a train. At least, according to the examples I've found on Wikimedia Commons, that appears to be what it is. My question then becomes, why is it such a rarity that this train runs with its head mark? Was that lost in the translation somewher?

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Posted in: Over-enthusiastic train buffs continue to be a problem See in context

I know that trains are obviously a big part of Japan's transportation system, but I honestly don't get the mania surrounding them. I know that lots of people have obsessions, from Beanie Baby toys to beer cans, but Japan seems to have a monopoly on suicidally obsessed train fanatics. In the US we have trains -- not to the extent of Japan, perhaps, but there are nonetheless many train lines that criss-cross the country -- yet I never hear of this kind of otaku behavior towards trains anywhere in the States. There are PLENTY of train buffs -- I've known one or two -- and you can find a locomotive museum in just about every state, but this kind of mania is mind-boggling to me. I'm sure someone could write a very interesting doctoral thesis on the Japanese obsession with trains compared to other countries with commuter railways. I'd love to read that, actually.

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Posted in: False emergency calls continue to come in to police and fire departments See in context

A lot of this stems from a lack of understanding of what counts as an emergency. As the article states, there's a growing awareness of citizens' rights, but there's likewise a growing disregard of citizen RESPONSIBILITIES. It's an individual's responsibility to understand that a bug, a snake, or a sprained ankle do not require a first responder's attention. Call an exterminator, an animal control officer, or a friend or family member. Respect for the individual is not the same as narcisissm.

A lot of this could be helped by educating people about what OTHER numbers they can call for lesser problems that don't constitute an imminent threat to life and property. Are your neighbors throwing a raucous party and it's two in the morning? Call the police to register a complaint. Are your neighbors in their front yard and one of them's waving a knife around, threatening to kill the other? Call the emergency number. The former is a nuisance but not an emergency. The latter is a clear threat to someone's health and safety. A lot of people dial the emergency line because it's easy to remember and they know someone is going to pick-up the phone. That kind of thinking has to stop.

It would be nice if it was de rigeur that when someone moves into a new home or apartment, he or she is provided with a flyer or a laminated sheet that lists numbers and addresses for police, fire, animal control, poison control, government offices, taxi companies, nearby hospitals and bus or subway terminals. There will still be abuse of the emergency number because there are stupid people born every minute, but that abuse could be reduced by just reminding people about the other options available to them.

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Posted in: Toyota chief's U.S. testimony closely watched in Japan See in context

I really find this whole situation ridiculous. As an American I am EMBARRASSED by the actions of my government, calling Toyoda up on the carpet as if he were a naughty child. Given the American government's majority stake in car companies GM and Chrysler, the conflict of interest is so blatant that it would be laughable if it weren't so d*mn INFURIATING.

I am not trying to pardon Toyota for its actions, because I do think the company was slow to respond to complaints, when a quicker response may have saved lives and property. But for heaven's sake, before we start excoriating the company as a money-hungry hog with no regard for the safety of its customers, let's actually find out THE REASONS these things are happening. This isn't just putting the cart before the horse; this is putting the cart before the invention of the WHEEL.

In the end, this shouldn't be a government issue anyway. Let the market decide. If people don't trust Toyota's cars, they won't buy them. They'll buy another brand, or they'll hold off buying a new car entirely until they find one that suits their needs. Calling together Congressional committees to chastise the CEO of a company based in an entirely different COUNTRY is not only a huge waste of time and money, but a completely unwarranted misuse of power on the part of Congress. It disgusts me.

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Posted in: Lysacek won the Olympic gold; Plushenko won the argument See in context

Figure skating is exactly what it sounds like: skating figures. If it were all about jumps, it would be called jump skating, or technical skating. In my opinion, the quad is RUINING men's figure skating. Branded (above) puts the completion potential at 50-50, but I think it's even lower than that. Figure skating is about more than landing difficult jumps. It's about the rhythm and fluidity of the entire performance. If it were just about jumps and spins then they wouldn't bother with choreography, music and elaborate costumes. It would be like Lysacek says: the athletes would get a limited amount of time to display their most difficult skills, rather like the vault in gymnastics.

Plushenko is a sore loser blowing smoke. He acts like he got no credit for landing the quad when the exact opposite is true: he received 14.6 points for that combination. Compare that to Takahashi who fell on his quad and only received one point. Plushenko acts like being able to land a quad should guarantee him the gold medal, despite the fact that the rest of his program was sloppy and lacked the grace and artistry that has always defined figure skating. It's like a college student complaining to their professor that, "I should have gotten an A on this paper because I TRIED really HARD!" while ignoring the fact that the paper is a mess of grammatical mistakes, poor spelling, and incorrect formatting. The bones of the piece might be solid, but an academic paper is as much about the quality of the presentation as it is about the facts presented. The same thing goes for skating.

Takahashi was unable to successfully land his own quad, but he STILL GOT THE BRONZE MEDAL. Why? Because the rest of his program was technically and ARTISTICALLY sound. The fact that he received 13.6 points FEWER than Plushenko for that particular element yet still managed to stand on a podium is clear indication that Takahashi -- not Plushenko -- will be the force to be reckoned with come 2014. If he is able to successfully land a quad AND keep up the level of artistic technique that helped him secure this bronze, I don't think there'll be anyone who can stop him.

Except maybe that adorable kid from Kazakhstan. ;)

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Posted in: Four youths arrested for beating student unconscious See in context

I suppose I have to bring up the old chestnut: what were these kids doing roaming the streets at that hour anyway? I know that 14-15 year olds aren't exactly babies, but that's still a late hour to be out in the streets without some kind of supervision or parental oversight, even if it's just a phone call every hour or so to say, "I'm at the arcade," or "We're going to the movies."

They beat this poor boy for an hour and NOBODY saw anything? Heard anything? I'm not familiar with the area, but it doesn't sound like they dragged him into an alley or old warehouse; somewhere they could be out of sight and ear shot.

I don't know what could possess these boys to do this to their long-time friend. It reminds me in many ways of the story of the teenage boy in Florida (USA) who was doused in rubbing alcohol and set on fire by three other boys, at least two of whom he'd been friends with since they were kids; all because of a $40 videogame.

The fact that the boys in THIS incident called the older brother first instead of an emergency number tells me that they realized the wrongness of their actions and didn't want to get in trouble. They called the closest thing to a peer they could find. Who knows what that kind of delay might have meant for the victim's health? What did they think was going to happen? Did they think they could beat the boy senseless for an hour without consequences? I doubt they'll get worse than a slap on the wrist from the justice system, but I hope the shame of their actions follows them for many years to come.

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Posted in: Man saves woman from train after she falls onto tracks See in context

Good for him! He did the right thing in a high pressure, quick decision situation. I certainly hope the young lady learns a lesson from this incident. She was that drunk at 9:15? Good grief! Put the bottle down and pick up a glass of water instead!

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Posted in: Bolstered measures fail to curb determined stalkers See in context

I'd like to advocate, too, for greater education in schools about what constitutes stalking and the consequences thereof. I know a lot of this kind of educational ballyhoo goes in one ear and out the other with kids and teenagers, but some DO listen, and that's what's important. It could help current and future victims understand their rights and responsibilities, and it might just deter some potential stalkers who weren't aware that their obsessive behavior might constitute stalking. Hopefully this proactive approach would, in the long run, free up police resources to provide greater aid to the victims of the 10% of nutcases who really don't care about the law.

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Posted in: Man arrested for stabbing younger brother in Aichi See in context

Did they actually LIVE together? How do you go EIGHT YEARS without speaking to each other if you live together, particularly in tightly-packed Japanese lodgings? And he was bullied by younger people at some point? WTH? who cares? Twenty years old is hardly much different from twenty-one years old, and he's your BROTHER.

Wow. Just... wow.

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Posted in: Some see racist theme in alien adventure 'Avatar' See in context

As long as one side keeps saying, "That's demeaning," instead of saying, "Thank you," we're never going to get away from the -ism's that plague our society: racism, sexism, ageism, etc. When a man holds a door for me, I say, "Thank you." I don't say, "You're a chauvinist pig." When I see an elderly woman on the bus, the train, waiting at the station, I let her have my seat. I don't hoard it thinking, "This is MY seat. So what if she's 75 and bow-backed as a shrimp? It's MINE." If I see a black child wandering alone in a busy mall, I'll take him to customer service and help him find his parents. Not because I don't think his mother or father aren't perfectly capable of finding the lost boy, but because I want to HELP. Believe it or not, sometimes people really ARE good at heart. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt until they've proven me wrong.

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Posted in: Crossdresser arrested for trespassing in ladies room at train station See in context

If women do commonly use the men's toilet, as many posters have indicated, then why the heck didn't the guy just use the men's room? So he was dressed like a woman; most women dress like women, and that doesn't stop them popping into the men's room.

Still, like others have said, if all he had to do was use the bathroom and then get out then I don't see what the big deal is. Yes it's awkward and I wouldn't care for it if I were in the bathroom at the time, but I don't think he should be arrested over it.

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Posted in: Hotel murder shakes LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood See in context

It sounds like an awkward kind of neck wound, from the chin to the side of the neck rather than a straight cut across the windpipe and jugular.

Just theorizing, but let's say she was jumped by someone who wanted the rent money. They put a knife to her throat and demanded she hand over the cash, but the would-be robber is a newbie and clearly nervous. Obaa-chan senses this and tries to push the robber away. Robber is surprised. Knife tilts and slices the woman's neck as described. Robber panics, runs, leaving obaa-chan behind, maybe thinking she's dead already.

Antonios_M & maglev101: I think goddog's point is that stabbings and throat slashings seem to be the violent crime method of choice in Japan, along with strangling, and since this crime happened in Little Tokyo it's not a stretch to believe it was committed by a Japanese or someone of Japanese descent. Of course there's just as much chance that it was committed by someone else, of any color, race or ethnicity. It really doesn't sound like the work of a career criminal, though. I bet a bit of searching in the building and surrounding area will turn up the bloodied weapon; the perpetrator probably threw it away as soon as possible.

RIP, obaa-chan.

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Posted in: Woman stabs husband after years of marital distress See in context

Hang on, hang on. Wasn't there just an incident of a husband throwing his wife off the balcony reported not that long ago here on JT? It was a much younger couple; I remember they had two very young children. So, is wife-tossing-off-a-balcony some kind of new tradition of crazy in Japan, or has it always been around?

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Posted in: More needles found in supermarket oden packs in Chiba See in context

Oops! It cut off the rest of my message!

I also said that police should investigate the plant where the oden is packaged. This might be a case of a disgruntled employee taking out his or her frustration on their employer by lacing oden packages with needles. The packages are then delivered to different stores, leading folks to believe that it's a customer who is sticking needles in with the noodles.

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Posted in: More needles found in supermarket oden packs in Chiba See in context

chotto: It's going to sound ridiculous, but I couldn't help reading your comment as an unintentional pun on the subject matter of the story. Unless it was an intentional pun, in which case bravo!

mnemosyne23 <-- loves puns altogether too much

Moving on.

I'd be inclined to say that this is being perpetrated by a consumer who is pushing the needles into the oden packages once they're on the store shelves, but I wonder about the employees at the packing plant, too. Check out the poor schlubs on the assembly line; one of them might have a grudge over a missed promotion, denied raise, what have you, and is taking out his or her frustration by lacing packages of product with needles.

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Posted in: Chiba man arrested for kicking 2-year-old son in head See in context

Child abuse is rampant all over the world, not just Japan, but that doesn't make this case any less awful. I hope the mother takes the children and moves the heck away from this guy. This is one time when I wouldn't have a problem with alienating the father from the childrens' lives.

There's a difference between discipline and abuse. A sharp smack to a child's hand and a stern, "Don't touch," when they've been playing frisbee with grandma's antique china is one thing. Mercilessly wailing on a child for acting LIKE A CHILD is completely different. It's disgusting, and a betrayal of the parent/child relationship. If your child is acting up in a movie theater, restaurant, supermarket, friend's house, then leave. Take them home. Send them to their room without dinner, or sit them in a corner for a "Time Out." Giving children reasonable consequences for misbehavior and applying those consequences FAIRLY, UNIFORMLY, and FULLY, will contribute much more to the child growing up to be a high-functioning, productive member of society. Simply trying to beat the "disobedience" out of a child isn't going to do anything but breed distrust and apathy.

Can kids be frustrating, noisy, and aggravating as heck? Absolutely. Do they make the adults around them want to scream sometimes? You betcha. But that's part of being a kid. It's up to ADULTS to model proper behavior and decorum. In no way is kicking a two-year-old in the head a demonstration of anything other than crass arrogance and stunted morality.

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Posted in: Fukuoka man held after throwing wife off 5th-floor balcony See in context

This is a very weird story. Ditto what was said in an earlier comment -- the poor one-month-old is well on it's way to becoming an alcoholic if it's being breastfed by a boozy mother.

The only people I feel sorry for here are the children. They didn't get to pick their parents.

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Posted in: Two men spray restaurant manager and steal Y1 million in Tochigi See in context

The poor manager! I hope they catch these guys, though my hopes are not high.

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Posted in: Student held for hitting girlfriend with rock, and trying to strangle her See in context

Chime what others have said - this guy deserves a rock to the face, too. In fact, how about two or three rocks to the face; break both cheekbones AND his nose.

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Posted in: Cop, 3 others arrested for confining student during party See in context

This is so bizarre. What on earth were these loons thinking? I wonder why the poor young man didn't try to get away when they took him out to go shopping with them (which is cruel, btw, given his dehydration after his release, which would imply that he wasn't given adequate liquids and probably not enough food, either). Perhaps he was too weak? Whatever the circumstances, I hope these four sickos get punished to the fullest extent of the law!

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Posted in: Nozomi Ohashi and Seishiro Kato to lead kids on NHK's 'Kohaku' song contest See in context

Awww, why all the trash talk? Take it easy on them, folks. They're kids! And they happen to be adorable. Good for them!

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Posted in: Mother of 12-year-old girl arrested for selling daughter for sexual services See in context

I don't care what country you're from: if you don't find sexual exploitation of any kind -- especially of children -- utterly deplorable, and if you don't think that everything within the law should be done to stamp out this kind of morally deficit behavior, then I don't think I want to know you. This pervert shouldn't have been walking around on the street if he'd been arrested multiple times for similar offenses. The fact that he WAS just goes to show that Japanese law doesn't deal harshly enough with sexual deviants who get their rocks off looking at naked children. I shudder to even call the girl's mother a "mother"; there are a few choice words I'd prefer to use, but web censors won't let me.

Let's face it, folks -- sexual exploitation isn't a Japan-only phenomenon, but in the international community, Japan is synonomous with commuter train gropers and upskirt photos of schoolgirls. There needs to be SOME kind of nationwide, longitudinal campaign to change attitudes towards what is and isn't appropriate, and it needs to start NOW. Here's an idea: instead of skirts, how about Japanese schoolgirls wear PANTS? You know, like their male counterparts? Oh my GOD, what a novel idea. I'm sure plenty of the girls would whine and argue and protest, but you know what? They're the kids and we're the grown-ups; this is not a debate. Things have to change somewhere, and that's as good a place as any to make a start.

I hope this poor young girl is able to find a loving home somewhere with adults who will actually CARE for her and PROTECT her from this kind of filthy behavior.

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Posted in: Man arrested for stabbing father in Hiroshima See in context

Sheesh, hasn't this guy ever heard of WALKING AWAY from an argument rather than escalating it to attempted murder? Seriously, WTH. Maybe one of the required courses in Japanese junior high schools should be anger management. Sheesh.

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Posted in: Woman's body found in ice box outside apartment; roommate arrested See in context

Just a thought, but has anyone considered the possibility of yakuza involvement? A body in a freezer, covered with cement? Sounds like someone trying to send a message to me.

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Posted in: Nagasaki kleptomaniac's makeup stash worth over Y5.4 million See in context

How the heck did the police get a warrant to search her house?

I imagine the same way they got a warrant to search Tsuyoshi Kusanagi's house after his drunk and disorderly arrest. The actual justification for it... well... That's a mystery.

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Posted in: Truck driver arrested for urinating into woman's apartment See in context

Okay, once I'd be willing to wave it off as a stupid, drunken act committed by a stupid, drunken guy. But the article indicates that this happened MULTIPLE times. I mean, EWW. This guy CLEARLY needs to figure out that the way to attract a woman is NOT by peeing through her mail slot. I mean, where do you even get the idea that that's not disgusting and wrong? Eww. Just eww.

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