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July 2004
Issue 050

Special 50th Issue!


Homeless, but not alone

While Osaka’s homeless are being evicted from the most visible locales in preparation for the Tenjin Matsuri, an alternative festival to highlight discrimination against those who live on the streets is being planned.
The event will be at Nagai park on July 24 and 25 and will, according to the advertisers, include live music and dance, a flea market, a photo exhibit of worldwide homelessness, sports events, cultural exchange games and activities, a documentary film show, food and drinks, and workshops
The organisers explain the festival’s mission: “We are creating a homeless fiesta, organized by the hands of the Osaka homeless from Nagai Park, Ogimachi Park, Utsubo and their supporters.While Tenjin Matsuri, one of Osaka’s biggest festivals is on the same day, our Matsuri is somewhat different. The Tenjin Matsuri not only excludes the homeless by being a purely commercial event, but it also discriminates against them by “cleaning up” the tents and their living spaces as the festival comes by. Our matsuri, on the other hand, includes all people, united by peace and justice, with the vision of creating a better society now.”

If you wish to get involved or simply seek more info,
email: [email protected] or visit their bulletin board at http://bbs.infoseek.co.jp/Board02?user=rebel_jill
Date/Time: June 24(Sat) 15:00- 21:00 & 25 (Sun) 10:00-16:00
Place: Nagai Park Jiyu Hiroba
(Southwest side of the park; 5 min. walk from JR Nagai Sta.)

Kansai pilgrim trail joins World Heritage list

An ancient and sacred pilgrimage route in the Kansai’s Kii mountains is about to become a World Heritage Site.
The designated area is known for its spiritual significance and outstanding natural beauty and includes includes Kumano Sanzan, Yoshino Omine, and Koyasan, which are all linked by the pilgrimage route.
Kumano Sanzan is the centre of Kumano belief and Koyasan has particular importance to Singon esoteric Buddhism.
The honour is shared by three prefectures, Wakayama, Mie and Nara. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is convening in China to ratify the latest list of 33 additions to the list of World Heritage Sites
and is expected to make its announcement on July 7th. This latest declaration will mean that Kansai has five of Japan’s World Heritage Sites. The others include, Himeji castle, Horyuji and other ancient buildings in Kyoto and Nara.
Worldwide, 35 of Unesco’s 754 WH sites are in danger from war, environmental degradation or neglect.

Naa, ya naa

Linguists have decided that Kansai’s characteristic naa is the world’s third most difficult word to translate. One thousand linguists consulted in the survey by Today Translations decided that the most difficult word was ilunga from DR Congo. It means "a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time". In second place is tshlimazi, a Yiddish word for “a chronically unlucky person.”
On hearing the news of the survey, the reaction in the KS office was a resounding “Naa!”

Lonely Planet in Japanese and Korean

Lonely Planet, the back-packer’s best friend, is now publishing its famous travel guides in Japanese and Korean.
Links with established companies in both Japan and Korea have enabled the Australian company to expand and diversify in Asia.
Titles newly available to Japanese travellers are Australia, Hawaii, Italy, Britain, Turkey, and India, with books on New Zealand, Nepal, Korea and Germany in the pipeline.
Lonely Planet co-founder and director Tony Wheeler said, ‘There has been a shift in outbound travel behaviour in both markets in recent years. Independent travel is becoming more popular for Korean and Japanese travellers, and not surprisingly there is a corresponding increasing demand for comprehensive travel information written for such travellers.’
According to the Australian Tourism Forecasting Council, arrivals to Australia from Japan are expected to keep rising, reaching 750,000 in 2006.
The arrival of these books on the market may be just one more reason for eikaiwa students to skip class.

If you know of any newsworthy events in the Kansai or Japan, if you are about to dive naked into a vat of hungry piranhas for a bet, be sure to let us know. [email protected]

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