After Japan re-opened its borders to the world, in the 1850s, many Chinese traders settled in the port city of Yokohama. Almost a century later, in 1955, part of Yokohama was officially renamed Yokohama Chukagai: Yokohama Chinatown. It is now the largest of Japan’s Chinese communities.
The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it is known in China, will be celebrated with several events, among the first of which is the Lion Dance parade. The Lion Dance is typically performed by two dancers inside a stylised lion costume who dance the way a lion supposedly moves. Apparently the movements are linked to the Wushu style of the martial art Kung Fu and often performed by members of a Kung Fu club.
The dance is performed at numerous special occasions, such as the opening of shops or weddings, but no occasion is bigger in the Chinese calendar than the Spring Festival. The lions will perform Cai Qing which literally means ‘picking the greens’. The ‘greens’ are vegetables hung outside shops or homes within which is a red envelope. The lions will ceremoniously consume the greens then spit out the leaves to a crescendo of music signifying good luck for the coming year. The envelopes contain a payment to the dancers and apparently bring luck to the benefactor.
The event will take place throughout the whole Chinatown area. Don’t bring any pets because there will be firecrackers.