We went to church.
We sang patriotic hymns.
And we had a BBQ at our friends' home with two brand new families.
(One of these families just moved from the same ward as my sister Jenny. Small world!)
We did NOT (reverently and in keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath day) watch fireworks as planned because they were rained out and postponed until Monday.
Now back to Monday: The free base paper did a feature on a *relatively* nearby town called Nanbu. It listed tons of fun things to see and do with typical directions on how to get there that went something like this:
...Once you leave the freeway, count 9 stop lights past the first Pachinko Parlor. Turn slight leftish. We'll call this point A. From here, go 3.67 kilometers to point B near the green Ramen shop. Combine points A and B to find the sub total of point C which is halfway to your destination divided by one Happy Drug pharmacy...
Anyway, we convinced three other families to come along, and with numerous kids in tow, ventured out to explore new territory.
Robert and Lyana took the lead and somehow managed to get us to our first destination--the one I was most excited about; an artist colony with pottery studio and craft boutique and restaurant. After a lengthy (and for us, extremely HOT drive--A/C is broken) we arrived to find the place closed down. A few people peeked at us from a home on the premises, but they kept their distance.
Max found an unlocked door and wandered in to the restaurant but was quickly ordered OUT by his unsurprised parents. Then we all stood around for a few minutes hoping everything would magically come to life and all the buildings would open before our eyes. They didn't.
So, we strapped all 38 loud and restless children back into their car seats, chalked it up to the weird Japanese aversion to being open on Mondays, and headed to our NEXT destination:
A GIANT (100 feet high) ROPEY DRAGON CLIMBING THINGY!!! (A sure kid pleaser.)
We found our way there...
We unloaded all the kids...
We all walked to the Dragon Thingy...
Max climbed over the barricade and started crawling upward anyway. (Much to, once again, no ones surprise.) This time only one parent ordered him out--ME. The other parent said "I think that sign says 'Monday's are FREE! Please enjoy!'"
Then we all stood around for a few minutes really wishing we could read Japanese signs and hoping it would magically open for us.
The heavens did, however, open up for us and bless us with a torrential down-pour which drenched half of our party.
When the storm passed, we strapped all 67 wet and frustrated children back into their car seats and headed to our NEXT destination:
HOKOJI TEMPLE AREA/Mt. Nakui
This place, although it didn't appear to have anyone around, was at least not closed. (Though this doesn't mean it was open.) And it was very pretty.
"The 700 year old Hokoji Temple was built between 1249 and 1256 AD. It was constructed on the side of Mt. Nakui means one must climb up from the main temple to see all the shrines and end up at the magnificent 3 stories pagoda in the back. While passing through the scenic “1000 pine trees” road, be sure to look for the “Grandfather Cedar”, a 1100 year old tree that towers over 100 feet with a circumference of 25 feet around."
(I'm just trying to have good photograph posture but it looks like I'm trying to stick my boobs out.)
After the kids were thoroughly shrined-out, tired and hungry we travelled to our fourth and final destination.
The one the kids were REALLY excited about.
The one that made up for everything.
Thank the blessed heavens it was OPEN!
"BADE-PARK" An indoor/outdoor pool with large tube water slide. All the kids had a blast. Gray got to swim for the first time and I got to don a swimsuit for the first time this post partum.
(This pool was reserved for swim class. Cute little kiddies!)
Good times were had by all.
(I would post more pictures here, but evidently I'm not allowed to post pictures of my friends, in their swimsuits, on my blog. Wimps.)
Our trip to the Gates of HELL!!!
I'll tell you all about it...