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Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004

KANSAI: Who & What

Kobe fair to showcase foreign groups' activities: Kobe International Fair 2004 will take place today at Duo Dome and Space Theater in the city's Chuo Ward.

More than 50 international organizations, mostly based in Kobe, will showcase their activities, sell food and products from around the world and perform on stage. The organizations involved include Japan Canada Kai, which will be selling maple syrup, smoked salmon and providing information about the Terry Fox Run, a charity marathon to raise funds for cancer research.

Both of the venues are in front of JR Kobe Station.

Admission is free and the fair will run between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

For more information, call the organizer at (078) 291-8441.

Irish plan to celebrate St. Patrick's in Kyoto: A parade to celebrate St. Patrick's Day will be held March 7 in Kyoto.

Saint Patrick's Day is an Irish national holiday on March 17 that is celebrated around the world, with the Kyoto parade the only celebration in the Kansai region.

About 300 people dressed in green -- representing both the holiday and Ireland -- will parade along Oike street, between the Karasuma and Kiyamachi areas of Nakagyo Ward, and anyone wearing something green is welcome to join in. Padraig Murphy, the Irish ambassador to Japan, will also take part. Following the parade, Murphy is expected to attend a celebration at The Hill of Tara, an Irish pub.

In addition, there will be performances of Irish music and dance in front of Kyoto City Hall, also in Nakagyo Ward.

The parade will be held between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., with performances running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call The Hill of Tara at (075) 213-3330 or e-mail: thehilloftara@thehilloftara.com

Friendship group to give class on making 'obento': The Takarazuka International Friendship Association is hosting a cooking class for foreign residents between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on March 13 at the Takarazuka-shi Nishi Kominkan public hall in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Some popular recipes for Japanese "obento," or boxed lunch, will be demonstrated. The recipes include "tamagoyaki" rolled omelet, spinach salad seasoned with sesame, and "chikuzenni," boiled root vegetables and chicken.

The participation fee is 300 yen. Explanations will be in Japanese but English interpretations will also be available.

Thirty people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and applications must be received by March 7.

For applications and more information, call the organizer at (0797) 76-5917.

Guide to tell bloody tale of shogun's police unit: The Guide Interpreter Volunteer Club is organizing an excursion to Kyoto for English-speaking foreigners on March 14.

The one-day tour will visit historical sites related to Shinsengumi, a special unit of swordsmen that was active during the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate to keep peace in Kyoto. Its bloody fights against anti-shogunate activists and the deaths of many of its members have been featured in numerous novels, movies and comic books, as well as an NHK drama that is presently being screened.

Destinations include Ryozen Museum of History in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward, where a large-scale exhibition on the police unit is being held, and Mibu Temple in Nakagyo Ward where some of its members were buried.

The cost will be around 4,500 yen, including bus fare, lunch and admissions.

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

The excursion is reserved for non-Japanese only and applications must be made in advance.

For applications and more information, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

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