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Sunday, March 12, 2006

KANSAI: Who & What

Lanterns set to brighten Kyoto sightseeing lane:
Thousands of traditional Japanese lanterns will brighten the Kyoto Higashiyama Hana Touro lantern lane, a popular 4.6-km sightseeing course, through March 21.

The course starts at Shoren-in Temple in the north part of the Higashiyama district and links up with such tourist spots as Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine, eventually leading to Kiyomizu Temple in the south.

The 2,400 lanterns will come in five varieties -- ceramic, cedar, stone, bamboo and metal -- and will be placed along streets to softly illuminate the old town's stone-paved streets, white-washed buildings and store fronts.

There also will be other attractions in the area, such as dance shows by geisha and other performances, and the floating of 1,000 bamboo lanterns on a small river in Maruyama Park. The dance shows will be offered in Kodaiji Park, also in Higashiyama Ward, on Nene no Michi street. In addition, large works of ikebana will be displayed at 10 locations along the course.

During the event, Kiyomizu and several other temples in the area will extend their hours and light up the buildings after dark. The streets will be illuminated between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. every day.

Shoren-in is a 10-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on Tozai subway line. Yasaka Shrine and Maruyama Park are eight-minute walks from Shijo Station on the Keihan Line. Kodaiji Park is a six-minute walk south from Maruyama Park.

To get to Kiyomizu Temple, take a city bus at JR Kyoto Station or at Shijo Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line, get off at Gojozaka and walk 14 minutes.

For more information, call the sponsors committee at (075) 212-8173, or visit its Web site at www.hanatouro.jp (in Japanese and English)

WHO plans symposium on World Health Day:
The World Health Organization's Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre or WKC) will host a World Health Day symposium on April 7 in Kobe.

This year's slogan is "Working Together for Health."

Workers around the world are in crisis because many clinics lack health workers and hospitals cannot recruit or retain key staff. As change in urban areas accelerates, social, environmental, political and economic aspects may converge to worsen health inequities.

To work out solutions at local, national and international levels, the symposium will provide an opportunity to draw attention to national and global health workforce challenges and to celebrate the dignity and value of working for health.

The symposium will start with a report on WHO's action for the issue, which will be made by Dr. Susan Mercado from WKC. In the panel discussion after the symposium, the role of health workers in cities will be discussed by three speakers: Shigeru Sumitani, the Environment Ministry's administrative vice minister; Takehito Nakata, an honorary ambassador for United Nations Volunteers; and Professor Hiroko Minami, vice president of University of Hyogo.

The symposium will be conducted in English and Japanese, with simultaneous interpretation. It is open to anyone who has an interest in public health issues.

Admission is free, and 120 people will be accepted in order of reservation. Reservations must be made by March 31. To reserve, fax (078) 230-3178 or send e-mail to uedak@who.or.jp

For more information, call the organizer at (078) 230-3100 or visit the Web site at www.who.or.jp/

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