Dear Maya and Emi,
Without further ado (because it's already almost midnight and it's taken me enough time just to upload all these photos!) here is the breakdown of our second week in Japan. This brings us to last Thursday, not today, because we've covered a lot of ground!
Our first couple of days in Nagasaki pretty much consisted of the two of you playing with your grandparents, going to parks and the seashore with them, and finding things to get into around the house (plastic clothespins and clips in particular).
Then we spent a beautiful, warm day in Unzen. We took the cable car up to the top of Myoken-dake overlooking the volcano. Then we went to visit the shrine where mommy and daddy got married. We walked from there through the 'hells'--the steamy hot springs that feed the many resort baths. Finally we ended up at a little cafe and Maya you had a green smoothie that you loved. I'm guessing you didn't realize the color and flavor came from komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach).
After another few days of shopping and hanging around town, we spent some time in Shimabara City last Sunday. We walked through a newly-developed tourist area which boasts clear streams full of carp running down the side of the street, plus a tourist center/gift shop with a water wheel outside and a glass floor inside giving visitors another view of the huge carp in their pond. We also went to a favorite shop in the shopping 'arcade' that specializes in lucky cat charms.
Last Monday we found a couple of really fun parks to take you two. Unfortunately it was bitter cold and flurrying much of the day, so we couldn't stay as long as we would've liked. The combination of a kiddy suspension bridge, a zip line, and a 100-foot or so roller slide was hard to beat, though.
Maya, you spent Tuesday helping your grandma's relatives plant seedlings at their farm (go, Maya!). Then we went back to Shimabara City on Wednesday to visit the castle and surrounding gardens. The plum blossoms were just about in full bloom and it was really beautiful.
The highlight of our day at the castle, though, was probably watching you two dress up. Three years ago when we went there you dressed as a ninja, Maya. This time you chose the kimono and Emi got a ninja's zukin. You two looked so adorable!
On Thursday we took a little walk around town in the afternoon, then in the evening we had a pizza party with some friends and their families. Daddy spent lots of time preparing dough and chopping up the ingredients, then he made several pizzas for everyone. He took a break at one point so we could take the two of you home to go to bed since it was getting late, then we went back and everyone else tried their hand at making pizza. It was lots of fun!
Mommy's going to stop here because this post has been long enough already. I can't wait to see what adventures our last few days in Japan bring! Love you both!