Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Mini Ninjas

Edo Wonderland is partly about what you bring to it. With it's authentic backgrounds, ninja training program, and entertaining shows, it was a winner for us. I laughed out loud at the ninjas in training on their first mission to trick the samurai. All of the kids had the same mission, but each child handled the spotlight differently. Renting ninja costumes and paying for shirikin to toss adds up, but we came knowing what we were getting into so I didn't mind. There was plenty of free play space with the ninja mystery house, the ninja maze, and the public space. A slight rain fell all day, but the kids didn't bother with umbrellas. They had won collapsible ninja knives and would spontaneously break into a run to attack each other or passing samurai, who tended to respond with false groans of mortality or feign a sword attack themselves. It was a spirit of make believe in which all could actively participate.

Ninjas in training defeated the red haired Samurai at Edo Wonderland
My Mini Ninjas at Edo Wonderland
Some Edo Wonderland staff spoke English, but the shows were in Japanese. A few of the shows required no translation- the ninja show, the magic show. My husband and I both drifted off in the warmth and "wawawawa" of the traditional theater production which used both static cards and images as well as Japanese narration to tell a story, but our kids laughed, howled, and interacted all day since they could follow the jokes, the fun, and the storylines.

They want to go back tomorrow, but alas we need to return home. I'm so glad we had the chance to visit Nikko. There is more to do here if we could come back in warmer weather- hiking, camping, river cruises, more temples and shrines, a waterfall, and onsens! The inn's small onsen was perfect for us and the kids took three onsens in one day! It was how we got them to walk to a restaurant and back for dinner in the falling snow, the promise of one more hot soak.

It was declared, "the best day ever" except the part where the Moose, newly seven, had poked a hole in the shoji paper in our bed and breakfast window. The innkeeper was more than gracious, dismissing it, but we insisted that the Moose both confess his misdeed and apologize. The inn had already earned my favor by serving large chunks of bread toasted with salted butter for breakfast instead of rice with fish and pickles. Breakfast is the one meal I prefer western food.

On a food note, the portions are larger and heartier fare is served here in Nikko. We had to leave food at the Chinese restaurant as my husband ordered his usual amounts only to find the portions were twice as big. The Mule, good nihonjin that she is, helped finish off the rice as no respectable Japanese person would leave rice uneaten.

The ninja are sleeping, warm from their bath. Rubber numchucks lay beside me and a collapsible sword is in my bag. We'll be talking about our trip for sometime.