/

Swap carps for pinatas on Children’s Day

by Sang Woo Kim

Staff Writer

Children’s Day in Japan is known for its koinobori (carp streamer) decorations, but perhaps this year you’d like to celebrate with a pinata instead.

The annual Latin American festival Cinco de Mayo occurs on May 5, the same day as Children’s Day. This year, events will be held in Tokyo and Osaka for those families who are looking for something different to do with the kids — or those who are just interested in the delicious food.

Largely celebrated in Mexico and Hispanic communities in the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Japan will be stacked with dance, music and foods coming from an area that stretches from Patagonia in South America to Tijuana in Mexico.

Besides the tango, samba and zumba, more traditional dances are to be performed at the Tokyo event such as the Peruvian marinera, the Paraguayan bottle dance and Brazil’s capoeira dance-martial arts hybrid. As for music, Latin salsa, Mexican cumbia and Brazilian bands are scheduled to appear. Of course, enthusiastic fans are welcome to dance in front of the stage.

In Osaka, a local New Orleans brass jazz band will appear on stage, too. Latin American food such as churros and blackened chicken will be served from numerous food stalls — great if you’re hungry after walking or dancing.

The Tokyo festival will start at 10 a.m. and run until 8 p.m. on May 3 and 6:30 p.m. on May 4. The Osaka leg will open at 11 a.m. and wind up at 8 p.m. on both May 5 and 6.

Beers, mojitos and tequila will be on hand for a boozy lunch in both cities, just remember to schedule in a siesta.

Cinco de Mayo Festival takes place May 3 and 4 in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, and May 5 and 6 in Tennoji Park, Osaka. There is no entrance charge for the Tokyo event, but an additional ¥150 entrance fee is required for the Osaka one. For more information, visit www.cincodemayo.jp.