Asians Bearing Gifts: The Omiyage in Japan

If you live and work Japan, it’s pretty much expected that you bring back souvenirs for your colleagues, friends and family. It’s a custom that utterly confused me when I first came here. Unlike other countries, souvenirs here are a small food item that’s beautifully and individually wrapped. Don’t you dare present it in a brown paper bag. Yes – the wrapping matters. A lot.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Japan’s Biggest Chinatown

Whenever I get homesick, a quick visit to Yokohama Chinatown is all it takes for me to feel slightly placated. Back in 1859, Yokohama was one of the first Japanese ports that opened up to foreign trade. Chinatown quickly developed to accommodate the many Chinese traders who settled down in this city. Of course, that was a long time ago and these days there are more businesses than actual people living here.