There’s nothing quite like attending a festival celebrating the beginning of a new era in China, the founding of the Republic of China, while in the heart of the largest Chinatown in the world. Yokohama’s Chinatown is deserving of its own article, with its plethora of great restaurants, snacks, vendors and museums. The double tenth or ten ten festival dates back to the 1910s and the main celebratory affairs here were the lion dances and their explosive accompaniments.
There were at least four teams of lion dancers, who would dance under the lion costumes through small shops and crowded restaurants before emerging outside with some encouragement from drummers and loud crowds. The dance culminates at each store with the dancers hopping on each other’s shoulders during a “cai quin” and grabbing ‘green leaves’ (here the leaves were fortunes, cash envelopes or crisp bills from the business proprietors from what I could tell) held from the second or third story windows to bring luck to the business. The money in the envelope is a reward for the lion dancers. The lions seemed to leave behind symbols at each shop made out of food, but I wasn’t able to read the characters.
Of course, my friend and I had to get some pork buns while in Chinatown. When I first came to Japan these were my daily breakfast more days than not. Due to short funds, our main meal was at a cheap 24-hour ramen dive in motomachi, but even a three dollar meal is pretty filling if you know what to order. I will definitely need to return to Chinatown soon and experience a proper Chinese tabehodai with some friends.