This is little Hinako, Ayako's niece. She is one year old. She lifts up one index finger when you ask her, "Hinako, nan sai?" And she says, "Hai!" with a very large round mouth when you call her name, and she bows to you when you say "Konnichiwa." And she is absolutely scrumptious. Hinako and her mother and grandmother accompanied the group of us to the Ashikaga wine festival. Don't worry... they left before most of the debauchery began.
And, VERY IMPORTANTLY, we just found out tonight that Jeff is an uncle for the first time! We got a phone call from Jeff's mom while we were driving Maria to our place from the airport. The connection was a bit fuzzy, but we heard that it's a BOY! Andrew James Epp. Mother Karen and baby are fine, and Paul's okay too! ;-)
And finally, yes, Maria is here with us for the week! We just got her today. She is whipped but happy. Expect some fun pics soon...!