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Friday, March 7, 2008

St. Paddy's: parade your Irish ayes

Staff writer

On Paddy's Day, everyone is Irish. That's how the saying goes, and — like millions in New York, Sydney and Moscow — countless Tokyoites take the Great Green Day seriously, too.

News photo
The 2007 St. Patrick's Day parade on Omotesando, Tokyo PHOTO COURTESY OF IRISH NETWORK JAPAN

For this year's St. Patrick's Day parade, scheduled in Tokyo for March 16 at Omotesando, more than 30,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Among the parade participants will be troupes of Japanese Irish dancers, Japanese Irish-music players, Japanese Irish-beer drinkers and even some Japanese Irish wolfhounds and Japanese Irish setters.

Rumor has it there'll be a few Irish Irish-beer drinkers too.

The green-robe-clad St. Patrick will be there "in person," leading the parade originally started in his honor.

The man credited with assuring the conversion of pagan Ireland to Christianity died, his work complete, on March 17 in A.D. 461. Since the 17th falls on the second day of the Catholics' Holy Week this year, some religious celebrations will be held on March 15.

As always, the event will attract many representatives of Tokyo's international community, including U.S. military musicians, university cheerleading teams and groups from international schools. The Tokyo parade will start from Shibuya Jingu-mae School at 2 p.m.

A highlight of this year's Tokyo parade will be an Irish dance group called Riverdance, who will be touring Japan between May and July this year.

For those outside of the capital, St. Patrick's Day parades will also be held in Yokohama, Ise and Kumamoto (on March 8), Kyoto and Matsue (March 9), Okinawa (March 15) and Nagoya (March 22).

For details of this and other events visit the Web site of the Irish Network Japan at www.inj.or.jp

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