This weekend, my friend was going to Ikebukuro and invited me to tag along. I’m glad I did because it was much better than I had expected it to be. When people think of the anime industry in Japan, most people immediately bring up Akihabara. However, Ikebukuro has a sizeable anime presence as well, which I didn’t know about before studying abroad. Granted, Akihabara has a lot more stores, cafes, and other places to see, but Ikebukuro has its own must-sees as well.
During our trip, my friend and I explored the sights and found many interesting stores. My favorite store was K-Books, which believe it or not is not a book store. There, they sold mini anime posters, figures, key chains, and more for as little as 100 yen. I was astonished by how great the deals were there. I got a few neat keychains of Chopper’s pirate roger from One Piece and Deidara from Naruto, two of my favorite anime characters. I wasn’t able to find these anywhere else I’ve been to so far, so I was really happy. By the way, I’ve slowly been accumulating a large amount of anime-themed key chains from all of my trips throughout the summer. At this rate, I’m going to have a large collection by the time I head home.
Before leaving Ikebukuro, we stopped at an interesting food stand. I never found out the actual name of the food, so I’ll do my best to describe it. It was basically a giant dough ball stuffed with eggs and some sausage bits with your choice of sauce and/or topping. It honestly tasted really weird, but in a good way. I didn’t exactly like my topping (I was trying kimchi for the first time as well), but the dough ball itself was pretty good. I also surprised the cashier by being able to order my meal in Japanese. It looks like Elements I is finally paying off.
Overall, Ikebukuro was an amazing experience. I wish we were able to see the Pokémon Center while we were there, but I didn’t find out until after we left that the Pokémon Center was inside the mall. For those of you who don’t know, the Pokémon Center is the largest Pokémon-themed store in the world. Now that I know exactly where it is, I would like to go back there before I leave. Luckily, Ikebukuro is only two subway stops away, so I won’t have a hard time getting back there.
Before I end this post, I would like to give a shout out to my little cousins, Ashley and Emily, as well as my Aunt Lisa, who sent me letters a few weeks back. It was great to hear from you guys. Thanks too to all my family and friends who are following along with my experience in Japan. It means a lot to me. Until next time, Sayōnara from Japan!