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Sunday, March 7, 2004

KANSAI: Who & What

Insects and the call of nature on exhibit: An exhibition on insect droppings is being held through May 31 at the Itami City Museum of Insects in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture.

To offer people a rare opportunity of taking a closer look at such minuscule objects, the "Mushi no Unko" exhibition will display about 60 kinds of insect waste. For young visitors who wish to learn how differences in diet can be associated with variety in the shapes of droppings, there will be several models -- stuffed toys that look exactly like their real-life counterparts, but measuring 30 times larger -- which visitors can examine. There will also be videos showing insects heeding nature's call.

Admission is 100 yen for children 3 years old and older, 200 yen for junior high and high school students, and 400 yen for adults. The museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but is closed Tuesdays.

To get to the venue, take a city bus from Itami Station on the JR or Hankyu Line and get off at Matsugaoka or Tamada Danchi.

For more information, call the museum at (072) 785-3582 or visit its Web site at www.itakon.com/.

Traditional lanterns will light up Kyoto: Thousands of lanterns will light up a popular sightseeing area in Kyoto from March 12 through March 21.

At the Kyoto Hana Toro lantern lane, a total of 2,400 Japanese traditional lanterns -- some ceramic and others made of wood -- will illuminate the stone-paved walkways of Kyoto's Higashiyama district between Shoren-in Temple and Kiyomizu Temple.

In addition, there will be various other attractions in the area. For example, 1,000 bamboo lanterns will float on a small river in Maruyama Park in Higashiyama Ward, and dance shows by geisha and other traditional performances will be offered in Kodaiji Park and Chion-in Temple, also in Higashiyama Ward. Kiyomizu and some other temples in the area will extend their hours and light up the buildings after dark.

The streets will be lit up from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day.

For more information, call the sponsors' office at (075) 212-8173 or visit the event's Web site at www.hanatouro.jp.

Win a free ticket to organ concert: Flanders Center, a liaison office for the Belgian regional government of Flanders, is offering readers of The Japan Times an opportunity to win one of 30 free tickets to an organ concert at 7 p.m. March 26 at the center's hall in Tennoji Ward, Osaka.

Akiko Sakakura, an organist who completed her studies in the Netherlands will perform. The program consists of works by Dutch composer Sweelinck, including "Ballo del Granduca" and "Fantasia cromatica."

Those interested in entering the drawing should send a postcard with name, address, age, profession, phone number and a statement that you are a Japan Times reader to "Organ Kakari" at 8-2-6 Uehonmachi, Tennoji-ku, Osaka-shi, 543-0001. The postcard must arrive by March 19.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6773-8850, fax (06) 6773-8855 or e-mail to@flanders.jp.

Zuishin-in Temple guided tour on offer: The Guide Interpreter Volunteer Club is organizing a Kyoto excursion March 28 for English-speaking foreigners.

Participants will visit Zuishin-in Temple in Yamashina Ward to observe the "Hanezu Odori" dance performed by children. At this seasonal event, a group of children dressed in "hanezu" -- the color of light red plum blossoms -- will dance on an open-air stage to commemorate Ono no Komachi, a celebrated poet of the Heian Period known as a great beauty, and her suitor, who was rejected after visiting her 99 times. Also, participants can view real plum blossoms in the garden of this ancient temple established in 991.

After viewing the dance and plum blossoms, participants will then go to Kanshuji, another temple as old as Zuishin-in.

The cost will be around 3,000 yen, including train fare, lunch and admission fees. Another 1,000 yen will be requested to support the club's activities.

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 the JR Kyoto Station building.

The excursion is reserved for non-Japanese only and applications must be made in advance.

For applications and more information, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

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