l'l‘S’l lVAl HINA MATSURI Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, Sun 29 Feb

It’s a sad fact that Japanese culture isn’t particularly well represented or accessible in the UK. It’s not a simple undertaking to pop out for a tray of sushi and a wee snifter of saki without bankrupting yourself in the process. Happily, for those with a keen interest in the land of the rising sun, Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow is about to unleash a whole day of Japan-related events with its third annual Hina Matsuri festival.

Pitching its marquee on the main lawn of the Botanic Gardens, this increasingly popular family day out was originally inspired by the Japanese ‘dolls’ festival for girls, held every year on 3 March to pray for the health and happiness of girls, and marked by elaborate displays of hina dolls.

As might be imagined, however, the weather in Scotland at this time of year will be, to say the least, inclement, so the organisers have enlisted the services of Lanarkshire-based professional Taiko drumming band Mugenkyo, aided by Taiko bands from Cleveden Primary School, for an invigorating mid- afternoon demonstration.

‘In Scotland in late February, we need the sound of the Taiko to wake us from the dark slumber of winter and prepare ourselves for spring,’ says Yushin Toda,


Interactive insights into the Japanese lifestyle

chair of Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow, explaining the departure from strict tradition. ‘But this free event will maintain the most important element of the Japanese festival, in that it is for all, regardless of age and background.’

If this display isn’t enough to bash away the winter cobwebs, us lay folks can take part in the performance through specially organised Taiko workshops. Ever fancied a belt of the skins?

The traditional Hina Matsuri festival has also been expanded to include a bona fide ‘Japanese Experience’, including opportunities to wear a kimono, try your hand at origami, write in Japanese characters, play a traditional Japanese game and taste Japanese sweets. There’s also painting and storytelling for young people. Clearly there is an appetite for this interactive insight into such a rich, diverse culture, as previous years’ events were attended by around 1000 people, undeterred by the persistent drizzle.

Perhaps recognising the valuable pleasure such a festival brings to the community, Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow is supported by the Scottish Arts Council, Glasgow City Council and the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh, hopefully ensuring the event continues to hold eastern promise in years to come. (Allan Radcliffe)

BODY 8- SOUL EVENT Alternative therapies come into the mainstream

Take a Trance

1. Body & Soul Events are Scotland‘s leading new age events company Since their inauguratici‘. 15; years ago. the company has traversed our fair

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iation. organising exhibitions; dealing With. (:o'iti>len‘eritary health and psychic healing.

2. They run intriguing-sounding workshops At the forthcoming Psychic and Healing l air at Glasgow's Hoya. Concert Hall. participants are l.".\.’|l(}(l to 'lndulge lheii' Auras'. revealing techniques on how to revitalise that elusive energy f >rce field ‘.'/lilt Joan lr'ances Hoyle. You can also ‘lake a trance on neuro linguistic programming. courtesy of life coach Nicoia Brown. and meet ‘.'./()tt(l(}t"u|ly nanied experts such as ‘Ruth the li‘uth' and ‘litania'.

3. You can reach for the stars Does Uranus have an aurora? Body 8‘ Soul fairs arc- ainong the few forums where you won't he sniggered at to" taking astrological charts seriously. leading

astrologer .Jane Hidoer Patrick ‘.‘-.’|H he disct ssing 'Character as liate' at the Glasgow ()‘.’()l‘l.

4. You get to learn about different cultures and customs [)on't knot-r your Maitraya from youi Sekhein’? As well as i‘etliscovering Celtic civriisation and customs. participants can get to grips wrth Native American. Japanese and Indian cultures and healing techniques. 5. The future’s yours, with Body & Soul Introduction to palinistry and clairvoyance courses are a regular feature of Body 8. Soul gigs. Surely the perfect way to impress your friends during a lull in dinner party chat.

(Allan Radcliffe)

I Body (ti Sol/l l’svcliir‘ and Healing lair, ltoyal Concert Hall, Glasgow. Sat 9/ (9 St Ill 2’.” / el). urn/italx)dvanrlsou/events.com


Pursuit of justice

People who live in the most disadvantaged social circumstances and areas are more prone to suffering the consequences of environmentally damaging activities such as landfill. chemical plants and oil refineries. These practices more often then not happen in close proximity to their homes due to cheapness of land and lack of opposition, and put these communities at a greater risk of pollution, ill health and poor quality of life compared with those who are better off.

Jack McConnell. the first minister for Scotland, said in 2002 that he recognised there was a lack of environmental justice and stated that the pursuit of it needed go hand in hand with economic progress and social justice. Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive Duncan McLaren is now stepping up a campaign to hold McConnell to his word.

This fortnight McLaren hosts a discussion called ‘Environmental Justice: what it is and how it can be achieved’. Highlighting the need for environmental parity. he also explains the role of the government, companies. communities and individuals in achieving a fairer future.

McLaren has been working for Friends of the Earth since 1988. moving from the England. Wales and Northern Ireland sister organisation to Scotland in June 2003. (Jane Hamilton)

I Environmental Talk, University of Glasgow, Graham Kerr Building, University Avenue, Glasgow 0747 554 9977.

6. 75pm. Free. Thu 26 Feb.