On the last day of 2015, I decided to go shopping at all of my favorite anime themed stores in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City while waiting for the 2016 countdown event in Yokosuka. This included J-World (Shounen Jump’s indoor theme park), the Pokemon Mega Center, and the Evangelion store. Seeing all of them within the same shopping plaza was highly entertaining not to mention extremely convenient. At the Evangelion store, I bought a new wine glass to add to my collection. At the Mega Pokemon Center, I wanted to buy every Pikachu plush that I saw, but resisted and instead bought postcards so I could write to my friends and family back home. Being here definitely reminded me of the fondest moments of my childhood and made me happy to be finally living in Japan after working hard at it for so long! It definitely was a worthwhile reflection.
After shopping until dusk, I went back to Asakusa with my friend from Finland who I met at my hostel. We stopped by Ninja Taiyaki, the most delicious taiyaki store that I’ve ever been to, and had sweet potato and ice cream taiyaki. This store had the widest range of taiyaki that I had ever seen, even having hot dog, green tea, and chocolate azuki bean taiyaki on their menu. Their taiyaki was made fresh with a custom ninja design. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes pancakes or is looking to try famous Japanese snacks.
Around 10:00, my friend and I took the JR Train to Yokosuka, which is a navy base town bordering Tokyo Bay. At Verny Park near the Yokosuka Station, there were traditional Japanese food vendors, live music and entertainment, and fireworks over the bay at midnight. Though New Year’s Eve is a night that people of Japan spend eating soba with their families, Yokosuka had a lot of international people and felt like home to me. I enjoyed seeing all of the ships lit up and celebrating with sake and sweet potato slices. The JR lines generally run all night on New Year’s, which made getting back to our hostel at 3 am convenient. Wishing everyone reading this a happy 2016!