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Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

German-style Christmas market in Osaka:
A Christmas market featuring German-style attractions and products is being held through Dec. 25 at Wonder Square, the inner court of the Umeda Sky Building in Kita Ward, Osaka.

Attractions include a 27-meter-tall Christmas tree illuminated with 100,000 lights, a merry-go-round from Germany and other displays and performances showing how Germans enjoy the holiday season. Items on sale include a wide range of Christmas ornaments and traditional German handicrafts, as well as sausages, beer, wine and "gluehwein," a popular winter drink.

The market is open noon to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday.

For more information, call the executive committee at (06) 6440-3901.

Walkathon at Osaka Castle for quake victims:
Asia olunteer Center -- AVC, a nonprofit organization, will host a walkathon 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at Osaka Castle Park in Chuo Ward, Osaka, to raise funds for victims of the recent earthquake in Pakistan.

Participants will walk or run around the castle at their own pace. One lap will be around 3.5 km and there is no limit on the number of laps. Participants can even use a bicycle, roller skates or a wheelchair instead of walking or running.

The starting point is around the fountain inside the park's gate, which is near Morinomiya Station on the JR Loop Line or subway Chuo line. You can participate any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

No reservation is required. Participants will be asked to donate whatever amount of money they choose. In addition, they can find their own "sponsors" for the walkathon from among their families, friends and colleagues and collect donations. The donations from the sponsors can be brought to the event or sent by postal transfer. Sponsors' donations will be accepted until Dec. 10.

The money will be donated to Church World Service, an international relief organization working in Pakistan to assist quake victims.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6376-3545 or e-mail avc@earth.email.ne.jp

Conversational Japanese classes:
Osaka International House Foundation is seeking students for three-month Japanese courses starting in January at International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

The courses are aimed at providing non-Japanese with conversation skills required for everyday life.

Four courses, held weekly, are available based on the participants' language skills. Each consists of 12 sessions. Elementary Class 1, for entry-level beginners, and Elementary Class 2 will be held 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays starting Jan. 11, while Class 3 and 4 will meet at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays starting Jan. 10.

The fee is 5,000 yen, including the cost of textbooks. Ten people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants will have to take an interview to assess their language skills. The interviews will be held 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. Reservations for the interview must be made in advance.

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

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