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FUKUOKA — B day Fukuoka shows a sleek, modern face to the world, but when the sun goes down its complexion changes to something more timeless and intriguing as nearly 200 wooden yatai (food stalls) are towed into its downtown area.

The tightly shut yatai unfold like origami as vendors bustle about with stools, pots, pans, food and crockery. Finally, colorful noren curtains are hung out and the night’s trade begins. By 9 p.m. a mixed bag of office workers, laborers, tourists and local residents are crammed snugly inside, eating and drinking, and at most yatai the conversations and the comings and goings will continue until around 4 a.m.

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