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Sunday, Nov. 9, 2003

KANSAI: Who & What

Kagawa woos tourists with discounts, gifts: Every tourist who visits sightseeing spots or hotels in Kagawa Prefecture after crossing the Seto Ohashi Bridge through March 31, 2004, will receive a discount, a package of "udon" noodles or other incentives.

Tourists who use the bridge to travel from Okayama Prefecture to Kagawa will get a discount or a free gift at about 70 popular sightseeing spots, hotels, hot spas and other facilities in the prefecture, which include Ritsurin Park and the ANA Hotel Clement Takamatsu, both in Takamatsu. The receipt from the bridge toll will be required to claim the present.

For more information, call the Kagawa Prefectural Government's transport policy department at (087) 832-3134.

Osaka to kick off annual European film festival: The Osaka European Film Festival will be held in venues across the city between Saturday and Nov. 24, including Kaiyukan Hall in Minato Ward, the WTC Hall in Suminoe Ward, Umeda Garden Cinema and the Cine Libre Umeda in Kita Ward's Umeda Sky Building.

The 10th annual festival will screen 25 feature films and seven short movies from 17 countries. They include films that proved popular in previous festivals, including "The General," the story of a notorious Irish criminal, "Bandits," a German movie about female convicts who find acclaim as musicians, and "Ridicule," a period drama by French director Patrice Leconte.

More recent works will include "Le Fils" ("The Son"), a French-language drama depicting a troubled boy and a carpentry instructor who stalks him, "Halbe Treppe" ("Grill Point"), a tale of two couples and an affair between two of them, and "Plots with a View," a British comedy starring Brenda Blethyn, who is expected to attend the festival.

All the movies will be shown with Japanese subtitles.

Seven Japanese movies will be shown as well. Six will be subtitled in English, including "After Life," directed by Kazuhiro Koreeda, and "Harmful Insects," directed by Akihiko Shiota.

Other related events include an autograph session with Jean-Philippe Toussaint, a novelist and director from Belgium, which will start at 4 p.m. on Nov. 20 at cafe Bibliotheque in Kita Ward's E-Ma building, and an all-night showing of commercials from around the world, which starts at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 13 at International House, Osaka, in Tennoji Ward.

The fee to attend one screening is 1,200 yen in advance and 1,500 yen at the door. The autograph session is free of charge, while the screening of the commercials costs 3,500 yen. Advance tickets are available from ticket agency Ticket Pia, Lawson convenience stores and elsewhere.

For more information, call the executive committee at (06) 6882-6211, fax (06) 6882-6212 or visit its Web site: www.oeff.jp (in Japanese and English.)

Foreigners invited to brush-burning ceremony: The Guide Interpreter Volunteer Club is organizing an excursion for English-speaking foreigners to a unique Buddhist service in Kyoto on Nov. 23.

Participants will visit Shokakuan, a subtemple of Tofukuji Temple in the city's Higashiyama Ward, to observe a memorial service for used calligraphy brushes. Used brushes and pencils will be thrown into a large fire, while people pray for success in calligraphic endeavors and other studies. The group will later go to a famous spot for viewing colored maple leaves in Tofukuji.

Participants will meet guide Paul Satoh at 9:30 a.m. in front of Kyoto City Tourist Information Office, located on the second floor of JR Kyoto Station building.

The cost will be around 2,300 yen for the bus fare, lunch and admission to the temple's maple-viewing spot. Participants are also requested to donate 1,000 yen to support the club's activities.

The tour is reserved for non-Japanese only.

For reservations, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

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