Friday, September 24, 2010

Fiesta Mexicana - Osaka

Yes, that title is correct. I attended a honest-to-goodness Mexican fiesta right here in the heart of Osaka, Japan. When I heard about the event I thought for about 0.2 seconds before I decided that I needed to go. Up to this point I had only seen two things in my life that combined Mexico and Japan. The first was a Mexican-Japanese taco shop in Santa Ana, California where you could buy a chicken-teriyaki burrito. The other is my friend Enrique who is Mexican-American, spent some time in Osaka as a college student, and speaks Japanese. He liked the combination so much that he even went so far as to get a Japanese wife so that he could make a few Mexi-Japanese kids. :-)

The fiesta was pretty standard fare. They had a stage set up at one end where folklorico dancing and live music was taking place:

At the back end of the seating area were some food stands that were run by a couple of local Mexican restaurants. This one was called Tacos El Nopal and was owned by a Mexican expat woman:

...and the menu:

As a reference, tacos cost about $5 U.S. (4 euros) and burritos were about $8.50 U.S. (7 euros). In other words, expensive like pretty much everything in Japan but definitely worth the money as the green salsa they had was incredible. I definitely want to go check out the restaurant now.

The event was held in the central plaza of the Umeda Sky Building, which itself is a local landmark that I had wanted to visit. The buildings have a cool roof-top observation deck and tube-shaped escalators between the two towers. Here's a shot from the ground:

This is a shot I took from inside the escalator tube looking towards the other tube and the ground. It's kinda' hard to show in the photo how cool it feels to be riding up an escalator between two buildings while being so high off the ground.

The view from the roof-top deck is awesome. Since the building is one of the tallest in Osaka, you can see pretty much everything in the area. This is the view towards the direction where I'm living. If you want to get really detailed, I'm living about two blocks from the tan building just to the left of and way behind the building with the domed/curved roofs that's just in the center of the photo. Good luck...

The highlight of the event was the performance by a (small) mariachi band from Mexico. They played a couple of the classics like Cielito Lindo. Every time I see mariachis live I hope that they play Mariachi Loco, which is my favorite. These guys delivered for me! Here they are during "my" song:

What can I say? Yep. Pretty strange combo for sure but definitely a fun day. Mariachi loco quiere bailar! マリアッチ・ロコ・キエレ・バイラー!!!

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