You can count the number of Irish people in Nagoya on the fingers of both hands. But come March 17 the numbers swell and it seems like everywhere you look people are wearing a bit of green. Yes folks, it’s time to gear up for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade when, as the saying goes, everybody can be Irish for the day. The craic will be mighty and more than a few people will succumb to the allure of of the demon drink. But March this year will also be a time to remember, to be thankful, and to look to the future.
Now in it’s 8th year, the parade got its start in Nagoya thanks to the World Expo in 2005, and has been held every year since in the Osu shopping arcade. Until last year, that is. The 2011 parade was scheduled for March 12 but the tragic events of the day before were such that the organizing committee felt compelled to postpone at the last minute. The committee members threw themselves into the various fundraising and volunteer activities that were a hallmark of Nagoya’s wonderful community spirit, and some later spent time helping out in Tohoku. Items that were to be given away in the parade were instead sold at various locations around Nagoya and the proceeds donated to Hope International Development Agency, Japan.
So while March 11, 2012 will be a day of remembrance, a sad day all around Japan, it will also be a day to reflect on the good things that came about following the tragedy, a time when the Nagoya community came into its own. And on the 17th St. Patrick’s Day will be a day to celebrate the life, the friends, the community we have here in Nagoya. There will be live music and dancing before the parade starts at 2pm. After a circuit of the Osu shopping arcade those lucky enough to get a ticket (space is limited) can enjoy an evening of great Irish music at the nearby Kokoro Hitotsu café. And of course, from early evening on local watering holes like The Shamrock and Shooters will be rocking out to the Celtic beat till the wee small hours.
We hope to see you in Osu on Saturday, March 17 wearing a bit of green and ready for a day of “craic agus ceol”!
The Irish Network Japan will be launching its new website soon. It will be a great place for Irish people to connect with their countrymen and Japanese interested in Ireland and Irish culture, as well as keep up to date on news and events on the web: http://www.inj.or.jp