surrounded by frengers

watching, hearing, seeing, thinking

life’s little treasures

Posted by veritas on October 28, 2010

i was reminded by someone i met this past weekend that i needed to go check out more of bump of chicken’s discography. and so as i’m sitting here listening to 宇宙飛行士への手紙 on repeat i’m reminded of this one incident in tokyo that i totally forgot about.

it was a routine weekday evening on the way back from shinjuku to my host family’s place in 東小金井 on the 中央線 when i noticed the couple sitting down in front of me were struggling with this one english question. they were fighting it being answer choice b or d and being the nosy person i am, i give them the correct answer. from there starts about 3 hours of hanging out and whatnot, where i learn the girl is chinese and the guy japanese, both having started late on their career paths but chasing their dreams nonetheless. everyone is busy so we exchange contact info and try to set up another time to go hang out.

fast forward to the week before i head back to the states, and we finally are set to hang out on a random sunday night. i meet up with the guy (i either never knew or forgot his name, i just called him oniichan anyway as he was quite a bit older than me lol) across from shinjuku station, where we drove to kichijoji to meet his friends. what a peculiar set of people they were. no one spoke english. my friend was sort of the leader. he drove the car, he wore the wallet chain, he smoked the cigs. one of his friends was younger, almost my age, and the smartest of the group. for this reason they called him chibi, ironic since he was the tallest. the other was the oldest, and even came in a suit. he was kind of socially awkward, felt like otaku, but for this reason both of the others called him “professional” “mr. erai” and other extreme exaggerations. the entire evening he never understood that these monikers were jokes.

we set out to drink and karaoke. they were thrown off their feet by me singing スネオヘアー’s “Happy End”, saying, “なぜこの局をしている??” lol..oniichan&chibi always picked various rock songs, but at one point they pulled out a koda kumi duo. mr. erai always picked some crazy unknown opera song and sung it horribly, but it was so funny every time. he even busted out numa numa. sometime during the night oniichan’s gf called asking what was going on, and for some reason i ended up talking to her. i could tell from that conversation that their relationship was more about one of convenience, rather one of love, but she didn’t understand that. poor thing.

とにかく、すごいでしょ、たった”the answer is d”を知らない人にいったからこんなことを起こしたって?名前も仕事のことも知らずにみんなが一晩中に一緒に楽しんだ。今のちょっと迷った自分には、この話から重点は三つがある。まずは、人がいくつ年をとってもと、どんな立場でも夢を目指して追いかけるんだ。そして、勇気があれば、あきらめなければ、なんでもは可能、どこでもいける。それで、人が(たまに名前を知らずに!)命という交差点で擦れ違って、自分だけに頼りにしても、他のひとと作った思い出は永遠。それからこそだれか気になった一人がいるから自分が狂いになるとは実に哀れでしょ?


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安室奈美恵 – WILD

Posted by veritas on April 20, 2009

i’m late on this one, but it deserves notice. what a transition from the old days of stuff like Can You Celebrate? and Dreaming I Was Dreaming.

PV, which is a favorite of mine:


かな (from goo)

※Work the middle like I do
Legs, arms, shoulders, knees,
Fingers, toes, hips & belly
はばかる事なく Let’s get WILD!※

Be wild
Don’t think HARD!



Be wild

Go another round まだまだ…
足りないならば またまた…


Go another round まだまだ…
足りないならば またまた…

translation (mine):

*Work the middle x3 like I do
Carnal desires are just natural
If you pull the strings of (manipulate) the
Legs, arms, shoulders, knees,
Fingers, toes, hips & belly
There will no longer be any hesitation, let’s get wild!

Be wild
a-i-shi-te-ru (i love you) is hard for japanese people to say
so instead, don’t think hard

Connect the piece and the hole will be filled
Exchange parts and life is born


There’s no way people hate “being wild”, the truth is
Being in a shy culture is
Torture for sexual craving
Indoor or outdoor, the location doesn’t matter

Go another round, more more more more…
If you’re not satisfied, then again again again again…


Connect the piece and the hole will be filled
Exchange parts and life is born
Go another round, more more more more…
If you’re not satisfied, then again again again again…

………goodness. halfway into listening to this i had to rewind and go “did she say that?” how funny that the other A-side of this single talks about yearning to save a pure love from the past lol.

normally i’m not a fan of songs that just talk about sex, but there’s a good lesson to be learned from this one – lying to yourself is stupid. if this song was out 2 decades ago, maybe those guys would have gotten the message and japan could have saved itself from having the raunchy reputation it has today. the even sadder part is that even in the states, there are people who need to listen to the truth behind this song. prime example: idiots up in washington telling kids that condoms break “all the time” and thus having sex is bad. now we have aids swarming everywhere. how much influence do you people think you have? does anyone get to bed with someone and then go, “oh my, i remember the sex ed video from 7th grade telling me how dangerous sex is. goodness, i must retreat from this potentially fatal encounter!” ???

i think not.

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last weeks of school in japan

Posted by veritas on August 31, 2008

7/22 – 8/1

so by this time the prospect of having to return soon had pretty much taken over my mind, which was terrible, because it probably prevented me from reaching out and making new friends (though really, the amount of texting i was doing already was unbelievable, so this was probably a good thing). cynthia and i also spent a lot of time together doing shopping, which spread out between souvenir shopping, clothes shopping, random poor decision shopping, eating, and we never bought what we ORIGINALLY went shopping in the first place for – suitcases. yes, that’s right, we bought so much extra crap that we couldn’t fit everything. every year i’m like, ok, i’m downsizing on this suitcase thing, and every year it gets worse lol >.>

anyway, towards the end of school semester both the professors and students all started to care less – especially since it was the summer and it was so damn HOT. so i would chat with my professor, made her late for class, then not go to that class, and that was somehow ok. wake’s ridiculous attendance policy has somehow struck into my mind that “if there’s class and you don’t go, you are going to be actually punished beyond your monetary opportunity cost” so i was just baffled.

as previously mentioned, the last 2 weekends were nasty business that i don’t want to get into here, not only to spare you from having to read through useless ranting, but also because i don’t personally find any use in angrying myself for no reason. so, lips are shut (fingers are bound??) on this one!

as for other things! MUST VISIT SUNSHINE CITY! this place was fabulous. there are like 100 shops of random things, on top of a floor of restaurants. if anyone gets the urge to eat mexican food, PLEASE GO to the place on the 3rd floor here, it was delicious. maybe it was just us, but combining not having any mexican food for like 3 months and being horribly hungry that day, sinking your teeth into that first fajita and quesadilla was just unbelievable. we both got jitters and goosebumps chewing. and a strawberry margarita pitcher while we were at it, just because we could! ohhh so yummy

there is also namja town in this place, but i didn’t get there til the week after this. so i will go into that later! speaking of food, there was also a sushi place that i went to before the trip to kyoto, but zac and dan wanted to go try revolving sushi so we went back. this place is in shinjuku station (i know, i know, sooo specific), somewhere on the west side. rather than navigate the confusing underground section, i just go up to the rotunda and find the entrance next to the bic camera and take it down. you should find it soon. apparently without 4 people you can’t get a table there, and would have to go sit at a stool. which isn’t bad, because then everyone can pick their own sushi, but my other friends showed up and we ended up having 7 lol. as usual we ate a bunch of cheap plates then called the chef for 7 ootoro…and he had this look on his face that was a mix of “sweet we are making a bunch of money” and “fuggin foreigners have too much money”…which is not true, i just think that if you go to japan and dont have some ootoro, you miserably fail 😦

on that wednesday i ran into a “friend” for a (way overpriced) burger at friday’s. this is what we can “awkward tension” – she’s older than me (by 5 years, which really, is not substantial) but the thing where it’s wierd for guys to date older women is much stronger in japan – usually the bigger the age gap and the more boy-ish the guy looks, the better indicator that it’s a male host situation. (which is socially awkward, about 1000 times more than female hostess-ing, which makes no logical sense, but whatever) but she and i got along quite well, and she tried to hide the fact that she had a boyfriend for some reason lol. you will quickly find that in japan, the girls are very self-conflicting, where keeping their personal desires and social “right thing to do” in check is always very hard, and where this “nonverbal communication” will pretty much tell you, “ok, i have a boyfriend, but i’m going to keep saying that i don’t, and you will understand, so the ball is in your court” because then if something happens, it is not her fault. clever, and かなりムカつくw either this will happen, or there’s the other situation, where they will definitely make sure you are listening and then go talk about her boyfriend with someone else in the room, and then from there start vicariously flirting with you. once again, if something happens, “but you knew!” can always come out as defense. these are the reasons why guys that try to be good guys come back from japan thinking “damn, why are they so emotionally frustrating?!” ….however, since i like to turn everything “fun” about the world into logical explanations, this was just funny to me….unless i was dealing with it…which was often…ah oh well lol

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july, post-kyoto

Posted by veritas on August 29, 2008

finally settled down at school for fall 08. time to finish this thing lol


i’ve been wondering how to write these last few closing entires. there were fewer and fewer “firsts” that happened over time. i mean, in the time frames mentioned in these posts, there was always a lot of eating various things i like – ex. すきやのマポ茄子、the ramen place near mcdonald’s in shibuya – plus karaoke, harajuku, coins bar, etc. and even though that’s a very very good list of “everything” things that i came to love, i think it’d get boring to write “well, we went to sing again, today i sang (list of songs, blah blah blah”. stories about life are able to be understood through words, but singing and eating? mm…

anyway, by this time i remember feeling like i had gotten accustomed to everything to the point of having lived there for a long time – i had my little favorite places to go for everything when i was out, became friends with my dry cleaner guys, and when i was home, i found some friends in the neighborhood. so then i had maybe 2 days of that before realizing – “oh shit i’m going home soon lol” which is why i started organizing “i’m leaving japan let’s meet up!” kind of things the week i got back from kyoto. goodness there was a lot of that to do, even with the short amount of time i’d been there. anyway, another super busy weekend:

7/18: i finally ran into mai in tokyo! after i got out from school, we hung out in shibuya for like 7 hours up to the trains stopping even though it felt like no time at all. this was really awesome because it was relaxing and fun, plus we got to go sing :D. we didn’t really know each other, so it was cool that we got along so well out of nowhere.

7/19: celine took me to this way way far away cosplay convention…or should i say, shooting lol. people apparently go way far away in to get “scene shots” for themselves and their friends that do it. so, when we went to ask some people in really awesome or tada niau costumes they would turn us down sometimes. i did get a shot or two of this really good naruto and gaara (both were girls but the makeup worked out so well), a geass team, and probably my favorite, a lacus team lol. i got 5 of them in the picture, but there were a total of 9 of them. i was pretty damn baffled when i saw all of them at the same time. this was really interesting, totally different from the ones in the states. and no offense but…japanese girls just simply fit those character costumes so much better.

later that night: jake and i planned this night for the womb since momoko really wanted to go out this weekend (well, we weren’t really against this plan either…). so after the cosplay in the morning, it was time for clubbing – at tokyo’s finest. celine came along to “see what it was like”. i tried to get her to dance but she refused to try lol. after a bit of time passed celine went home (she had work in the morning), and i conveniently left jake and momo to do their own thing while i found my nitch of fun. around 3am we randomly ran into each other again and also some random temple students, so we chilled, and had a few drinks. i decided to go finish the night off strong while jake and momo, both seeming dead and wondering where my energy came from (i don’t know either, it’s just the atmosphere right?), decided to just chill and head back to the station early. no scary russian this time.

7/20: on the way back i missed my stop as usual, this time all the way to takao. i woke up and saw “東京行” and was like, what the hell i’m on the wrong train. oh wait, what do you mean まもなく八王子………..fuck fuck fuck. i slept a good 4 hours (T_T) and woke up to take katie shopping in harajuku (i mean after all it was sunday and she was in tokyo to visit, is there a better day?). well, THIS PARTICULAR weekend was laforet’s massive super mega clearance sale bonanza or w/e it was called. we went throughout the entire thing and OH GOD it was ridiculous. imagine this – a 10ft by 12ft store being stormed by over 200 teenagers and a line of about 100 outside – this was EVERY SHOP in the building except like floor 4 (kinda bum-ish clothes) and basement (super goth fashion). i found a shirt i kinda wanted, but it was 30 bucks for fairly flimsy material, so i decided against it. on floor 3.5 there was a high-class male store with pop star fashion stuff “on sale” for about…300 bucks for a pair of jeans. that’s like, armani pricing lol. in any case, i checked out this flashy (literally, it was kinda glittery) black jacket which fit me pretty well and made me look like i was je or something, but at $165~, it was way out of the question. shit, i’d rather have a vw orb locket than another jacket at that price.

after the shopping bonanza, we went back to shinjuku and met up with zac, dan, celine, and her 2 friends to go to yokohama for the 花火大会 that was going on that night. it was extremely crowded but we snuck over on the streets barely out of range of the police forcing people to move out of the way. thank god for being tall, else getting pictures woulda been impossible. celine brought a friend from her modeling job, yui, who when i mentioned “その歌手なユイみたい?” she said that she actually sung herself, in 2 bands, including this (i figure just for fun) female voice lead visual kei band. we connected sooooo well on music it was kind of scary and exciting, as she was the first person i’ve heard to mentioned “stay away” (!!!) and “neo universe” from l’arc en ciel before like…flower. other than watching fireworks, we talked about music alot the entire night. when we got back to shinjuku, celine wanted to do some purikura (due to her kimono) so we went. yui and i were gonna go singing the next day, and by chance celine overheard and said she wanted to go too. we were like uh…yes sure! lol sigh. not that she wasn’t welcome but…sometimes she really was kinda clueless. i couldn’t help but thinking, tomorrow is going to be awkward.

7/21: no school this day due to temple’s one-day-break-a-week-for-some-reason rule. we met up in shinjuku’s west, and set off for shidax, which somehow i had never used before. as expected, AWKWARD TURTLE since yui and i knew all of the songs each other picked and celine…kinda didn’t. she only could sing cherry (YUI, er that is, the singer) with us lol. yui picked ayu’s evolution cause she figured celine would know that song, which i mean, that’s like the only ayu song i know, but she didnt…….so oh well lol. after that we went to curry buffet (!!! awesome) and once again yui and i talked alot about her singing and music…celine didn’t lol >.> i felt so bad afterward but its like…i dont want to do the false-cheese conversation thing to try and include her…だってあいつの興味あることなんてぜんぜん知らなかった。_。

anyway, she went home and yui and i kinda “pretended” we were going home then snuck out of the station to go…gothloli shopping! we were looking for some places (her favorite place seems to have closed down). we were on an escalator and she was like “where the heck is this place” to which i pointed at the spiked and chained “gate” on the escalator up to the 5th floor and said, “uh, you uh, think that’s it maybe?” lol. we went up and down the place, and i actually found a really nice wallet chain that i got there. sadly we didnt keep in touch well until i left, but this is just YET ANOTHER thing i can add to my list of “if only i was in japan long-term…”

overall, another exhausting weekend. but you know what, this was the last truly fun weekend i had in tokyo. the last 2 would be, how do you say…tiresome?

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quick update before i forget everything/sum up trip

Posted by veritas on July 29, 2008

yesterday was the last day of school, and as i’m sitting here (doing laundry of course, as with any time i have any free time at home) it’s good to look back a bit first, and try to remember everything (bad memory, that’s all. no influences could possibly alter the effectiveness of my memory at all, of course.)

6/25 to 7/2

the most i remember about this period is that it was the last few days before the 6-week program kids went home. i was also completely sick during the entire period from previously mentioned up to now, and the following weekend would have me bed-ridden with sinus problems + bronchitis + stomach virus all-in-one. fever too maybe but i’m not sure. in any case it was terrible. i lost my voice 3 nights in a row (with yui’s concert being the middle) due to too much talking+karaoke+sick, but i endured. it was also around this time that i seriously started to enjoy shopping in japan for clothes, because i discovered that although there was a bunch of wierd designs and poor fashion, there’s also things that fit really really well with me and look pretty good. as lilly said “the last thing i expected you to pick up out of tokyo is fashion” haha

there was also a school-hosted bbq event on the 28th, which was pretty good. it was in odaiba, which i previously mentioned. the park that we held it in was right next to the water, which made for some good scenery to drink bottles of wine to. yep that’s right, the french part of zac came out sometime early this trip and he’s influenced everyone into bottles of wine instead of beers. i like his plan, however, because even though i don’t understand his reasoning, i definitely approve of the higher alcohol per yen rate that bottles of wine gives. i ran into the usual kids (and some that i didn’t really know too well) and ate a bunch of meat. amongst the “groups of friends” there’s this group of 6 or 8 and i’m not sure if they’re AEP or what, but they don’t seem like undergrads and sometimes play poker or just hang out. i played with them once or twice but that’s about it. paying for dinner with poker = woo

in any case i saw sean and yumi on that saturday evening with sean’s relatives and yumi’s friends from euphro. the funny thing is that i introduced her to that, and then i quit, and i guess she just kept on doing it casually. since i can’t play anything casually i guess i burned out faster, haha. we went to eat some sukiyaki, but time was getting cut short and thus we had to cut the karaoke. i got word sean went back to the states already, which is sad because due to scheduling conflicts we’ve been out of touch for a few weeks

damn these bugs. if you wear clothes, you sweat to death. if you don’t, you scratch yourself to death. where’s the compromise??


as much as i would love to give the month-after recollection of how ridiculously good yui’s concert was, i think it would be a time waster here. after all i can just click “home page” and read it again lol. ahhh there’s just those freeze-frame memories that (i hope) will never go away.

in any case, i think that after doing massive recovery of body health, i plunged directly back into the everyday routine. sean and i attempted to coordinate something for a while but that’s failed miserably. mai also finally arrived here after working on a farm for two weeks (o.o) and thus got busy with her job. for the first week she apparently lived out in like chiba which meant she had to get on a train by like 8 to go home lol. poor thing. plus the schoolkids, she had to take care of those too. but anyway we finally got in touch the day i was leaving for kyoto, which was just planned the same week. decently hectic, that was. at this same time katie was in tokyo from osaka so i showed her around a bit and we hung out with some of her other acquaintances from school. of course, we went eating again. mm oo-toro *drool*

kyoto trip – 7/10 to 7/14

when naho (japanese TA back at wake) got back from man-hunting in indonesia or australia or…yea whatever she was doing somewhere, we organized the trip and got the plans settled. it went surprisingly well – boarding+travel fees were all booked in 1 day. we took the bus over, which was actually not bad, but only for me. i slept some of the trip and was in this dream-like trance state for the rest of it. cynthia seemed to be able to sleep a bit, but kevin and zac had some serious problems it seemed. cynthia and i brought our stolen eye-guard things from the airplane, which i have to say is amazing, since obviously this proves great minds think alike. it was probably the key difference, indeed.

when we got there it was about 7:30am, so with my plan that i drew up the previous day (with the help of google – who needs ridiculously expensive tour guides when you have google?), we launched 京都観光大作戦. we found this little breakfast joint close to our hostel place and it was pretty homely. though, the pet got my allergies going, so i had to hit up some expired claritin. as soon as we got out of there we went to 東寺(tou-ji), the pagoda place close to kyoto station. as our first real temple experience it was pretty good, though there were places that you couldn’t go without invitation. this is something that’s common in kyoto and places in japan that have history – you need an introduction to get in. tokyo’s ginza district, as well, has places like this. this happened when we went down the geisha bar street near gion at night as well

in any case, we left 東寺 and got lunch at kyoto station. there were some expensive places but i didnt feel like ramen so cynthia accompanied me to this pasta-ish restaurant whereas z+k went to a ramen shop. this restaurant was amazing. we got like crazy fancy glasses and this ridiculous high class environment with 3 waitress girls waiting on us to finish our water and bread so they could refill/bring more. the plates and dishes were all very fancy and it was overall ridiculous. the price – 1000yen each. what? i cant believe. so simple, no skill required at all anyway, afterwards, cynthia had this idea to stop by the 京水寺 (kyoumizu tera), which turned out to be the best idea ever. if any of you go to kyoto, do NOT miss this fantastic mountain of awesomeness. there was beautiful scenery, many historic buildings (pagodas, shrines, etc), places where you can go pray, a dragon hand washer (!!!), the COOLEST rite of passage ever (leading to a wishing stone), a waterfall of holy water that you can drink, and passage to a hiking trail that extends through about half of kyoto. for kevin, there was a pack of about 30 girls (prolly some women’s university field trip) that nonstop stared at him. aww yeaaaa…and also kinda awkward lol. i normally hate sightseeing and historical museums and whatnot, but this place blew my mind.

the 銀閣寺(ginkaku-ji) was next, which is better known as the silver pavilion. unfortunately it was under construction and we pretty much paid the entrance fee for access to the souvenir shop. hopefully it will be fixed soon. after that disappointment, we headed over to gion (the entertainment district, and i’m not talking strip clubs) where zac cynthia and kevin went to watch this variation japanese art show (with bunraku, tea ceremony, etc). i didn’t really feel like it, however, so i went back early, got checked in, misc. i think i was getting grumpy from the 14 hour sightseeing, since i’m usually an indoors type and nothing kills my mood like the heat.

saturday was crazy. we went to the 金閣寺(kinkaku-ji), or better known as the golden pavilion (which was quite a magnificent view), followed by the rock garden place nearby. i feel bad because i was being a bit of an asshole cause i was worried about the day’s schedule – we had to get back to kyoto station soon in order to maximize our time in……….osaka! yessss we went to osaka, if only for a dismal 4 hours. a funny thing happened at kyoto station – we bought our tickets and i saw the express was leaving in 2 minutes so i told them to rush. i saw them on the escalator on the way down to the platform so i went ahead a bit and got on the train. then i turned around, the doors closed, and zac is outside with this incredible “wtf” look on his face. this was a nice summary of our trip though, because it seemed the 3 of them sticked together often whereas i would be the guy that goes off somewhere sometimes. maybe that’s just how i work though, i dunno. we went to umeda sky building, which is gorgeous. then we went to the shopping district cause the osaka castle closed for tourism by the time we finished sightseeing the sky building. we only had time for this one department store were we found a floor of yukata/kimono, and a jewelry section. they had this custom engagement right thing where you could choose everything – shape of ring, width, customization to fit the person’s finger, material, design, text, and all of this on top of choosing the gem, which was broken down into different shapes, designs, cuts, etc. pretty cool – i’d totally come here (provided i had the bling) for engagement ring selection. after that, we went back to kyoto station, washed up, and went to go meet naho and her best friend rie for some drinking => short time of karaoke. now, all i’m allowed to say, is that SOMEONE was very drunk and frisky. SOMEONE. I DONT KNOW WHO. ahem. edited pictures available on facebook >.>

sunday was a nice final day of the trip. me being me, i can’t stand looking the same 2 days in a row, so i tried to vary my clothing a bit to include my yui shirt under a button down, which was a terrible idea because i forgot how kyoto is like a george foreman grill (actually the scientist inside objects, it’s more like a one of those solar power receptors that is made in the shape of a satellite dish in order to concentrate the energy reception in the center. or if you’ve watched gundam seed, it’s like zaft’s genesis wmd), so i sweated through my yui shirt a bit and stained the button down with some red splotches. good thing the cleaners work miracles, or i’d be out a really nice shirt. however, i might have rethought this if i knew that the monkey park we were going to was on top of a mountain. yep that’s right. hiking uphill in july in kyoto at noon in 2 layers and jeans. real smart lol. but the monkeys were cute! that’s all that matters ;o

shinkansen on the way back. wayyyyy expensive but so cool! z cynthia and kev were like freaking out when we got there lol. i was excited but i guess nowhere as excited as them. we rode the のぞみN700, which at this time is the fastest in japan. just waiting for when they complete the 中央新幹線 (in 2050? lol) which will be on maglev technology…yeeeep…

overall the trip was pretty awesome. and probably far cheaper than if we went with the school. souvenirs and pictures came with the trip, so at least i have those still. i wanted to keep my shinkansen ticket but unfortunately that’s the only way i coulda gotten out of shinjuku station without making up a story about mis-swiping my suica somewhere else, and honestly by then i was too tired to try. because that night i had a nice literature paper waiting for me when i got back. woo!

i think i understand a little better now why people are so busy here. i don’t feel like i’ve done anything productive or made massive contributions to any crazy project but i’ve still been busy just staying alive lol. i think the kind of busy i’m used to and the kind of busy that is the city are totally different – concentrating all your efforts into one thing makes you miss out on so much of everything else the world has to offer. on the other side of the spectrum, spreading yourself out too thin doesn’t really let you seriously focus on anything, which is kind of like living on the meat samples at whole foods and never getting to have a steak. balance, all about balance…

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