I was so worried about the oriental world being the worst when we finalized the categories. It seemed like the most inflexible overall. Levels like this, Hadron's, ST's, and the others, have proven the exact opposite.
This is a wonderful level now, and I had a great time with it. I'd almost go as far to say it's in the top three for "most atmospheric" in this hack so far (with Rusted Retribution and Digsite Dangers reaching the top of that list as well).
Even though the coins take away from the blind fall aspect of this area, I still think this is a rather ill-placed sprite. It is more than possible for the unsuspecting player to get smacked by him on the way down.
If you come from the right, it's actually quite possible to miss this midway entirely. Might I suggest shifting it a few tiles to the right and down so it's pretty much on the main path?
It might be worth moving this block to right outside this room (back to the second area). The whole "mushroom going behind layer 2" sort of ruins an otherwise perfect atmosphere.
When I came down this shaft (third SMWC coin room), I was immediately struck by one of the mini-Puffers. I tried it again afterwards and they seemed to take a bit longer to spawn, but the fact that there is a possibility you could get hit upon entry might warrant a movement.
As for your inquiry about the second area: I'd say leave it as it is. I really like the "progressive" nature of the artifacts as they are right now, and changing that around might ruin that sense of flow.
Oh, and before I forget, "Shénmì Frica-Sea" could work. There are a few layer 3 tiles we could replace to fit the accented letters in.