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Sunday, March 6, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

Auction to aid tsunami area and Afghanistan: A charity auction will be held from Wednesday to March 14 in Kyoto to support the survivors of the recent tsunami disaster in the Indian Sea region and the people of Afghanistan.

Visitors can bid for more than 230 works of art created by some 150 noted craftsmen, artists and religionists, mostly from Kyoto. The works range from paintings to ceramics to calligraphy.

All proceeds will be donated to Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development, or NICCO, a Kyoto-based nongovernmental organization, which is now supporting reconstruction in the areas hit by the tsunami and in Afghanistan.

The event will be held at Takashimaya Grand Hall on the seventh floor of the Takashimaya department store in Shimogyo Ward.

For more information, call the organizer at (075) 241-0674, fax (075) 241-0682 or e-mail auction15@kyoto-nicco.org

Tour to take in children's dance: A volunteer guide- interpreter is organizing a one-day tour for English-speaking foreigners to a ceremony at a Kyoto temple featuring a children's dance on March 27.

Participants will visit Zuishin-in Temple in Yamashina Ward to see the "Hanezu Odori" dance performed by children. At this seasonal event, children dressed in "hanezu" -- the color of light red plum blossoms -- will dance on an open-air stage to commemorate Ono no Komachi, a celebrated poet of the Heian Period known as a great beauty.

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

The cost will be around 4,000 yen, including train fare, lunch and admission to the temple.

Reservations must be made in advance. The tour is reserved for non-Japanese only.

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

St. Patrick's Day celebration in Kyoto: A parade to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day will be held March 13 in Kyoto.

St. 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 are expected to parade along Oike street, between Oike Ohashi bridge and Kyoto City Hall, and anyone wearing something green is welcome to join in.

In addition, Irish music and dance will be performed live at Kawaramachi Hiroba square of Zest Oike, an underground mall in Nakagyo Ward, featuring noted fiddler Paul O'Shaughnessy and flutist Harry Bradley. Also, at the same venue, there will be a speech by Bon Koizumi, a great-grandson of Irish-born writer Yakumo Koizumi, along with free samplings of Baileys and a sale featuring the country's products.

The venue is near Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae Station on the Tozai subway line.

The parade will be held from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the other celebrations at Zest Oike from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call Irish pub The Hill of Tara at (075) 213-3330, e-mail st-patricks-2005-owner@yahoogroups.jp or visit the Kyoto parade's Web site at www.geocities.jp/stpatricks2005/

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