Welcome to 2008

We welcome 2008 in Yokohama, pay our respects in Kamakura, and enjoy fried bananas with curry in Ueno. With pictures!

The holidays came and went. Japan has public holidays December 31 through January 2, so I enjoyed a nice and relaxing break from work.

I wanted to see fireworks on New Year’s Eve. From what we read in our Japan guidebooks, the new year is celebrated at the temples, where bells are rung 108 times at midnight. But somewhere Shux found an advertisement for a 1300 firework show lasting from 11:30pm-12:05am on New Year’s Eve, held at Cosmo World in Yokohama. They would be launched with the ferris wheel as a backdrop. We decided to go.

So on December 31, we jumped on the train early in the morning to maximize the sightseeing in Yokohama. It was a nice day, but very chilly in the persistent wind. We took some pictures, did some shopping and caught I Am Legend. The movie cost too much.

Then we parked our butts on a bench in front of a mall so we could have a nice view of the ferris wheel. Anticipating huge crowds for such a spectacular display we grabbed our spot early. After a long wait in the cold, 11:30 finally came… and went. No fireworks. Then 11:45, still nothing. Finally, at midnight the fireworks started. Thinking they would be grand and last for 30 minutes, I didn’t take pictures right away, waiting for the big finale. It came way too soon, at 12:04. What a let down.

Cosmo World ferris wheel

On January 2 we headed to Kamakura to visit the temples. We lined up with everyone else to see the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. It took a while. Afterwards we walked the town, checking out the open stores and trying some street food. Then we headed to the Zeniarai Benten Shrine where we washed some money. Set in a cave, this Shrine has a cool atmosphere. Check out our Kamakura photos.

Towards the end of our break we headed to Ueno to walk around and check out bike town. The highlight here was putting on bibs to eat curry noodles with fried bananas — a surprisingly delicious combination. Yum!

Cosmo World ferris wheel

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