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Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012

KANSAI: Who & What

Enjoy New Year's events at Kids Plaza Osaka

Kids Plaza Osaka, a children's museum in the city of Osaka, will hold special New Year's events from Tuesday through Jan. 9.

The events will feature Japanese New Year's traditions, including performances of the "shishimai" lion dance, "nankin tamasudare" street performances and taiko drums. Visitors can also enjoy traditional games, such as spinning tops and "hagoita" battledores.

The highlight will be a demonstration and workshop on "kakizome," calligraphy written at the beginning of a year. Members of Ibuki High School's calligraphy club in Shiga Prefecture will give demonstrations Tuesday starting at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The club's members represented the Kansai region in the 2011 Shodo Girls Koshien, an national calligraphy contest.

The 11:30 a.m. session will accept 50 children and the 2 p.m. session 100 children, who must be aged 4 and above.

There will also be kimono-fitting sessions next Sunday for children between 3 years old and elementary school age.

Participation in the events is free, but there is an admission charge to enter the museum. The cost is ¥1,200 for adults, ¥600 for junior high and elementary school students, and ¥300 for children aged 3 and above.

The museum is in Kita Ward, Osaka, near Exit 2 of Ogimachi Station on the Sakaisuji subway line, or a three-minute walk from Tenma Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

Take part in a Japanese calligraphy class in Suita

The Bridges program run by Osaka YWCA is planning a Japanese calligraphy class in English from 10 a.m. to noon in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, on Jan. 18.

YWCA member Keiko Araki will give a basic lesson in calligraphy. After a brief overview, participants will learn how to write their names using "kofude" small brushes and will also have a chance to practice writing short poems or phrases.

Although all calligraphy materials and tools are supplied by the organizer, participants are welcome to bring their own brush.

Participation is ¥1,000, and 10 people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance reservations are required by email by Jan. 11.

The venue is YWCA Senri Center, about 10 minutes on foot from Kitasenri Station on the Hankyu Senri Line.

For reservations and further information, send an email marked "Bridges event" to the program manager at usagi9999@yahoo.co.jp.

Kobe foreign students to read picture book stories

Picture book reading sessions will take place in Nagata Ward, Kobe, on Jan. 14, Feb. 4 and March 3.

Foreign students studying at Kobe University will read picture book stories from their home countries in both their native languages and Japanese. Australia will be featured Jan. 14, Tanzania on Feb. 4 and Nigeria on March 3.

These sessions are for children aged between 4 and 8, and they must be accompanied by their parents.

The hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Participation costs per session are ¥840 for adults and ¥420 for children. Fifteen people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and advance applications are required by phone.

The venue is Kobe Asian Plaza on the fourth floor of Shoes Plaza, which is three minutes on foot from Shin Nagata Station on the JR Kobe Line.

For further information and advance applications, contact Kobe Cross Cultural Center at (078) 646-8127.

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