Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nara

Japan, Nara:

We took a day off of Osaka to go out to Nara. Nara is a fairly small city, maybe the size of Astoria or Longview. It's not a big city by any means. What it is, is a town full of shrines and temples! It's pretty much the jackpot, in terms of templey-ness. Nara also was getting the tail of Typhoon Morokot, which meant that we got absolutely drenched, even with our umbrellas. We were soaked all the way through. I don't think that there was a dry spot on me, as whatever hadn't been rained on, got sweaty... because it was still hot and humid. Crazy.

We went there specifically to see the Todai-ji temple, in the Daibutsu-den Hall, which is a giant 527 ton bronze Buddha sculpture inside "the world's largest" wooden structure (an awesome temple hall). It was gorgeous. The whole thing, inside and out. The grounds were beautiful, the layout was delightful, the temple was super impressive and the Buddha statue was breathtaking. I was so glad we decided to spend the day coming to Nara.

A funny thing about the temple: there's a ceiling beam that has a hole down at the bottom. Apparently the hole is the same size as the nostril of the Buddha statue. Also apparently, if you can squeeze your body all the way through the whole you are guaranteed a place in heaven. It was a small hole. We saw two teenagers manage it with a great deal of squirming and wiggling.

We also wanted to see the Nara deer. Here's what is said about Nara's tiny, spotted deer: According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer were regarded as heavenly animal to protect the city and the country. Snack vendors sell small biscuits to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. Some of the deer have learned to bow in response to tourists' bows. They nudge, jostle, and even bite for food.

Yeah... the deer were adorable, until you had food in your hands. Then they were slightly menacing, and very pushy. I was a sucker, and bought some deer biscuits. They immediately mobbed me and started nipping at my waist and shoving me with their head (and antlers!). We bought ice cream cones at one point, and had to run away from the deer who were trying to steal our ice cream cones. Very aggressive with the crunchies, but very adorable.





1 comment:

El Chupacabra said...

ACK!!! Rabid Deer!!! I really enjoy reading about the Japan adventure, keep it up!