Nara

We wake up at Namba Oasis and Rodney is still kicking around the apartment. While Queenie is in the shower we sit and watch some travel vlogs. “This dude has more subscribers than New Zealand’s population”. Drone shots, time lapse, good production, ambient music and fitting a story into it too. Hmmmmmm……..

Ok we’re really saying goodbye this time! Rodney has been an exceptional host and all round great guy. We’ve had a killer time, adios for now and see you on the way back.

We’re off to Nara on the way to Kobe. Walking to the metro Queenie drops some postcards in the mail.

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The train to Nara is a tad confusing. Midway through the trip there’s an announcement that cars 5-8 are going to get uncoupled in Oji. Everyone has to move to the first 4 cars. So there’s an awkward exodus through the cars before the next stop, some people moving through the train, others staying. We look at the map since we don’t know what’s going to happen when we get to Oji. Do we stay or move up? Looks like mostly locals staying in cars 5-8 so we move up to car 4 but now all the seats are taken and we’re stuck standing.

Get off the train in Nara and look for a locker to stow our backpacks while we look around. There are lots of tourists around here. Nara is a popular day trip due to the Deer Park and Giant Buddha.

Narco finds this guy.

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Alright, bags stowed, time for a bite. We need a cute place with French jazz. What’s the Miles cafe of Nara? We walk the strip but nothing really jumps out at us. Alright, anything will do. We find kind of a chain looking place. Seems good. Ann’s. Yep, french jazz playing. Doesn’t really have good brunch options though. We go with a couple pasta dishes and I get to blow Queenie’s mind with my fork and spoon move again. She gets a Mint chocolate coffee, “What is this color? I think I don’t understand”.

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Time to check out the park! Just down the street is a nice temple

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Not sure…

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Nara Deer Park

Just passed the temple there is a nice open park that is littered with little deer. They’re everywhere. And you can buy ‘Deer Cookies’ to feed them with. “Ohh so cute! Let’s meet some deer”

We get some cookies and go into the park. Instantly this brutish deer with a giant bloody scab on his head comes over to Queenie. He’s being super aggressive! This dude wants a cookie bad. He’s headbutting her with his wounded head and nipping at her pants, yanking them around. “Whoa, whooooa! Buddy!” I go over to break it up. (Well first I giggle for a bit and take pictures. Then I go break it up).

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This super bossy deer won’t leave Queenie alone. I try to push him away but he’s not having it. He’s bullying the other deer and chasing them away, they’re all afraid of him. We’ll this isn’t quite what I’d expected. Not cute at all.

I take the cookies and lead him away from us. There are a few more people coming into the park now and he spots their cookies. He rushes right over. I think we’re rid of him. There are 2 tiny Japanese girls with cookies. He charges right at them and they split up and run away screaming. This is equal parts unfortunate and hilarious.

We make some distance from Bully Deer and move towards some gentler looking deer. I notice some rubbing their heads against the park trees. Do they remove their horns to protect tourists? Kind of feel bad about the deer in the park now. That must be why Bully Deer has that disgusting scab on his head.

Ok let’s try this deer feeding thing again. Andrew told me that if you hold the cookie up in the air, the deer will politely bow three times for you. Queenie tries it on a cute lil duffer and sure enough she bows 3 times and then kind of stays bowed with her front legs straight out. Wow! Cookie for you!

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This lil cutie was super polite. Not like that asshole bully deer at all are ya, no you’re not, no you’re not, not you, nooooo you’re cute, you’re a little cutie aren’t ya, yesss, yes you are a little cutie, yesss you are, etc….

Deer selfie!!!

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Ok let’s go see some more of Nara. We walk passed a huge line for the Nara National Museum. Nara used to be the capital of Japan from 710 – 794. Makes sense that there would be some rad history museum here. Looks like there’s a new wing? A bunch of ancient artifacts. Probably a 2 hour wait.. hmmmm.. no thanks.

We head up a path through a wooded area of the park. Along the way is a deer that still has his horns. Hey buddy. These deer are so tiny. Canadian deer would totally kick the shit out of them at hockey.

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Live free bro. Then I ruin his life with cookies. Now he’s addicted and will eventually become aggressive with his cookie cravings. They’ll take his horns. He’ll never be the same.

Kashuga-Taisha

We power walk up a path beside some stone lanterns, shoes slick w deer shit.

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There’s a Shinto shrine here called Kashuga-Taisha that was built in 768. It’s lined with copper lanterns. There is a group of men in business attire here. It looks like they’re getting some special ceremony or something. Everyone is standing to the side giving them distance so as not to interrupt. Perhaps a diplomat or something?

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There’s a tiny arch here for sacred deer sightings.

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Past this curtain is a dark room filled with lanterns. There are mirrors on the walls and they make the lanterns seem to go on forever.

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A special deer lantern for Nara

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Finish our lap around Kashuga-Taisha and back down the path. It’s pleasant in here.

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This deer wants cooooooookies! He’s guarding the cookie stand while the vendor is away.

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This tiny deer looking out from the stone lanterns was so cute.

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Another one back at the crossroads is shopping at the local merchants.

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Tōdai-ji, the Great Buddha Hall

We head down the only other path left. It leads through a large impressive, wooden gate.

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There’s a guy sitting on the steps with a bunch of deer feed getting super snuggly with another lil cutie. Queenie’s heart turns into cute soup

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Whoa! Then there’s this thing… Tōdai-ji, the Great Buddha Hall

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It’s an impressive, all wood structure that houses the largest bronze Buddha on Earth

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The grounds are pristine. There’s a pond with a little island as well.

Inside the Tōdai-ji there are a host of statues and artifacts relevant to Buddhism. It’s an impressive collection, nice to be somewhat enlightened to a religion I know very little about (even after visiting all of these temples).

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Blam! World’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha

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Terrible glare but these are Bodhisattvas incised on Lotus Petals

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Nyoirin-kannon, a wish-fulfilling Bodhisattva

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Komokuten, one of a pair of guardians

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This scale model shows the Tōdai-ji  complex as it once looked with two tall pagodas to the East and West.

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Bishamonten watching over Tōdai-ji and its precincts.

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Ok, one last shot of the giant Buddha before we go

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The Tōdai-ji alone was well worth the visit to Nara

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Just off to the side we spot this neat golden spire and go over to investigate. It’s commemorating a summit of 1700 priests.

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Back down to the crossroads we speed by all the trinket shops. Except this one. Did someone place the deer like that on the weird Nara deer/saytr mascot? This pose is a little too sexy time

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We grab some delicious Crema ice cream and chill for a sec. Nara is pretty cool, lots of history, and you don’t need a lot of time here to see some interesting stuff.

Time to say goodbye to the deer

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Deer parking

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Ok bye little deers, we’re outta here

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On the way back to the metro we witness a demonstration of these two guys smashing mochi into shape with giant mallets. They take turns in rhythm bring down the hammers “Hai!”, “Ho!”, “Hai!, “Ho!”.

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Real life Hammer bros

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We get some green tea mochi at the place and it’s delicious!

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Ok Nara, it’s been swell. Cute deer and we learned a lot. Now we’re off to Kobe to see if it has more to offer than beef

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