Kansai / Who & What

Herb park extends hours until Christmas

Nunobiki Herb Park in Kobe’s Chuo Ward will operate for extended hours from Wednesday until Dec. 25.

The park, which grows 150 kinds of herbs, will be open between 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. every day during the period.

It will offer a variety of seasonal attractions, for example, setting up a huge Christmas tree and holding concerts and classes of cooking and crafts related to Christmas. The concerts are scheduled for Dec. 22, 23 and 24.

To get to the park, take the Kobe Yume Fusen ropeway to Nunobiki Herb-en Station from Kitano 1-chome Station, which is a five-minute walk from the Shin-Kobe subway station.

Admission is 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for junior high and elementary school students.

Call (078) 271-1131 or visit www.kobe-park.or.jp/park.htm

Belgian, Japanese pair set dance performance

Belgian contemporary dancer Pe Vermeersch and Japanese dancer Toru Iwashita will give joint performances in Kyoto and Osaka this week. Vermeersch, an avant-garde dancer, will be in Japan backed by the Belgian government. Iwashita is a member of the highly acclaimed Sankai Juku dance troupe.

Their performance in Kyoto will be held Thursday from 7 p.m. at Kyoto Art Center in the city’s Shimogyo Ward, while the Osaka performance will take place from 7 p.m. at Flanders Center in Tennoji Ward.

Kyoto Art Center is a five-minute walk from the Shijo subway station and Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Line. Flanders Center is located on the third floor of Osaka Kokusai Koryu Center, which is an eight-minute walk from the Tanimachi 9-chome subway station and Uehonmachi Station on the Kintetsu Line.

Admission is 2,000 yen for students and 2,500 yen for adults.

Call the Kyoto Art Center at (075) 213-1000, and for the Osaka performance, call Flanders Center at (06) 6773-8850.

Foundation to hold Japanese flute seminar

The Japan Foundation Kyoto Office is presenting a seminar on the shakuhachi bamboo flute Friday by master Genzan Miyoshi between 2 and 4 p.m. at its facility in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto.

The seminar will be given by master Genzan Miyoshi.

Among Japanese traditional music instruments, the shakuhachi has an especially long history and is known for its unique, emotional sounds. It is considered one of the most difficult traditional musical instruments to play.

The shakuhachi has long been an instrument for Zen monks, who play it as part of their religious training. In the seminar, however, Miyoshi will pursue the flute’s potential in various genres of music, including jazz, rock and European classics. Along with the history of the flute, he will introduce his recent attempts with the shakuhachi and give a performance.

The seminar will be in Japanese with English interpretation.

Admission is free. No reservation is required and up to 50 people will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Call (075) 211-1312 or fax (075) 255-1273.

Cross-culture gathering to promote friendship

A gathering to promote friendship between Japanese citizens and students from other Asian countries will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Shoes Plaza in Nagata Ward, Kobe.

In the event, “Asia Bansan-kai,” performers from South Korea, Mongol, Tibet, Africa and Okinawa will present music and dances. Asian food will also be offered.

Foreign participants can make a free three-minute call to their home country.

Admission is free and no reservation is required.

The event will take place at the conference room on the fourth floor of Shoes Plaza building, which is a three-minute walk from Shin Nagata Station on the JR and subway lines.

Call Asia Gathery at (078) 643-0633.

Participants invited to historical Nara festival

An English-speaking guide will organize a one-day tour to see the Kasuga Wakamiya Festival to be held in Nara on Dec. 17.

Participants will visit Nara’s Kasuga Shrine to see a parade of people dressed in costumes representing historical periods from Heian (794-1185) to Edo (1600-1868).

They will also watch traditional performing arts, including ancient Shinto dance with court music and “sarugaku,” one ancestry of noh drama and “kyogen” farce with a history of about 1,000 years.

Destinations also include other historical spots, including Nara Park and Kofukuji Temple.

Participants can meet the guide, Harry Horii, at 10 a.m. at the fountain square of Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line.

Reservations via phone or fax would be appreciated.

Call or fax Horii at (0742) 46-3273 or call (090) 3841-4784.