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Sunday, April 1, 2007

KANSAI: Who & What

Osaka YWCA excursion to historic Shiga festival

The Osaka YWCA's Bridges Program is planning an excursion for English-speakers to a traditional festival in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, on April 15.

The annual Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is famous for boys' kabuki plays performed on wheeled floats, or "hikiyama," which are decorated with tapestries and ornaments. This year, all 12 floats will gather at Nagahama Hachiman Shrine for the first time in 90 years. Kabuki will be performed on four floats by boys aged 5 to 12.

The cost is 600 yen. Lunch and transportation costs are not included.

Participants will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the ticket gate in JR Nagahama Station.

Reservations must be made by April 11.

For reservations and details, call the coordinator at 090-9253-7150 or e-mail usagi9999@yahoo.co.jp

Bird-watching event at Osaka museum

The Osaka Museum of Natural History will present a two-day event on birding April 14 and 15 at the museum in Higashisumiyoshi Ward.

The inaugural Osaka Bird Festival will bring together more than 40 citizens' groups and nonprofit organizations involved in bird watching and nature preservation.

Along with displays that introduce the groups' activities, there will be a variety of attractions including craft classes, quizzes and games, as well as short bird-watching tours at the Nagai Botanical Garden near the museum starting at 11 a.m. on both days.

The event will run 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participation is free, but the bird-watching tour will cost 200 yen for admission to the garden, and fees for the craft classes will be 100 yen to 500 yen.

To get to the venue, walk 800 meters east from exit No. 3 of Nagai Station on the subway Midosuji Line.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6697-6262.

Japanese education viewed from abroad

The International Research Center for Japanese Studies will host a public forum on adoption of the Japanese education system by foreign countries from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 18 at Campus Plaza Kyoto in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto.

The speaker, Mohammad Reza Sarkar Arani, an associate professor at Allameh Tabatabai University in Iran, will discuss "Transitional Learning in Iran: Integrating a Japanese Education Model."

Japanese schools have many problems that need solving, including bullying, delinquency, classroom chaos and declining scores. In some countries in the West and Asia, however, Japanese education practices have been viewed as a model worthy of emulation. Arani will discuss how the Japanese model is being transferred to the Iranian school system and evaluate the Japanese system from the foreign perspective.

The lecture will be in Japanese.

Participation is free. Reservations will be accepted starting April 2.

For reservations, call the organizer at (075) 335-2078

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