Submarine Santa brings festive cheer to Tokyo aquarium

Tokyo: Dressed in a Santa Claus costume, a mask and flippers, a diver waved through a curtain of tropical fish in a Tokyo aquarium at socially distanced spectators watching from behind glass.

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Continuing a more-than 20-year-old tradition at the Sunshine Aquarium, she held a Christmas wreath aloft as banana fish and a stingray swam by unperturbed, and used a bazooka-shaped feeder to shoot out pellets for them to feast on.

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“To be honest, I thought how can you swim in that outfit?” 42-year-old Keiichi Matsumura, visiting with his wife and four-year-old son, told Reuters after seeing the show, which will continue until Christmas Day.

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For Tokyo resident Ayami Kobayashi, 35, the entertainment was all the more welcome in a year overshadowed by a pandemic.

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“Seeing the fish made me relax. I know it’s difficult to hold events like these because of the coronavirus situation, but I’m grateful they still held the event,” she said.

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Started in 1999, the Christmas show has taken place almost every year since.

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This year, as daily infection rates inch higher across Japan, the aquarium has hosted the event on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, and placed strict limits on visitor numbers.

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