We celebrated last Sunday, just in time for a few photos from XiaoMan to post today! I was busy with some interpreting work, since this event usually involves at least one representative from the Embassy of Ireland and a large turnout of the local (and surrounding) international crowd.

The day usually starts with a Water Parade, with the usual Horikawa Sightseeing Boats decked out for the occasion.

By the time that concluded, over three hundred participants in the land portion of the parade had gathered at Matsue Castle, and after a brief opening ceremony, we were off! I had some some of the crazy costumes before, but as always, there were plenty of new ones.

This cart played the Mario theme music too!

After the parade there were street performances spread out through the shopping district spanning two sides of the Kyobashi River, a food fair, and some special activities like petting penguins. I was mostly busy emceeing for a Paper-Rock-Scissors competition with Appare-kun, Matsue’s feudal lord mascot. The Shamrock, the Irish Pub in the vault of the Karakoro Art Studio, went on with live performances well into the night.

If you’re looking for Ireland you probably aren’t looking in Japan, but if you are in Japan and looking for Ireland there, then you want to look for Matsue.

The city maintains strong ties with Ireland thanks to Lafcadio Hearn’s Celtic background, and this year’s weekend Irish Festival will be March 12-13. I’ve written about it before (see 2013, 2014, and 2015), but how about a video instead?

Here’s a little recap in English (seeing as many of the visitors for this event speak Guinness better than they speak Japanese):

The main event is the two-part St. Patrick’s Day parade and performances on Sunday, though the Irish pub in the vault of the Karakoro Art Studio runs both Saturday and Sunday.

The water portion of the parade, on the Horikawa Sightseeing Boats which frequent the city center but will be specially clad in green on that day, will take off at 11am. The street parade depart from Matsue Castle at 12:40, following its opening ceremony at 12:30. It will take about an hour for the parade to do its jig on down to Karakoro Square, where performances from local music and dance groups will start at 1:30pm. Parade participants should register by March 7, and they should get as creative as they can with their green costumes, as they were will be prizes!

During the performances there will also be a little market to get food from local restaurants, buy handcrafts, or get your picture with the small parade of penguins who will also be participating. But I know, I know, you’re really here for the pub and the Guinness on tap. In addition to other drinks and an Irish menu, there will also be live performances closer to what you’d expect to an Irish pub than what you’d expect a group of Yosakoi or hip hop dancers to put on outside.

On Saturday the 12th, the pub will be open 5pm to 10pm, and on Sunday the 13th, from 1pm to 9pm. Don’t get too hungover!

The Karakoro Art Studio will be lit up in green every night until March 17th, with some special displays and Irish goods for sale in side. Matsue likes making events like St. Patricks Day and New Orleans’ style Mardi Gras last all month, after all.

You can get all the most current and detailed information on the event’s Facebook page. See you there then!