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Sunday, Dec. 5, 2004

KANSAI: Who & What

Christmas lights in central Osaka: The Nakanoshima district in Kita Ward, Osaka, is being illuminated every evening through Dec. 26 as part of the city's Christmas celebration.

A 14-meter-tall Christmas tree from Norway, decorated with about 5,600 lights, has been set up in front of the Osaka city office. Illuminations also decorate the street to the south of the city office, as well as roads around Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, which is on the east side of the office. The tree and illuminations will be on from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Also, from Dec. 19 to 25, the facade of the library will be used as a screen for a light and music show. The 10-minute program will be shown for free every 30 minutes between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. A Christmas market will be held during the same period in Nakanoshima Park's rose garden.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6615-0695.

Kobe seminar takes up South Korean cinema: Kobe Asian Plaza, a semigovernmental organization in Kobe City Hall, will host a seminar on South Korean movies at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at its facility in Nagata Ward.

South Korean films are gaining increased popularity in Japan along with other forms of entertainment, but foreigners sometimes have difficulty understanding their societal and cultural contexts. Koo Jiyoung from South Korea, who is studying at Kobe University's graduate school of humanities and social sciences, will discuss and explain the uniqueness and characteristics of Korean society found in the country's cinematic art.

The seminar will be in Japanese.

The fee is 840 yen. Reservations must be made by Tuesday. Twenty people will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

For reservations and more information, call the organizer at (078) 646-7100.

Kaiyukan aquarium ready for the holidays: The Kaiyukan aquarium in Minato Ward, Osaka, will hold a Christmas event every day from Saturday to Dec. 25.

Divers dressed up as Santa Claus will appear in the aquarium's two huge tanks, which are home to a whale shark, a giant manta, Pacific white-sided dolphins and many other kinds of marine life. During a 20-minute appearance, the divers will swim with the creatures, waving at visitors, feeding dolphins and posing for photographs. There will be seven such shows daily.

Other Christmas events and displays will also be held at the aquarium and surrounding commercial district.

Admission to the aquarium is 2,000 yen for adults, 900 yen for elementary school and junior high school students, and 400 yen for children aged 4 and older.

The aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for this Wednesday.

The venue is a five-minute walk from Osaka-ko Station on the Chuo subway line.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6576-5501.

Young German, Kyoto musicians to perform: Young, up and coming classical musicians from Germany will perform a concert with their counterparts from Kyoto at 7 p.m. Friday at Goethe Institut Kyoto in Sakyo Ward.

Four musicians from Kyoto -- two pianists, a horn player and a marimba player -- will perform with the first-place winners in piano, violin, cello and marimba at this year's "Jugend musiziert," an annual competition for young musicians in Germany. About nine compositions for these instruments will be played.

Tickets are 2,000 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for junior high school, high school and college students, and 500 yen for elementary school students. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

For more information, call Goethe Institut Kyoto at (075) 761-2188.

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