Now prepare for a long post with lots of pictures as I try to cover the highlights of the whole trip.
Down by the station
Beaver bought this dragon thing.
I'm not sure what is actually happening here, but it looks like Mike is giving instructions for riding the train.
On the train
Getting on the ropeway
Up, up and away!
On top of the mountain
We ran into the missionaries
The aquarium was Beaver's idea, but it turns out all he wanted to see was the dolphin show. We went to that first thing, and then he was ready to go.
The Bakery Party!
This photo requires some explanation. There are little bake shops full of all kinds of bread creations practically on every corner in Japan. One train stop from our station is the only bakery where we have been able to find whole wheat bread. One day we had been out sight-seeing all morning and we were all very hungry. We had to pass by that station on our way home, so we stopped at the bakery to get some whole wheat bread, but everything in the shop looked so good to our empty stomachs that we started buying more than just bread. By the time we left, I think we had purchased one of about everything in the store between us! We took our goods home and divvied them up on platters so everyone could try a little of everything for lunch. Beaver came in and announced, "It's a bakery party!" And so, the Bakery Party was born. A couple of days later we were passing that station again, so we repeated the process, but this time saved the party for dinner so Bear could join in as well. After our meal, Bear declared, "That was the best dinner ever!"
Being a cattleman, Uncle Jim wanted to try some of the famous Kobe beef, so he bought some one night and treated us all to it the next day. I actually haven't been crazy about the Kobe beef I have eaten so far, but this was good stuff!
In no time at all, G&G were fitting right in - sleeping on the trains and everything!
Our kids were delighted with the tame "wild" deer on Miyajima. Until Bear got kicked, anyway.
The floating torii gate at Miyajima
Hiroshima - I didn't think I wanted to take the kids to the A-bomb museum, so Mike and I sent the gang off on their own and went on a tour of the Mazda factory instead.
When they were done at the museum, they were brave enough to go and get lunch by themselves! Here is a restaurant employee showing Grandpa how to order his lunch from a vending machine. I was impressed. I don't think I have ever even ordered at a restaurant by myself! I always take Mike with me!
Grandpa was getting pretty good at chopsticks!
Bear dressed as a samurai at Hiroshima Castle
We were all tired out on Wednesday after our trip, so we took it easy in the morning, and then Mike took everyone to a nearby park in the afternoon. It has beautiful gardens and an awesome ropes course for kids.
And finally, the cherry blossoms really showed themselves!
It was wonderful to have visitors and to be able to share Japan with people we love!