Amongst many distinctions of different kinds, Tokyo has one that merits affectionate attention. Tokyo hosts the only Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Asia.

This parade is still several weeks away, but it is already receiving mention for what promises to be the longest one ever held here, and the most imaginative in its conjuring of Emerald Isle atmosphere. Dancers and musicians will parade on Omote-sando along with the many local wearers of the green from Tokyo's Irish community.

The Emerald Ball 2000 is also still several weeks away. This year marks the eighth consecutive year since the ball's inception. It is the annual fundraising event for the Ireland Fund of Japan, which supports deserving causes in Japan and Ireland.