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Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

Holiday events in Nakanoshima:
The Nakanoshima district of Kita Ward, Osaka, is being illuminated every evening through Dec. 25 as part of the city's Christmas celebration.

A tall Christmas tree, one of several sent from Norway to large cities around the world as a symbol of love, peace and friendship, has been set up in front of Osaka City Hall. Illuminations also decorate the streets and other places in the district.

Several other seasonal attractions have begun, including a light and music show utilizing the facade of the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library. The 10-minute program will be shown for free every 30 minutes between 8:05 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. on weekdays and between 6 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. on weekends and national holidays.

There will also be a Christmas market, food stalls, street performances and other events in Nakanoshima Park's Kensaki Square.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6615-0695 or visit the Web site at www.hikari-renaissance.com (in Japanese).

International Church Christmas:
services Osaka International Church in Chuo Ward is holding special Christmas services Dec. 24 and 25.

OIC is an interdenominational Protestant church founded in 1974. It will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 24, conducted in both English and Japanese. The Christmas service from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 25 will be in English with Japanese interpretations.

The church is a 10-minute walk from Tamatsukuri Station on the JR Loop Line.

For more information, call the church at (06) 6768-4385, e-mail info@oicjapan.org or visit its Web site at /www.oicjapan.org

Kaiyukan aquarium penguins on parade:
Kaiyukan aquarium in Minato Ward, Osaka, is showing some of its penguins in an open-air cage daily through Feb. 19.

Seven king penguins, one of the three species shown at Kaiyukan, will be housed in a special cage in Event Square outside the aquarium. Usually, the Antarctic birds are kept in a huge tank inside the building.

In addition, the birds will occasionally get the opportunity to leave the cage and take a walk on a 50-meter course, when their keepers will introduce them and ask the spectators questions. The top three winners of the quiz session will be allowed to be photographed with the penguins.

The procession will take place every Saturday, Sunday and national holiday until Feb. 19, plus daily from Friday to Jan. 9. The 20-minute procession will be held three times a day until Jan. 9, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and from Jan. 14, twice a day at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The open-air display will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Feb. 19, except for Jan. 10 to 12 and Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, when the aquarium will be closed.

The event is free of charge.

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

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



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