The upside to having a toddler who can't nap with any regularity or for any great length of time, is that there's really no good reason to state at home for nap time. In the past, because Peanut seemed to operate at her best if she was able to sleep in her crib for her morning and afternoon naps, we'd generally try to have her at home during those time frames (she was never a good car or stroller napper and without those naps - meltdowns were inevitable). Now however, we see now reason not to hit the road with her in tow since the lack of daytime sleep doesn't really seem to predict meltdowns and well, she can *not* sleep at home just as easily as she can *not* sleep at a park.
Over the weekend we went to several nearby parks. First we went to Hamadera Koen. It's a big park with lots and lots of playground equipment. The slides and jungle gyms that I've seen here in Japan are the kinds of things that I remember from my childhood in the U.S. Remember all the cool stuff that was a legal liability and was removed from playgrounds? They've still got a bunch of that stuff here and it's cool! I'm talking about huge slides, monstrous climbing gyms, etc. Peanut is too small for much of it, but the sheer volume of fun stuff to play on drew lots of families to the park on Saturday (combined with temperatures in the mid 70's F) and the people and kids alone are entertainment for Peanut.
On Sunday we ventured out to ExpoLand to see the tulip garden. Japan has a long history of trade with Holland (even during the 200 or so years that Japan was closed to trade with other countries). Hence, the tulip garden is a celebration of that long and prosperous history of trade. The colors were vibrant and we enjoyed eating our lunch near thousands of tulips on a perfectly warm and sunny day.
Monday the weather promised to be warm and sunny once more. We decided to take advantage of it to head up the mountain in search of the last cherry blossoms in this area. In Yoshino, we found dozens of small vendors selling all kinds of foods and other goods but by far my favorite was the sakura (cherry blossom) soft serve ice cream - delicious! We had a short hike up the mountain side, but with vendors all around us, the time passed quickly. If you've never been to Japan, you need to understand that the Japanese have a gift for building temples, shrines, etc. at the top of mountain, paving a bit of road or walkway to get up there, and then populating the road with vendors so that tourists can shop all the way up and down the mountain. I've seen buildings perched on the side of mountain where you couldn't possibly imagine a bar or ice cream shop could exist, yet they do! Anyway, the view from the top of this little mountain was lovely. On the way back down, we stopped in a noodle shop with a view of the mountainside and blossoms. I'm not the biggest fan of udon soup (there are plenty of other things I'd rather eat) but the view alone made it worthwhile to eat in our restaurant of choice.
Peanut was an angel each and every time we got in the car (unusual for a kid who has pretty much screamed her head off in the car since she was born) and every day we went out she far exceeded her usual one hour of stroller time limit. There's really no way around it; the weather was perfect, the company was unsurpassed and we couldn't have had a more lovely, long weekend.