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Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011

KANSAI: Who & What

Nishinomiya rings in new year with Kimono Day

The city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, is holding a Kimono Day event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21.

The Nishinomiya City International Association will prepare kimono for both men and women, and is inviting foreigners to participate and try on the traditional garments. To celebrate the new year, the event will feature one of the most formal types of kimono, the "furisode," which is worn by unmarried women on New Year's Day and for their wedding ceremony. Participants will be able to take photographs and enjoy "macha" green tea.

There will be three fitting sessions, starting at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., with up to five foreign nationals — two men and three women — accepted for each time slot. Participation is ¥500 per person.

Those who wish to take part must sign up by phone or email between Jan. 5 and 19. Applicants must indicate their preferred time slot and provide their name, address, telephone number or email address, gender, nationality and height. Those who apply online should receive a response by email confirming their registration.

The event will be held in the conference room of the association, which is near the South Exit of Nishinomiya Station on the JR Kobe Line.

For program details and advance applications, send an email to niasakura@ceres.ocn.ne.jp or contact the association at (0798) 32-8680.

Enjoy dining, Hyogo pottery at Hilton Osaka

The Hilton Osaka has renovated the counter at its Japanese restaurant, Genji, and reopened it Dec. 8 as a part dining, part art gallery space.

The 10-seat counter faces an open kitchen where chefs can be seen cooking tempura, and behind them is a showcase of Tamba ware produced in the Tamba Tachikui area of Hyogo Prefecture. The area is a traditional and renowned pottery center. Tamba ware typically has an earthy brown-colored glaze and sturdy appearance.

For the renovation of Genji's counter, potter Katsuki Ichino, a Hyogo Prefecture native, made most of its tableware, ranging from dishes and chopstick rests to sake cups and bottles. He also created an artwork named "Image of Clay," which has been placed to the left of the restaurant's entrance. Diners can also purchase pieces of Tamba ware, such as flower vases and mugs.

Genji serves lunch courses starting at ¥2,900 and dinner courses from ¥5,000. The hotel, in Kita Ward, Osaka, is a two-minute walk from JR Osaka Station.

For more information and reservations, contact the hotel at (06) 6347-0310 or access hiltonosaka.com (in Japanese and English).

Suita festival will celebrate Japanese culture

The fifth Wagokoro Matsuri festival will be held in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, on Jan. 29.

The festival is being hosted by Wagokoro, an international exchange volunteer group that gives foreign residents opportunities to experience traditional Japanese culture. The festival will feature various types of traditional dances, including the "Tanko-bushi" coal mining dance based on songs sung by miners, and the "Awa-odori" dance from Tokushima Prefecture. There will also be a hands-on workshop where participants can try out "shodo" Japanese calligraphy, make traditional toys and enjoy origami paper-folding. Participation costs ¥100 to ¥200.

Admission to the festival is free, and the hours are from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The venue is the hall on the third floor of Suita's Senri Shimin Center, which is a one-minute walk from Minami Senri Station on the Hankyu Senri Line.

For further information, contact the organizer at wagokoro@live.jp.

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