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Sunday, March 9, 2008

KANSAI: Who & What

Students sought for kanji class in Osaka

The Osaka International House Foundation is looking for non-Japanese participants to join a kanji reading and writing class to be held in April.

The Tanoshii Nihongo class, which is aimed at non-Japanese who can read hiragana and katakana, will focus on reading and writing kanji. Four sessions will be held each Wednesday starting April 9 and run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Lectures will be in Japanese.

An advance reservation for a placement interview is required by phone and 12 people will be accepted. The 10-minute interviews will be held on April 2 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuition for the class is ¥2,000, which includes textbooks.

The venue is the Osaka International House at 8-2-6 Uehonmachi, Tennoji Ward, Osaka. The venue is a 5-minute walk from Uehonmachi Station on the Kintetsu Line or a 10-minute walk from Tanimachi 9-chome Station on the Tanimachi or Sennichimae subway lines.

For reservations and more information, contact the organizer at (06) 6773-8989.

Thousands of lanterns set to turn Kyoto aglow

Thousands of lanterns will light up a popular sightseeing area in Kyoto from March 14 through 23.

At the Kyoto Hanatoro lantern lane, a total of 2,400 traditional Japanese lanterns — some ceramic, others made of wood — will illuminate the stone-paved walkways of Kyoto's Higashiyama district between Shoren-in and Kiyomizu temples.

In addition, other attractions will enliven the area. For example, 1,000 bamboo lanterns will be floated on a small river in Maruyama Park in Higashiyama Ward, and dance shows by geisha will be offered with other traditional performances in Kodaiji Park and Chion-in Temple, also in the ward.

Kiyomizu and some of the other temples in the area will extend their hours and illuminate the structures after dark.

The streets will stay lit from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day.

For more information, contact the organizer, Kyoto Hanatoro Promotion Office, at (075) 212-8173 or visit their English-language Web site at www.hanatouro.jp/index_e.html

Wagokoro organizing spring outing in Osaka

Wagokoro, a Suita-based group that promotes Japanese traditions and culture, is organizing a spring outing for non-Japanese on April 3.

Participants will meet Wagokoro volunteers at 9 a.m. at the ticket gate of Minami-Senri Station on the Hankyu Senri Line and go to Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine in Shumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City, followed by the Shinsekai neighborhood in Naniwa Ward. At Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, the Mastunae Shinto ceremony is scheduled on April 3 and traditional dances will be performed.

The fees for the trip include around ¥1,300 for train fare, ¥600 to enter Tsutenkaku Tower and ¥100 for insurance. Fifteen participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis based on advance applications. Participants are urged to bring their own lunch.

For applications and more information, contact the organizer at wagokoro@live.jp

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