Well, for several weeks I have been training for the race I ran last weekend: the Annaka Tooashi Marathon. The Annaka Tooashi Marathon is one of the oldest foot races in Japan, with a legendary history stretching back hundreds of years to when the local king ordered his Samurai to run from his castle to the gates of a garden 20 kilometers away. These days it follows roughly the same course. Over the years, the race somehow became a costumed marathon. So, when I was preparing for the race, I not only had to get my body ready for a 20km run uphill, but I also had to make my costume. While I had been planning it for weeks, it came together, like usual, the day before. Here it is, my Kappa costume.
A Kappa is a monster from Japanese legend that lives in ponds and pulls people under if they go swimming alone. They have a bowl of water in their head which is the source of their power. If this bowl dries up they could die. They also love cucumbers.
And have a shell like a turtle.
My costume was a big hit. But not because it looked great. Almost everything I used to make the costume was real food (seaweed, pigs ears, fish paper, cucumbers, nori, etc.) so I smelled like a Kappa would. In fact, I smelled so bad that as I walked by I caught the attention of this reporter, who then interviewed me for his newspaper. I am still looking for the article.
Here are some shots of the other people who ran the race.
Great costume, but 20kms in this is hard.
Me and the Monkey King.
Yuri's friends, who also ran the race.
Castles running by.
Kama-meshi lunch box...
Well, as it turned out, my costume was a big hit, and was selected as one of 10 winners for "Best Idea". My time was also not all that shabby. Out of the 2000 or so people who ran, I placed 90th. I also felt great when I had finished and it didn't hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. Here is my trophy.
All in all, a fantastic race. If you happen to be in Gunma, you really should go to see the Annaka Tooashi Marathon.