Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Culture Clashes in Yokohama

Hello dear readers!

Today's post is another installment of my travel adventures, this time to Yokohama.

The day started well with a most excellent sleep on the train from Tokyo! I'd been sleeping quite badly around that time, which is most usual for me as I'm generally liable to fall asleep as soon as I stop moving.

The first place we went was Chinatown. Yokohama's Chinatown is the biggest in Japan, and in fact Yokohama (being a port) has a long history of cultural exchange with foreign nations.

I was very excited to see this Rocky Horror poster outside one of the restaurants! I'd love to see it in Japanese.

We had lunch at a famous Chinese restaurant. I liked the grand, heavy Chinese furniture a lot. Unfortunately I was less impressed by the food. I hoped it was a one off experience but I met up with a friend from Singapore later on, and she mentioned that Chinese food in Japan was pretty awful. I would always believe a Singaporean about food, so I'd advise just soaking up the bustling atmosphere in Chinatown. Unfortunately for me that involved being hooted at by a teenage chesnut seller! In general you don't experience those sort of things (which are a regular occurence in England) when wearing Lolita in Japan. Still, these things are to expected and I enjoyed my little visit to Chinatown nonetheless.

The next place we went was very lovely- the Yamate district. This is a hilly area where many foreigners lived from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, in grand Western-style buildings. These buildings have been restored and are open to public viewing free of charge.   

The first one we visited was the Diplomat House. It was built by an American architect in the American Victorian style. I think this was my favourite one of all!

Although it is ostensibly Western-style, I detected a bit of Japanese taste too. In fact the diplomat who lived there with his family was Japanese.

This display of children's things was so cute! The pine decorations are for new year.

A view of the ornamental garden and the rest of Yokohama. Being so high up, the views and the air are lovely. I would have liked to be the ojousama of this house!

Next we took a short walk to Berrick Hall in Motomachi park. The houses are grouped in various parks close to each other, and since the area is very pleasant there are plenty of nice things to see on your way. 

Berrick Hall is the biggest of these residences. It's a Spanish-style mansion that was built for a British trader. By the way, please excuse my funny green slippers in these photos! No outside shoes are allowed in these houses.

Berrick Hall was also used as a boarding house for one of the nearby private schools. Sadly the school was closed in the 1990s. There is some school memorabila displayed about the place, but the restoration has been so complete that I couldn't imagine what it must have been like as a boarding house. I think that's a bit of a shame! 

I want a dress in this lovely deep teal-green colour!

The nursery room. I think Mr Berrick had a son? It was a very sweet, airy little room.

This is one of the buildings we saw on our walk. It's so cute isn't it? It reminds rather of Austrian houses. We also passed the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Christian cemeteries. 

Finally we went to the biggest park, Harbour View Park, where we had tea in the Rose Garden Cafe in the basement of the British House.   

This cafe specialises in rose desserts and drinks. The drinking water we were served tasted of roses! I had the rose roll cake, and my companion had the rose chiffon cake. Both were very nice, with a natural rose taste, not too sickly sweet.  The waitresses had old fashioned aprons trimmed with lace, and attached to the cafe was a very adorable gift shop selling rose goods. 

We also met this pretty cat enjoying the afternoon sun. She miaowed at me but was far too comfortable to get up. 

I had a wonderful time in Yokohama, I really like that city! I'd like to spend more time there in the future. Next time I'd like to visit the Doll Museum, which unfortunately was closed that day. I've heard there's a cat museum and a curry museum too! 

The best thing I saw was the mix of cultures. What I admire most about Japan is it's abilty to absorb influences from all over the world and from that produce something uniquely Japanese. Lolita fashion is a perfect example of this, I feel.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!




  1. All those lovely houses! Next time I go to Japan I'll definitely try to go have a look at them. That rose-themed cafe looks wonderful as well...

    1. I'm sure you'll love it there if you visit! I liked the cafe a lot, though I'm not sure how much I liked drinking the rose water XD

  2. Interesting as always! I have never been to Yokohama :(
    To see all the mix of foreign influence mixed up in a japanese way surely is someting peculiar. I had something like a mystical experience when my hostfamily took me to an italian restaurant in japan. It was not italian neither japanese! Luckily the food was good XD
    Too bad the chinese food wasn't :( For me food is a very important element to judge a trip (and a lot of other things in my life ^^').
    I love rose scent and flavour!

    1. Oh, I really like Japanese Italian food, especially spaghetti with tarako! May I ask how long did you stay with your host family for, and where were you staying? I would love to live in Japan someday!

    2. I stayed a month in Kyoto. I studied near to the art university and the family was assigned by the school. I think there's a dormitory option too.
      If you want some more informations feel free to ask ^U^
      (sorry for the late reply ^^')

    3. That sounds like such a great experience! Were you studying Japanese there? Sorry, that might be a silly question!

    4. It isn't!
      Yes, I was, because my japanese was still at a basic level and no way I could study something else in japanese XD (this is valid even now, I fear ^^')
      Do you speak some japanese?

  3. What gorgeous photos! I love the inside of those houses! I hope one day I could visit. I love visiting old architectures like that, be it houses or abandoned factories. They just have a sort of magic to them :)

    ~ Kieli ~

    1. I couldn't agree with you more, these sort of places really are magic!


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