Go Green For St. Patrick’s Day 2017

Join The Craic, Ladies!

By Haruka Masumizu
March 5, 2017
Lifestyle

Invite your friends to go green and join the craic at this special Irish Day in Tokyo!

The biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Asia, the I Love Ireland Festival will be back in Yoyogi Park for the 4th consecutive year running on an unprecedentedly bigger scale. Commemorating the 60th year anniversary of the Japan-Ireland diplomatic relations, this year’s festival will run for two days, March 18 – 19, for the very first time. Expect some great food, drinks, performances — and, of course, lots of Guinness! 

St. Patrick’s Day, though essentially an Irish national holiday, is now celebrated all over the world not only by Irish immigrants, but also by locals who love Irish culture. Though geographically and culturally far apart, Japan is no different: Irish immigrants living in Japan and Japanese locals cooperate with each other every year to organize various St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including the I Love Ireland Festival throughout Japan.

Growth of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Japan

Despite the lack of knowledge in Ireland and the origin of this event, St. Patrick’s Day has surely begun to establish its presence in as many as 13 cities in Japan (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Nagoya, Fukui, Osaka, Matsue, Ise, Takamatsu, Okayama, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Okinawa). The biggest and oldest of all, the Tokyo parade celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The 2014 launch of the I Love Ireland Festival in Yoyogi Park, which annually takes place in conjunction with Omotesando’s Tokyo parade (19 March, this year) on the same day around the neighboring area, surely gave momentum to the parade, making it recognizably an “Irish event” from a green parade.

What to expect in I Love Ireland Festival 2017

Organizers of the I Love Ireland Festival explained at a recent press conference that the most important theme of the event has always been to provide people with “craic” — an Irish word for “fun.” But this year, they aim to develop and expand the event even further with a new sub-theme, “eco & sports-rugby.”

Eco-friendly

“Eco-friendly” aligns with St. Patrick’s symbolic color, green, as well as the country’s richness in nature. The I Love Ireland Festival aims to produce as little waste as possible throughout the event, while organizing a group-sport with volunteers to pick up trash on the street in cooperation with the Spo-GOMI organiser, Social Sports Initiative.

Rugby

Ireland and Japan are coincidentally linked by rugby: Ireland will host the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year while Japan is planned to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Celebrating this connection, the I Love Ireland Festival will invite the Japanese female rugby team, who also plan to join the World Cup in Ireland this year, to join a talk show on the main stage as well as the parade. Visitors are invited to have a taste of rugby in a form of street rugby in one corner of Yoyogi Park in order to promote the “craic” of rugby further in Japan.

Craic

The festival is family-oriented and full of craic for any age groups. Of course as every year, you can enjoy some drinks, food, traditional Irish music and dance sessions, which give you some experience of the craic of an Irish pub. Music performances include both Japanese musicians and some Irish trad bands, while Irish dance will be performed by an Irish dance school based in Japan. You will also have a chance to try some gaelic football, a unique national sport of Ireland, along with the members of the Japan Gaelic Athletic Association.

Also in store is a talk show between Miss World Japan, Priyanka Yoshikawa and her Irish counterpart, Niamh Kennedy who became friends with each other in the global competition last year to celebrate 60 years of friendship and diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

So if you’re into green, fun and mingling with Tokyo’s international people, mark the event in your calendar and invite a friend or two along! Enjoy!

The Deets

I Love Ireland Festival
When: Sat, March 18 – Sun, March 19, 2017
Where: Yoyogi Park, 2-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo  
How much: Free!

Haruka is a Japanese university student majoring in Media and Communications at the University of the Sacred Heart. She recently spent one year studying Sociology in Ireland. With passion about Irish culture, she has been heavily involved with the Irish community in Japan, organizing the "I Love Ireland Festival," annually held at Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. She spends her free time exploring new cafes while engaging in a deep discussion with her friends about life, or watching Korean dramas to escape reality.

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