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Sunday, June 27, 2004

KANSAI: Who & What

Osaka gets ready for Aizen Festival: A summer festival will take place Wednesday to Friday at Shomanin Temple in Tennoji Ward, Osaka.

The Aizen Festival is one of Osaka's three major summer festivals and is one of the earliest in which people wear "yukata" summer kimono.

The temple was founded in 593 and its principal deity is Aizen Myoo, which has traditionally been worshipped by merchants, courtesans and performing artists as the god of love and popularity.

There will be various events, performances and food stalls from around 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The temple's statue of Aizen Myoo will be open to the public. Also, a parade of decorated palanquins will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Seven palanquins bearing young women will depart from Kintetsu Department Store in Abeno Ward on a 1.5-km procession to the temple.

Admission to the temple is free.

It is a two-minute walk from Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station on the Tanimachi subway line, or a 15-minute walk from JR Tennoji Station.

For more information, call the temple at (06) 6779-5800.

Info and counseling session for foreigners: A free information and counseling service for foreign residents will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 4 on the second floor of International House Osaka in Tennoji Ward.

The session will be organized by Osaka Prefectural Government, Osaka Legal Affairs Bureau and other entities.

Specialists will offer advice on problems often facing non-Japanese, including those pertaining to laws, human rights, immigration, employment, education, medical care, taxes and child care. Interpreters will be available for speakers of Chinese, English, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.

No reservation is required. Strict confidence will be assured.

The venue is a six-minute walk from Uehonmachi Station on the Kintetsu Line and a 10-minute walk from Tanimachi 9-chome Station on the Tanimachi or Sennichimae lines.

For more information, call the venue at (06) 6773-8989.

Seminar to discuss dogs' reform benefits: Knots, a nonprofit organization based in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, that promotes animal welfare is hosting a symposium to discuss the possibility of using dogs to help reform juvenile offenders.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 11 at Portopia Hotel in Chuo Ward, Kobe.

The guest speaker will be Joan Dalton, director of Project Pooch, an U.S.-based NPO that pairs homeless dogs and young people at MacLaren Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. The youths train, groom and find homes for the dogs. Dalton will introduce her group's activities and discuss how the approach can help both the youths and the dogs. There will be four other panelists from Japan.

The discussion will be conducted in English and Japanese. Interpretation will be provided.

Those who wish to attend should make a reservation using a form on Knot's Web site at www.knots.or.jp/sympo.htm or send a fax with name, address and telephone number to the organizer at (0798) 67-0151.

For more information, call or fax the organizer at the same number above, e-mail info@knots.or.jp, or check the Web site at www.knots.or.jp.

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