Yokohama is home to the largest Chinatown in Japan.
Every street was crammed with restaurants advertising all-you-can-eat deals and street food stalls. By nine in the morning, people were already lined up outside dumpling stalls waiting to get breakfast.
After breakfast, I ventured out of Chinatown to a little gallery/restaurant.
This installation consisted of historic photos casting images across a textured map of the city.
That was the only thing I had planned for the day, but Yokohama had a few surprises in store. When I exited the museum, I noticed people lining up along the sidewalks. Apparently, there was a parade coming!
Accordingly, it featured a cultural array of participants: western style marching bands, traditional Japanese drums, dancing to Japanese pop music, Chinese dancers, and even some extravagant Brazilian dancing.
After the parade ended, I wandered back to Chinatown. I heard quite a racket, and followed the noise to another surprise: the spring festival lion dance.
This lion and a troop of helpers, including about five kids banging on drums and cymbals, was moving through all the shops and restaurants in the area. At each, it would go inside and explore for a while, then come out and “eat” an offering hung above the entrance. Apparently, this was money in a small envelope, which would ensure good luck for the next year.
It’s pretty cute, actually. Find a video here!
There were actually several lions around the neighborhood, and the racket that followed each one was -everywhere.- After following several, I finally went to get dinner. And while I was sitting and eating, one swept out of nowhere past my table! I was especially surprised that it was so quiet, I didn’t see it until it was right next to me. It went around the restaurant and nibbled on everyone’s heads. I hope that’s a good thing?
Here’s another video of that.
Finally, as I was heading back for the night, I happened across the closing ceremony at a temple. Check out the video!