Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Land of the Deer

Seriously. So many deer. And they've been here forever. They are so used to tourists and are quite pushy when it comes to getting their biscuits. They're addicts and they aren't afraid to nudge, buck, and nibble to get their dose. 

After getting of the train with a Korean friend (Mars) I made at the station in Osaka we headed toward a few temples we wanted to check out. When I first saw deer ahead of us on the side walk, I was beyond exited. It wasn't long after that I realized these guys are everywhere. I found a cute old lady selling treats to give them and Mars and I were immediately bombarded with deer. Pushy little guys. We had a blast leading them around the park, teasing them and playing with them. They are so forward and pretty domesticated. 

I watched many shopkeepers shoo them out of their stores when they would venture a little to far into the shop. One of the shopkeepers was able to tell me that one of the deer that hung out around her shop was only a year old, and she pointed out the mother. How she was able to identify them out of the hundred of deer living in Nara was beyond me. As pesky as they may be, the locals love them like you would any other 4 legged furry friend. They are considered to be sacred messengers of Shinto gods

We strolled through the small little town of Nara and checked out whatever temple was in our way. There were loads. We chose a nice, shady path lined with huge stone lanterns on the way to Kasuga. This temple is known for the thousands of bronze lanterns, but it was nearly 5 bucks to walk through them - we decided peering through the would be sufficient and saved our precious money for something we REALLY wanted to see.

I could have easily spent hours aimlessly exploring every nook and cranny of this little place. Around every bend there was something new that caught my eye. A little river here, a cluster of lanterns and statues there. Temple after temple, it was hard taking it all in. Mars and I found a beautiful temple situated at the top-ish of Nara. It was nice having him around cause he was able to help me figure out how to properly interactic with all these Buddhist things I have no experience with. Water fountains with cups, bells with brightly colored fabrics, incense and candles. He showed me the ropes when it came to these things and added a lot to my experience in this little town. 


The view from this temple was unreal. I could see the tippity top of Todai-ji - The massive wooden structure  and main attraction in Nara. I really, really wanted to see this baby. Seeing it peaking over the trees got me so excited that I was able to ignore the growls from my stomach begging for food and frolic on in Todai-ji's direction instead.

It was so massive and so beautiful, I have never seen anything like it. Before walking in Mars and I lit some incense meant to clean the surrounding air of unwanted spirits and energies and made our way inside. I sat and stared at for at least 5 minutes before even bothering to take pictures of the huge Buddha that was sitting in front of me, situated peacefully on a lotus flower.

You are able to walk completely around the giant statue. It has two smaller shrines on either side with golden statues and smaller things to look at while you make your way around. There was a place you could practice calligraphy and a small hole in one of the wooden pillars that had a line accumulating around it. Thankfully Mars was there to explain why people (including grown men) were crawling through it. Apparently being able to fit through the tiny space guarantees you a spot in heaven. Challenge accepted. Once I get around to making a video compilation of my Japan footage you will be able to witness my attempt first hand :)

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