Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 Art Tip Awards Part 4- Some NSFW

All right, I’m powering through the last 50 entries of the Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Awards. The theme is Japanese Textures, and we’re seeing lots of geisha/maiko figures, cranes and the dread Flowers No Matter What. There are a lot of flowers in this round, as well as a VERY not safe for work image for entry #94. At least it’s not more flowers!

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#76. A very pretty color combo with abstract art and flowers surrounding a koi pond. The color and detail work is really nice. The shape of the nails on the left and right adds some interest too.

#77. Floral and crane details on a red base. Pretty but not the most original entry we’ve seen.

#78. Flowers. Just flowers. Folks, with Japan’s incredibly rich history of art and culture, could you not have found anything else to choose? So tired of flowers…

#79. See #78.

#80. Doodly figures with flowers and maple leaves. It takes a lot of practice to be able to paint realistic figures, make sure you’ve got it down before you attempt it on nails, or it may look a bit cartoony. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be that way or not.

#81. Goldfish bowl in front of shoji screens. Something a bit different at least!

#82. Maple leaves on a black base with some gray stones. I like the use of color and the stones but the technique needs some polishing.(Hey-Yo!)

#83. Noh figure on a background that’s just a bit too busy for my taste.

#84. Manga style figures with temari balls and…flowers. Still, nice 3 work and it works well together

#85.Dragon and oiran figure, plus the nearly ubiquitous crane. Nice use of color, though.

#86. ? I have no idea, can anyone help out? Kind of looks like a mandala and a molting caterpillar.

#87. 2D flowers. No mas.

#88. Florals and traditional 2D patterns on a red background. Coming up a bit short here…

#89. Abstract mandala, flowers and what kinda looks like a tiny Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

#90. Anime type figure (which is unintentionally terrifying) and marbles and splashes. Also, random tiny hands imploring the viewer to take some marbles.

#91. Crane, geisha, maple leaves. Nice work all around, though.

#92. Flowers, butterflies, knotwork. We’ve seen all these elements but this is good quality work that makes a cohesive whole. I can’t see the individual nails, but I guess they’re in there somewhere.

#93. Red base. Florals. Ukiyoe figures.

#94. NSFW. WOW! While I don’t really want to think about the X-rated textures of Japan, at least there are no tentacles here. Well done work and high points for uniqueness. Not a flower to be found here! Does it make me totally out of it if I’m not sure what those body parts or devices are?

#95. Flowers. Cranes. Maple leaves. More flowers.

#96. Mashup scene with goldfish, woman in kimono, maple leaves.

#97. Flowers. Who’da thunk it?

#98. More cranes n flowers, but this work is extraordinary. Look how fine the details are. I just wish they’d chosen something more original, but I can’t fault that craftmanship.

 

#99. Autumn scene but needs more attention to detail to make it work.

#100. Maiko/geisha n flowers.

Well, at least one entry is really memorable! I think #98 is best in this round. Those circular chrysanthemums are incredibly difficult to do and the outlining is out of this world.

And…the last entries, #101-125.

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#101. I like the bold color palette, but I have serious geisha + goldish fatigue. I do not want to think about the texture of goldfish.

#102. Very nice detail work on Japanese folklore figurines. Here’s a closeup.

 

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#103. Dragon, Mt. Fuji and flowers. The dragon has great detailing. I’m partial to dragons, but this is especially nice work.

#104. Flowers, yes. Goldfish, yes. But a Hokusai woodblock print wave and utterly stunning detail work still make this a wonderful entry.

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#105. Oiran figure and flowers. We’ve seen this theme loads, but the painting and sculpture are very good on this entry.

#106. A wagon wheel and traditional patterns with a nice color palette.

#107. This owl and samurai may be from a story I’m not familiar with. Don’t care, because this painting is fantastic.

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#108. I also have no idea what this is about. Obviously, jewels. Other than that, I don’t know really. BUT LOOK AT THAT PAINTING. Almost photorealistic.  Look at the facets on the jewels. Extraordinary. Probably the best 2D painting in the whole show.

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#109. A really fierce looking dragon with hair like That Guy In The News. Uh..let’s move on!

#110. Red background with florals, maple leaves and a bit of kiriko cut glass. It’s nice but has nothing on the other cut glass entry we saw earlier.

#111. Crane. Flowers. Fan. Umbrella. Nice work but I got fatigue.

#112. Moth n flowers. Step it up, we’ve got some great entries to beat!

#113. New Year’s scene. Not the most original, but nicely sculpted. The bamboo tubes are especially good.

#114. A giant red sea bream. Or maybe catfish?

#115. Dunno the story, but the guy looks like he is about to sneeze. That is all I see when I look at the figures. Nice sculpting work. A-CHOO!

#116. Red. Flowers. Free me from this prison.

#117. Goldfish n flowers.

#118. A cartoony geisha. I got to give them credit for attempting the hand, it’s very difficult. If it’s not perfectly done, it looks weird. Hands are very tricky.

#119. Cranes!

#120. Not sure, some ruby red nails with red jewels. Looks a bit haphazard.

#121. More white birds. I just can’t.

#122. Forgivable flowers, with fantastic detail and some temari balls thrown in for good measure. A theme I can’t stand, but this is well done. Please use your talents for original ideas, people! Challenge yourself to paint something with NO flowers. Try. You can do it!

#123. I don’t know what this is supposed to be, but the middle figure looks like the love child of  my ex co-worker Yuko and Michael Jackson. I’m sorry, Yuko. I shouldn’t out you. I never knew you had an affair with MJ. I won’t tell your husband. Better not let him go to the Nail Expo. Ever.

#124. Flowerrrssss.

#125. Flowers n butterflies, but the amazing palette of colors saves it from getting side eye.

Aaand… I’m spent. I hope everyone enjoyed looking at these entries. What are your picks for the top prizes?

 

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Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Award Part 3

The nail art rolls on…here are entries 51-76 from the Art Tip Awards. Here, we see some totally outstanding entries, which are among some of the best I’ve seen. And as far as I’m concerned, I need a little shiny joy in my life. I’m not going to harp on politics, but I need a distraction from all the crazy stuff that’s going on. So let’s take a look.

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#51. A bit gothic, with some darker greyed out purple and 3D flowers. Like the color palette, bored to death by florals.

#52. Some maple leaves on white, pretty but not rising to the level of the other entries.

#53. Butterflies n flowers. Please. No.

#54. This entry is fantastic. While the nail base is crazy large (as it it would fit almost no actual human), the design stuns. It’s “kiriko,” or Japanese cut glass. It’s a traditional art form, where hot glass is slashed to put clear geometric designs onto colored glass. These nails look just like it and are fantastically well done. Let’s check the close up!

These get my pick for technique, uniqueness and matching the theme.

#55. Very well done geisha/maiko look. We’ve seen a lot of these entries, but this painting stands out for its detail and quality. The 3D floral look is well done too.

#56. More gesiha/maikos on parade, with some excellent 3D umbrellas and knotwork. Very nice use of color as well. Very nice job all around.

#57. ? Some blood n guts. And flowers. I’m mystified.

#58. Sumo wrestlers and a very drunk dog. I bet we won’t be seeing any more like this, so points for uniqueness. Well sculpted.

#59. Nicely done cranes that do a 2D to 3D transition, along with some maple leaves. Very nice detailing here.

#60. A butterfly and some frilly bits.

#61. Some Japanese “yokai” folklore characters and very Japanese looking flames. Beautiful detail.

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#62-65. All Japanese geisha/maiko figures. I’d say #64, shown below, is my favorite of the lot. All well done, but we’ve seen soo many of these.

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#66. Bees, cotton ball clouds and sculpted strawberries. Unique but I’m not sure these really fit in with the theme. Another generic kawaii entry.

#67. Nicely done overall, with especially good sculpture. Little random bits and bobs from Japanese culture, including dolls, sea bream, goldfish and a daruma. Not sure how the circus monkey fits in. I’m not sure they were going for the Monkey Shines look.

#68. Haphazard lips.

#69. A bird of some sort fading into the most threatening cherry blossoms ever.

#70. While I’m getting crane burnout, this may be the best crane we’ve seen so far. The cherry blossoms are very well done, too. Grade A sculpting.

#71. Simple Mt. Fuji, crane, flowers.

#72. Cranes n flowers.

#73.  Futuristic flowers. Please no more flowers.

#74. More geisha, but very well done.

#75. Mix and match Japanese folklore- look at this painting and the level of detail!

 

My pick is #54, for the excellent execution and uniqueness, but this #75 is also a stunner. I hope everyone’s enjoying the entries. I have about 50 more to go through. There were a few flowers and a couple entries that weren’t really up to par, but there were also some great entries. I’m getting a little burned out on geisha and cranes, but they’re a common Japanese culture theme, so I’m not surprised we’re seeing a lot of them.

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Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Awards Part 2

I’ll just get right into it, here are entries 26-50 of the Tokyo Nail Expo Art Tip Awards. The theme is “Japanese Textures” and we’ve got quite a few nice entries in here. As always, click to enlarge.

Here’s 26-50:

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Here’s some of my notes on the entries:

#26. Very lovely detail painting of geisha, a bit short on 3D elements but solid 2D painting.

#27. Flowers. We all know how I feel about that.

#28. Geish and fish.  Nice work but we’ve seen a few of these so far.

#29. Goldfish. A good piece overall but I don’t want to think about the texture of goldfish. Especially those vile ones with the huge bulgy eyes. But that’s just me.

#30. More flowers. So tired of flowers.

#31. Very prettily painted scene and nice maple leaves, but the outstanding part is how the red umbrella transitions from 2D to 3D. This type of illusion is very difficult to pull off.

#32. I am mystified. Lips, red white and blue with stars. This one is so random I can’t figure out if it was even meant to be entered.

#33. Hearts n butterflies. This one is not even close to being in the same league as other entries, though we’ve all got to start somewhere.

#34. Butterflies and sakura on monochrome red. The knotwork is pretty, but these aren’t doing anything for me.

#35. This kind of looks like a tragic scene. Is it a shower suicide? Is the hand reaching for drops of blood? Rose petals? While I don’t really understand it, I can appreciate the skill it look to do the 2D-3D transition with the hand.

#36. Flowers. Nice use of color but I am so sick of flowers for every theme.

#37. Gorgeous detail work and museum-quality painting…of? There’s a snake involved and classical Western figures, but I’m coming up short on the corresponding story.  Can anyone help me out on this? Amazing technique but I’m baffled on the meaning.

Check out more detail:

#38. Oiran figure with maple leaves and wagon wheels. The wheels definitely took some skill, as round things are the hardest to get right. Nice use of color, too.

#39. Goldfish are swimming in something green and white. The background is too busy to appreciate all the detail.

#40. Monochrome flowers. Needs something else, color or bolder detail.

#41. Cute 2D work but needs way more to compete with the other detailed entries.

#42. Lots of jewels and rich colors, but not sure what this is about or how it keeps with the theme.

#43. Flowers. Black/red leaves and red 3D tsubaki flowers.Flowers. Gah!

#44. Another goldish n geisha mashup, with some flowers thrown in for good measure. Nice transition between the “scenes” on each nail but needs something else to make it pop.

#45. Nice work on the 3D crane, it’s hard to make birds look good, but the background is much simpler than the other entries we’ve seen.

#46. Red with floral/vegetation details. Nice detail work but you know…

#47. Mix n match scene with maple leaves, geisha Mt. Fuji and temari balls. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve seen these quite a few times, but the work is nice on each entry.

#48. Traditional Japanese figures, very nicely painted but are just not grabbing me since I’m on Oiran Overload at the moment.

#49. Lots and lots of red beads and studs. Are they whips? Am I a pervert? They remind me of cat o’ nine tails. These seem like something you’d see in a video that you had to show ID to rent. At least there are no flowers.🙂

#50. Nice floral scene (gasp!) The 3D irises are very well done. At least there’s a crane and some rhinestones to add some interest.

I meant to do another round of 25 entries, but I’m getting to that state where I keep staring at the same photos over and over again because I forgot what I was just looking at. I’m going to chip away at the rest slowly but surely.🙂

#37 is my pic from this round, due to the excellent details and great use of color. I just wish I knew what it was depicting. Seems very mysterious, but no matter what the story, the work is top class.

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Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 Art Tip Award Part 1

Hey guys, I’m sorry this is coming at you so late. I had some video/upload issues in Tokyo that I was too jetlagged/frustrated to do anything with, so I left it until I returned to the US and felt a bit more sane. Blasted roaming 2G  Internet…ah, Japan.

First off, the Expo was great as usual. I believe this is the 7th year I’ve attended. My only complaint is the lousy crowd control. I don’t want to be a nail snob, but it might be useful if they let professionals in early and then the general crowd. The pros know what they want and zip in and out- not so much the case for the general admissions. However, the mayhem is all part of the experience, I guess. Though it runs for 2 days,  I did only attend on the 30th, as the 31st was my wedding anniversary and Mr. NTMG and I zipped off to the hot springs in Hakone. I did miss the Nail Queen fashion show, but I’ll share the images from the show coverage in the next Nail Max magazine.

For some live footage, check out my summary video from my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/NeverTooMuchGlitterNailArt/videos/1357498014262419/

But here’s my favorite part of the show- the Art Tip awards! I’m bringing you *every single entry,* despite being nicely crabbed for lingering too long at by the security-type guy at the Art Tip wall. There is a time and place to pretend you don’t speak a lick of Japanese.😉

These entries are submitted by nail artists with a given theme. This year is “Japanese Textures,” which should be a pretty familiar theme for most of the artists. We will still see a few die-hard hearts and flowers people, who pull the same lame designs no matter what the theme, but there were quite a few entries with some real creative chops behind them. The crowd gets a voting slip with their entrance ticket and can write down the numbers of their favorite entry.

Here’s 1-25. Click to enlarge.

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Some notes on the entries, with the number corresponding to the entry numer:

  • #1. The lady oiran (high-class courtesan of the Heian era) figure looks a bit surprised, but the sculpted red acrylic (?) ring is very nice quality. Not sure why the not-very-Japan peacock crashed the party, but they’re kind of jerks like that. They always strut right in.
  • #2. I like the colors but we need something more. Also, why are the goldfish swimming up Mt. Fuji?
  • #3. Nice bold colors, but not sure what the large red disk is- umbrella? Anyone know?
  • #4. While the work is very nice, the bird looks like it’s contemplating devouring the much smaller baby. Being that Japan has an incredibly low birth rate, babies wouldn’t be the first thought on my mind for the theme, but that’s just me. Also, are babies textured? If so, then something is really wrong with the ones I know.
  • #5. Really tight work on the stone lion dogs. The maple leaves are a nice seasonal touch too.
  • #6. Erm….more details please! Unless the 2D work is extraordinary enough to stand on its own (and one later entry was), we all want to see a little 3D action going on.
  • #7. Very fine geometric detail work but the base nails were HUMONGOUS. I mean, they would have fit an elephant.
  • #8. These look a bit haphazard, I couldn’t quite get what the artist was trying to portray. You’ve got to bring on a little more color and detail to make a statement.
  • #9. I like the way the artist used the space even in between the nails to add texture and 3D drama.
  • #10.  Nicely done crane over traditional patterns, but the design seems a bit cramped overall.
  • #11. While the maiko/geisha figure is a bit off proportion, I love that dragon that looks like he’s plotting something wicked, right down to the whiskers. He’s the star!
  • #12. This is the first entry with a kind of modern pop twist. Bright colors and kawaii animals, along with a random daruma, goldfish and maneki neko. I like…
  • #13. Ah, here come the hearts n flowers brigade. But these are well done enough so I don’t mind too much. Lots of color keeps it interesting.
  • #14. A koi feeding frenzy with interesting beadwork to add flair. This is off topic, but I had a dorm-mate at University of Hawaii who referred to koi as “fatty boombalas.” It described them perfectly.
  • #15. Can anyone help me out with the figure on the right? Is it a dragon, or some tradtional yokai that I’m not familiar with? I  keep thinking it looks like the weird Elmer’s glue figure on a bad day. The background scroll work is gorgeous, though.
  • #16. Another maiko/geisha type entry. Some goldfish and a pretty crane add to the design, which is very traditional. We will see a lot of these.
  • #17. It kind of looks like a gothed-out Veronica from Archie, complete with dripping bloody rose. Definitely different! I guess the texture in this case is blood.
  • #18. Japanese…snake? It’s hard to tell it from the photo, but there were tiny individual scales on it. High marks for patience.
  • #19.A gal and her horse. Nice painting work and use of color but I’m having trouble associating it with Japanese textures. Also, the Japanese enjoy eating raw horsemeat. It’s called “basashi.” I once got duped into eating basashi ice cream. It was exactly what you’d expect.
  • #20. Nice use of color to show some very simple patterns, but it’s time to “level up,” as the Japanese are fond of saying. At least it’s in keeping with the theme.
  • #21. This is my pick of the best for this round. Very fine details and in keeping with the theme- there are fans, daruma, kitsune foxes, maple leaves…stunning detail. Take a closer look below. That’s fantastic painting skills.
  • #22. Cutesy oiran. While I’m less inclined to the kawaii stuff, the leaves and detailing show a lot of skill.
  • #23. Nicely done…phoenix? Hmm…great detail work- check out the geometric knot in the back.
  • #24. Goldfish, kokeshi doll type figure (?) and fan, very traditional. Nice work overall, with a good balance.
  • #25. Hearts n flowers, but again, well done. Not in keeping with the theme in my opinion, though.

So, that’s the first 25. There are approximately 100 more to go, but I’m in major jet lag mode. I hope you have enjoyed them so far- which one is your favorite?

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Tokyo Nail Expo 2016

Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 has wrapped up, and it was a great event, as usual.

Unfortunately, I’m having problems uploading photos to the blog on my mobile device, so will be a little short on photos until I can get to my computer. I have some photos on my Facebook and Instagram @nevertoomuchglitternailart for those of you who would like to take a peek. Below is a quick collage that I was able to upload, but the individual pictures are timing out.

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The start was pretty chaotic, since there was very little crowd control. There were thousands of people everywhere trying to get in and nobody to direct the line, so it was really chaotic.  In any other country, it would have been like running with the bulls, but the Japanese are pretty orderly, so it was OK in the end. But it was really miserable and a bad start to the event. Surprising, since her previous years they’ve had a good crowd control and manage to get everyone in an orderly line. Not for the faint of heart!

Once inside though, there was lots of glitter and things to look at. One trend was whole hand art. Rather than just the nails, people were also adding airbrushing, tattoo stickers and stick on stones all over the hands,rather than just nails. I don’t think this will work as everyday fashion  in a fairly conservative country like Japan, more as a look for a special event.

Japanese nail art has gotten more conservative over the past few years, and this year was no exception. Of course, there is some wild nail art on display, but in general, things are conservative. There were a lot of florals, plaids and textured designs for the upcoming fall/winter. I miss walking on the street and saying some crazy nails.  I miss walking on the street and saying some crazy nails. Now, the nailer on the street is downright… polite.

The entries for the Art Tip Award were pretty good this year. The theme was “Japanese Textures.” There were a few diehard hearts and flower entries, but we also had themes ranging from bondage (?!) to Japanese ‘kiriko’ cut glass.  Interesting how a theme can be interpreted in many different ways, isn’t it?

I do apologize for the lack of photos that I can upload, but everyone please out check out my Facebook and Instagram for some pictures. I will be back shortly with more photos so you can see some snapshots of the event. I just need to track down an actual Internet café. Do they still exist?😉

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Countdown to the Tokyo Nail Expo 2016

I’m super excited to be in Tokyo, where the Tokyo Nail Expo is starting tomorrow morning. Usually the expo is in November, but for some reason this year it’s end of October. It’ll be extra fun because everybody’s dressing up for Halloween. I see lots of people in costume of the street to Tokyo, which is not something I remember seeing a lot of years I lived here. It’s a really fun vibe.

This year, the theme is “Wa.” No, it’s not the sound made by adults in Charlie Brown shows, it refers to the Japanese word for their own culture. It’s basically a word that sums up the essence of all things Japanese. I’m way too jet laggedto think of a better explanation than that, but that’s pretty solid definition.

For me, the highlight of the event is the Art Tip Award, where nail artists send in press on nails they’ve made according to their interpretation of the year’s theme. We’ve had some disappointing runs in the last couple years, though. A lot of artists just ignored the selected theme and did cutesy flowers for Punk, etc. For a few artists, I had a feeling that they would submit the same nails no matter what the theme was.

I have some hope that this year will be a bit more creative than the last couple years we’ve seen. I hope people really take the theme into account and try to build a nail around it, rather than just doing the same old hearts and flowers endlessly. This year’s theme for the Art Tip Award is “Japanese Textures.” We’ll see what the Japanese artist do with a theme that would be very familiar to them. I’m hoping for some amazing work!

I’ve been in Tokyo for a few days, mostly eating, shopping and catching up with friends. I have really bad jet lag, because Japan time is just about opposite from New York City, but I’m making the best of it.🙂

I hope the formatting of this is not too weird, because I’m using the phone to try to post and it’s not being cooperative. Sorry for the possibly weird formatting and lack of pictures for now. I will be back over the next couple days with all the details from Tokyo Nail Expo 2016. Stay tuned!

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What I’ve Been Making, September 2016

I’m a huge fan of Halloween (even got married on that day!) so I’ve been dreaming of spooky nail designs pretty much since summer.

This will be my first “real” autumn in many years, as I was living in a tropical, seasonless area. I’m excited for crispy days and changing leaves, though I am not looking forward to the upcoming winter.

I’ve been playing with the trendy chrome powders/liquids, but I find it’s not terribly durable. Fun for a party look, but it doesn’t wear all that well. I’ve played around with a few different topcoats, but I haven’t gotten great results.

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Other stuff: Day of The Dead (always a fave here at NTMG!), some kimono-inspired nails on the top right, followed by groovy 3D bow and floral nails (probably because I’ve been watching the 70s Hulk TV show), purple spiderweb nails with chains and 3D spiders, some kawaii bomb nails with lots of lace, florals and bows, some jack o’lanterns, 3d Happy Birthday nails, some custom fall wedding sunflower nails (lower left), unicorns with star dangles, and some autumn leaves.

So jumbling around in my mind,  apparently I’ve got chromey knives with blood drips, kimono, groovy florals, unicorns, fall leaves, and Dia De Los Muertos. Sounds pretty accurate.

There will be more Halloween goodies upcoming, of course, and perhaps some weird sci-fi since I’ve been reading a lot of Phillip K. Dick. Perhaps some electric sheep nails?

This year, the Tokyo Nail Festa is on October 30 and 31 rather than the third week of November as it has been for the last 20 years, so I’ll be in Japan for Halloween this year. It should make for some fun nail art, but the timing is actually not ideal. Please note that this means ALL Halloween nails will need to be purchased by the evening of 23 October, since my shop will be on vacation from the 25th as I fly out to Tokyo very early in the morning of the 25th. Please order early!

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