Japan Day Celebrated Despite Rain

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Thousands endured the rain Sunday morning to race four miles around Central Park for the 13th Annual Japan Run.

“You know something, runners run regardless of the conditions. It’s a little windy, but overall we’ll get out here and run and people like to celebrate too,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners Club.

The route takes runners through the park’s inner loop to finish near the Naumberg Bandshell for awards and snacks. Some say it was a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

“My mother passed just this past year so I’m running in memory of her. She lived a long, beautiful life,” said one runner who was greeting friends after the race.

“My wife is running and I’m waiting for her. And my two kids are running, it’s a family affair. So we are having a great time and we are celebrating Mother’s Day part one here,” said another runner while drying off under a tent.

The run is a lead up to the annual Japan Day festival inside the park, an event that celebrates Japanese culture.

“New York City has welcomed the Japanese community as an important part of its diversified culture,” said Kanji Yamanouchi, the Japanese Ambassador.

Vendor tents were set up in the morning in preparation for the day’s celebration, which feature face painting, calligraphy lessons, origami crafts, and a chance to wear traditional ceremonial attire like samurai armor. Veterans of Japan Day say the performances are the best part of the day.

“Basically the stage performance and the little taste of Japan, like the karate, or the Japanese folk dance,” said Tsutomu Takemura, Japan Day President.

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