St Patrick in Harajuku

Irishness is still an internationally adored commodity, as long as Irishness means drinking green beer, wearing silly hats, listening to fiddley-dee music, then drinking more green beer. St Patrick’s Day came to Tokyo two days early, in the form of the “I love Ireland” celebration in Yoyogi park.

It was a lovely afternoon. There were pretty authentic Irish music performances on the main stage, enthusiastic lessons in Irish folk dancing, and a lot of green being worn by locals and expats (“immigrants“) alike. There was also a tent in which you could learn about investment opportunities in Northern Ireland, manned by a bloke drinking a can of Guinness. For some reason, this pleased me.

I do find these kind of events a bit culturally baffling – there were American guys wearing “I’m the Irish guy your parents warned you about” t-shirts, odiously – but I can’t be too snooty about it. Irishness is seen as a good thing, synonymous with having a good time and not taking things too seriously. There are worse cultural legacies.

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