5 things to prepare for a Japanese wedding

How often do you get invited to be a guest at a Japanese wedding? If you're not Japanese then, that's pretty rare indeed. Count yourself lucky! It is indeed an honour! Now comes the next few steps... what's next? This post is a summary of how you can prepare yourself for the wedding, because every Japanese attending will be super mega prepared.

This is assuming you're a guest of course, if you're the bff of the bride/groom you have tons more to do.

Be sure to let your friend/co-worker/family member know as soon as possible if you are able to make it! This helps them heaps in planning.

1. Money... in a fancy envelope

Credits: Google

Having a meal at the wedding isn't free, so you're obligated to give an envelope as well as additional sums to wish them well. Minimum amount is 30,000 yen (approx $350 sgd) and they should be new notes. Money should go INSIDE the white envelope, and this is then placed in the fancy, bigger one. Don't forget to write your name! You can find these envelopes at any convenience store, there are some pretty complicated looking ones there, but if you think those are too 'cheap', check out department stores or Tokyu Hands.

2. Your liver

Have you heard of those 'Nomikai' parties where the boss of the department proclaims "LET'S HAVE DRINKS TODAY" and everyone basically ends up drunk BUT somehow reaches work on time the next day? So, these people can drink, and with free flow alcohol, you better train up. Don't be the person sitting down in a corner (or facing down in a corner).

3. What to wear

If you haven't already read this, I covered it separately here. There are some things to take note, so before you grab that 'perfect dress' off the racks, read this.

4. Figure out how to get there... in advance

EVERYTHING starts on time in Japan. Being late is an embarrassment. I made it with 3 minutes to spare, close call, but when I did, everyone was already there. If you're 15 minutes late the church vows may have already ended, and you missed your chance to shout 'OBJECTION!', okay that's a game reference, please don't actually do that at a wedding.

5. If you're a guy, prepare to kneel

Seriously because Japanese are so super considerate, they kneel when they think or know they might be blocking someone behind. I was so so surprised by this!! Japanese guys are gentlemanly after all.

6. I added 6 because.. there's actually nothing much you need to prepare to do when you're there.
Service in Japan is IMPECCABLE. It is FLAWLESS. There is even a lady on permanent stand-by just to ensure the bride's train isn't caught in something, she pushes the chair in and out for her, it is amazing. I am aghast.

Just go and have tons of fun, and try to spread out the alcohol so that you collapse AFTER the second party, not before, and that you actually remember what happened.

Take lots of pictures!!


Tips on What to wear to a Japanese wedding

Congratulations! You got invited to the wedding of the year! Now this could be your very first invitation to a Japanese wedding so you're kinda nervous and wondering what to wear. Don't worry! You're in the right place. Let me help you out.


If you're male and you stumbled to this page somehow, here's an easy answer for you. A long sleeved shirt (most japanese guys will wear white because they don't have any other shirts they are allowed to wear for work), a suit, vest is optional, matching pants, office shoes, and either a tie or bow tie. Make sure your hair is styled and eyebrows are trimmed neatly.

Got it? Don't forget a handkerchief to wipe your sweat with. Great. You're good to go.

Okay if you're female you're in the right place, because it gets soo tricky I actually have to devote a whole blogpost to you. Let's begin!


All ladies get checked out by the guys present there (and there are a lot!) so be sure to dress up! Which brings me to number 1.

1. Wear stockings, even if it's summer

Don't ask me how the Japanese ladies do it, but they say this is their secret weapon to make their legs look flawless. I believe them. Just compare my legs with the other legs in the picture above! Spot my scars yet? Haha!

2. Bring pressed/loose powder to touch up

Chances are, you'll have a tiny clutch or bag that can barely fit your phone, just grab a small loose powder from one of the Japanese drugstores you'll pass by. No drugstore? Then the convenience store is your next best bet (though it is probably a bit more pricey). I love how their stuff comes with SPF protection!

Lip gloss is a given so I didn't mention it. Okay I just mentioned it. Don't forget your lip gloss!

3. Get your hair done

Yes that means book a salon. Yes, if the church wedding is at 10am and you DON'T live in the same prefecture/city, that means you probably have to wake up at 5am, travel for 2 hours, get your hair done, then head to the place. This is completely normal. The bride will have her own hair stylist do her hair for her, and since I was close to the bride, she told me that the hairstylist was charging something like 6,000 yen, which is almost S$70? Insane!

Thankfully my other japanese friend found a salon near my hotel and booked an 8am appointment for the both of us. Yes 8am. And it was only about 3,400 yen, which is about S$40. Don't expect to be able to walk in! To save time, try to go for your appointment armed with a picture of the hairstyle you want. Japanese stylists can amazingly recreate anything.

Anyway, the weather was so crazy hot in summer I decided to wear my hair up. Would strongly recommend the ladies to consider that too so you would have no regrets.

4. Choose a fancy dress

Here's the trickiest part. Japanese are conservative by nature, and do not show their shoulders. There are a few Japanese ladies that do not observe this unspoken rule, but usually the elders will frown at them. If you noticed the lady in the middle of the group picture at the top of this post has her shoulders exposed, there is only one reason for it - she isn't Japanese. Your dress should not be anything shorter than 4 fingers above your knees. Get it now? Foreigners are easy to spot.

Oh, and here is a BIG TIP.


You will be seen as 'stealing' the limelight from the bride. Try not to wear all black because that makes you look like you're attending a funeral.

5. Complete your look with heels

Nobody wears flats seriously. Everyone has a tiny heel AT LEAST. If possible, try to wear covered shoes to add to the formality. I didn't want to bring another pair of heels on my trip to Japan, so I re-used the pair that I went shopping in, which are wedges. I am a foreigner so I can get away with this.

Mika looking super stunning in a kimono!!

If you're female and you own a kimono, just throw option 4 and 5 out of the window and wear that. Though you'll probably be the only one apart from the bride's family to wear it, but hey! You're there to stand out, right?


And that's it! If you have other tips please do share them in the comments below. Can't see the comments button? Please click on the subject of this post to view the individual post!

Will post more about my Japan trip soon!! :)

20th Emirates Singapore Derby

How time flies!! I was just attending the previous turf club event and now it's already the Emirates Singapore Derby, celebrating 20 years of fashion and excitement! Was told that people dress up most for the Emirates Derby, so I got a new fascinator to grace the occasion.

Pretty epic right? I love it to bits. Hope no one realises if I re-wear it in future.

Anyway, during this event, I noticed that all Emirates stewardesses have amazing smiles. Pearly white, wide, happy smiles. I want one. 

The Emirates Derby, sponsored by Emirates of course, continues to hold the unprecedented honour of being the longest-standing sponsor in Singapore's racing history. The big race for the day was a 4 year old 2000m - Short Course of S$1,150,000!

Hehe thanks Jessie for hosting us! If you're wondering, yes I curled and bunned my hair myself. It took me like 30 mins to an hour because my hair kept straightening!!

Did you know that there are currently 1,318 horses, 25 licensed trainers and all of them are located at the Kranji Turf Club?? Their stables can accommodate over 1,600 horses at one time. Races are held on most Friday nights and Sunday afternoons if you want to go check them out.

Buffet this time in the marquee was mostly curry and indian cuisine! I preferred the western one at the previous event :X There's also an assortment of sushi and salad but I couldn't snap a picture as they were all messy. Next time!

The Marquee was having a lucky draw to win a Chopard ballpoint pen! If you managed to guess the winning horse correctly and your name is picked from the lucky mix, you win one! Think it's worth $500 or something. This pen isn't mine ahaha. It's soo pretty though.

For one of the races, we had the amazing experience of being RIGHT IN FRONT of the stand!! 

The hottest couple that day IMO. Wish there was a full-length of them but I couldn't find any haha.

Above photo credits: Singapore Turf Club

Check out these sexy horse butts. Can't get any toner than that.

Us taking advantage of the great positioning haha. Usually the horses start at the other side of the track.

The gunshot was fired and away they ran!! I could only snap one picture, wish I was 0.5s later so I could see them galloping. Oh well next time!

With Yvette! Isn't her pink hair just gorgeous??

We shifted to the Committee Level where the Best Dressed received a pair of Emirates Business Class return tickets to Melbourne, 2 nights stay at the Crown Metropol Melbourne AND a pair of Parade Lounge tickets to the Melbourne Cup in November! We didn't even have a Best Dressed contest at the Marquee :(

Sorry for the grainy picture but I just had to take a picture with Bobby Tonelli and post it here. He was the official emcee in the Committee room! #sorrynotsorry

After I took this picture I realised for the first time, that there was a lake in the middle of the track. Yup didn't realise that even though I've been here like 5x or something. It is used to water the grass and all!

Have never flown on Emirates lol. Heard many positive reviews though!

Each of us received an Emirates bag with a teddy bear, a visor, a passport holder and travel wallet. Awesome!

Thanks Jessie, Dominic and team for the invite :) Looking forward to the next one!

If you're interested to host corporate events at the Turf Club for a unique experience, click here to find out more!

What 2015 means to me

Here's a personal post that hasn't been around in a while. I thank you guys for still visiting even though I don't blog as regularly anymore, and I think I owe you guys an explanation for sticking with me for so long. Well here goes!

The beginning of 2015 was a really painful one for me, and on some days, I would be doing work when my mind would suddenly drift a bit, and tears started flowing down my cheeks. Of course I would hastily wipe them away, lest my colleagues see and judge. Nights were especially torturing, because of my insomnia and even nightmares. Waking up was a drag. It was an emotional time for me, where I took to yoga, zumba and golf to distract myself as much as I could.

Of course, meeting up with close friends helped, they really tried to pull me out of my daze, to make me laugh again. I could only look forward to my US trip in March because there was nothing else to look forward to. It was a very short sighted goal. It was a necessary goal.

March came, I flew Delta Airlines for the first time and realised first-hand how painful it is to have an airport that is not efficient at all. Was forced to miss a flight, and after 20+ hours of travelling, that was not very pleasant! Apart from that initial encounter, my cousin's wedding in North Carolina was a blast, I saw the community she was in, her friends that she used to hang out with all the time (she moved to another state a couple of years back) and I loved how spontaneous and open-minded the Americans were. Even American Asians! At the wedding's after party held at my cousin's new place, we actually danced OUTSIDE on the patio, under some lights. It seemed like a fairytale. Someone actually asked me to dance barefoot. I tried but it was seriously too cold!

 I actually thought to myself, wow, I could live here. Even though I would have to drive out to get food, even if it's a world away from Singapore, even if I had to start from zero.

Flew to Boston to meet my friend Jimmy and his girlfriend Natalie. Jimmy is a dear friend of mine since NTU days and he's the same age as me but already bought his own HOUSE and is renting a few rooms out as extra income. I was seriously envious. Here in Singapore, we can't even afford a place of our own, and even if we could afford some of the newer HDB flats, we aren't able to buy them because we have to be 35 and above... We had some really amazing seafood, oysters and clam chowder (mmmm clam chowdah) and I really enjoyed just walking all around Boston, not knowing if we were heading in the right direction or not.

Until I caught a cold. Thank you for your prolonged, coldest winter in years, Boston.

New York was a bit of a downer for me with that runny/blocked nose and feeling tired all the time, but I really tried to visit all that I had set out to see. Clubs were absolutely craaazy. Seriously no inhibitions and people did whatever they wanted, some should just get a room and spare everyone else the trauma. In the club, guys actually tried chatting me up whenever I was alone! In Singaopre, they just dance behind you or suddenly grab you to dance with them. Sorry not interested lol.

Was in Soho shopping when I had people come up to me on the street saying "You're so pretty" or "Hello" and then walking away. Does that count as "cat-calling"? Anyway, there was one day I took a train alone into Brooklyn and thought I was going to get mugged. It was SO different.

Food was absolutely amazing in New York, apart from the occasional soup that I had to drink to warm myself from the cold. Chinese food portions are so big. I also found out that doctors are incredibly expensive here, and most people self-medicate. Problem is, the off-the-shelf medicine didn't help with my cold much, I think I was sick for 7 days.

Cycling in Central Park is something I would definitely recommend everyone try! Even though I was freezing I still did it, and went to feed the ducks (ala Blair Waldorf). Maybe that's why I didn't get better haha! By the end of the trip, I lost 1 side of a glove, 1 scarf and a hat. Well done at least I didn't lose anything super important. Please catch Book of Morman if you can it is hilarious!

The dream was over, I was back in Singapore. Back where I started, but more refreshed from the trip. I had tons of work to do which I totally immersed myself into. Had tons of deadlines to meet and things to learn since I was given more responsibility in certain areas. It was great.

Not long after, I met someone who made my heart race again, but it all felt one-sided. I think we had common interests and a natural curiosity for the world. It was great when we were together but when we were apart I just felt used. The signs were all there from the start but I chose to believe in the good of people. Needless to say, gut feelings are there for a reason, and I tore myself away. I still wonder what-if? But there would be no future with someone who is completely self-centered and un-compassionate. Knowing that only I feel the pain makes it easier to get over, somehow in its twisted logic.

As we approach the last 5 months of the year, I want to love myself more, to stop all this self-doubt and find something that makes me, me. The right one will come, eventually, when you're least expecting it. Until then, I will continue to do my best at work, at home, to be a great friend, colleague and family member.

I will be heading to KL for a business trip next week, with all the political instability going on, fingers crossed? Can't wait to head to Tokyo and Yokohama in a couple of weeks for my friend's wedding and a mini holiday! It seems like I am a much stronger person than I was at the beginning of the year, even though I don't look like it. Less tolerance to B*S* lol.

Thanks for all your support via tweets, emails or facebook, really appreciate them all :)

Japanese hair salon near City Hall and Bugis and how to look fabulous - Nine by Sweet Basil

Every morning when I head towards the bathroom to freshen up, I check my reflection and notice if I'm having a good hair day or not. This subconsciously affects my mood. "ARGH why is that part of my hair sticking out like an idiot? How can I flatten it??" or "NOOO why does my hair look so limp and lifeless???" Sound familiar yet?

So how do you look fabulous? Fix your hair. If your hair is frizzy, try rebonding. If your hair is flat, try perming. If your roots are growing out...

Get it touched up.

Or every mirror you walk past will guilt you and kill you slowly day by day.

Here's an easy step by step guide on how to look fabulous just by having great hair!

Step 0: Book a hair appointment

Sure, there are many options out there in the market. An $8 barber shop just 10 minutes from your place (for the guys), or that neighbourhood salon for about $35 gives you a decent wash and cut.

Just think about the recent articles of salon's ruining hair by doing rebonding and perming at the same session, or colour jobs drying out hair. Some distraught customers posted online that their hair looks like public curls after the treatment and tearfully had to cut their long locks off. Any good stylist will tell you not to do them together. Well, for your own happiness, be sure of the service and the quality of the cut, wherever you choose to go. I've been to my fair share of salons where stylists would say they're done even when one side of my hair is obviously longer than the other. And, no I did not ask for that style.

If you need a recommendation though, I'll ask you to consider a pampering session with a Japanese salon. Not only are they dedicated and well-versed in products to make your Asian hair shiny and glossy, their perms and styles produce looks straight out of fashion magazines. I've been to a number and Nine by Sweet Basil is a hidden find. Please leave your hair and scalp to the professionals and you'll know what I mean when experience your first amazing head massage.

Step 1: Get a hair analysis

When you are in your chair and comfortably seated, good stylists will start to analyse your hair, and advise you if your intended treatment suits your hair, if the colour you picked to dye your hair suits your face etc! Here's my stylist, Yoshi, doing just that.

Step 2: Pick your treatment 

I chose to dye my hair because the colour was fading to a yellow-ish tone. Yoshi helped me mix colours to turn it into an ash-y brown and carefully spread the dye and left it to soak in. I like how Nine by Sweet Basil has like, sectioned seats so you have a little privacy corner all to yourself!

It looks blonder than it really is.

Step 3: Dip Dye hair for added fun 

Yoshi asked if I had ever done this soak in dye procedure, to which I said 'no' to. It's pretty cool, he mixes the dye with water and soaks your hair in it, pouring some of the mixture over your hair where it's not touching the water. Was pretty excited to see how the results would be!

Step 4: Head massage and hair wash

After the soaking (about 30 mins?) was done, Yoshi gave me an amazing head massage and hair wash, focusing on my scalp and I felt my stress fade away. Unlike other salons where the stylist 'hands you off' to a junior to do the hair wash, Yoshi is in charge of your hair from start to end!

During the massage he also places a hot towel on the back of your neck too! How thoughtful! Also adds to the shiok factor.

Here's where he usually adds hair treatment, to ensure your hair is well moisturized. They also use soda water here so thoroughly clean your scalp! This is great if you have a naturally oily scalp. Combined with their nano water machine, your hair is nourished from root to end.

Step 5: Get a shoulder massage

Once my hair wash is done, I head back to my seat for... a quick shoulder massage!! Not many salons throw this in but, boy is it worth it.

Step 6: Hair cut and styling!

The final step, is of course to get a hair cut that suits your face shape and also, a style that you like! If your face is round, it's better to have your hair at a length from chin down. This is why having a professional stylist is important, so he can give you the best style to boost your confidence!

Yoshi can also style your hair at your request. He knows I like my hair to be curled with tongs so this is the final result!

What do you think? 

Also love how the dye worked out! Colour is true to the picture above and my hair isn't dry at all.

Fun playing with my locks hehe!

Thanks Yoshi for picking this ash brown for me. Been getting compliments that it makes me look fairer and brings a glow to my face!

Nine by Sweet Basil is conveniently located just a row behind Raffles Hotel! It's walkable from City Hall or Bugis MRT.

In conjunction with their anniversary, they're having an awesome


All new customers get 30% off!

Returning customers get to take part in a lucky draw where you stand to win 
30% to 50% off vouchers, free shampoo, complimentary treatment, head spa or nail service!!

Congratulations on your anniversary, Nine by Sweet Basil! 
These promotions are until 31 August, and note that they will be closed from 11-18 August
They're open on National Day if you want to get your hair all pretty to celebrate our independence!

Nine by Sweet Basil

26A Purvis Street 
(near Bugis Junction and opposite Raffles Hotel)
Singapore 188603
Telephone: 6337 3661

Operating hours:
Weekdays: 10am - 8pm
Weekends and holidays: 10am - 7pm
They're closed on Tuesdays!

NUA Singapore - Japanese wax and facial salon review

Whenever I have a bad hair day or I have a blemish on my face, I refuse to take any photos. Let's face it, as much as we wish we were born with Fang Bing Bing's flawless skin or Fann Wong's never aging complexion, that is rarely the case. For me at least I admit that's true! It's up to your own efforts to diligently follow your skincare routine, and that's why we girls spend tons in department stores.We are women - we can't help wanting to look our best!

But try as we might, there are times where we need specialists to help us. If you just got back from a cold country, for example, your skin (which always seemed oily in Singapore's humid weather), is now as dry as the desert and is flaking! OR you may have used some products that aren't suitable for your skin, and now it is inflamed and you are breaking out. What should you do??? Of course you can't just go to ANY salon for a facial, you can't risk anything worse happening to your skin. Which is why a salon's reputation is so important.

I recently checked out NUA, a japanese beauty and waxing salon in Singapore and am here to share my review! It's really rare to find japanese beauty salons here, especially one where all staff speak BOTH fluent japanese and english!!

Don't miss this door!!

NUA was a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, and helms from Tokyo. One of their branches in Tokyo is in a mega hip district called, Omotesando where only cool kids go. I totally missed this door the first time and had to do a double take when I realised I had reached the end of the street. Oops!

Part I:


When I reached, I was greeted cheerfully and was promptly presented with hot tea. My therapist, Shiori-san introduced herself as I filled in a form describing what I wanted to achieve for my face. If pigmentation spots annoy you or if you want smoother skin, those are all possible to list down too! She then recommended NUA's signature treatment, which is the NUA Customized Facial (60 mins, $135). As its name suggests, it is a customized, results-driven, therapeutic treatment to suit your skin type and needs! Was super excited to see how my skin could improve in just an hour!

The facial room, where the magic happens

Once I had enough tea, I was brought to the facial room where I got comfy on this bed here. My young and pretty therapist, Shiori, (whom I also found out later is also the owner), started with a thorough skin-analysis and gave me a quick run through of my skin's condition. I need to sleep more! Then she left the room briefly to mix products for me as I relaxed on this comfy bed.

My facial began officially with a gentle cleansing, then a mild chemical peel mask followed after. NUA uses products from PCA and Dermalogica which are two of the most trusted skincare brands used by professionals worldwide! In the initial discussion, I told Shiori that I wanted a 'brighter' face and what better way to do so than to get rid of the dead skin cells?? 

One of my aesthetic doctor friends told me that strong chemical peels can make your face turn red and you have to avoid sunlight for at least a week! In our crazy Singapore weather that is almost impossible to avoid, so I'm really glad Shiori shares the same sentiments as me and prefers mild chemical peels instead.

All customised facials at NUA include high-tech machine treatments which are suitable for your skin type and hand-picked according to your skin's condition! Another concern I had was my terribly stubborn dark eye circles, which Shiori did a micro-current eye treatment to activate the skin's fibre and stimulate the area. It was really soothing!! Zero pain at all, though I was initially shocked at the first vibration lol.

As my nose is generally more prone to blackheads and whiteheads. Shiori recommended an organic clay mask to clean them out, which explains the white bit. I was really happy when my nose was smooth at the end of the treatment!! Goodbye blackheads! Well, stubborn whiteheads (if you have them you will be aware), are not that easily removed, usually a few sessions will help.

Brushes are used to apply masks on your skin, I like how they were so soft and nice to feel! Do note that trimming of eyebrows is not included (though you could add it on), and deep cleansing extractions are a separate facial treatment.

After about an hour, which passed by reaaally fast because it was so relaxing, here are the results! Okay the skin tone is slightly different that's probably due to the auto settings of my camera, but ignoring that, my skin definitely looks more radiant, and was more bouncy too! Yes that is me without any make-up please refrain from making comments that will make me unhappy.

Verdict: Really love it! Will definitely want to come back to give my face another pampering session. Shiori is really gentle and has years of experience treating skin of different types, plus she's super fun to talk to!! 


Part II:

Waxing & Permanent hair removal using Depilar System!

After the fabulous treatment, I decided to try NUA salon's permanent hair removal service. The product they use for this hair removal is a new formula which reduces hair growth without the need for lasers! Even though I'm a frequent IPL user, there's always the risk that your skin becomes sensitive, or your skin darkens/reddens due to the procedure. When I heard about its benefits, I was eager to try it out!

Step one, waxing. To ensure that the produce is penetrated into your pores, the treatment begins with a wax!

I picked my Upper lip to try out as I had never waxed this area before! Waxing doesn't hurt much for me, does that mean my pain tolerance is pretty high? Haha.

I look like KFC's Colonel Sanders right? Haha!

After waxing, Shiori applied calming mist to soothe the area, and moved on to my lower leg wax!

I was just chillin on the bed when a delicious smell of chocolate hit me. I looked up and realised it was the wax! How amazing was that! The whole process was made even sweeter (hurhur) and I was craving chocolate for a bit after that, haha.

Once the wax was done, Shiori applied the two Depilar System activators and left it to dry! Ok I know what you're thinking.

What is a Depilar System?

The Depilar System is used directly after a traditional waxing, sugaring, threading or tweezing to target the hair follicles, and is an enhanced enzyme-based formula which is safe to use on any part of your body.

Since it was my first time using the Depilar System, it was natural that I had a few queries, and here are some simple Q and A that I think you guys might wonder about too!

Q: I have been doing IPL on xx areas, can I use Depilar System?

Answer: Yes! The Depilar System will work if you have not had success with laser treatments. You must discontinue laser treatments and continue with regular and successive Depilar Applications.

Q: I have dry skin. Is that a problem?

Answer: No. Simply exfoliate or dry brush the skin prior to application.

For more info, check out the official Depilar System website.

For best results, it is recommended to go for your Depilar System treatment every 4-weeks for applications on the face, and 5-6-week intervals for applications on the body. This is to coincide with your hair growth cycle and allows your hair to grow out just enough for maximum effectiveness! Most ladies have experienced 0 hair growth after 16-24 months of continued use!

Verdict: Two weeks on and my skin still feels pretty smooth! Though results are not drastically different (ie, like 50% less hair) you can tell that hair growth isn't that fast and is thinner. You can also use this for brazilian too! Could get hooked onto this and stop using IPL forever lol.


Thank you Shiori and team for the wonderful experience! Be sure to check them out for some pampering you deserve!

 NUA Singapore

2F, 18A Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088441
(Do note, Google maps address is a bit off, it's across the road from the pin shown, near Duxton Hill entrance, diagonally opposite the church)
Contact: 6327-1002 / SMS Bookings: 9188-0541

Operating hours:
Mon - Friday 10am - 7pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Closed on Sundays


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