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Sunday, April 22, 2007

KANSAI: Who & What

Giant carp streamers at Umeda Sky Building

Umeda Sky Building in Kita Ward, one of Osaka's tallest buildings, will display "koinobori" carp streamers to celebrate the Boys' Festival from April 28 to May 5.

A total of 30 huge streamers will be hung between the twin towers of the 40-story building. This kind of streamer can be seen flying over rooftops all over the country during this time of year to mark the Boys' Festival on May 5, which is celebrated to pray for the health and growth of male children.

Entrance to the building is free. It is a nine-minute walk from JR Osaka Station, or from Umeda Station on the Hankyu or subway Midosuji lines.

From May 3 to 5, there will also be a charity event in the open-air space on the ground floor for needy children around the world, consisting of displays, attractions for kids and food stalls.

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

Emi Wada costumes on display at Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle, a national treasure in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, is celebrating its 400th anniversary with a special exhibition by Emi Wada, an internationally acclaimed costume designer.

The exhibition will run until May 30 and will open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.

About 150 pieces of costumes are on display, ranging from those for the opera "Oedipus Rex" (1992), which won Wada an Emmy Award for best costume design, to the costumes from the hit South Korean movie "The Restless" (2006). Her design drawings and behind-the-scenes videos will also be shown.

The works are exhibited in two areas of the castle, Tenbin-yagura and Nishinomaru Sanju-yagura, both of which are turrets ("yagura") and usually not open to the public.

Entrance to the exhibition is free, but admission to the castle costs 1,000 yen.

The venue is a 10-minute walk from JR Hikone Station.

For details, call the organizer at (0749) 30-6141.

Counseling session for foreign residents

A free information and counseling service for foreign residents will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 13 at the International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

Specialists will offer advice on issues often facing non-Japanese in everyday life, including legal matters, taxes, human rights, immigration, employment, medical care, education and child care.

Also, there will be brochures and other materials concerning services for non-Japanese residents.

Interpreters will be available for English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Thai, Filipino and Vietnamese.

No reservations are required. Strict confidence is assured.

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

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