The 17th of March will see another Saint Patrick’s Day, but (that being a Tuesday), Saturday, the 14th of March will see what have now become the traditional INJ (Irish Network in Japan) Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in Nagoya. For those of you who need reminding, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, credited, among other things, with casting the snakes out of Ireland (there are no native Irish snakes, even to this day), and seizing upon the shamrock as a handy way to illustrate the three-in-one doctrine of the Trinity – with the result that the shamrock (together with the harp) are now Ireland’s best-known national symbols.
Saint Patrick, however, was no Irishman: according to tradition, he was kidnapped from the neighbouring island of Britain by Irish pirates, sold into slavery in Ireland, escaped, but then returned to Ireland to teach his hosts about Christianity. It is thus fitting that Saint Patrick’s Day should have become the enormous international celebration that it is, far dwarfing events at home in Ireland; and it is equally fitting that it has become an occasion for folk of all and any religion, nationality, culture, or background, to feel welcome to come together and celebrate Saint Patrick’s magnanimity – typically, with a drop of liquid refreshment, but equally, with parades, music, dancing, and all manner of revelry.
Which brings us back to Nagoya on the 14th! Ladies and gentlemen, are you looking for an unusual venue for a White Day date? Are you single, and aching to stifle the misery of one of Japan’s traditionally romantic days, spent alone? Then welcome, one and all, to The INJ Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations!
It all kicks off at twelve midday with an opening ceremony at the Maneki-Neko in Osu, where there will be Irish piping, Irish dancing, sundry performances of Irish music, and, in the typically inclusive Saint Patrick’s Day spirit, a Japanese drum performance. From two o’clock to three o’clock there will be a colourful parade through Osu. After that, the party will make its way to Shirakawa Park, where, from three-thirty, there will be a family-friendly “Lark in the Park”, comprising traditional Irish sports, more Irish dancing, games and crafts for kids, face-painting, etc., and a bring-your-own-beer. Finally, folk will gather at the foot of the Nagoya TV Tower, where there will be a lighting ceremony at six o’clock, as the tower goes green (!), to the accompaniment of more Irish music and dancing. In addition, this year, for the first time, there will be performances of a short skit called, “The Story of Saint Patrick’s Day”, at various venues throughout the day. This performance, by the purpose-formed St. Patrick’s Players, will attempt to convey, in a minimalist style, and chiefly for the benefit of Japanese spectators, the origins of this now international festival.
In the meantime, keep your eyes open around Nagoya, as various bars, restaurants, and cafés will be advertising the parade and / or offering special deals in the days around Saint Patrick’s Day! The main celebrations themselves are organised by The Irish Network in Japan, an organisation of Irish people, people of Irish descent, many Hibernophile Japanese, and indeed, anyone in Japan who enjoys a bit of craic!
You can find more details about the celebrations, or about the INJ, on their website:
http://inj.or.jp/group/inj-nagoya , or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festivities
12:00 Saturday, March 14th
Venue: Osu Kannon, Osu Shopping Streets (Osu Kannon Temple, Naka Ward, Nagoya City)
12: 00 ~
Opening Ceremony at Maneki Neko Square
14: 00 ~
Parade Starts from Osu Kannon Temple
15: 30 ~
Family Event at Shirakawa Kohen Park
17: 30 ~
Light-up Event (Nagoya TV Tower goes GREEN) Ceremony, Music, Drama, Juggling, etc.