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Sunday, April 5, 2009

KANSAI: Who & What

Handicraft center holds spring workshops

Kyoto Handicraft Center, a bilingual souvenir store for international visitors, is waging its Spring Activity Campaign until April 24.

Visitors can participate in a cloisonne accessory-making workshop, which usually costs ¥1,890, or a Japanese doll-making workshop, usually ¥1,570, for only ¥999 during the campaign. No reservations are required. The workshops start at 5 p.m. Those who wish to do the activities should print out a campaign flyer, which can be found at www.kyotohandicraftcenter.com/jp/image/news-poto/campaign.pdf and bring it to the venue. After the workshops, participants will get a ¥300 discount coupon that can be used at the store on the same day.

On April 5 only, Gekkeikan sake will be served for tasting for free from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

The venue is a 15-minute walk north of Higashiyama Station on the Tozai subway line. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., the center on Wednesday began staying open an hour later to accept visitors who have taken in temples and shrines, which usually close at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the center at (075) 761-8001, or access its Web site at www.kyotohandicraftcenter.com/

Osaka offers tourists maps, audio guides

Osaka 21st Century Association launched the multilingual Aqua Metropolis Osaka Re-discovery Cruise program on its Web site on March 25.

Visitors to Osaka can download a map and audio guides for different sightseeing spots in the Nakanoshima district in Kita Ward. The program, available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Taiwanese, is designed to help Japanese and international tourists in their explorations of the area.

The map and MP3-format audio files in Japanese, English, Chinese and Taiwanese, are available for free at www.osaka21.or.jp/suito/rediscovery_cruise/

International house offering Japanese class

Osaka International House is seeking participants for its Japanese class to be held from May to July.

The Tanoshii Nihongo class is oriented for foreign residents learning everyday Japanese conversation. There are four different levels of classes, which are held every week on either Tuesday or Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Those who wish to attend must take an advance placement interview between 7 and 8:30 p.m. on April 21 or 22. The interviews will be conducted only in Japanese. Reservations are required by phone.

Tuition is ¥5,000, which include a textbook.

For advance reservations for interviews, call (06) 6773-8989. For details and access map to the venue, visit the organizer's Web site at www.ih-osaka.or.jp/i.house/english/

Biwako Hall hosting free lobby concert

Biwako Hall in Shiga Prefecture is hosting a free concert in the lobby from 1 to 1:30 p.m. on April 9.

Shiga native marimba and percussion player Mariko Nishioka, who is now based in Switzerland, will play "Histoire Du Tango" by Argentine composer Astor Piazzola, and other tunes with pianist Mariko Ozawa.

The venue is the main lobby of the hall, which is a three-minute walk from Ishiba Station on the Keihan railway line, or a 20-minute walk from Otsu Station on the JR Biwako Line. No admission or reservations are required.

For more information, contact the hall at (077) 523-7150, or access www.biwako-hall.or.jp/ (in Japanese).

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