Cinco de Mayo 2016: A Cultural Experience Event

Hanami season is finished and now Golden Week is coming into view. Looking ahead, have you already made plans for heading to the ocean? Camping or a BBQ next to a river or in the mountains? Travelling overseas? If your plans are still in flux, how about enjoying a day at Cinco de Mayo?

Today, Cinco de Mayo organizer Steve Kim talked to us about the appeal of the event that hits Osaka from April 29th (Fri) to May 1st (Sun) and Tokyo from May 3rd (Tue) to May 5th (Fri).

Eventr: Steve, thanks for giving us some time today from your busy schedule. To get started, can you give us a quick self introduction?

Steve Kimさん
Steve is on the right.

Steve: I’m Steve the organizer of Cinco de Mayo, an event organized in Japan – Tokyo and Osaka in particular – since 2013. Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May in Spanish. It’s an event that everyone in Mexico and the US celebrates through food, music and dance. There are a lot of Latino people resident in Japan, so we started this event to showcase and allow everyone to enjoy this culture.

Eventr: It wasn’t an event that I’d heard of, but you’ve been organizing it at Yoyogi Park right? I used to live in San Diego too, and from what I remember, people really got into it. Yoyogi Park has an image of a place where events are organized throughout the year, so given that, what’s the unique appeal of Cinco de Mayo?

Steve: Looking at this year, we’re focused on being an outdoor Latin festival, so we’ve gone for Aomi in Odaiba – a place where the sea is right there, you have the sea breeze and we can make some music. Also, when you think festival, you think of an event where young people go a bit crazy, but at Cinco de Mayo we’ve got lots of activities for kids as well. We’ve prepared things like soft drinks, face painting and piñata etc. so it’s an event that families can attend.

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Piñata: A doll made from papier mache filled with sweets or toys

Eventr: That sounds like the perfect festival for Golden Week and Children’s Day. It might be fun to participate with a friend’s family.

Steve: Yeah, we have plenty of interest for adults too. We’ve got food from the likes of Mexico, Peru and Brazil as well as craft beer from Mexico and the US. We’re also unveiling a special original Cinco de Mayo beer. So while listening to music you can have a really enjoyable day. Please give our special beer a try!

Eventr: You’re bringing food, drink and music together. So do you have any well known musicians performing? I imagine it would be tough to get someone really big with the admission charge, right?

Steve Starting with finding the venue, finding performers at this ticket price has been hard work. I was thinking that I wanted to make this a cultural event so I didn’t want to raise the price. However, we’ve managed to do really well. We got a big shot international DJ who wanted to play a live gig in Japan. Basically, there are really a lot of bands from outside Japan who want to play live gigs here. If we can do a good job of organizing the event this year, we can make even more progress next year and the year after.

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Japan’s first Salsa Band ‘Orquesta Del Sol’

Eventr: So it’s an event where we can enjoy a fusion of cultures but it’s gentle on your wallet, right? Looking at the official website, you’ve got the likes of Leslie Shaw and Orquesta Del Sol appearing so even if you just went for the music, you’d leave satisfied. So to finish up, Steve, do you have any last remarks?

Steve: Just like in past years, it’s not just about looking and eating. We’re aiming for an event where you can experience Latino culture. This isn’t a single country event , it’s a cultural event that breaks borders so I hope lots of people can experience this event.

Eventr: Steve, thanks a lot for your time. I look forward to seeing you at the venue.

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Golden Week = Cinco de Mayo


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