Japan - Ku

Posted August 29, 2007

When:  August 26th Where:  Nara

Oh, the deer.  Lots of deer.  Cute, big eyed, white speckled little deer, hell bent on taking food from tourists.  If you have a packet of special deer biscuits (or even if you don't), be prepared to be mobbed by a small herd of nipping, butting, ravenous deer.   Rumor has it that the first emperor of Japan descended from heaven on the back of a deer, in the sacred city of Nara.  Since then, the deer in Nara have grown accustomed to a particularly relaxed lifestyle of lounging about and/or rolling tourists.

Other than the deer, Nara has a particularly high density of World Heritage sites.  For example, the largest wooden structure in the world is located here, a Buddhist temple housing the largest sitting buddha in the world.  It's big.  Amazingly big.  I could lay down comfortably in the palm of his upheld hand.  An average sized Japanese woman could lodge herself in one of his serene nostrils -- we know this for a fact, as one of the pillars has a hole of the appropriate size for (dainty) tourists squeeze through.

Our host in Nara was a gentleman named Kenji, and his wife, Yoshie.  They were energetic and gracious, patiently explaining to us how Japanese showers worked, introducing us to new foods, and guiding us through the history and highlights of Nara.

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