Thursday, November 29, 2012

Playful Pandas In Colorful Chinatown

A friend recently told me that she had never visited Yokohama's Chinatown.  I gasped, "But Chinatown is so easy! So close!  How have you not been?"  Right then and there, we put a visit to Chinatown on our calendars.

Usually, when I go to Chinatown- sans a certain, energetic preschooler- I like to poke around the many "antique" stores and tea shops.  Since this most-recent trip including Little TF and my friend's just-turned-one year old, we skipped the grown-up destinations and stuck with the silly ones.  Little TF is very enthusiastic about panda bears right now (she tells me she dreams of pink pandas...?) so I told her she could pick out one panda present.  To that end, we hunted down every panda-selling venue that we could find.  Wow.  Chinatown has a lot of panda stuff.  

Cheerful panda bento boxes and panda chopsticks.
Little panda headphones
Rotund pandas... in bathtubs?
Ridiculously adorable panda booties for babies.
Ridiculously adorable panda booties for grown-ups.
Ridiculously adorable panda bodysuits... pink or black.
Cute panda clothes for older kids.
And who doesn't need ninja panda oven mitts?
 (Disclaimer: I am so used to not being able to read anything in
Japan that I did not even see the "no photo" sign. Ooops.)
Kawaii cell phone cases.
Charming panda store front.

Little TF was thrilled with the panda bear bubble blower that she picked out. A bubble blower that required batteries. And broke the next day.  Insert joke about "Made In China" here.  But we had beautiful weather, enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Yokohama, made a poor restaurant choice and ate bad Chinese food, and the kids were entertained for another day of deployment.  All in all, a fantastic Saturday!

Allegedly the largest Chinatown in the world, Yokohama's Chinatown can be accessed via the Minato Mirai line out of Yokohama Station.  Head in the Motomachi-Chukagai direction and get off at Motomachi-Chukagai.  Follow street-level signs to Chinatown.  If shopping for pandas isn't your thing, head to Motomachi's outdoor shopping mall, on the opposite side of the expressway/canal from Chinatown.  Stopping in at Starbucks, Gap, Zara, Longchamp, lots of cute shops, and chic restaurants make for a great afternoon!

Disclaimer:  I do my best to make sure all my information is accurate.  However, details may change or I may just be flat-out wrong.  Please let me know if something needs a correction.  Thank-you! 

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