Obon in Yokohama

On August 11, 2014, we went to Yokohama during Obon holiday here in Japan. Apparently an office holiday. Trains, streets full of people enjoying a day off. Yokohama is a beautiful place on any day

These pictures capture our day in Yokohama. First stop Chinatown

Yokohama station shows many murals depicting the arrival of foreigners into a land where contact with foreigners was strongly resisted – called Sakoku. Yokohama was a site for change

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy with four warships—the Mississippi, Plymouth, Saratoga and Susqueshanna—steamed into the bay in Yokohama and displayed the threatening power of his ships’ cannons during a Christian burial which the Japanese observed. He requested that Japan open to trade with the West. These ships became known as the kurofune, the Black Ships. Also depicted is the Portugese presence from their accidental arrival in 1500’s, not long before the Jesuits – who were allowed to become established and subsequently evicted 

So the Yokohama train station has many panels like this depicting various events in history

Reprints at the station Yokohama Japan

Reprints at the station Yokohama Japan

Then onto a vibrant Chinatown. As with any ethnic enclave around the world, this did not disappoint. Bright, colourful and different architecture combined with cultural relevance. Wandering through Chinatown shops, streets, temples enabled sensory separation from Japan-proper for a moment.  Lunch of course in a Chinese restaurant

To the amazing waterfront. These few photos do an injustice to a truly relaxing place. It was the weekend. Waterfronts that cater for access to the public always appeal, especially in the weekends, all manner of societal blocs can be seen enjoying the access in a myriad of ways. And of course coming from New Zealand the sea has an endless appeal for me

A particularly poignant moment was when these two women paused in front of this statue

Chinatown Yokohama Japan

Chinatown Yokohama Japan

Then off to the old warehouses. These warehouses [Aka-Renga Soko] were well regarded given that they were built to be earthquake and fire resistant. Understandably they played an important role for the Japanese during WWII and after. They have since been restored and serve as a retail centre for those not more concerned about having a beer on a hot day

Past the Pokemon/Pikachu  paraphernalia that gripped the children in the vicinity

Then for a well earned beverage in the Sunday heat. A great opportunity to watch visitors to a great waterfront; children having global scale meltdowns for already weary parents, kids swimming in a pond beside the bars and interactions between the multitude of individuals in this amazing country

Then off to the station. Thanks Yokohama!!! A great day, Lots to see and learn



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I’ve just posted a comprehensive post on the desire by Japan’s Prime Minister’s to supplement the national labour shortage by women and old people

Numerous magazines explore this interesting story. It really is a critical factor in Japan’s economic success. Make up your own mind about how this might turn out

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