On a gorgeous, sunny day along the streets of Tokyo’s Omotesando shopping district, the 17th annual Tokyo St. Patrick’s Day Parade brought grins to faces from all over the world. There were even a few Irish eyes a smilin’.

An estimated 2,000 people attended the parade, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Japanese showed why you don’t need to be from Ireland to capture the spirit of the isle.

“Everyone who can come, should,” said 30-year-old Air Force Tech Sgt. Patrick Kellaher, a computer systems administrator with the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development at Hardy Barracks in Tokyo. “Enjoy the city, enjoy the parade, and afterward there are always cheap pints of Guinness at pubs all over the place.”

Kellaher, who claims to be 75 percent Irish, and his wife, Julia, enjoyed the pub scene after the parade two years ago, but this year their agenda was a little different with their 1-year-old daughter, Fiona, in tow.

Kellaher said he most enjoyed the baton twirlers this year “because that’s what my daughter really liked.” He also said he enjoyed the United States Army Band, Japan, which traveled from Camp Zama to perform in the festivities.

“They were great again this year,” he added.

The Army band certainly had appropriate-colored uniforms for the occasion, but even those who don’t wear green to work each day made stylish statements with the emerald hue. While hundreds were clad in green and orange t-shirts, a few went the extra mile and changed their hair to match, including a Japanese bagpiper who piped away while sporting a bright green Mohawk.

Other participants included Senshu University cheerleaders, a dog display by the Irish Setters Club, the Shamrock Ladies, regulars from many of the local Irish pubs, and hundreds more.

If Kellaher has anything to say about it, this won’t be the last St. Patties’ Day Parade in Tokyo for his family.

“If we’re still here next year, we’re going,” he said. “Definitely.”

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