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Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004

KANSAI: Who & What

Foreign students sought for Japanese classes: The Osaka International House Foundation is seeking foreign students to sign up for its weekly Japanese-language classes, which begin on April 6 at its facility in the city's Tennoji Ward.

Three courses are available and each will run for 12 weeks. All are for beginners, but the levels are different. Classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Class 1 will meet on Tuesday, Class 2 on Wednesday, and Class 3 on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The courses are aimed at providing students with the general skills necessary for daily life. Classes will be conducted in Japanese.

There are places for 10 people on each of the courses, which cost 5,000 yen.

Applicants will be asked to undergo an interview in Japanese in advance. The interview will be held between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on March 23 and 24. Anyone wishing to apply must make an appointment for the interview.

Applications will be accepted from Feb. 2.

For applications and more information, call the organizer at (06) 6773-8989.

Kyoto 'daikon,' Buddha on menu for guide club: The Guide Interpreter Volunteer Club is organizing two excursions for English-speaking foreigners on Feb. 11 and 15.

On Feb. 11, participants will visit Sanzen-in Temple in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward to taste boiled "daikon," or Japanese radish, for good luck. Boiled radish will be served to visitors for free as part of the temple's annual ceremony to wish people happiness and prosperity for the year. The daikon is from the temple's garden, where priests grow the vegetable with organic fertilizers.

The cost will be around 2,800 yen, including bus fare, lunch and the admission to the temple. Another 1,000 yen will be requested to support the club's activities.

The Feb. 15 outing is a visit to Chion-in Temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward. Participants will observe a large picture of Buddha on his deathbed. The picture measures 10 meters by 10 meters and is one of the largest of its kind in Japan.

The cost will be around 2,200 yen, which includes bus fare, lunch and admission to the temple, plus the 1,000 yen donation.

For both excursions, participants will meet guide Paul Satoh at 9:30 a.m. in front of Kyoto City Tourist Information Office, on the second floor of the JR Kyoto Station building.

The events are reserved for non-Japanese only.

For reservations, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

Debate to consider differences of opinions: Talk-no-kai, a Nara-based citizens' group, is hosting an English-language discussion meeting between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Nara International Foundation Commemorating the Silk Road Exposition (NIFS) in Nara.

The guest speaker is Edward Evans, an American student, who will speak on the theme "A nation with a thousand faces." Evans will emphasize that in his country, there are many more differing opinions and values than those represented by the government and that the differences come from people with various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which is different to the situation in Japan.

Participation is free for students and anyone under 20, and 1,000 yen for others.

For more information, call or fax the organizer at (0745) 31-1262.

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