Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Hot Wet Sexy Japanese Samba!!!

Rain makes for Slippery Samba in Tokyo
Tokyo’s Asakusa Samba Carnival dances on despite showers


A Rain-soaked Samba Dancer defies downpour

Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa district once more swayed and bopped to the exotic strains of Brazilian samba music. Asakusa’s annual Samba Carnival festival took place this past Saturday, August 30th. Asakusa has been holding this event on the last Saturday of August for over twenty years and it never fails to draw a huge crowd.


Samba dancers in front of Senso-ji Temple’s gate


Nigh-naked be-feathered dancing samba girls move to the beat of Brazilian music and the feverish whirl and click of thousands of cameras held sweatily in hand by overly-enthusiastic photographers.



Every year, the samba groups choose a theme for their presentation. The nigh-naked samba girls are nearly always the same with feathers, tiara, and sequins but their companions sport different costumes every year based on a chosen theme.


Jesus makes a guest appearance



One group’s theme was based on sumo. Two performers twirled bows similar to the way that sumo wrestlers do at the end of each day of a sumo tournament. A large float was made out to depict a Yokozuna – sumo champion. The strangest part of the group by far were four golden gals wearing masks and very little else.





A Golden Duo

This year saw a bit of Akihabara otaku (nerd) culture mixed with saucy samba. Scantily-clad girls in outlandish sci-fi outfit pretended to fire space age cannons in rhythm to the music. The musicians were dressed like the bug-eyed abducting type aliens who appear in all those UFO documentaries and redneck nightmares. There were no probes to be seen, however.


Otaku (nerd) Samba – space age cuties fire imaginary rockets

Another odd ensemble was a group of pink haired heavy metal guys pulling a float from which hung suspended in air a black pig with large pink polka dots and skull and crossbones. My favorite one that summed up Japanese cutesy-ness was the midriff-baring girls wearing polar bear paws as gloves and a polar bear head as a hat.


Pink haired Heavy Metal Rockers with their pink polka-dotted pig


Polar bear girls?

The weather in Tokyo has been strange recently and it’s dubious presence was felt at this year’s Samba event. At the beginning, it was sunny, hot, and very humid. Sweat rolled down performers and spectators alike. Then suddenly the skies darkened and shortly afterwards rain began cascading downward.


Unfeathered wet dancing samba girls


Spectators either opened umbrellas or fled under awnings. The samba performers did not have either option. Surprisingly they didn’t call off or postpone the event. Undaunted by the pouring rain and the potential for electrocution by their sound systems, the samba performers wiped the rain from their brows and resolutely carried on.


Damp fairies flitter about

The samba dancing girls discarded their feathers weighed down as they were with rainwater. On the bright side, the nigh-naked once-befeathered dancing samba girls were now unfeathered wet dancing samba girls – a silver lining to our rain cloud.



Rain can’t stop a samba girl from having a good time

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September 6, 2008 Posted by | Asakusa, Blogroll, brazil, carnaval, carnival, culture, dance, entertainment, festival, japan, japanese culture, life, samba, sexy, tokyo, travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A bit of Rio in Tokyo – Samba Style

Samba Meets Sushi
Brazilian Samba Carnival Celebrated in Tokyo Town


Scantily-clad Samba Girls attract lots of attention at Asakusa’s yearly Samba Carnival

Every year, the traditional district of Tokyo known as Asakusa gets treated to the very untraditional sight of samba girls dancing down the street in front of Senso-ji, one of Tokyo’s most dignified Buddhist temples. A kaleidoscopic swirl of color fills the street as musicians, dancers, and floats move to the sound of the samba beat rather than a somber Buddhist dirge.


Colorfully-attired musicians strike up a lively Latin beat

Asakusa’s Samba Carnival began in 1981. The mayor of the district at that time wanted the winners of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival to put on a display in Asakusa. It was so popular that the untraditional event became a tradition. Today the festival has become a four-hour long parade of samba groups from all over Japan.


A Samba Dancer atop a fiery float

Thirty to forty groups compete in three leagues for prizes every year. The top league is comprised of groups who take their samba seriously while the other two leagues are for those who are there mainly for the fun of it all.

The groups pick themes every year. The themes can be elegant like sparkling jewelry or autumn leaves or they can be comical like the one I saw this year where women had large doughnuts strapped to their shoulders.


Godzilla likes Samba?

Close to 4000 people participate in the Samba parade every year. The majority of the participants are Japanese but there are also a number of foreigners who participate most notably Brazilians and Japanese Brazilians.


The Lollipop Gang representin’

Japanese Brazilians brings some clarity as to why the Asakusa Samba Carnival exists in the first place. A large number of Japanese reside in Brazil. In fact, Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Migration to Brazil started in the early 20th Century with farmers looking for better conditions abroad. A number of them inter-married with Brazilians and converted to Catholicism.

In the 1980s during the Bubble Economy many Japanese Brazilians began to migrate to Japan. There are now over 275,000 “Dekasegi” – Japanese Brazilians – living in Japan. So Japan and Brazil share a special tie culturally – Japanese immigrants introduced judo which has became Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for example. Therefore the Asakusa Samba Carnival represent this cultural bond between these two countries.

Most visitors to the carnival are no doubt not aware of this nor do they likely care. They come for a taste of Rio’s famous Carneval; for the costumes, music, and splendor of the whole thing. And taking pictures – lots of pictures.


A Samba Dancer refreshes herself with bottled water

The scantily-clad samba ladies who best represent in most minds the Carnival are the targets of thousands of cameras which snap away in a frenzy of photographical ecstasy. I am somewhat hesitant to believe all those photographers were taking those pictures solely for artistic purposes simply because the designs of the ladies’ costumes – what little there were of them – were so gorgeous. However, I allowed ignorance to blissfully cloud my mind as I fought for space amongst the densely-huddled photographers to take my own pictures and videos.

The Asakusa Samba Carnival is held on Saturday towards the end of August beginning around 2 in the afternoon. With the enthusiasm of some photographers, it would be best for samba aficionados to arrive probably around noon in order to get a good view.


Mmmm…. sexy doughnut!


Viva la Carnival!


(Young) Elvis lives!


Record-setting costumes


“Don’t Turn Me Off!”


Bovine Beauties


…and on a final note…

September 28, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, brazil, carnaval, carnival, costumes, culture, dance, entertainment, festival, japan, life, party, rio de janeiro, samba, sexy, tokyo, travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments