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Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010

KANSAI: Who & What

Attend lecture series about living in Osaka

The Osaka International House Foundation is organizing three lectures on living in Osaka from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 13.

The lectures will feature the guidebook "Introduction for Enjoy Osaka." Information on topics including child allowance and municipal housing will be provided. After the lectures, there will be an exchange event with local residents from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Jan. 9 lecture will also cover employment, labor insurance and Hello Work job centers. On Feb. 13, topics will include health insurance, pensions and taxes, while the March 13 lecture will cover travel spots and event information in Osaka.

Participation is free. Advance reservations are required and 30 non-Japanese residents will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteer interpreters in English, Chinese and Korean will be present. Please make an advance request if you require Spanish or Portuguese interpreters.

The venue is International House Osaka in Tenoji Ward, a five-minute walk from Tanimachi 9-chome Station on the Tanimachi subway line.

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

Kids Plaza Osaka holds fun New Year's events

Kids Plaza Osaka, a children's museum in Kita Ward, invites children to New Year's celebration events from Jan. 3 to Jan. 10.

On Jan. 3, two stage performances featuring traditional New Year's celebrations will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The performances will include a "shishimai" lion dance, a "nankin tama sudare" street performance and "taiko" drums. There will be 110 seats in the Kids Plaza Hall on the fifth floor of the museum.

From Jan. 3 through Jan. 10, visitors can try out traditional Japanese games such as "hagoita" Ping-Pong-style games and "koma" spinning tops in front of the Kids Plaza Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Jan. 8, children from 3 years old to elementary school age can try on kimono. There will be six separate sessions from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., each of which will last about half an hour and accept 10 children on a first-come, first-served basis.

Admission to the museum is ¥1,200 for adults, ¥600 for elementary and junior high school students, and ¥300 for children aged 3 and above.

The venue is near Exit 2 of Ogimachi Station on the Sakaisuji subway line. Opening hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Jan 3. to Jan. 7, and from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Jan. 8 to Jan. 10.

For more information, including details of other programs, visit www.kidsplaza.or.jp/ (in Japanese) or contact the museum at (06) 6311-6601.

Suita festival celebrates traditions and customs

The fourth Wagokoro Festival will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

The festival is held annually by a local volunteer group to promote Japanese traditions and customs. Stage performances will feature traditional Japanese dances, drums and folk songs from Okinawa, as well as traditional musical instruments such as "shakuhachi" flute and shamisen three-stringed lute.

One non-Japanese man and woman will get to wear a bride and groom's special wedding kimono. There will be a drawing for those who wish to be chosen as models.

There will also be areas where participants can try out "shodo" calligraphy and origami paper folding crafts for a fee of ¥100 to ¥200. "Zenzai" sweet bean soup, coffee and "macha" green tea with Japanese sweets will also be on sale.

The venue is Suita-shiritsu Senri Shimin Center, near Minami Senri Station on the Hankyu Senri Line. No participation fee or applications are required.

For further information, please contact the organizer atwagokoro@live.jp

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