St. Patrick’s Day, Japan

I don’t think I ever celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland.  For most of my life it was not a national holiday.  I have no fond feelings of the day as it was a religious holiday that highlighted the divide in the country.

It’s much easier to celebrate this living in Japan.  When I tell people here that I am from Northern Ireland they assume that I am Irish.  I don’t often try to correct them as even I have difficulty in deciding if I am British or Irish.  To have to choose from either of those national identities feels wrong.  I am Northern Irish and a child of the Troubles.

The first time I ever attended a St. Patrick’s Day party was in San Diego.  This was also the only time I have ever eaten corned beef and cabbage.  Last year I attended my first St. Patrick’s Day parade – though this was in Tokyo.  This year Marty took the day off work and we went for a walk.  We won’t be eating potatoes, wearing green, drinking Guinness, or singing sorrowful songs.   Those are not the things that make us Irish, no matter what the Americans tell you.

Spring in Minami Senju

Spring in Minami Senju

4 Responses to “St. Patrick’s Day, Japan”

  1. Geoff Says:

    Good to know you’re all thinking of us on such a day! So in a spirit of reciprocity, we have a Japan season on BBC4. We got the film “Ping Pong” last night, of which I’ve watched half… which I guess accounts for “ping”. But better still is the small collection of interstitials based on Japanese phrases… see how many you can use tomorrow! 🙂

  2. Norwin Says:

    I haven’t written it up yet, but I have some thoughts brewing along similar lines. Because I’m just back from a holiday, I’ve been asked the “where are you from question” a few times. And I always answer Northern Ireland. Even though I know they’ll only hear Ireland, I can seldom bring myself to drop the Northern bit, because it’s important to me.
    Anyway, glad you had a nice day.

  3. Barbie Says:

    “or singing sorrowful songs”

    Now I have to correct you there, I’ve heard Marty singing Fairytale of New York!

  4. karen Says:

    Well we sometimes eat potatoes, wear green, and sing sorrowful songs. Just not on St. Patrick’s Day and not all at the same time 🙂 We never drink Guinness – though I used it to make Irish Stew at the weekend.

    We sang some sorrowful songs tonight if you count “The Blower’s Daughter” and “Chasing Cars”. And Marty and I did sing “Fairytale of New York” even though it’s not Christmas.

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