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Spring is here!
Spring! Spring has come, heralded by more sensible temperatures and a fleeting visit by the sakura zensen or sakura front as it makes its way up the country. In Sakai, the sakura generally arrives around the first week of April but depending on all manner of factors, it could arrive before or after that, so keep an eye out for it! tween the start of the season in Okinawa and its end in Hokkaido. Such is public interest that the progress of the sakura up the country is reported along with the weather and pollen report on the evening news! ernment, local governments and other organisations to cities overseas is quite common as a symbol of friendship. Part of the beauty of sakura is in its short -lived nature, which is often compared to that of life itself. Such is the Japanese adoration for cherry blossom that cherry trees have, for many hundreds of years, been planted on purpose. They can be found adorning the sides of roads, parks, temple and school grounds, and just about everywhere else. In Sakai we are blessed with many fine parks and temples which are known for their sakura. See below for details on the best hanami spots in Sakai. Inside this issue:
Sakura Spots Picture Book Fair Kids Support Centre New Cycle Facility Sakai City Museum International Volunteers 2 2 2 3 4 6

Taxes / School Subsidies 5

Message from the Editor Well, here we are, already in April! It seems like only yesterday I was writing the New Years edition and now were a quarter of the way through the year. As always, in this edition there are plenty of events to keep you entertained along with a number of important notices from various city government departments. As of this month, we will be uploading a colour PDF version of City Life onto the City Life website. Be sure to check it out! Felix

Hanami (literally
flower viewing) is the practice of viewing cherry blossom. Hanami often involves picnics, the consumption of sake, and the composition of haiku poems. It is a fine chance for people to let their hair down and relax with friends and family. Yozakura (literally night sakura) is hanami done at night, under the light of lanterns and the moon. Sakura is also the theme of numerous enka songs, and the gifting of cherry trees by the national gov-

Sakura or cherry blossom is one of a number of natural phenomena considered indispensable parts of Japanese culture. While the sakura seldom lasts more than two weeks in any one place, there is a considerable period be-



Some Sakura Spotting Spots

Here you are: a by-no-means comprehensive list of sites you might head to to see sakura this spring.
Daisen Park Nishihara Park Kozen Park Ohama Park Ohasu Park Chozenji Temple Shirasagi Park Kamotani Park Alight JR Hanwa Line at Mozu Station, or alight Nankai Bus at Daisen-cho bus stop Alight Semboku Rapid Railway at Toga Mikita Station Take Nankai Bus from Izumigaoka Station (Semboku Rapid Railway), alight at Takeshirodaiguchi bus stop Alight Nankai Line at Sakai Station Alight Semboku Rapid Railway at Izumigaoka Station Alight Nankai Koya Line at Sakai Higashi Station Alight Nankai Koya Line at Shirasagi Station Alight Semboku Rapid Railway at Komyoike Station

Azaleas at the Asakayama Water Filtration Plant!

Continuing with the flower viewing theme, but moving now to the end of April, we have a dazzling display of azaleas, known as tsutsuji in Japan, to tell you about. In Golden Week (at the end of April and start of May), the city will be brought to life by the vibrant flowers of the tsutsuji (azalea) trees. Perhaps the best places to enjoy the tsutsuji in Sakai are the Asakayama Greenway which is on the site of the old Asakayama water filtration plant, and the adjacent Asakayama Park. The water filtration plants stand of azaleas stretches some 600 metres and has 2500 trees, a mixture of newly planted ones and others over 70 years old. Up until now, the water filtration plant was only opened for the blossoming of the azalea trees but now, with the newly completed greenway, you can walk there anytime. The best time for viewing is between April 26th and May 6th. Access: JR Hanwa Line alight at Asaka Station Nankai Koya Line alight at Asakayama Station Nankai Bus Kawachi Amami Line alight at Aisengakuen-mae Parking: no parking is available so please use public transport. (HP)

Kids Support Centre Sakai

Introducing the Kids Support Centre Sakai, a brand new child and parent-friendly oasis in Sakai, opening on April 25th (Fri). The centre is on the ninth floor of the Sakai Higashi Takashimaya Building and is a collaborative effort between the private sector and Sakai City. It will provide

Tour of Japan
The Sakai stage of the Tour of Japan cycle race will be taking place on the 18th of May. This years is the 17th time the Tour of Japan has been held. The Sakai stage marks the start of the competition and takes place on a course around Daisen Park. This year there will be 16 teamsseven from overseas and nine from within Japan. Come down and cheer your favourite team on! comfortable surroundings for children and their parents and guardians to meet and interact as well as seek advice. Its goal is to ease the burden and anxiety of child rearing and help bring a bit of excitement to the city centre. There are four main sections in the centre: the Kid-O-Kid indoor play area for children and parents, an event space, Sakai Mothers HelloWork, and a space for gathering and interaction run by Sakai City.

Foreign Picture Book Fair

This April the Central Library will be running a foreign picture book fair centred on books donated to the library by Soroptimist International Sakai in 2013. These picture books will be on display, some of them alongside their Japanese-translated versions. The collection includes everything from Thai picture books, popular books, and old favourites through to books only recently released. When the book fair is over, the books will be available for borrowing. Period: 1st of April 30th of April

Place: the lobby of the Sakai Central Library. Access: the library is next to Daisen Park and is easily accessed from Mozu Station on the JR Hanwa Line.

For more details call the Child Nuturing Division: (TEL) 072-2287612 (FAX) 072-228-8341.



Sri Lankan Tea Seminar

In this seminar, an expert will explain how to make Ceylon tea, a drink with a 145 year old history, and spicy milk tea made using world famous Sri Lankan spices. The seminar will be held on Friday the 18th of April from 2pm to 4pm at Sakai International Plaza (1-4-24 Nakakawara-machi, Sakai Ward).

Sakai Two Day March

Applications are now being accepted for people who wish to participate in the Sakai Two Day March which will be taking place on the 7th and 8th of June. Starting in Daisen Park, there are eight courses to choose from, ranging from 4 km to 35 km in length. The 4km course which explores the Mozu Kofungun Ancient Tumulus Cluster involves walking with players from the Sakai Blazers Volleyball Team as well as explanation of the various interesting points of the course by volunteer tourist guides dressed as historical figures. At Daisen Park there will be a taiko drumming performance and a dance, and the chance to buy some of Sakais traditional products. Participation costs (for pre-event registration): 10 km+ courses: 1500 yen per person (costs 2000 yen on the day) 4 km course: 500 yen Children up to 3rd year junior high school students (at the time of the event) go free. To register, please collect a leaflet from the city office administrative information centre, any ward office administrative information corner, any gym, or from the Sports Promotion Division. Take the payment slip inside the leaflet to a post office and pay to have it stamped. Take the stub with you on the day as proof of payment. Please direct enquiries to the Sakai Two Day March Secretariat (TEL) 06-6210-5532 (FAX) 06-4800-7201 or to the Sakai City Sports Promotion Division (TEL) 072-228-7437 (FAX) 072-228-7454.

New Community Cycle Port

A new cycle port in front of Nakamozu Station! The pay-for-use Sakai Community Cycle network which currently has six cycle ports will be opening a new cycle port outside Nakamozu Station on the April 1st. The new facility will be gated and manned and around 160 bicycles will be stationed there. Only people who have registered are able to use the bicycles. Registration for fixed term use is as follows: Registration is open from 7am to 8pm. Register at the Nakamozu Station Cycle Port. To register bring official identification such as your drivers licence, student ID, or health insurance card etc. Enquiries: call the Bicycle Friendly Community Office (TEL) 072-228-7636 (FAX) 072-228-0220

Course cost: 1000 yen Please bring your own tea cup and writing materials. Applications open from April 2nd. Please apply by postcard, fax or email to the Honorary Consulate General of Sri Lanka. Include your name, address, phone number, and the number of participants you are applying for. (2-6-10-1304 Kitakyuhoji-machi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. (TEL) 066282-5534 (FAX) 06-6282-5543 (Email) Attendance is limited to the first 50 applications received. Please direct enquiries either to the Honorary Consulate General (number above) or to Sakai International Plaza (TEL) 072-340-1090 (FAX) 072-340-1091.

New Zealand Fair at Harvest Hill!

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the SakaiWellington Sister City Relationship and a rare visit by the Wellington mayor, Celia WadeBrown, there will be a New Zealand Fair at Harvest Hill on the weekend of the 24th and 25th of May (9:3018:00 both days) Events at the fair will include a sheep shearing exhibition amongst other amazing spectacles. There will also be delicious New Zealand food, drink and other Kiwi-made products on sale.

More details will be available on the City Life website towards the end of April. See you there!!

Museum Exhibitions The Sakai City Museum is located in Daisen Park. It holds thematic exhibitions in addition to the general exhibition on the history and culture of Sakai. Special Displays The Tanomura Chokunyu Exhibition: Works from His Formative Years in Sakai March 29th (Sat) May 11th, 2014 (Sun) Venue: First floor Exhibition Corner Tanomura Chokunyu (1814-1907) devoted his life of 94 years to the advancement of the Literati or Southern School of painting. Chokunyu was born in present day Takeda City in Oita Prefecture. When he was just nine years old, he became a disciple of Tanomura Takeda, a painter of the same area. After the death of his master, Chokunyu moved to Kansai and worked for 10 years, from his mid-20s to his mid-30s, in Sakai, establishing himself as a painter. His activities while he was in Sakai were supported by Tarobe (whose nom de plume was Rogaku 1785-1855), the 13th generation master of the Koge clan, an old family, who ran a fish-whole selling business. Rogaku himself was well known as one of the literati and enjoyed interaction with others interested, like him, in Japanese and Chinese poetry, calligraphy, and art. Starting with three paintings born of the interaction between Rogaku and Chokunyu during his time in Sakai, through some twenty paintings and writings this exhibition gives valuable insight into the world of literary and artistic pursuits that people of culture enjoyed at that time. 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of Chokunyus birth. Come and drink in the charm of the Literati or Southern School art that Chokunyu sought in his work during the cultural flux of the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods. Exhibition: The Treasured Hachigamine Buddhas of the Izuminokuni Hodoji Temple From May 17th (Sat) to June 15th (Sun) Venue: First floor Exhibition Corner Hachigamine Hodoji in southeastern Sakai is an ancient temple renowned for its many cultural treasures. Amongst them, The Sixteen Arhats paintings, designated National Important Cultural Properties, will be


Sakai City Museum

on display having recently undergone a six year renovation period that finished in March last year. As this exhibition is to celebrate the anniversary of the completion of their renovation, all 16 will be on Continuing Exhibitions show in the same place an exceedPermanent exhibition Nintoku Ryo ingly rare occurrence. and the Prosperous City of Sakai At the same time, various other culVenue: First Floor Permanent Exhitural artifacts kept at Hodoji such as bition Area Buddha statues, Buddhist paintings, First floor UNESCO Heritage Galold scrolls with temples origins writlery Exhibition (permanent exhibit) ten on them, temple name boards Venue: First floor Kofun Panel Galand ancient tiles will be on display, lery shedding light on the history of the former Izuminokuni feudal domains anOpening Hours cient temple. 9:30-17:15 (enter by Open Tuesday-Sunday 16:30) Mondays Closed Year-end and New Year Holidays The day following public holidays Contact museum for details TEL:072-245-6201) Admission
Adults University/senior high students Elementary/junior high students

with the Sakai City Disaster Prevention Planning Office also provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the importance of residents disaster preparedness, especially given the constant threat we face in Sakai of a Nankai Earthquake .

Museum Entry only

200 yen 100 yen 50 yen

Discounts apply for groups (20 persons or more). Junior high school students and elementary pupils attending schools or living in Sakai, as well as foreign exchange students with suitable identification are admitted for free.

Public Facility Prices

Spot Displays Facing 3.11 A look back at Sakais Earthquakes March 11th (Tues) June 1st (Sun), 2014 Venue: the Spot Display Corner of the first floor permanent display hall. The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11th, 2011 made us painfully aware of the horror of natural disasters and of the brittleness of civilization. Throughout the ages the Japanese archipelago has been battered by many earthquakes and tsunami. The focus of this display will be the earthquakes that hit Sakai in the Early Modern Era and more recent times, and it will look, through old texts, at societys struggles with natural disasters. This collaboration As a result of the consumption tax rate rise at the start of April, the user fees for the following public facilities will also be changing. Please enquire to each facility individually for more details. -Mihara General Sports Centre (TEL) 072-369-0577 -Toga Culture Hall (TEL) 072-296-0015 -Nishi Culture Hall (TEL) 072-275-0120 -Higashi Culture Hall (TEL) 072-234-5691 -Nobiyaka Fitness & Health Centre (TEL) 072-246-5051 -Bicycle parks (TEL) 06-6449-0991 -Izumigaoka Pool (TEL) 072-291-7577 -Sofia Sakai (TEL) 072-270-8110



Wo m e n s S u m o
This year, the 2nd Sakai Womens Sumo Tournament will be held on April 13th (Sunday) from 10 a.m. at the Ohama Park Sumo Stadium in Sakai City. Come along and cheer on your favourite! Wrestlers from Taiwan, Hong Kong will make up the international component each having been specially invited by the Japan Womens Sumo Federation.

The first payments of the Fixed Property Tax and City Planning Tax, as well as the Light Vehicle Tax are due on Monday, 2 June, 2014. You can pay at financial institutions, most convenience stores, post offices or at any ward city tax office. You can also pay by ATM, internet or phone banking. If you wish to pay by automatic transfer please ensure that you have the necessary funds in your account on Monday, 2 June. Phone Number Fax Number Sakai Ward City Tax Office Naka Ward City Tax Office Higashi Ward City Tax Office Nishi Ward City Tax Office Minami Ward City Tax Office Kita Ward City Tax Office Mihara Ward City Tax Office Tax Collection Division (Main Office) Allowance 3. Those working as casual workers and registered at HelloWork 4. Those whose Public Assistance have been suspended or discontinued (excluding instances where suspension or discontinuance has been caused by a change in the household make up) 5. Those who are exempted from or subject to reduced residence, individual enterprise or fixed property tax 6. Those who are exempt from National Pension contributions 7. Those who are subject to reduced - or exempted from National Health Insurance Fees 8. Those who have received loans from the Living Welfare Fund The application process can be completed between April 15th and April 30th (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). Apply either at the school your child is enrolled at or bring your name seal (inkan) and documentation for your bank account to your local ward offices application area. Those who fall into categories 3 or 5 8 above will need to bring the relevant documentation also. Applications can still be made after this period at your local ward offices Planning and General Affairs Division however in that instance, subsidies will be calculated from month you apply. Please note that the school expense subsidy does not roll over automatically and must be reapplied for each year. 072 228 7411 072 270 8187 072 287 8106 072 275 1907 072 290 1806 072 258 6724 072 363 9318 072 228 3957 072 228 7766 072 270 8102 072 287 8115 072 275 1917 072 290 1816 072 258 6822 072 361 1889 072 228 7618

School Expense Subsidies

Sakai City offers financial assistance to families with children in municipal elementary and junior high schools who have difficulty covering school fees and other related expenses. The assistance covers part of school supply expenses and school lunch fees. Eligible families will fall into one of the following groups based on their total household income from 2013: 2 Person households up to 1.82 million yen 3 person households up to 2.37 million yen 4 person households up to 2.62 million yen 5 person households up to 3.02 million yen A declaration of income must be made before applications can be assessed. Families who moved into Sakai after the 2nd of January this year must present a taxation certificate from their previous local government (kazei shomeisho) for the 2014 fiscal year showing their 2013 income. Households that fall into the following categories are also eligible for the subsidy. 1. Those receiving Public Assistance 2. Those receiving Child-rearing

More detailed information will be delivered through schools at the start of April and will be available in English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Tagalog upon request. Please direct enquiries to the School Affairs Division at Sakai City BoE: (TEL) 072-228-7485 (FAX) 072-2287256. Smoking and Littering Ban on Sakai Streets Please be aware that theres a citywide ban on smoking and littering on streets and roads in Sakai, and that theres an awareness raising campaign being held in the areas around major stations in city. In particular, the areas in front of Sakai Higashi Station and Sakai Station, around the Sakai City Office, and along Oshoji St. have been designated as a smoke-free zoneif youre caught smoking or littering, you could face a 1,000 fineeven if youre riding a bike or scooter at the time! Lets all work together as a city to make Sakai a safe and comfortable community, free from litter and second-hand smoke! Please call the Public Sanitation Division on 072-228-7429 if you have any questions.
Sakai Station

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April 2014
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Picture Book Fair begins

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Sumo Tournament




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Lankan Tea Seminar







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Support Centre Sakai opens




29 Showa

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Picture Book Fair ends

The objective of City Life is to provide nonJapanese residents and visitors with information about daily life and events in Sakai. Published by the International Division, Sakai City Government, 3-1 Minamikawara-machi, Sakai-ku, Sakai, Osaka 590-0078 Tel:072-222-7343 Fax:072-228-7900

May 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thur 1 Fri 2 Sat 3 Constitution Day

The Asakayama Azalea Festival is being held during Golden Week. 4 Greenery

City Life is compiled by Felix Campbell, Coordinator of International Relations and is published on the 1st of every second month. Pick up your next copy of City Life from the 6th floor of Sakai City Hall or from:

5 Childrens 6 Public
Day Holiday






15 Preregistrations for Two Day March close



Kita Ward Office Naka Ward Office Minami Ward Office Nishi Ward Office Higashi Ward Office Mihara Ward Office
Foreigners living in Sakai are eligible for free delivery. Please email us with your name and address. Japanese persons need to send a self addressed stamped envelope (12x24cm) If you would like to give feedback or contribute something to City Life (event information, hints for living in Japan, recipes etc.) please contact Felix at: kokusai@







24 New
Zealand Fair at Harvest Hill

25 New Zea- 26
land Fair at Harvest Hill






International Volunteer System Registration

The following system exists to promote international exchange and to support residents for whom Japanese is not their first language. Volunteer interpreting: volunteer interpreters help out at city-run international exchange events or in response to requests for interpreting from residents who do not speak Japanese. A parallel Emergency and Disaster Network also exists for volunteers who would help out at times of crisis. For more details, please see the city homepage (in Japanese). Application forms are available from Sakai International Plaza and on the city homepage. (TEL) 072-340-1090 (FAX) 072-340-1091

Free Multilingual Daily Living Advice for Foreign Residents

Language Japanese and English support is available in sessions (1) & (2), Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri Day Mon Wed Thurs Fri (1) 9:00-12:00 Portuguese ---------------------------Korean Portuguese, Chinese (2) 13:00-16:00 Chinese, Spanish Chinese -------------------------Spanish Venue / Contact Sakai International Plaza (TEL) 072-228-7499 (FAX) 072-340-1091