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Sunday, April 30, 2006

KANSAI: Who & What

English tour to take in Kyoto mounted archery:
A volunteer guide interpreter is organizing an excursion Wednesday for English-speaking foreigners to a Kyoto shrine.

Participants will visit Shimogamo Shrine in Sakyo Ward to observe a performance of "yabusame," the traditional art of archery on horseback. It will be performed as part of the Aoi Matsuri, or Hollyhock Festival, one of the three major annual festivals in Kyoto. Mounted archers dressed in historical costumes will gallop along a 360-meter long course, launching their arrows at three wooden targets.

Participants are required to pay the actual cost of the tour -- around 1,600 yen for bus fare and lunch -- and another 1,000 yen will be accepted as a gratuity.

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.

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.

European picture books explored in seminar:
A symposium to discuss picture books of Europe as a key to cultural understanding will be held May 21 from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

The event is organized by the Osaka International Foundation and six Kansai-based cultural exchange centers representing the national or regional governments of several European Union countries with the goal of discussing topics related to exchanges between EU members and Japan.

At the fifth annual symposium, picture-book authors, illustrators and researchers from the EU will meet to discuss such issues as their countries' situations surrounding picture books, cultural differences observed in these books, and benefits of picture books on young children in learning foreign cultures and languages.

The discussion will be in English and Japanese, with simultaneous interpretations.

Prior to the symposium, there will be a painting workshop for children by illustrators Tom Schoonooghe of Belgium and Rotraut Susanne Berner of France. Ten elementary school students will be accepted.

To attend the symposium or the workshop, send an application with name, address, phone number, the number of participants, children's age (for the workshop), and which event you wish to attend. Postcards should be sent to the organizer of EU-Japan Symposium at Goethe-Institut Osaka, 1-1-88-3502 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka, 531-6035. Applications can also be sent via fax at (06) 6440-5901 or e-mail at nishiumi@osaka.goethe.org

For more information, call the venue at (06) 6773-8182.

Volunteers needed to read to children:
Volunteers are being sought for a book-reading program for children at International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

The international house has recently launched a program to read books to young children in various languages. The goal is to provide children of all nationalities with a place to experience different languages and cultures through picture books from all over the world. It is also aimed at providing an opportunity for parents to establish a network for mutual support.

The organizer is looking for native speakers in English and Chinese, who will read to children age 1 to 6.

The session in English is held on the second Tuesday and the third Thursday of each month, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on the fourth Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The session in Chinese is held on the second Tuesday of each month, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The hours include the time for children and parents to read books themselves, and readings by volunteers take place for about 30 minutes each session.

Those interested should contact the organizer and make an appointment for an interview.

For details, call the organizer at (06) 6773-8989.

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