Japan Week kicks off in N.Y. marking cherry tree gift's centennial
|A group of women wearing kimono decorated with cherry blossoms are at Times Square in New York on March 1, 2012, for a serious of Japan Week events to commemorate Japan's 1912 gift to Washington and New York of several thousand cherry trees. (Kyodo)|
NEW YORK, March 1 Kyodo
A series of events marking the centennial of Japan's gift of
cherry blossom trees to the United States kicked off Thursday in New York, featuring performances of traditional music and Japanese cuisine.
Japan Week, co-sponsored by the Japan Tourism Agency, will run through March 11, the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami
disaster in Japan, as one of the events commemorating the 1912 gift from Japan to Washington and New York of several thousand cherry
Three-day kickoff events at Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan include performances of koto, a traditional Japanese harp, cooking demonstrations of Japanese dishes by local restaurants and tea ceremonies.
In related events, the Japan National Tourism Organization held a ''paint the town pink,'' or Cherry Blossom Square event, at Times Square, including cherry blossom motif-filled images projected on large screens to promote tourism to Japan and a lighting ceremony with kimono-clad women.
Rina Hirano, one of the women who wore kimono for the event, said, ''I don't usually attend this kind of events but decided to take part this time because I wanted to thank Americans for their support after last year's big earthquake.''
The 25-year-old from Nagasaki Prefecture, who has lived in New York since 2006, will start working in Tokyo in April.
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