Golden Week

This year, the first ever Cinco de Mayo festival is being held at Yoyogi Park to celebrate Golden Week. Oddly enough, it’s today and tomorrow and not Sunday, which is actually May 5th, but let’s not split hairs.

There was food from all over South America, but the bilingual signs were in Japanese and Spanish, and beyond “pollo” and “cerveza” my Spanish is limited, but I managed to procure a turkey quesadilla (is that authentic?) and a can of sugary, not-very-pleasant fruit soda. The quesadilla was yummy; I disposed of the soda.

On the stage there was a rather cheesy dance that is supposedly traditional on Easter Island. That was followed by a couple of really dreadful French Canadian folk singers. The less said about them the better.

I was ready to pack it in, but then a band started setting up, and they appeared to be a bunch of white guys in navy uniforms.

It turns out that’s exactly what they were. They came from Yokosuka naval base.

Orient Express

I didn’t recognize many of the songs, but they did work in Beat It and Livin’ on a Prayer with an encore of Johnny B. Goode.


Their lead singer was a tiny Asian looking woman with an extraordinary pair of lungs.

It was one of the best concerts ever, and it was free,  but I was stumped. What were Canadians and navy personnel doing at a Cinco de Mayo festival?



Turns out, Cinco de Mayo is not that big a deal in Mexico, but is widely celebrated in the US. Forgive an East Coast girl who’s lived in Japan for most of her life for not knowing.





Figuring nothing would top that, I decided to move on, and discovered not far away, in front of Tokyu Hands, a horse doing magic tricks, but he had the oddest hooves I’ve ever seen.

There was no explanation of why it was a horse. Wouldn’t a kangaroo or an orangutan have done just as well?

Ours is not to question why.

Having had about as much fun as I could handle, it was time to head home, but there was one final treat in store.



On weekends and holidays, the neighborhood bakery makes cinnamon yum-yums, and one of those with an iced coffee rounded off the day nicely.

But there is one final question in my mind. They call them “Cherokees”. As far as I know, there are very few pastry confections in native American culinary culture. If anybody can explain that, I’ll sleep better tonight.


8 thoughts on “Golden Week”

  1. Nice post, we are heading up there today for the Cinco de Mayo festival, then going to the zoo tomorrow. =) Fully preparing for a mass of people and packed trains, cross your fingers for us to arrive safely, have fun and return home safely tomorrow. haha!

    1. Here’s a thought about the origin of ‘Cherokees.’ What do you bet it comes via the old American ‘cheroot,’ which once meant a blunt-end cigar? My guess is that it carries within it all sorts of oblivious nationalisms, since cigars were once generally advertized with images of American Indians though my old dictionary says that the origin of this word is the other kind of indian and the language Tamil. Climb into your dungarees or your calico. Yippie-i-o-cayay.

      1. Could be something like that, but knowing how Japanese absorbs words from other languages, it could be altogether different, some bastardization of French maybe. The next time the cute bakery guy is selling them, I’ll ask.

Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

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