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SNOW MONKEYS

AND CRANES
WHOOPER SWANS

DEAR ADVENTURER
This Snow Monkeys & Cranes expedition showcases the unique wildlife and serene beauty
of wintertime in Japan. For earnest naturalists and photographers, this is a memorable journey
through pristine snowy terrain inhabited by troops of dancing red-crowned cranes, flocks of sea
eagles, and snow monkeys reveling in steaming hot springs.
We begin with one of the most extraordinary concentrations of birds anywhere in Asia, the
hooded cranes of Arasaki, Kyushu. Nearly 12,000 hooded and white-naped cranes winter here—
the stirring sights and sounds of these elegant birds are among the most memorable wildlife
experiences anywhere in the Far East.
We continue with a full-day visit to the enchanting, snow-enveloped World Heritage Site
of Gassho-Zukuri Village in Shirakawa-go, nestled in the steep mountains rising from the
Sho River Valley. The tall, gable-roofed architecture of Gassho-Zukuri—which literally means
“hands folded in prayer”—is unique in Japan.
Our next destination, Jigokudani in central Honshu, is set among rugged peaks and forested
valleys and its steaming hot springs lend the area its nickname of “Hell Valley.” Our focus
of attention is on the extraordinary snow monkeys that visit and soak in the thermal baths.
We’ll spend two days here, allowing ample time to observe and photograph this celebrated
spectacle and enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs at our lodge.
We travel to the northern island of Hokkaido where we spend the second half of our expedition
surrounded by a spectacular array of wildlife. Here we have the opportunity to witness and
photograph large flocks of Japanese, or red-crowned, cranes as they leap, pirouette, and trumpet
loudly in dramatic greeting and courting rituals.
Other highlights during our exploration of Hokkaido include a visit to Akan National Park
with its steaming sulphuroles and scenic crater lake where flocks of vociferous whooper swans
seem to sail through the early morning mist. On the Shiretoko Peninsula we search for foxes,
deer, and seals, and take a boat trip to the ice edge to feed and photograph Steller’s sea eagles,
the planet’s largest and most powerful raptor.
I hope you will join me for a truly unique adventure that blends a vast array of fascinating
wildlife with the exquisitely beautiful landscape of Japan in winter.
Warmest regards,

Mark Brazil
Expedition Leader

For more information on this popular itinerary visit our Web site and…
ZECO.COM

• View photos in our Photo Gallery in Zeco Travel Talk (our blog)
• Read blog posts about Mark’s latest book and reports from previous expeditions.
Simply search for “Japan” once you are in the blog.
• Read testimonials from past travelers who rave about the destination and
our expedition leader.
JAPANESE MACAQUE

ITINERARY: 19 DAYs
SNOW MONKEYS & CRANES

DAY 1 DAY 5
USA / NAGOYA, HONSHU, JAPAN ARASAKI CRANE RESERVE
Depart USA on your independent fl ight to With a full day to concentrate on the cranes,
Nagoya. we explore the Arasaki area, visiting the main
concentration of cranes again, of course, and
DAY 2
hoping for a clear dawn to enjoy their mass
NAGOYA
departure from the roost. After breakfast we
Arrive late afternoon in Nagoya and check
seek out family parties in the surrounding
in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
fields, and hope for portraits of adults and
DAY 3 juveniles. We have time to focus on different
NAGOYA / KAGOSHIMA, KYUSHU / aspects of crane behavior and to look for any
KIRISHIMA unusual additions to the crane flock and for
An early-morning flight takes us to Kagoshima, other wintering birds.
on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu.
From Kagoshima we drive through wooded Day 6
hills into the Kirishima-Yaku National Park. IZUMI / SHIRAKAWA-GO,
Here we visit the ancient Kirishima Shrine and TAKAYAMA, HONSHU
local waterfalls for our first taste of Japan’s fasci- Today we leave rural Kyushu in southern Japan
nating blend of culture and nature and walk in for the snowy mountains of central Honshu.
the beautiful mature laurel forests around Lake We pass through areas of green tea groves on
Miike to observe wintering waterfowl. Dinner our way first to Kagoshima Airport then fly
and overnight at our hotel in Kirishima. back to Nagoya’s “Centrair” Airport. From
here our coach takes us to Gifu Prefecture
DAY 4 to visit the village of Shirakawa-go, located
ARASAKI CRANE RESERVE, IZUMI in an isolated, steep, mountainous area of the
This morning we drive through the cultivated Sho River Valley in the Chubu mountain range.
lowlands of southwest Kyushu on our way
to Arasaki. The fallow rice paddies around Th is 1966 World Heritage Site showcases
the coastal village of Arasaki are the site of a the unique architectural style (called Gassho-
spectacular winter gathering of Asian cranes. Zukuri) of the houses that resemble “praying
The sights and sounds of the massed ranks hands,” their steeply-pitched roofs like steepled
of about 12,000 hooded and white-naped fingers. Some of these gable-roofed houses rise
cranes make this one of the most powerful four stories high and accommodated up to
wildlife experiences one can hope for, and 50 people. We visit in the late afternoon as
a photographer’s dream. Overnight at our darkness falls to see the houses magically
hotel in Akune for the next two nights. illuminated. Overnight in Takayama.
RED-CROWNED CRANES

DAY 7 and soak in their very own hot pools. We also


TAKAYAMA / JIGOKUDANI keep a lookout for the shy and elusive Japanese
This morning we explore the historical town serow, an ecological equivalent of the North
of Takayama, visiting local saké breweries, American mountain goat, and birds such as
miso stores, and local crafts shop before the brown dipper and alpine accentor.
continuing by road through the Japan Alps
and via Matsumoto to Jigokudani in the DAY 10
mountains of central Honshu. It is here that JIGOKUDANI / KUSHIRO, HOKKAIDO
we have the extraordinary opportunity to Today we drive across Honshu and then fly
watch and photograph the snow monkeys, from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Kushiro.
though more accurately these particular Arriving in eastern Hokkaido, more wildlife
monkeys are the “hot-spring monkeys.” spectacles await—huge numbers of Japanese
We arrive in time for dinner at our delightful cranes, flocks of mist-enshrouded whooper
hotel. Quiet simplicity and style are its swans, magnificent Steller’s sea eagles—and
hallmarks; its attractive and artistic interior we have the possibility of encountering
is matched by its delightful garden. With its Eurasian red squirrels, sika deer, and red fox.
own onsen (natural thermal spring) we are Overnight at our hotel in Tsurui-mura for
be able to emulate generations of Japanese the next three nights.
people (and the monkeys) as we enjoy a
relaxing and therapeutic soak in the mineral DAYs 11 & 12
waters. The views from the baths to the snowy KUSHIRO REGION
outdoors are wonderful—suitably rounding Although Hokkaido is at about the same
off our days. We overnight for the next three latitude as southern France, prevailing winds
nights at Kambayashi Onsen. from Siberia transform this northern island
into a snow-filled wonderland in winter.
DAYs 8 & 9 Our goal is to observe and photograph the
JIGOKUDANI tall, red-crowned, or Japanese, cranes, the
Jigokudani is a steep-sided valley set largest and most northerly of the cranes in
amid forested mountains. Its name, which Japan. We should expect to see flocks of 100
translates to “Hell Valley,” comes from the or more of these magnificent birds at ranges
gushing steam spring here. The sun arrives down to just 30 feet or less. Greeting ceremo-
late to this valley and leaves early, so after nies and courtship dances involve leaps and
breakfast we walk along the gently contoured pirouettes, posturing, and trumpeting cries.
mile-and-a-half trail to the viewing area. Such behavior can be infectious, spreading
Here we spend a leisurely day observing and through the flocks in waves, and oftentimes
photographing the two local resident troops dozens of ecstatic cranes are leaping and
of Japanese macaques as they feed nearby trumpeting in a thrilling display.
RED FOX

Shiretoko
Peninsula / Rausu

Akan National Park Yoroushi


HOKKAIDO Kushiro
RUSSIA

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Shirakawa-go /
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SHIKOKU
KYUSHU
Arasaki Crane
Reserve / Izumi

Kirishima-Yaku Kagoshima
National Park

DAYs 13 & 14 and harbor seals are possible, and we also


AKAN NATIONAL PARK look out for sea-urchin harvesters. Soon we
Our next location, though not far from must leave Shiretoko behind and head south
Kushiro, is an entirely different setting— to our accommodations inland at Yoroushi.
the volcanic scenery of Akan National Park. Our architecturally modern inn has feeders
The Kawayu area is geothermally rich, and busy with birds, a superb hot spring, and
we are presented with a variety of visually delightful artwork. Overnight for the next
stunning subjects: steaming sulphuroles, two nights at Yoroushi.
Hokkaido’s most scenic crater lake, and
DAY 17
flocks of vociferous whooper swans gliding
YOROUSHI / AKAN AND NOTSUKE
among the steam and morning mist. In the
Our base lies a little to the east of Akan
evening we retreat to our delightful lakeside
National Park, allowing us to explore the
hotel for a gourmet meal.
very different scenery of the southeast coast
DAY 15 of Hokkaido, where there are more chances
RAUSU, SHIRETOKO PENINSULA of encountering herds of deer, wandering
Today we drive to the fishing port of Rausu, foxes, and wintering swans, ducks, and
on the Shiretoko Peninsula, another of Japan’s raptors. Time permitting, we also visit the
World Heritage Sites. This rugged, mountain- workshop of a local wood-block printer.
ous finger of land attracts good numbers of
white-tailed eagles and Steller’s sea eagles, DAY 18
truly immense birds, half again as big as KUSHIRO / TOKYO
the bald eagle. Weather permitting, we visit After breakfast and our last chance to watch
the edge of the sea ice by boat and lure these birds at the feeders outside our lodge, we
impressive raptors with fish scraps. Over complete our circuit of eastern Hokkaido as
2,000 of them winter on Hokkaido. Tonight we drive back to Kushiro for our flight south
we stay at a local inn overlooking the sea. to Tokyo. We will pause for our last glimpses
of cranes and our last views of Kushiro marsh
DAY 16
before saying farewell to Japan’s wildest island,
SHIRETOKO PENINSULA / YOROUSHI
Hokkaido. Overnight at our hotel in Tokyo
We have a second opportunity to visit
with a special farewell dinner.
the eagles and, weather-permitting, greet
the sunrise and the eagles at the ice edge. DAY 19
Following breakfast we continue our explora- TOKYO / USA
tion of eastern Hokkaido, first along the Board your independent international flights
Shiretoko Peninsula for more views of winter and re-cross the Date Line to arrive back
wildfowl and raptors, and to watch for foxes, in the USA on the same day. Connect with
deer, and seals. Sightings of Steller’s sea lions homeward flights.
MEET OUR LEADER:

MARK BRAZIL

Mark developed his fascination with the natural world, especially birds, during his boyhood
in the landlocked English county of Worcestershire. He then pursued his academic interests
in biology during studies in England and Scotland, while exploring the coasts and mountains
of Britain in search of birds. Mark earned his Ph.D. from Stirling University, Scotland, for
his work on avian ecology and behavior in Iceland. Ornithological research, natural history
consultancy for TV companies, and guiding naturalists and wildlife photographers have taken
him to all continents, but his particular passion is Asia in all its diversity. Fascinated by island
biology, he is a leading authority on the natural history of Japan, where until recently he was
professor of biodiversity and conservation at Rakuno Gakuen University, Hokkaido. In addition
to being a field naturalist, he is a columnist, author, and editor. His books include Wild Asia:
Spirit of a Continent, The Birds of Japan (the defi nitive text of bird biology and distribution
in the Japanese archipelago), The Whooper Swan, and the Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia.

© Mason Florence
JAPANESE MACAQUES

SNOW MONKEYS
The Japanese macaque, or snow monkey, lives farther north than any other primate except
humans. They are admirably suited for life in subalpine climates; their thick winter coats enable
them to survive the heavy snow and freezing temperatures of Hokkaido.

Some observers believe the snow monkeys demonstrate that lower primates can develop a culture.
These researchers point to the monkeys’ habit of washing sweet potatoes rather than brushing
them clean, a practice first attributed to a female named Imo in the 1960s. Other members of
her troop adopted this behavior, which then spread to other troops. Researchers also cite the
snow monkeys’ habit of soaking in hot springs, which reportedly dates back about 40 years,
as further evidence.

Snow monkeys are both celebrated and excoriated in Japan. Some deem them national treasures,
and the monkeys appear in folklore and works of art. Destruction of their habitat, however, has
brought the monkeys into confl ict with human populations as the animals destroy crops and
even invade towns searching for food. In response, the government allows farmers and others to
kill up to 5,000 monkeys a year. While the monkeys are not currently endangered, some natural-
ists fear that this slaughter and habitat loss could lead to the extinction of regional populations.
RED-CROWNED CRANES

TERMS & CONDITIONS


The acceptance of your reservation form and deposit by if he or she feels the participant is physically incapable and/or
Zegrahm Expeditions, Inc d/b/a Zegrahm Expeditions and if a participant’s continued participation will jeopardize either
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have selected is appropriate for you. The tour leader has the Zegrahm Expeditions, Inc d/b/a Zegrahm Expeditions and
right to disqualify any participant at any time during the tour Eco-Expeditions 192 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109
WHITE-NAPED CRANES

WHAT TO EXPECT
Winter weather in Japan is variable. It may be cool in Kyushu, with temperatures in the 40º
to 50ºF range, but warm sunshine and rain are not unlikely. The mountains of central Honshu
will be colder and snow is quite likely. Hokkaido, the northernmost large island, typically has
a dry, crisp, and cold winter with powder snow and temperatures around 20ºF. While lighter
clothing may be comfortable for you in the south, long underwear, polar fleece tops, and parkas
are essential for the north, especially if it is windy or when we go out by boat (basically if it
keeps you warm downhill skiing, then it will keep you warm in Hokkaido).

Although Japan’s cities have a veneer of Western culture, on this departure most of our time
will be spent in the countryside where at first glance we may seem faced with an alien and
enigmatic culture. Rest assured, however, Mark has many years experience of wildlife exploration
and leading groups in Japan and will be on hand throughout this tour to guide, assist, answer
your questions, and explain all aspects of Japanese wildlife and society.

Please be aware that while you are in Japan, encountering unfamiliar customs, styles of food,
and accommodations, it is your culture that is the alien one. Nevertheless, a visit to Japan,
particularly in winter, is a truly wonderful experience. Travelers who possess a sense of humor,
a spirit of adventure, and a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing things will thoroughly
enjoy this program.

Several of our overnight stops will require sleeping on futons, and at some accommodations
en suite bathrooms are a dream of the future. Meals are provided at all of our accommodations,
and food will be given in generous quantities. Please be aware, however, that menus are set.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, in the backcountry places we will be visiting for our hosts
to cater to individual food preferences. The majority of our meals, once away from the larger
cities, will be Japanese in style and content. If you have any specific dietary requirements, it is
essential that we be notified at the time of your initial booking to see if these can be catered
for. At the end of the day, sleeping on futons and wrestling with chopsticks are all part of the
Japanese experience and will be great fun if you are an outgoing person and tolerant of cultural
differences.

Because of the vastly different culture we as foreigners will experience in Japan, there will
All photos © Mark Brazil, unless otherwise noted.

be considerable scope for photography, not only of wildlife subjects but also of people and of
modern and rural Japan. You may therefore wish to bring along flash photography equipment
and a selection of short lenses in addition to longer lenses for
wildlife photography. Please be aware, however, that porters
are an endangered species in Japan, so be sure to limit your
luggage to what you can manage personally.

192 Nickerson Street #200 Seattle, WA 98109 USA


Tel: 206-285-4000 Toll-free: 1-800-628-8747
®
Fax: 206-285-5037 E-mail: info@zeco.com
Giving You the World Web site: www.zeco.com
WHOOPER
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liates,
affiliates,
liates,
agents,
agents,
agents,
contractors
contractors
contractors
andand
and
subcontractors
subcontractors
subcontractors from
from
from
anyanyany
liability
liability
liability
forforfor
personal
personal
personal
injury,
injury,
injury,
property
property
propertydamage
damage
damage ororwrongful
orwrongful
wrongful
death
death
deathwhich
which
which
I might
I might
I mightsuff
suff
suff
ererduring
erduring
during
my my my
participation
participation
participation
ininthe
inthe
the
scheduled
scheduled
scheduled trip.
trip.
trip.

SIGNATURE
SIGNATURE
SIGNATURE DATE
DATE
DATE

SIGNATURE
SIGNATURE
SIGNATURE DATE
DATE
DATE
Please
Please
Please
complete
complete
complete
and
and
and
return
return
return
this
this
this
Reservation
Reservation
Reservation
Form
Form
Form
with
with
with
your
your
your
deposit
deposit
deposit
to:
to:
to:
Reservation
Reservation
Reservation
requests
requests
requests
may
may
may
also
also
also
bebebe
made
made
made
online
online
online
atatat
www.zeco.com.
www.zeco.com.
www.zeco.com.
EJPN1101
EJPN1101
EJPN1101

192
192
192Nickerson
Nickerson
Nickerson
Street
Street
Street
#200
#200
#200Seattle,
Seattle,
Seattle,
WA
WA
WA98109
98109
98109
USA
USA
USA
Tel:
Tel:
Tel: 206-285-4000Toll-free:
206-285-4000
206-285-4000 Toll-free:
Toll-free:
1-800-628-8747
1-800-628-8747
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Giving
Giving
Giving
You
You
You
the
the
the
World
World
World Web
Web
Web site:
site:
site:
www.zeco.com
www.zeco.com
www.zeco.com
© Mason
© Mason
© Mason
Florence
Florence
Florence

SNOW
SNOW
SNOWMONKEYS
MONKEYS
MONKEYS&&&CRANES
CRANES
CRANES

DATES
DATES
DATES &
&
& RATES
RATES
RATES
DATES
DATES
DATES
FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY ––20,
222 –20,
20,
2011
2011
2011 LEADER:
LEADER:
LEADER:
MARK
MARK
MARK
BRAZIL
BRAZIL
BRAZIL

RATES
RATES
RATES
$11,480
$11,480
$11,480
per
per
per
person,
person,
person,
double
double
double
occupancy
occupancy
occupancy $1,880
$1,880
$1,880
single
single
single
supplement*
supplement*
supplement*
Limited
Limited
Limited
tototo
141414
expedition
expedition
expedition
members.
members.
members.
INCLUDED:
INCLUDED:
INCLUDED:
All
All
All
accommodations
accommodations
accommodations
and
and
and
meals
meals
meals
from
from
from
dinner
dinner
dinner
on
on
on
Day
Day
Day
22to
2toto
breakfast
breakfast
breakfast
onon
on
Day
Day
Day
19;
19;
19;
group
group
group transfers;
transfers;
transfers;
guided
guided
guided
excursions
excursions
excursionsasasas
stated
stated
statedininin
the
the
the
itinerary;
itinerary;
itinerary;
entrance
entrance
entrance
fees
fees
fees
for
for
for
parks,
parks,
parks,
reserves,
reserves,
reserves,
etc.;
etc.;
etc.;
allallall
gratuities;
gratuities;
gratuities;
$50,000
$50,000
$50,000
ofofof
emergency
emergency
emergency sickness/accident
sickness/accident
sickness/accident medical
medical
medicalexpenses
expenses
expensesand
and
and
$75,000
$75,000
$75,000ininin
evacuation
evacuation
evacuation insurance.
insurance.
insurance.
NOT
NOT
NOT INCLUDED:
INCLUDED:
INCLUDED: All
All
All
air
air
air
transportation;
transportation;
transportation; excess
excess
excess
baggage
baggage
baggage
charges;
charges;
charges;
airport
airport
airport
arrival
arrival
arrival
and
and
anddeparture
departure
departure
taxes;
taxes;
taxes;
transfers
transfers
transfers
for
for
for
independent
independent
independent arrivals
arrivals
arrivals
and
and
anddepartures;
departures;
departures;
passport
passport
passportand/or
and/or
and/orvisa
visa
visa
fees;
fees;
fees;
accident/
accident/
accident/
baggage/cancellation
baggage/cancellation
baggage/cancellation insurance;
insurance;
insurance; items
items
items
ofofof
a apersonal
apersonal
personal
nature
nature
nature
such
such
suchasasas
laundry,
laundry,
laundry,bar
bar
bar
charges,
charges,
charges,
alcoholic
alcoholic
alcoholic
beverages,
beverages,
beverages,e-mail/fax/telephone
e-mail/fax/telephone
e-mail/fax/telephone charges.
charges.
charges.
AIR
AIR
AIR
FARE:
FARE:
FARE:
AAtentative
Atentative
tentative
flight
flight
flight
schedule
schedule
schedule
isisavailable
isavailable
available
upon
upon
upon
request.
request.
request.
Eco-Expeditions
Eco-Expeditions
Eco-Expeditions
will
will
will
contact
contact
contact
you
you
you
approximately
approximately
approximately180
180
180days
days
days
prior
prior
prior
tototo
the
the
the
departure
departure
departure
ofofof
this
this
this
program
program
program tototo
finalize
finalize
finalize
your
your
your flight
flight
flight
plans.
plans.
plans.
As
AsAs
ofofof
January
January
January
2010,
2010,
2010,
the
the
the
approximate
approximate
approximate economy
economy
economyair
air
air
fare
fare
fare
asasas
listed
listed
listed
ininin
the
the
the
itinerary
itinerary
itinerary
isis$1,650
is$1,650
$1,650 for
for
for
Los
Los
Los
Angeles/Nagoya/Kagoshima/Nagoya
Angeles/Nagoya/Kagoshima/Nagoya
Angeles/Nagoya/Kagoshima/Nagoya ––Tokyo/Kushiro/Tokyo/Los
–Tokyo/Kushiro/Tokyo/Los
Tokyo/Kushiro/Tokyo/Los Angeles.
Angeles.
Angeles. Additional
Additional
Additional
fares
fares
fares
from
from
from
other
other
other
cities
cities
cities
will
will
willbebebe
quoted
quoted
quoted asasas
needed.
needed.
needed.
All
All
All
rates
rates
rates
are
are
are
per
per
per
person,
person,
person,quoted
quoted
quoted
ininin
U.S.
U.S.
U.S.
dollars,
dollars,
dollars,
and
and
and
must
must
must
bebebe
paid
paid
paid
ininin
U.S.
U.S.
U.S.
dollars.
dollars.
dollars.
Rates
Rates
Rates
and
and
and
itineraries
itineraries
itineraries
are
are
are
subject
subject
subject
tototo
change.
change.
change.
* *A*Alimited
Alimited
limited
number
number
number
ofofof
single
single
single
accommodations
accommodations
accommodations
are
are
are
available.
available.
available.

““What
“What
Whatan an
anexceedingly
exceedingly
exceedinglyinteresting
interesting
interestingtrip
trip
tripthat
that
thatwas!
was!
was!Over
Over
Overand
and
andover
over
overagain
again
again
wewe
wespeak
speak
speakabout
about
aboutthethe
thecranes
cranes
cranesinin
inthe
the
theearly
early
earlystunningly
stunningly
stunninglybeautiful
beautiful
beautifulmorning
morning
morning
light,
light,
light,the
the
thewhooper
whooper
whooperswansswans
swanswaking
waking
wakingup, up,
up,the
the
theSteller’s
Steller’s
Steller’ssea
sea
seaeagles
eagles
eagleson
on
onthe
the
theice,
ice,
ice,
the
the
theflying
flying
flyingcranes,
cranes,
cranes,the the
theowls,
owls,
owls,the
the
thesable,
sable,
sable,and
and
andthe
the
themonkeys!
monkeys!
monkeys!Thank
Thank
Thankyou you
you
once
once
oncemore
more
morefor
for
forthese
these
thesewonderful
wonderful
wonderfulexperiences
experiences
experiencesamong
among
amongJapan’s
Japan’s
Japan’snature
nature
naturewith
with
with
Mark
Mark
MarkBrazil
Brazil
Brazilasasasaaastupendously
stupendously
stupendouslygood good
goodguide.”
guide.”
guide.”
––G.
–G.
G.
&&&
R.R.R.
Sondheimer
Sondheimer
Sondheimer

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