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Friday, May 7, 2010


Jamaica in Japan: One Love festival

This weekend (May 8 and 9), Tokyo celebrates its continuing love affair with all things Jamaican. The annual One Love Festival takes place in Yoyogi Park, and this year it will be bigger than ever. Expect to find rocksteady reggae rhythms on the sound systems, Red Stripe lager in the ice boxes and plenty of smoke in the air from the grills turning out jerk chicken by the barrel load.

News photo
Jamaican classic: Jerk chicken and festival (fritters), as served at JamRock Cafe in Harajuku.

There's a lot more to Jamaican food than the snacks sold at the festival. If you get tired of the crowds but crave a deeper taste of those potent flavors, then head over to JamRock Cafe, close by Harajuku Station. It's only been open a few months but it's already become a key meeting point for the city's Jamaican community.

Owner-chef Yvonne Goldson serves a wide selection of home-cooked foods, including lots of ital vegetarian specials. We'll be reviewing JamRock Cafe in plenty more depth in the near future. But in the interim here's a hot tip: Don't miss the pepperpot soup, escoveitch fish or the black-pepper-encrusted Jerk Beef Steak.

One Love Jamaica Festival 2010 is held in Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, on May 8 and 9 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; free admission. For more information, visit www.onelove-jamaica-fes.org JamRock Cafe, ATM Bldg 4F, 1-21-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 3478-2364; www.jamrockcafeonline.com; open 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. (Fri., Sat. 12-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-midnight); closed Mon.

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