KANSAI: Who & What

Almond blossoms on view in Kobe: Toyo Nut Co., a food company based in Higashi-Nada Ward, Kobe, is opening its garden to the public through March 25 to show almond trees in bloom.

The company has about 60 almond trees at its headquarters, and every year it celebrates the coming of spring by showing visitors the blossoms, which look like those of the cherry tree.

On Sunday, there will be various attractions, including food stalls selling sweets containing almonds and other nuts. From Monday to March 25, the garden will be open to everyone wishing to enjoy the view in a quieter atmosphere.

Admission is free and no reservations are required.

The garden will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Monday.

For Sunday, there will be a free bus service available every 15 to 20 minutes from Fukae Station on the Hanshin Line. From Monday through March 25, visitors are recommended to take a taxi from the station or make the 30-minute walk.

For more information, call the company at (078) 452-7211 or visit its Web site at www.toyonut.co.jp/.

Street performers gathering in Osaka: Street performers will get together in the Hep Five and Hep Navio fashion complexes and the Hankyu Sanbangai underground shopping center in Kita Ward, Osaka, from Friday to March 28.

Eighteen groups and solo performers from Japan, Belgium and Australia will showcase their tricks, mimes, acrobatic stunts and other performances in and around the shopping facilities.

The performances will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 27 and 28.

The venues are near Umeda Station on the Hankyu Line.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6373-6952 or visit the event’s Web site as www.umeda-c.com.

West Papuan to speak on human rights: Amnesty International Japan’s Osaka office will host a lecture by a former political prisoner from West Papua, a province currently controlled by the Indonesian government, at 2 p.m. March 27 in a meeting room of the piaNPO building in Minato Ward, Osaka.

Jacob Rumbiak will speak on human rights issues in his native province. He was arrested in 1988 as a West Papuan independence activist, and spent 10 years of imprisonment and torture. The speech will be in English with Japanese interpretation.

Admission is 500 yen for students and 800 yen for others.

The venue is on the sixth floor of the piaNPO building, which is a five-minute walk from Osakako Station on the Chuo Line.

For more information, call the Osaka office at (06) 4395-1313.

Kyoto pub stages Irish spring festival: Tadg’s Irish Pub in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, will hold an Irish spring festival April 1 to 4.

There will be a performance of Irish traditional music every evening at 8 p.m. Three renowned musicians, Johnny Connolly on the accordion, Tom Creegan on the Irish pipes guitarist Aidan Brennan will combine to give their only performance in Kansai. Admission is free. Because seats are limited, the event organizer advises visitors to turn up early.

On April 4, Irish veteran thespian Duncan Hamilton will give a lunch-time theater. A one-man show called “Men” will be performed. Lunch will start at 12:30 p.m. and the show begins at 3:15 p.m. Reservations required.

The pub is on the second floor of the Ohto Building, near Keihan Shijo Station’s exit No. 8.

For more information, call the pub at (075) 525-0680.