Sunday, February 17, 2013

Japan trip, Part 3

Dear Maya,

You are running circles around me as I write this, stopping every few minutes to get into something you shouldn't, so I'm sorry if I forget some of the details of our third week in Japan. Here it is spelled out as best as I can remember:

February 10th
You had some quality time with your grandparents while mommy and daddy went through some of their old belongings that were in the storage area above the garage. It was a pretty quiet day by comparison to our time here so far.

February 11th
After a quick stop to see some friends whose son was home from the soccer school where he lives, we left for a two-day stay in Nagasaki City. When we arrived at our hotel you were really sleepy but couldn't settle down in the big bed we were all going to share. Daddy rigged up a small bed for you out of a big blanket and two wing chairs pushed together and you went right to sleep! Daddy was tired from the drive so he rested, too, while mommy souvenir shopped at the 'Holland Slope' right outside our hotel.

In the late afternoon we walked to the Lantern Festival, Nagasaki's big Chinese New Year celebration. First we went to 'Central Park' where there were tons of lanterns to look at in every shape imaginable. You loved the animal ones: tigers, camels, kangaroos, pigs, fish, elephants, you name it! Later we walked down the main street of Chinatown where endless round lanterns hung over our heads, steam from the vendors' hot dumplings swirled around us, and crowds and crowds of people enjoyed it all.


February 12th
It was a dreary, rainy day so instead of exploring any more of Nagasaki's outdoor sightseeing, we hit the Penguin Aquarium. It was perfect for you--not as big as a zoo so we could take our time at each exhibit, and a little different from a straightforward aquarium to keep your interest. You even loved the 3D theater and ran around trying to touch the penguins and fish that seemed to be flying through the air. After we left we headed home to your grandparents' house.

February 13th
We didn't have any plans and it was chilly, so what better day to take you to your first onsen? We drove up the mountain to the hot spring resort town and rented a family bath at an inn there. It was a covered outdoor bath with a view of a flowering tree and the mountain beyond. Mommy and daddy felt so relaxed after soaking in the hot, mineral-filled water. You enjoyed the bath, but I think your favorite part was the ice cream afterwards.

February 14th
Valentine's Day in Japan is quite different than in the US. Over here girls and women usually give gifts of chocolates or other sweets to the men in their lives (or who they'd like to be in their lives). Then on what is called White Day, March 14th, the men return the favor. While daddy was in the shower this morning you and mommy sneaked down to the corner store and bought him and your grandfather some chocolates. We had some other errands the rest of the day that mommy will blog more about when we get back from Japan.

Running back from the store with chocolates
Giving daddy his chocolates (mid-shaving)
Giving your grandfather his chocolates
February 15th
We went out to a yummy barbecue restaurant with your grandparents for lunch. Afterwards the weather was so nice we decided to drive to a big park for you to run around, but you fell asleep in the car. We turned around to head home and you woke up, so we stopped at a local waterfall to play for a short while instead.

February 16th
We did a little shopping in Shimabara and then daddy went to help some relatives plant crops while you rested and mommy worked on photo editing and blogging. At night we went to a dinner party with some old and new friends and you had so much fun running around and playing with all their kids.

And now on to our last week in Nagasaki...the time is going so quickly!
Love you!

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