Thursday, November 04, 2004

Chinatown in Japan

Being a public holiday today, I took the chance to go down to visit Yokohama’s Chinatown (中華街) with Tony, Simone, Megumi, and Foster. For once I was actually closer to the place we were going than everybody else though. We were meant to meet there at 12.30 – and I figured since the stop was actually on the line near my place, I’d just leave at about 11.45. However, by the time I got to the station, the next train was leaving at 12.20 and Chuukagai was further away than I’d anticipated. Thinking I’d be really late I messaged to tell them, but I ended up getting there before everybody else somehow. I suppose they must have underestimated how long it would take too. It was actually the very end of the line – apparently it’s a recent extension to make it more convenient to go visit china town.

Anyway it’s a pretty big place, and I don’t think we really managed to see a lot of it. This is the first gate I saw along the way:

I think it was because we got there at about 1pm that we didn’t end up really seeing much. We were more intent on finding somewhere to eat lunch than sightseeing. We found some Buddhist shrine/temple along the way which we stopped to have a look at. The whole place smelled pretty familiar with all the incense burning everywhere. I think because it was a public holiday though, the place was especially packed, which made the viewing of the little place even harder.

After the shrine we’d all lasted about as long as we could, and we started to hunt for a place to eat. *If you are about to eat dinner or something I’d suggest you not read the next bit… I will put a mark when it’s okay to read again.* Of course, along the way, our conversation turned to food, and somehow we ended up talking about eating dog… I think it must have started as a joke at Tony (who’s Korean) – but he kindly filled us in on Korean style dog eating. The dog they eat in Korea is actually specially bred as food. Or actually, it is a special breed for eating – nobody really knows what breed it is. It’s called ‘shit-breed’ in Korean, since it is a mix of a whole heap of different things which nobody knows now. It sounds like they eat them a bit like they way people eat mud crabs. That is, they eat them fresh. So, either they hang the dog up by its paws and hit it until it dies, then cook it. Or they simply put it straight into hot water and boil it alive. It’s meant to be a bit of a delicacy there (people apparently say the meat is really soft and tender), but I don’t think any of us is really game enough to try it if we go there. Even Tony refuses to touch it – which I can understand seeing as he actually has a dog as a pet. Anyway, there’s some food for thought for you all ~~

*Okay, if you stopped reading before you can start reading from here.* During our search for a place to have yum-cha I found this cool looking version of char-siew bao. In true asian style we have Panda bao!~

We all have a bit of a laugh at each other here in regards to all the stereotyping that happens. Everybody who’s Chinese have pandas for pets. The Canadians all have moose running around their yards. The Aussies all have kangaroos bouncing around the house. And the Koreans … well they just run around holding bowls of kim-chi everywhere.

The place we ended up going to served a set yum-cha sort of menu, which we all ordered. Turned out to be quite nice, because we got to try a whole lot of different dishes. Below is a picture of the first course of tofu salad thing. After that I sort of lost interest so I think that’s the only picture I can show you of lunch~

After that, being full of food, we took a walk out of china town around Yokohama bay. Oh, and before we got there, we met up with Seung too. The weather was beautiful today – much more like the Japan Autumn weather I’ve been told about – and it was really nice to see some open sea like this:

We managed to kill a few hours doing that, and actually ended up being a bit late for the movie we were meant to watch called 2046 (I think that’s it at least… it was some futuristic sounding year). It’s got a blend of Hong Kong, Chinese and Japanese people in it. Anyway for Simone that was fine because she could understand the movie straight up. For Megumi it was okay because she could read the Japanese subtitles. Foster can sort of understand Cantonese, and he can read Chinese and a fair bit of Japanese. For Tony, Seung and I though, comprehension was going to be a bit of a problem. When we got there though, the 4pm session was sold out, and the next one was at 6:45. We thought that maybe we’d just split and watch two different movies, but in the end there wasn’t really anything else on at the same time, so Seung and I just thought we’d chill for a couple of hours while the rest of them watched 2046. For some reason, Tony decided to go watch it with them too. He understood about 1% of it I think. Oh well.

Between buying the ticket and the movie, we split into two groups – Megumi and Simone went off shopping, and the guys all went to the arcade just opposite the cinemas for a bit. All the gaming places here seem to have a massive sticker photo section. Which is off-limits for guys. Unless you are with your girlfriend. Tony wanted to see what would happen if two of us guys went in holding hands, but we thought we better not. They seriously have some social problems here. I mean, at the front of the store, there’s a sign listing all the things prohibited inside, like eating, drinking, smoking and kicking the games machines. ‘Picking up’ is also up there.

And another observation for the day: Japan seriously has green-tea everything. While Seung and I were sitting in the food court, we found a place that sells green-tea bagels. I wasn’t feeling hungry at the time though, and Seung wanted a sandwich so we didn’t try it. I am still waiting to find a green-tea flavoured burger though. Oh and after I got sick of watching them all play games in the arcade, I went for a walk downstairs and bought myself a pair of sneakers. There was some 10% off thing happening, so I ended up paying 9,450 yen for the pair which is probably not that different from back in Australia. They’re Addidas white things, but I don’t have a photo of them right now so I’ll show everybody some other time.

After the rest of them came out of the movie we finished the day keeping with our theme of having ‘foreign’ food in Japan – so we went to an American-style diner for dinner. The food we ordered ranged pretty much from burgers with chips, to sandwiches with chips, to pizza. I had a BLT cheeseburger + chips + extra wedges and cheese. I am still very full. Overall I would probably say that place is about on par with TGI Friday’s back home. Speaking of which, none of us has been to one here yet. Next time we go out I think we might try to grab something there. Anyway it’s really getting late now, and I should get to bed so I can wake up and actually do some homework tomorrow~! Laters.

Oh this is just a nice shot of the Ferris-wheel from outside the place we ate.


mELLy said...

arhaha, i still can't believe they have panda bao there! What are the eyes, ears and nose made out of? Extra filling? ehehehe...

I still can't keep track of all ur friends age, it seems like u have new ones in every blog!

Good to c u enjoying good food. Oh an i wanna c a pic of those sneakers u bought! =p

nanshii said...


re 抹茶 - omg dats one of the great things about 日本... i LURVE green tea and i LURVE green tea flavoured stuff!! LoL man i miss the hagen daaz green tea ice cream (高いけど)

re dog eating methods - dats really disturbing :(

re 2 guys holding hands- you guys should've done it to see the reactions of pplz!!

btw thx for putting up the pics!