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‘Rakugo’ show, shamisen workshop in English

A “rakugo” comic storytelling performance and a shamisen workshop, both in English, will be held for free Sept. 23 in Osaka as part of the Kansai Music Conference.

The workshop will start at noon and the rakugo at 12:30 p.m. No reservations are required. The venue is the Osaka Museum of History, near Tanimachi 4-chome Station on the Chuo and Tanimachi subway lines. To find out more about the event, go to www.kansaimusicconference.com (in English) or call 080-4020-2532 after 7 p.m.

Free expert advice in Kyoto for non-Japanese

The Kyoto City International Foundation will host a free counseling session by experts for foreign residents from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21. Topics to be covered include insurance, labor conditions, legal matters, mental health, pensions, taxes and visa status.

Translators will be available in Chinese, English and Korean. Reservations must be made by either visiting the foundation at the Kyoto International Community House, also known as “Kokoka,” a six-minute walk from Keage Station on the Tozai subway line, or by calling 075-752-3511. For more information, access www.kcif.or.jp/HP/jigyo/sodan/jp/counseling/konnendo/index.html (in English).

Nara full-moon celebrations set for Sept. 19

To celebrate the Sept. 19 full moon, ceremonies are planned to be held at Uneme Shrine and Toshodaiji Temple in Nara.

During the festival at Uneme Shrine, a parade of people in traditional costumes will start at 5 p.m., a religious ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. and two boats will glide through floating lanterns in the Sarusawa Pond at 7 p.m.

The garden of Mieido Hall in Toshodaiji Temple will be opened for the special occasion, and a memorial service for the founder of the temple and a tea offering ceremony will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Uneme Shrine is a five-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, and Toshodaiji Temple is five minutes on foot from Nishinokyo Station on the Kintetsu Kashihara Line. For more details, visit narashikanko.or.jp/event/index.php (in Japanese). The contact numbers are 0742-22-3900 for Uneme Shrine and 0742-33-7900 for Toshodaiji Temple.

Fireworks festival on tap in Toyohashi, Aichi

The Toyohashi Fire Festival is being held Saturday night in Aichi Prefecture, featuring various fireworks displays, including hand-held barrels that shoot flames and sparks 20 meters high.

Advance tickets are already sold out, but same-day tickets for ¥1,000 and ¥500 will be on sale starting at 9:30 a.m. in Toyohashi Park. The fireworks display will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

To access the park, take the Toyotetsu tram from Toyohashi Station on the JR and Meitetsu lines, and get off at Toyohashi Koen Mae Station. More details can be found at www.toyohashi-cci.or.jp/event/honoo/english/en_44honoo.pdf (in English). The contact number is 0532-53-7211.

Hot air balloon festival this weekend in Suzuka

The Suzuka Balloon Festival will continue until Monday in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. The competition between hot air balloons will run from 6:20 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day, and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Visitors can take rides on the balloons each morning until 10 a.m. The fee is ¥1,000 for elementary school children and ¥2,000 for everyone older.

To get to the banks of the Suzuka River, one of the two venues, take a bus from Kasado Station on the JR Kansai Honsen Line and get off at Suzuka Koko Mae. For the other venue, the Suzuka Circuit, take a bus from Shiroko Station on the Kintetsu Nagoya Line and get off at Suzuka Circuit. For further details, check www.suzukaballoon.com/index.html (in Japanese) or phone 059-332-2313.