NOW, a Kobe-based NGO, will hold a charity concert at Suma Beach in Hyogo Prefecture from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to raise money for orphanages in Indonesia, some of which have suffered power failures.

For a charge of ¥3,000, visitors can enjoy live bands, donate a solar-powered lamp to the orphans, who can’t study at night due to blackouts, and keep another lamp for themselves.

The venue, Bali Beach House, is a 10-minute walk from JR Suma Kaihin Koen Station. More information is available at www.facebook.com/events/400522313343718/ (English and Japanese).

Foreigners invited to carry ‘mikoshi’ at parade

Non-Japanese are invited to take part as carriers in a “mikoshi” portable shrine parade in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Sept. 23.

The schedule is to meet at the office of Nishinomiya Shrine at 9 a.m. and parade with the mikoshi on their shoulders in the morning, followed by a procession in a decorated boat during the afternoon. The day’s events will finish at 5:30 p.m. The fee to take part is ¥500. Reservations must be made by Sept. 7 and it is on a first-come, first-served basis as only 15 males and 15 females can participate.

Men will be able to borrow “happi” coats, “edomata” short underpants and “jikatabi” rubber-soled cloth footwear. Women can borrow only the “happi” coats.

The shrine is a seven-minute walk from Hanshin Nishinomiya Station. For details, visit www.nishi.or.jp/homepage/nia/pdf/matsuri_e.pdf (English) or call (0798) 32-8680.

City of Yao to offer computer training course

Foreigners are being offered training in simple Japanese on how to use computers in Yao, Osaka, from September to January. There are 10 sessions from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 2, 9 and 16, Oct. 7 and 14, Nov. 4 and 11, Dec. 9, and Jan. 6 and 13, to learn how to use Word and Excel and type in Japanese.

Participants must be 15 or older, able to understand simple Japanese and have no experience in using Word or Excel. The fee is ¥4,300, which covers the purchase of textbooks.

Applications should be made by visiting Yao International Center, where the classes will take place. The center is a 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Yao Station. For details, visit www.helloyic.or.jp (Japanese), send email to helloyic@helen.ocn.ne.jp or call (072) 924-3331.

Aichi museum to showcase Japanese artists

Okazaki Mindscape Museum in Aichi Prefecture will open an exhibition showcasing a series of paintings from the Meiji Era to the postwar period, including works by noted artists such as Taikan Yokoyama and Ikuo Hirayama, from Sept. 1 to Oct. 21.

Visitors will be entertained by the chronological flow of the works, which are usually stored at Mizuno Museum of Art in Nagano Prefecture. Admission is ¥500 for elementary school and junior high school students and ¥1,000 for adults. Advanced tickets will cost ¥400 and ¥800, respectively.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays. However, it will be open Sept. 17 and Oct. 8 and closed Sept. 18 and Oct. 9.

To get there, take a bus bound for Chuo Sogo Koen from Higashi- Okazaki Station on the Meitetsu Line and get off at Bijutsu Hakubutsukan. For details, visit www.city.okazaki.aichi.jp/museum/bihaku/exhibition/exhibition.html (Japanese), call (0564) 28-5000 or send a fax to (0564) 28-5005.

U.S. Consulate invites naming of mascot

Get invited to a party at the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya by naming their newly arrived mascot.

The consulate is looking for a name for the new symbol, which is a girl with a golden “shachihoko” — an imaginary sea creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a fish — in her brown hair. The shachihoko is a symbol of Nagoya, as huge shachihoko can be found on the highest point of Nagoya Castle.

Applicants need to send in their ideas by filling out business.form-mailer.jp/fms/84e4205d14776 by Aug. 31.

Several applicants, including the one who comes up with the best name for the mascot, will be invited to a reception at which small gifts will be presented. For more information, go to connectusa.jp/upcoming/2012/0831_000759.html (Japanese).

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