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Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009

KANSAI: Who & What

Osaka to host New Year countdown concert

The Floating Garden Observatory of Umeda Sky Building in Kita Ward, Osaka, will host the "Welcome 2010! Countdown to the New Year" concert from 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 31.

The concert will feature Kobe-based male vocal group Permanent Fish (www.fantasia-kobe.jp/pf/) and be held until 0:30 a.m. Admission to the concert is free, but there is a ¥700 charge to enter the observatory on the 40th floor.

On Dec. 31, the venue will open at 10 a.m. and allow visitors to enter until 1 a.m. It will close at 1:30 a.m. On Jan. 1, the 40th floor observatory will open at 5 a.m. for visitors to enjoy the first sunrise of the year.

For more information, please contact the organizer at (06) 6440-3855.

Take a New Year's Day dip in the ocean at Kobe

The Kansai Canadian Association, in collaboration with Japan Canada Kai, will invite people to participate in, or simply watch, the "Polar Bear Swim" New Year event in Tarumi Ward, Kobe, from noon to 2 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Polar Bear Swim events originated in Canada, in which people swim in the ocean on New Year's Day.

The venue is Kobe Maiko Beach, also known as Azur Maiko, which is a five-minute walk south of Maiko Station on the JR Kobe Line. Participants and spectators will meet the staff at 11:30 a.m. at the ticket gate of JR Maiko Station.

The Polar Bear Swim will start at noon, assisted by members of the Kobe Life Saving Club. After a quick dip, an open-air barbecue and "ozoni" hot soup party will be held on the beach from 12:30 p.m. Polar Bear Swimmers will get discount tickets to the hot pool of Hotel Setre next to the venue.

Participation is free for KCA and JCK members. Nonmembers are urged to make a donation. Participants are also encouraged to bring food to share at the party. The event will be canceled in the event of bad weather.

For more information, please contact the organizer at kawaijck@nifty.com

Catch the sun setting from Osaka port harbor

Spectacular views of the sun setting between breakwaters located off Tempozan in Minato Ward, Osaka, can be seen on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

The breakwaters are built 3 km off the port of Osaka in Minato Ward to protect the harbor from waves. A gap between the north and south breakwaters, called Daikan-mon, is the gateway to the port.

From Nov. 21 to Jan. 21, the sun sets between the breakwaters, offering a rare opportunity for amateur and professional photographers to take spectacular shots, especially on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, when the sun sets right in the middle of Daikan-mon.

According to calculations by the Osaka Science Museum, the sun will set at 4:57 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 4:58 p.m. on Jan. 1.

For further information, contact the Tempozan Harbor Village at (06) 6576-5501 between 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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