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Sunday, June 24, 2007

KANSAI: Who & What

Volunteers sought to provide language help

The Osaka Foundation of International Exchange is seeking volunteers to support foreigners with limited Japanese ability during various activities such as sightseeing, at school and in emergencies.

Participants should be able to communicate in Japanese and in any of the following languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Spanish or Portuguese. They are required to attend five training sessions where skills and tips for helping foreigners will be discussed. For participants whose native language is not Japanese, a class of Japanese expressions helpful for volunteer activities will be held.

Participation is free. The program will take as many as 350 volunteers who apply before June 29. Training schedules and the application form can be found at www.ofix.or.jp/

For more information, contact the organizer at (06) 6941-0351, ext. 2328, or e-mail info1000@ofix.or.jp

English tours to take in Nara, Kyoto rituals

A volunteer guide-interpreter is organizing two one-day tours for English-speaking foreigners. The first, on July 7, will observe a ritual at Kimpusenji Temple in Nara. On July 28, the tour will be to a ritual at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto.

For the July 7 tour, participants are required to pay the cost of the tour of approximately 5,600 yen, including train fare, lunch and a gratuity for the guide.

The Kimpusenji ritual, called "kaeru-tobi" (frog hopping), is based on a legend that the temple's high priest saved a trapped ascetic by transforming him into a frog and then back into a human using magic.

For the July 28 tour, participants are required to pay 2,500 yen, including train fare, lunch and the gratuity. The Shimogamo event is based on the belief that people receive good health from bathing their feet in the pond in front of the shrine, home to a god who removes plagues and misfortune.

On both days, 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 event is reserved for non-Japanese only.

For reservations and more information, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

Museum hosts sketch events for school kids

The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, will hold picture-drawing events for elementary school students July 14 and 16.

Students will sketch various works in the museum's permanent collection, including "nihonga" and modern art. Although the sketches will be based on the museum's collection, students are encouraged to ad lib. The completed sketches will be exhibited in the museum Aug. 7 to 19.

Activities will be held from 10 a.m. to noon both days, but participants will be able to continue sketching in the afternoon until the closing hour. Thirty students will be accepted for each day.

To participate, an advanced application is required via e-mail or by reply-paid postcard before July 8. Details on the application can be found at the Web page for the event: www.shiga-kinbi.jp/fukyu/event/moshataikai07-2.html

For more information and the application, contact the museum at (077) 543-2111 or e-mail info@shiga-kinbi.jp

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