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Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

Sightseeing buses in Nara for non-Japanese: A loop-line bus service for non-Japanese sightseers is being offered in the city of Nara.

The Nara Prefectural Government launched the service with the goals of helping out tourists who don't speak Japanese and encouraging them to use the public transportation system.

The buses take tourists to seven historical spots, all of which are part of a World Cultural Heritage site designated by UNESCO. The sites include Todaiji Temple, known as the home of the great Buddha statue, Kasuga Shrine and temples of Toshodaiji, Yakushiji and Kofukuji.

The service provides passengers with information in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. There will be signs in these languages, and passengers can learn about the destinations using a multilingual audio guide system.

The loop line starts at JR Nara Station, and the buses also pick up passengers at Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line. They run every hour between 8:57 a.m. and 3:57 p.m.

A one-day ticket costs 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for children. The tickets can be purchased at both Nara stations.

Currently, the service is available only on Saturdays and Sundays, but will be offered every day in March and other holiday seasons.

For more information and schedules, call the Nara Kotsu bus company at (0742) 22-5263 or visit the service's Web site at www.narakotsu.co.jp/na_c/na_c011.html

Japanese TV dramas subject of lecture: The International Research Center for Japanese Studies is hosting a public forum to discuss Japanese TV dramas seen through foreign eyes, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 8 at the conference room in the Urbanex Oike building in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto.

Wu Yongmei, a lecturer at the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies, will give a talk on "Media communication in Asia: Japanese TV dramas in the eyes of Chinese university students."

The lecture will be in Japanese and is free.

Places for 50 people will be available.

Reservations will be accepted starting Monday.

For reservations and more information, call the organizer at (075) 335-2078.

Special kimono demo will be held in Osaka: Osaka Sister City Network is hosting a seminar for foreign residents on "Kitsuke: The art of wearing kimono" 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 26 at International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

There will be an explanation and display of various types of kimono for women. Each participant will then have a chance to try on a kimono of her choice.

Participation is 500 yen.

The event is reserved for women only. There are 25 places available.

Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The reservation deadline is March 18.

For reservations and more information, call the organizer at (06) 6772-9670, fax (06) 6772-9790 or e-mail cir@sisterc.net

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