Thursday, March 30th, 2006
Doe, A Deer
The second day of the trip was again spent in Nara. One of the big selling points of the hotel we were staying at was the hot spring spa, which I partook in this morning. And damn if it wasn’t comfy. After breakfast, again of the highly traditional type, it was back to Nara Park for more canoodling with the sacred tame deer. There were far more here than on the mountaintop yesterday, and they were far more aggressive in checking out your pockets for food. But they’re so damn cute I really didn’t mind them nibbling on my coat or tour book. Thankfully deer feed was cheap and plentiful so it was easy to make friends with them, at least until the grub ran out. It was funny to see one small kid taunt the deer a little too much and get butted to the ground for his troubles. No one hurt, but satisfying to see.
The main sight in the region of the park we were in was the Todai-Ji temple, the main building of which is Daibutsuden, a gargantuan wooden structure – the largest wooden structure in the world – which houses a 50-foot Buddha. Very impressive, though I was disappointed that no giant moths or lizards appeared to challenge it to battle. That’s two days now without a Mechagodzilla sighting. Maybe I need to be closer to Tokyo.
After lunch it was off to another portion of the park, the Kofukuji Temple, built in the 1400s as exact reproductions of buildings dating back to the 700s. The complex consisted of several buildings including some impressive pagodas and a main temple which again housed more Buddhas. Where we were off to next, I’m not entirely sure since I fell asleep on the bus. Near as I can figuure, it’s about an hour outside of Nara and near the borders of Nara, Kyoto and Osaka and fairly high up on a mountaintop. The hotel has more hot springs (a guy can get used to those!) and is a short walk to yet another temple complex, this one more picturesque as it’s built onto and into the mountainside. So far it’s my top pick for site most likely to house a secret warrior ninja-monk society but they haven’t revealed themselves. Yet.
For the two days we’ve been here, the weather has been both cruel and erratic. Tuesday was all about the rain and yesterday was just damned cold. With a dash of rain. Needless to say, I hadn’t packed for anything quite so blustery so it’s been a bit of a struggle with the elements. It seems to have eased up a bit today, though, so god willing I won’t have to wear the entire contents of my suitcase to stay warm. Plus I think we’re going to be in Kyoto proper today, so less wandering around the countryside.
My laptop is down to the very last nub of power. The Japanese don’t believe in grounded outlets. As such I’m keeping my computer activities to a minimum. Writing, posting. No photo processing so those’ll have to wait till I’m back in Taipei this weekend. But for now, enjoy the fawn up above. Awwww.