Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The "Happiest 5K on the Planet"
Came to Japan!
Despite both waking up at 6:40 to get ready for it, Estella and I were close to almost not making it in time for the last round of the first Color Run in Japan, at 12:40. We met up with Kosei and Richard - strangers to me at the time - at Tokyo station and almost missed the train that we needed to get on to go to Anegasaki Station in Chiba prefecture, the middle of nowhere.
On the hour and a half train ride there, as city architecture became more sparse and then nonexistent, replaced by fields and rustic communities, we figured that most of the people on the train were hiding a pair of sneakers and a Color Run T-shirt somewhere inside their "Tokyo" guise and tactically decided to rely on their navigation skills.
Sure enough, it got us there. It was also a stroke of luck that the Color Run decided to send out shuttle buses for free to us poor transportation-less castaways. (However, we would have to find our own way back.)
The weather was actually ideal for running outside and getting powdered paint thrown at you. Despite the cold, windy, and rainy days that preceded it, Saturday was perfectly sunny and cool. The Color Run isn't much of a run either. Not only is it just 5 km, if you ran the whole thing you would have missed the point of it. As ridiculous as it sounds, the Color Run is the happiest 5k on the planet! The point is to be a blank canvas at the start and a vibrant painting at the finish. Moreover, you should take the time to admire other "paintings" and assist those who have trouble getting all their white spots covered (Richard). ;) Even when you've reached the end of the track, which I must tell you comes way too soon, you're not done having fun. At the finish line, staff wait to hand you Lush pots of more powdered paint so that you can continue to have your war with a group of friends or join in the big music and dance rave a little further up ahead towards a stage.
The most phenomenal thing about the Color Run is that all types of people show up for it. Old and young. Local and foreign. Families and friends, or even strangers. There are people wearing tutus, not exclusively women, people wearing afro wigs, and perhaps only in Japan: people in wedding attire.
The journey home was a long one, starting with trying to look as normal as possible. Then I believe Estella, Kosei, Richard, and I walked further than we did in the Color Run to get to a station to go back to Tokyo. It was quite an adventure, complete with a spontaneous visit to an abandoned shrine and gratuitous transit advice from a really strange and loud obasan. It was only when we were finally sitting inside the right train that we had time to sigh, be tired, and think about what an amazing day it was.