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Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

Jan. 1 'polar bear swim' set for Kobe beach:
The Kansai Canadian Association is inviting people to take part in or simply watch a midwinter swim Jan. 1 at the beach in Azure Maiko, a seaside park in Tarumi Ward, Kobe.

The "polar bear swim" is a Canadian tradition held on New Year's Day. Participants and spectators will meet at 11:30 a.m. at the ticket gate of JR Maiko Station. Swimmers will be in the sea from noon to 12:30 p.m., supported by volunteers from the Kobe Lifesaving Club.

The swim will be followed by a barbecue and servings of "zoni," a soup with rice cakes traditionally served during the New Year's holidays. Swimmers will then be offered discount tickets to a hot pool at the neighboring hotel, while other participants will be asked to clean up the beach.

Participation is free.

For applications to the swim, call the organizer at (078) 881-2007 or e-mail join@kca.office.ne.jp

Special New Year's event at Nunobiki Herb Park:
Nunobiki Herb Park in Chuo Ward, Kobe, is planning to celebrate New Year's by opening the gate at 6:30 a.m. for visitors to observe the first sunrise of the year on Jan. 1. The sun is expected to come up at around 7 a.m. Visitors will be offered sake and a choir concert that will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Also, from Jan. 7 to 9, visitors will be offered "nanakusagayu," rice porridge with herbs, a Japanese New Year's dish. It will be served to the first 300 visitors.

All of these events are free of charge, but the entrance fee to the park will be enforced -- 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for elementary school and junior high school children.

To get to the park, take the Shin-Kobe Ropeway (Kobe Yume Fusen) to Nunobiki Herb-en Station from Kitano 1-chome Station, which is a five-minute walk from JR Shin-Kobe Station and the Shin-Kobe subway station.

For more information, call the organizer at (078) 271-1160.

Kimono-wearing class at Osaka YWCA center:
Osaka YWCA Senri Center is organizing a class in English on kimono dressing for women from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the center in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

A Japanese professional tutor will demonstrate how to wear kimono. Participants will then try on kimono themselves and will have an opportunity to pose for photographs.

Participants can bring their own kimono or borrow one at the center.

The fee is 2,000 yen, including the cost of photographs and Japanese-style refreshments.

Reservations must be made by Jan. 7.

For more information, call the event's coordinator at (090) 9253-7150 or e-mail usagi9999@yahoo.co.jp



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