The last three days of Golden Week, we joined two other families for a trip up to Fukui prefecture. It's beautiful there.
The mountains were reflected in the rice fields.
It was one of the most naturally pretty places I've been in Japan. Not over-engineered, as things sometimes are here.
We all drove there in two cars. Cars! The tolls would have been 4050 yen, but since it was a holiday weekend, they were only 1050 each way.
The boys clowned around at the rest stop.
We stayed in a cabin at a campground--run by KOA!
The boys played a LOT of beyblades.
One day we went to a fabulous dinosaur museum. They have discovered many fossils in Fukui, and there is even a dinosaur named Fukuisaurus (or something).
Here's Max and his little buddy, R-kun.R-kun called Max "Ma-ku-ra" and played with him all weekend. So cute. In a couple more years, Max will be raking in the dough as a babysitter.
Here's a great slide, lined with rollers.
At the museum, kids have the chance to dig for real fossils. They bring in truckloads of rock from a nearby site and chuck them into a sand-box.Here we go again--handing kids real tools and letting them play around.
We found some fossils of plants...nothing major. If you've seen our (shrinking) retaining wall back home, you'll understand that breaking rocks was 90% of the fun.
Later at the campground, we did a great bbq and had some Japanese s'mores (with tiny marshmallows, Meiji chocolate, and Marie biscuits). Then kids did some regular sparklers.
But at the end, M-san brought out these traditional Japanese sparklers. They are tiny. You light them and then wait....
If you're patient and can hold it still enough, you start to get a tiny set of sparkles. It's all very low-intensity, short-lived, and delicate. Aaaaah....kind of like the cherry blossom.....
The next day, we drove up to the mountains for a whitewater rafting trip. It was very short--25 minutes--but so fun!
Max, you look so brave and dry for now. Just wait, dude.
See those oars? Useless.
This first drop was a doozy. This is the last time we were dry.
We bumped around, ran into every rock we could, got stuck whenever possible, went backwards half of the time, and screamed occasionally. It was totally thrilling. I am imagining taking one of those multi-day Colorado trips when the boys are older.
Here's our second drop--! The water was running high because of the spring melt, and the boat before us actually flipped over. So this guy was working hard to steer us in the right way. We almost pushed him down with us. (Not our fault! It's the oars!)
Whoosh! Made it to the bottom, but Darrin fell half out, and I fell on top of Alek.
Ask him. He'll tell you all about it.