【Tokyo Stroll】Experiencing the Finest Quality Gateau au Chocolat at “Ken’s Cafe Tokyo”—Reservations Required

14.February.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

Shinjuku—Situated in the heart of Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan area in the world, and absolutely packed with travelers and tourists. It’s a pivotal ward in Tokyo connected via many transportation services including the JR Line, subway, private railways, rapid bus lines and more. Shinjuku is an absolute must-visit when sightseeing in Tokyo.

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In today’s entry to “Tokyo Stroll,” Rinko Murata stopped by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo in Shinjuku, a shop specializing in Gateau au Chocolat that’s made with the best quality ingredients.

Ken’s Cafe Tokyo is very easy to get to, located just 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.

0Q0A4142The Special Gateau au Chocolat is one of the desserts served by the shop’s owner, Kenji Ujiie. Full sales of this dessert began due to strong demand from customers for it being so delicious. The word got out and immediately led to high praise that spread far and wide, and this year, the shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

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The Special Gateau au Chocolat comes in at ¥3,000 (tax included), with reservations in abundance up to a month. When it’s freshly cooked, the outside is crispy, and the outside is creamy like fondue chocolate, making a perfect melt-in-the-mouth combined texture!

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The secret to its deliciousness is in the thoroughness to use only the best ingredients. The chocolate used in the photo is from an Italian brand called “Domori.” The founder of Domori, Gianluca Franzoni, was deeply impressed with the quality taste of the Special Gateau au Chocolat, and so personally created his first and only chocolate mix called “KEN’S” to be used at the shop.

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To draw out the good flavour of the chocolate, it’s made with gluten-free chocolate. Although the flavour is rich and full-bodied, the result of the taste is that makes it simple to eat.

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300 gateau chocolates are made in a single day! And because each and every one of them are handmade with the utmost care and detail, it’s difficult to make any more than this, so there’s always an abundance of reservations. But if you can’t wait and need to try one straight away, limited quantities are being specially sold at Matsuya Ginza and Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro, so be sure to check those places out.

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Rinko couldn’t control her excitement at the sweet smell of the chocolate. She took no time at all to begin tasting the Special Gateau au Chocolat.

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When eaten at room temperature, it tastes like terrine chocolate. Depending on what temperature you eat it at, the taste and texture will change, so with one gateau chocolate you can enjoy trying three completely different flavours. Also, the balance between the sweetness and bitterness is fine-tuned every time. If you buy one now, the bitterness of the cocoa has increased every so slightly compared to 10 years ago.

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Rinko gave it her seal of approval. “The moment I took a bite, the aroma of the cocoa hit me, and the soft texture just melted inside my mouth! The balance between the bitterness and sweetness is exquisite. This delicious chocolate hit me in the head right away. Happiness is running around inside my brain. I can’t get enough of how it feels!”

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You can go back via Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station, but you should take a stroll towards Shinjuku Station instead – it’s just a 17-minute walk. Plus, Shinjuku Gyoen – Shinjuku’s imperial garden – is close by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo, so you might enjoy getting lost in your own thoughts while taking a walk through nature.

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The Special Gateau au Chocolat is a perfect present for yourself or someone special. They are always waiting on orders, so if you’re interest, check out the shop’s website below and make a reservation.

 

■Information

Ken’s Cafe Tokyo

Address: 1-23-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Access: 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of “Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station” via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00

Closed: Weekends & Holidays

Website: http://www.kenscafe.jp

 

 

Model: Rinko Murata @rink0_

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Rinko Murata appears in fashion magazines and is active on radio and TV. Sales of her first style book were so successful that it required extra printing during its first week. She also has a rapidly growing following across her social media profiles. As well as modelling at big fashion events, she also has her own column online at “She magazine,” and receives much attention for her work in the areas of culture and lifestyle.

Photo & Writer: Haruka Yamamoto

Editor: Sayuri Mizuno(ASOBI SYSTEM)

Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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    This year marks the 40th anniversary of the café. “I enjoyed every minute of it” explained the master happily. The master created a place where everyone can be happy and in return everyone supports him. Perhaps this cycle is the motivational force that has kept and will continue to push this café to live and thrive.

     

    I’m glad I came to this café today and met such a special person.

    I want to come here again and have another chat with the master!

     

     

     

    ■Information

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    Address:1st floor, 5-10-8, Shinjuku, Tokyo

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    URL:https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13087540/

     

     

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    A Daimyo Garden with a history deep-rooted in early Edo

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    The garden is a 1-minute walk from the north exit of the JR Hamamatsuchō Station, and a 3-minute walk from the B2 Exit of Daimon Station via either the Toei Asakusa Line or Toei Ōedo Line. Hamamatsuchō Station is just 17-minutes from Shibuya Station on the inner loop of the Yamamote Line, so it’s easy to get to.

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    A garden where you can feel nature against your skin

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    You can experience the true essence of Japan by seeing pine trees up close and personal. The bright green laws in summertime are fresh; the faint scent of grass will leave you feeling tranquil. You get to see the flowers dotted around Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden change with the seasons, meaning you can enjoy hanami, or flower-viewing in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

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    It’s a place where you can spend a relaxing time and dedicate some graceful reading time. Although it’s in the middle of Tokyo, the garden is far away from all the ruckus, so you can get nice and comfortable.

     

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    Meiji announced the long-awaited results of the 2019 National Election for Meiji’s long-selling chocolate brands Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato on December 17 and held an event to showcase a new commercial.

    The election ran for almost four months from August 5, 2019 and saw people of Japan casting their vote for their favourite of the two Meiji chocolate snacks: Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato, represented by Jun Matsumoto (the leader of the New Kinoko Party) and Akihiro Miwa (the leader of the New Takenoko Party) respectively. A total of 10,587,785 votes were cast.

    The New Kinoko Party won 6,021,986 votes while the Takenoko Party received 4,565,799 votes, marking a difference of 1,456,187 votes between the two. At the event, the leader of the winning party Jun Matsumoto said: “The New Takenoko Party has finally been beaten this time around at this 3rd National Election. It’s no doubt thanks to all of the citizens of this country who came together as one team and voted. I thank you all.”

     

    Akihiro Miwa also commented on his first loss, saying: “Ah, this is disappointing. Really disappointing. But my love for Takenoko no Sato remains unchanged, and I want the same for the people of this country—for them to continue loving Takenoko no Sato.”

    The two party leaders held a discussion after results were announced. Matsumoto said to Miwa, “I’m glad you were able to recover,” commenting on Miwa’s unfortunate bout of ill health. Miwa came right back with, “No matter what happens when it comes to myself, I’ll resurrect like a phoenix.”

     

    At the end of the talk, the event moved on to the topic of Meiji having revamped their two chocolate products for the first time in 40 years. The two party leaders taste tested both and compared their delicious tastes.

    This election closes the books on battle between Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato which has taken place for nearly 40 years. To celebrate this, the “Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato National Election No Side Association” (きのこの山・たけのこの里国民総選挙ノーサイド協定) was formed. Both party leaders signed the papers to make it official, after which Jun Matsumoto announced his retirement as party leader. “Following our first win, I can now retire from the New Kinoko Party without worry. The New Kinoko Party will forever be eternal!” Matsumoto said, and he placed down his microphone and sash and left the stage.

     

    A campaign is being held to promote the Kinoko no Yama & Takenoko no Sato National Election No Side Association where you can win the chocolate products. Get involved by signing up below.

  • Starbucks Japan Reveals New Matcha White Chocolate Hot and Iced Drinks For Christmas

    17.December.2019 | FOOD

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is celebrating Christmas 2019 with two new delicious beverages: the Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino🄬 and Hot Matcha White Chocolate, both of which will be available to order between December 19 and 25 for this year only.

     

    Both versions of this delightful holiday season drink are the perfect accompaniment to the winter days, combining richly fragrant matcha with smooth white chocolate. The Frappuccino🄬 enjoys the addition of maple syrup for a distinct sweetness which mixes gorgeously with the matcha and milkiness of the white chocolate.

     

    The hot version is made with foamed milk which too is soaked in the full-bodied kick of the matcha. The fluffy texture of the foamed milk together with the sweet taste and velvety white chocolate is a combination sure to get you addicted.

     

    If you’re in Japan for Christmas this year, be sure to stop by Starbucks for a cup of Matcha White Chocolate.

  • Handmade Christmas Chocolate Santa and Snowman Released at ATELIER de GODIVA in Kyoto

    13.December.2019 | FOOD

    GODIVA Japan released two new chocolate products at the Daimaru Kyoto branch of ATELIER de GODIVA, a chocolate shop which combines GODIVA’s skilful craftsmanship with chocolate artistry. Named “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Santa Claus” and “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Snowman,” the two chocolate artworks were released on Wednesday and are available until December 25.

    Each and every one of these chocolate sculptures are handmade in-store by the shop’s chefs. They are exclusive to ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto and the perfect Christmas treat to adorn any Christmas party this holiday season.

    These cute Christmas-exclusives not only taste delicious, but are fun to look at. Santa is sat in a chimney ready to deliver the presents while the snowman is sat next to a Christmas tree looking warm with its scarf.

    Both of these are limited in stock and won’t be available ever again after they sell out, so don’t miss out.

  • Winners Announced For 4th Gemstone Animation Creator Contest

    12.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME

    GEMSTONE is an audition project created by TOHO CO., LTD. and ALPHABOAT which seeks to find the best creators. The 4th GEMSTONE project was announced in August and sought submissions of short animations themed on Shinjuku.

     

    The judge line-up for the contest included anime film and television director Kobun Shizuno, who worked on the Detective Conan film series from 2011-17 as well as the Godzilla CG kaiju film series from 2017-18. It also included animator Yasuhiro Kimura who worked on Three Leaves, Three Colors and the Golden Wind arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After several months of submissions and judging, the winners and their prizes have finally been announced.

    “GEMSTONE” refers to the talent selected by TOHO and ALPHABOAT for the audition project, which ranges from animators to illustrators, composers, singers, actors, and so on. The two companies will help open doors to winners’ career paths.

     

    The first competition was themed on Godzilla, and asked for video or illustration submissions. The theme of the second was “With Japan!” and requested submissions for an original character, and the third asked for video submissions to promote Nisio Isin’s 100th story Veiled Man Kasetsu.

     

    Let’s take a look at the winners of Gemstone Creators Audution Vol. 4.

    First Place Prize – 1 Million Yen

    Title: kaijushojo / Creator: Yosuke Tani

    Story: A spirit resides in Shinjuku. A girl in the city challenges herself to battle with the spirit.

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “It’s visually stunning. For someone like me, who was raised in Shinjuku, I felt I wanted the theme in the much more at points, but when I considered that this had to be made in such a short time frame, it’s incredible. If he’s making these by himself, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I think all the praise from everyone comes from the overwhelming quality of the visuals.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It has the highest level of quality out of all the submissions. I chose this one for both that and how interesting it was to watch. It was so much fun watching the characters’ animation. I felt it was a work with a high level of completion and of satisfaction.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 700,000 Yen

    Title: Dramatic / Creator: 作田綾乃

    Story: A lone street musician singing in Shinjuku whose voice reaches somebody.

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “This wasn’t made by just one person, but the overall package is woven together incredibly skilfully. I personally feel this work surpasses all the rest. In terms of the visual quality, there’s a lot that could be cleaned up and there are many points still to be learned, but the drama is on point with music as the core focus. The development is solid throughout, and I admire how well put together everything us right to the end.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I have to give credit to them having created an animation centred around an original song at just 19 years-old. Amongst all the other many works which all used Shinjuku as the location, it feels like a realistic piece of drama which covers musicians visiting Tokyo. And even though it’s 5-minutes long, it by no means felt long; it was a seamless watch.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 300,000 Yen

    Title: tellphone / Creator: 亀井樹

    Story: Where’s my lost smartphone? “The ending of a story is a beginning.”

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “I was impressed by the amazing quality of the visuals, but the structure of the story lost me. We see the characters line up, and you think something interesting is about to unfold, but the older brother’s cheeks turn red and that’s the end. It was a weak conclusion. If they did away with the part in the middle and made the ending stronger, I think it would have been an incredible piece of work worthy of being higher up in the list.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I liked the concept of this one the most. The joke about finding a lost smartphone with location information was amusing. It was very relevant of the current times. But the disappointing part was when we meet the shopkeeper at the end, and then it just ends. I wanted to see what unfolded after we met them too. Since they went ahead and included something that can track something’s location, it would have been even more interesting if they’d tied in locations in Shinjuku and developed the story more.”

     

    Judges’ Overall Comments On The Competition

    Kobun Shizuno said:

    “I was so surprised at the level of quality in the submissions, as people had such a short amount of time to create their works when the submissions opened.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It was really refreshing and a lot of fun to get to see the works of such a young generation.”

     

    Kazutaka Yamanaka, producer at TOHO, praised the line-up of works as wonderful considering the short time they were given. He felt however that the dramatic elements of most works could have been enrichened had they added a little more references to Shinjuku in them, like including people of different races walking the streets, or the low-lying parts of Shinjuku.

     

    The winning submissions and worthy mentions can all be watched over on the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel here.

     

    © TOHO CO., LTD.

  • Seven Days War Anime Film Release Promoted With Themed Cafe in Shinjuku

    10.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD / MOVIE

    To celebrate the December 13th release of the upcoming anime film Seven Days War, a themed cafe will open at EJ Anime Theater in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The cafe will collaborate with popular creator Pantovisco who has over 680,000 followers across his social media.

    The collaboration was born from Pantovisco’s being able to relate to the theme of Seven Days War which focuses on the heart of today’s youth.

    The cute menu line-up features Seven Days War-inspired food and desserts with Perochi and his friends joining in with the fun.

    There’s also a drinks menu with a line-up of colourful beverages and lattes which you can get various latte art drawings on.

    And for every food item ordered on the collaboration menu, you’ll receive an original sticker selected randomly from several designs.

    And if you order a drink, you’ll get a special card introducing various characters from both Seven Days War and the world of Pantovisco.

     

    ©2019 Osamu Souda・KADOKAWA / Seven Days War Production Committee

    ©Pantovisco

  • Top 10 Most Popular Souvenirs to Pick Up at Tokyo Station’s HANAGATAYA Store | 2019 Edition

    30.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    HANAGATAYA is a souvenir variety shop that opened in Tokyo Station’s central passage back in July. After over 5 months of sales, the store has revealed its Top 10 most popular products based on sales.

     

    The line-up features a selection of HANAGATAYA exclusives, as well as products from elsewhere which have received pre-sales at HANAGATAYA. You will be spoilt for choice with this selection, all of which are perfect for ringing in the New Year when travelling back home. Let’s take a look.

     

    1st Place

    Banana Custard Cream – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Emblem Design (Tokyo 2020 Official Licensed Product) – Contains 8 – ¥1,134 (Tax Included)

    Officially licensed by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, these chewy cakes are made from domestic Japanese rice, and are filled with deliciously creamy banana custard.

     

    2nd Place

    Tokyo Banana Butter Madeleine (Tokyo Banana World) – Contains 4 – ¥560 Tax Included)

    Exclusive to HANAGATAYA come these all-new butter madeleine’s created by famous confectionery company Tokyo Banana. These baked treats feature a buttery fragrance and taste, and are made with a banana confiture and finished with fresh lemon.

    *Exclusive to HANAGATAYA GRANSTA Tokyo Central Street

     

    3rd Place

    Toro One Press Chocolate Chick (Tokyo Hiyoko) – Contains 3 – ¥648 (Tax Included)

    This year marks 107 since the company Hiyoko was established. The “Toro One Press Chocolate Chick” is a new confection from them: an adorable skyward-looking chick made up of three chocolate layersーeach with their own distinct flavour. At the heart of the chick is a moist chocolate paste.

    *Exclusive to Tokyo Station

     

    4th Place

    Cheese Wich – Contains 5 – ¥594 (Tax Included)

    These light and refreshing cheese cookies, called Cheese Wiches, are filled with a chocolate-coated melted cheese sauce. Three layers means an enjoyable amalgamation of flavours and textures.

    *Exclusive to Tokyo Station

     

    5th Place

    Chocolate Chestnut Eggs (Ginza Tamaya) – Contains 4 – ¥800 (Tax Included)

    “Goma Tamago” is a popular bite-sized egg-shaped confection. This chestnut flavour was created for HANAGATAYA, a mix of dark chocolate and vanilla flavoured chestnut paste.

    *Exclusive to Tokyo Station

     

    6th Place

    Strawberry Cookie Sandwich (Berry UP!) – Contains 8 – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)

    Berry UP! is a cute confectionery brand which creates baked strawberry sweets. Keeping with that theme, they have created a crunchy quintuple-layered cookie sandwich filled with sweet and sour strawberry chocolate.

     

    7th Place

    Shinjuku Curry Ebi (Shinjuku Nakamuraya) – Contains 6 – ¥600 (Tax Included)

    If you’re looking for something more savoury, then this one’s for you: Shinjuku Nakamuraya’s light, fluffy and melt-in-the-mouth ebi, coated in curry spices. One nibble is enough to get you instantly hooked.

     

    8th Place

    Strawberry Polvorón (Berry UP!) – Contains 6 – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)

    Another entry from Berry UP!, these polvorón shortbreads are made from lots of fresh strawberries mixed with condensed milk and mascarpone, creating a subtle sweetness that’s enough to have your mouth watering.

     

    9th Place

    BLUE MELTIN SAND (Tokyo Campanella) – Contains 8 – ¥1,200 (Tax Included)

    What if herbal tea and cookies became its own snack? That’s what Tokyo Campanella asked too, and so make it a reality. Their BLUE MELTIN SANDs are cat’s tongue cookies stuffed with a herbal tea sauce that has a natural blue colour.

     

    10th Place

    Premium Cacao Full Sablé (Mary Chocolate) – Contains 18 – ¥1,350 (Tax Included)

    Finally, we have a premium edition of chocolate company Mary Chocolate’s Cacao Full Sablés. This one’s for the adults, a sophisticated combination of bittersweet chocolate and berries.

    *Exclusive to HANAGATAYA GRANSTA Tokyo Central Street

     

    Did you enjoy this list? Which one takes your fancy the most? Whether as a souvenir for the folks back home, or as a treat to yourself to celebrate 2020, if you’re in Tokyo this year then be sure to give HANAGATAYA a visit.

  • World’s First Cacao Fruit Kit Kat Reduces Waste and Replaces Sugar with Cacao Pulp

    30.November.2019 | FOOD

    Nestlé has unveiled a new chocolate recipe that replaces added sugar with cacao pulp. Japan, famous for its exciting range of Kit Kat flavours, adopted the new recipe to create the first cacao fruit chocolate Kit Kat. The Kit Kat was released for sale at the Kit Kat Chocolatory and online on November 29, 2019.

    The Kit Kat Chocolatory sells premium-quality Kit Kats made and from a careful selection of ingredients and by a special production method. The process is overlooked by Yasumasa Takagi, the chocolatier who owns LE PATISSIER TAKAGI.

    Whether your’re looking for a unique Japanese souvenir for your friends and family, something small yet luxurious for your work colleagues or even just a petite treat for yourself, the Kit Kat Chocolatory’s popular range caters for every souvenir situation.

    The new Cacao Fruit Chocolate Kit Kat uses Nestlé’s new cacao pulp recipe. Cacao pulp is the white substance surrounding the cacao beans inside the fruit. It is dried and pulverised into a fine powder to be used as a replacement for sugar. By infusing cacao pulp into the chocolate, the chocolate flavour can be tasted more fully, making for a new and exciting flavour experience.

    Many people are unaware of the unique sweet and tangy flavour of the cacao fruit’s soft and fleshy insides. Part of the cacao pulp is normally used as a sugar to ferment cacao beans in a normal chocolate-making process. However, it is still not widely sold as a flavour.

    Brazil and many other cacao-producing Latin American countries use cacao pulp to make drinks and smoothies that are easy to produce. It is also seen as an ingredient in ice creams. Some businesses have jumped on the appeal of cacao as a rarely used ingredient to make and export cacao juice. Other than this, usage of cacao pulp has remained low for a long time.

     

    Under Takagi’s guidance, a new Kit Kat has arrived at the chocolatory which spreads not only the appeal of cacao as a natural sugar and flavouring, but also encourages sustainable living through reduced food waste.

     

    Come try a Kit Kat made with cacao pulp for yourself.

  • McDonald’s Japan to Release Pink Triangular Strawberry and Chocolate Pie

    29.November.2019 | FOOD

    McDonald’s Japan is releasing a new strawberry flavour of its popular triangular chocolate pie dessert on December 4, 2019: the Sankaku Choco Pie Amaou.

     

    The chocolate pies have a crunchy exterior made up of layers and layers of delicious pastry. They’re filled with warm, melted chocolate to complete the tempting treat.

    The new flavour is made with strawberry powder made from Japanese amaou strawberries which are known for their distinct flavour and subtle sweetness and sourness. McDonald’s Japan released an ordinary strawberry flavour last year, but this one promises to be even richer in flavour.

    The choco pies will be released in a special pink strawberry packaging for a limited time.

    McDonald’s is also still selling the Sankaku Choco Pie Black which we covered last month. It contains almonds and sweet melted chocolate cream. These are also available for a limited time onlyーuntil late Decemberーso don’t miss out on these McDonald’s-exclusive treats!

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