Yokohama

A couple of weeks ago I went to Yokohama with some friends.  I wanted to go initially just because I hadn’t been and it’s close enough that I don’t really have an excuse to not go before I leave Japan, but far away enough that it’s not Tokyo, so it’s new territory.  Yokohama is a city about 1.5 to 2 hours away from where I am, and it’s right on the beach.  We went in the dead of winter, so that beach breeze and moist air was not quite as blissful as I would usually have considered it to be, but it was beautiful all the same.

I had missed the smell of the salty water and the sloshing sound the waves make when they hit up against things.  Yokohama turned out to be a really wonderful city.  It has all kinds of things to do, it’s really, really, really beautiful, and it has a laid-back kind of vibe to it.  I sort of felt like I was back in San Diego, in a far off, roundabout way, if San Diego had a giant Ferris wheel and a Chinatown.
Chinatown was the first place we hit up.  The Chinese New Year happened not too long ago, so we got to see a lot of the leftover festivities and decorations.

They had these little dragon costumes that were mainly for the kids, but they were too cute to pass up.

This is the place we (finally) decided to eat.  The service was so incredibly bad that we just couldn’t stop laughing.  They were shoveling ice as loudly as possible for about 5 minutes straight right next to our table, they forgot pretty much everything we ordered, the waitresses yelled to each other from across the room.  It was an experience.

This is all of us who went.  Left to right, Miho, Kaori, Miranda, Becci, me, Misa.

We all got the same thing.  Honestly, it was a lot like Panda Express, except fresh, and a lot more expensive for a lot less.  Sorry to anyone who is Chinese and can tell the difference, but Panda Express is good enough for me.

About $9 for a bit of sweet and sour pork and a bowl of fried rice.
I miss Panda Express!

So after we ate, we went outside to find out that one of the parades was starting.  This parade is a New Year sort of thing, with all the dragons and stuff.  I’m not going to pretend I actually know anything about China or their new year, so I’ll just stop talking about it and show you some pictures.

Then we visited the Chinese shrine.  The details on the front were so amazing, I could probably fill an entire blog post with all the pictures I took, zooming in to every part of it.  They even went as far as to put whiskers on the dragons that were two stories up on these gates.

The inside of the temple was also breathtakingly detailed.

This statue of those dragons looks like a mommy and her baby.

We also got some other foods while we were there.  First we got sesame covered mochi.  I’m not really sure how it was cooked, but it was just a ball of mochi filled with sweet red bean paste that was a bit oily and a bit sweet, and covered in sesame, but it was so incredibly delicious I had to get another.

 Then we got these meat filled dough ball things.  The dough might actually have been mochi too, I’m not sure.  But when they make it they actually make them so that there is broth inside the ball with the meat, so they are incredibly difficult to eat without making a mess, because as soon as you bite into it all the broth leaks out.  Of course I was the one who made a mess all over myself and all over my white scarf.

While I was cleaning myself off we saw these people who all had gigantic fat bull dogs.  Thanks to them I stopped being angry about my soupy clothes.  Just look at them.  How can you not feel happy, especially when you see the one in the stroller with the lolling tongue?

But anyway, we left Chinatown and headed toward the ocean so we could check out the Yokohama amusement park with the famous Ferris wheel that is supposedly the largest in the world.  It was so cold and windy that I couldn’t feel my toes, but boy had I missed the ocean.

“Do you want to act foolish with me?
To take our minds off the cold?” – Kaori

Because it was so cold, we decided to stop off in this shopping area to warm up before heading to the amusement park.  But we didn’t take any pictures of us shopping.  Once we left, it was dark, and all we really did after that was visited the amusement park, decided it wasn’t worth the money to have icy wind slap us in the face while we tried to enjoy any rides, and just took purikura instead.