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Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011

KANSAI: Who & What

Otsu to stage free Christmas-themed concerts

Biwako Hall in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, will host two free Christmas-themed concerts Dec. 16.

The 30-minute concerts will be conducted by Hideki Motoyama and performed by the Biwako Hall Vocal Ensemble, accompanied on piano by Chinatsu Matsuda.

No admission or advance reservations are required. The concerts will start at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will be held in the main lobby of Biwako Hall. The venue is a 20-minute walk or a seven-minute bus ride from Otsu Station on the JR Biwako Line.

Details and an access map can be found on the venue's website at www.biwako-hall.or.jp (in Japanese and English).

Visit Osaka hotel's Christmas decorations, lights

The Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka invites visitors to view its Christmas decorations and lights, which include an 80-meter Christmas tree illumination, through Dec. 25.

The decorations include a message of encouragement for the disaster-hit northeast. Inside the hotel, there are Christmas trees and wreaths.

There are also special Christmas meals at the hotel's restaurants, while take-out food and sweets are on sale at the hotel shop. The illuminations will be turned on from sunset to 1 a.m.

The hotel, located in Kita Ward, Osaka, is connected to Nakanoshima Station via the Keihan Nakanoshima Line. A free shuttle bus service is available from JR Osaka Station. The bus is decorated with illustrations, red ribbons and gold stars.

For more information, including access maps to the hotel and the shuttle bus stop at JR Osaka Station, please visit the hotel's website at www.rihga.co.jp/osaka/ (in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese).

Film about the Ainu to be screened in Osaka

A film about the Ainu will be screened from 1:30 to 3:45 p.m. Sunday at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, in the city of Suita.

The film, "Ainu Past and Present (2005-6)," centers around a much earlier film about the Ainu shot by Scottish doctor and anthropologist Neil Gordon Munro in the early years of the Showa Era (1926-1989). Munro's film is about the Ainu's bear sacrifice ceremony.

The more recent movie explores Munro's desire to shoot the ceremony and the reception his film got, by looking at Munro's letters and photographs, and interviews. The screening and the film are in Japanese.

There will be 450 seats and no advance reservations are required. Admission is free. Numbered tickets will be handed out in front of the venue, a hall in the museum, from 10 a.m. on the day of the screening. The tickets include free entry to the special exhibition "Devotion to the Arts of Living: Daily Life Among the Ainu of the Kurile, Sakhalin and Hokkaido Islands."

The museum is a 15-minute walk from Banpaku Kinen Koen Station on the Osaka Monorail Line through the Expo Park, which requires a ¥250 admission charge.

For further information, contact the museum at (06) 6878-8210 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, or go to www.minpaku.ac.jp (in Japanese and English).



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