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Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003

KANSAI: Who & What

Planetarium to display stars at Osaka store: A display of the stars and the solar system is being offered free until Dec. 25 at a special planetarium dome set up at the Kintetsu Abeno department store in Abeno Ward, Osaka.

The dome, which measures 8 meters in diameter and 5.3 meters in height, is in front of the Hoop building. During the four-minute show, 1 million stars observed from the North Pole will be projected onto the dome by a high-performance mobile projector called Megastar. The representation of the polar sky will be accompanied by music that resonates around the dome through three huge pipes. The dome will also be illuminated between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Shows will start at 11 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. Up to 18 people will be able to attend each show. Admission is free. The venue is a three-minute walk from Abenobashi Station on the Kintetsu Line, Tennoji Station on the Midosuji and Tanimachi subway lines or the JR Line.

For more information, call the department store at (06) 6624-1111.

Famed Belgian guitarist to play at Osaka temple: An award-winning Belgian guitarist will give a recital, accompanied by a traditional Japanese dance performance, from 3 p.m. on Dec. 6 at Shitennoji Temple in Osaka's Tennoji Ward.

Guitarist Jan Depreter will play five classical and contemporary compositions. During two of the pieces, "Sunayama Henge," by Carlo Domeniconi, and "Asturias," by Isaac Albeniz, renowned "nihon buyo" dancer Isosuke Hanayagi will perform.

The venue is a large temple founded in 593 and renown as the oldest state Buddhist temple in Japan. The recital will be held in the temple's Gochikoin building, which is a 10-minute walk from Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station on the Tanimachi subway line.

Tickets cost 3,000 yen both in advance and at the door.

For advance tickets and more information, call the organizer, the Flanders Center, at (06) 6773-8850.

Researcher to lecture on religion in Okinawa: The International Research Center for Japanese Studies will host a lecture on the religious life of Okinawa from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 9. at the Campus Plaza Kyoto building in the city's Shimogyo Ward.

Evgeny S. Baksheev, a researcher at the Russian Institute for Cultural Research, will speak on the theme "Where people meet the deities: Form and structure of sacred places in the Miyako Islands, Okinawa." The lecture will be in Japanese.

Participation is free and reservations are not required. The venue is in front of JR Kyoto Station.

For more information, call the organizer at (075) 335-2048.

Guide plans excursions to parade, flea market: The Guide Interpreter Volunteer Club is organizing two excursions for English-speaking foreigners on Dec. 14 and 21.

On Dec. 14, participants will visit the Yamashina area of Kyoto. A historical parade through the district will commemorate a famous act of revenge on that date in the 15th year of Genroku Era (Jan. 30, 1703) by 47 ronin and samurai who had lost their lord. About 500 people in samurai costume will take part in the procession.

The excursion will cost around 1,600 yen, including train fare and lunch. Participants will also be requested to pay another 1,000 yen to support the club's activities.

The Dec. 21 outing is a visit to a large flea market at Toji Temple in Kyoto's Minami Ward. At the open-air site, several hundred stalls will sell a wide range of antiques, clothing and food.

The cost will be around 1,000 yen for lunch, plus a donation of 1,000 yen.

The meeting time and place are the same for both events. Participants will meet guide Paul Satoh at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Kyoto City Tourist Information Office, located on the second floor of the JR Kyoto Station building.

Reservations are required and the excursions are for non-Japanese only.

To make a reservation, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

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