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Sunday, April 13, 2008

KANSAI: Who & What

KIFA hosting English 'rakugo' performance

Kawachinagano International Friendship Association (KIFA) invites people to its English-language "rakugo" (comic storytelling) show from 2 to 4:30 p.m. April 26.

The event is supported by Ofuku Yose, an Osaka-based English rakugo circle. For the April 26 show, eight of their members will perform.

Admission is free, and 280 people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. An advance application is required by phone or via e-mail.

The venue is the event hall on the fourth floor of Kawachinagano Information and Communication Citizens' Square (KICCS) in Kawachi Nagano City, Osaka Prefecture, a 20-minute walk from Kawachi Nagano Station on the Nankai Koya Line or on the Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line.

For more information and applications, contact KIFA at (0721) 54-0002, or e-mail info@kifa.org

Osaka Mint opens lanes for cherry blossom fans

The Osaka Mint in Kita Ward will open its cherry blossom lane to public from Wednesday to April 22.

The 560-meter one-way lane boasts 370 cherry trees of 125 varieties, originating from Kyoto, Tokyo and Hokkaido, and stretches from the south gate in Tenmabashi to the north exit gate in Sakuranomiyabashi. The area will be illuminated with lanterns after dark.

Designated as the blossom of the year this year is Fugenzo, whose 20 to 40 petals per blossom are both pink and white. This kind has been seen mainly in Kyoto since the Muromachi Period (1336-1573).

Admission is free. The venue is a 10-minute walk from Tenmabashi Station on the Tanimachi subway line. The hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Entrance is allowed before 8:30 p.m.

For more information, e-mail pub@mint.go.jp or visit the organizer's Web site at www.mint.go.jp/eng/

JHC relocates, offers free HIV tests in Namba

The nonprofit organization Japan HIV Center (JHC) relocated its testing center and has been giving free HIV tests in its new location in Osaka's Namba district since March 30.

Founded in Osaka in 1988, JHC has been conducting free and anonymous HIV tests in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Every Sunday, JHC Osaka gives free HIV tests to 30 people on a first-come, first-served basis at Cast Namba on the third floor of the Ichiei Sogo Building, at 1-6-8 Namba-naka, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, near exit 6 of Namba Station on the Midosuji, Yotsubashi or Sennichimae subway lines.

Numbered tickets will be handed out from 2:30 p.m. at the venue, and tests will be given between 3 and 4 p.m. on the same day. Results will be provided on the day of the test.

HIV-related information in English, Spanish, Thai or Filipino is provided by phone by Center for Health And Rights of Migrants (CHARM), an Osaka-based nonprofit organization. The hours are 4 to 8 p.m. English-speaking staff are available Tuesday and Thursday.

For more information on JHC's free HIV tests, visit their Web site at www.npo-jhc.com (available in English and Japanese). For more information on CHARM's English hot-line services, contact (06) 6354-5901 between 4 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, or visit their Web site at www.charmjapan.org (available in English, Spanish, and Japanese).

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