My hometown, Yokohama

This is Yokohama seaport, the biggest one in Japan. Big cruise ships come under this bridge, Bay Bridge to the ferry terminal, which you can see a part of it on the right side. When big ships arrive at the terminal, tour guides like me assemble here early in the morning. Then we escort the passengers to Tokyo or Yokohama. It is usually a half-day or full-day tour. At the end of the tour, they tip us. Since we don't have the tipping system in Japan, it was uncomfortable for me in the beginning but I learned refusing being tipped was impolite. Now I accept it happily.

Yokohama is a prefectural capital in Kanagawa, the 2nd biggest city next to Tokyo. It has the 2nd biggest Chinatown next to San Francisco, except for China. When Japan was opened to foreign countries after long-term seclusion policy, Yokohama was one of seaports first to open. In order to communicate with us, foreign traders borough many Chinese because we can communicate by writing. Then those Chinese settled here in Yokohama and made a big Chinese community.

The high building on the far left is Landmark Tower, the highest office building in Japan. The height is 7296.33m (987ft) and it's a 70-storied building, including offices, restaurants, shops and a hotel.

I was born in Yokohama. Now I live in a different city in the same Kanagawa prefecture. I prefer Yokohama to Tokyo personally and I often come here. On Feb. 4th, I came here again with my best friend.

I enjoyed pasta lunch and chatting with her. Feb. 4th was the lunar New Year. The lunar New Year is not a national holiday but more important mentally for Japanese than the solar New Year. The day before, we conduct Setsubun, bean-throwing ceremony. While we throw special beans, we shout, `Oniwa Soto(Devils Outside), Fukuwa Uchi(Fortune Inside)' and after that, we eat as many beans as the same number of our age. Then we are refresh and purified on the lunar New Year. We still conduct many ceremonies based on the lunar calender in Japan.
I celebrated the true beginning of 2011 with my best friend.
Good Fortune for all of You!!

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