Masqueraders in feather headdresses sparkle in glitter all colors of the rainbow. A truck with booming speakers fills the air with calypso beats, the backing track for laughter and singing voices. Steel drum musicians serenade dancers with tropical songs in time with the setting sun. Revelers savor the taste of roasted eggplant dip, spiced plantains and grilled chicken on rice.
This all might have taken place at the Mobara Twin Circuit racetrack in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, but for a short while on Sept. 18, the Japan Caribbean Carnival made Japan feel a world away.
In September, soca music lovers came together across both Tokyo and Chiba for four days of Caribbean-themed festivities, organized by the group Soca in Japan. Distinct from Brazilian samba, Soca is a musical genre that originated in Trinidad and Tobago with roots in Africa and East India. Japan’s community of soca enthusiasts is also growing, says Kegon Toussaint.