I woke up in the morning and felt around for my phone – sun was streaming in through the window and the day seemed gorgeous. Checking a couple of snaps from Swang, I found he risked going into the abandoned amusement park in Nara and watched the sunrise from a roller coaster. I had a cuppa and a chat with Mike, when Swang arrived and we had some toast (how western), got ready and were on our way. I have to say for all the ‘luxuries’ the other hosted provided this one I have by far enjoyed the most. It could be the lack of businessey feel, or the New Zealand touch, or the fact that it’s small and cozy.
Walking into the park across town we were met by many deer, I leaned down close to one which sidled up to me and I whispered, “I used to shoot your kind.”
Taking pictures for a while and coaxing the deer with special biscuits/crackers hey sell for 150yen, we spot some guy in the distance sitting next to a rather tame deer taking photos of himself.
“Aww, -I- want a selfie with a deer!” says Swang
So we fed the deer and got some selfies.
At one point an elderly man waking towards us in the park says something to Swang in Japanese and he looks at the man blankly.
“Oh”, the man say, “Sorry, our faces similar. So you have this one?” He points at a map, trying to be friendly.
Down the way we stumble upon a collection of bronze wine vessels and the like, with free entry. There a lovey Japanese lady showed us her book of photos of exhibitions she has visits around the world and told us about the different types of bronze casts (sorry, no photos were allowed)
I bought a chocolate soft serve and kept it away from the deer – across the road I found a fortune box, paid my 100 yen and got a good fortune. We walked out and I reluctantly tied it to one of the trees, and tore it in the process. I offered silent apologies to whatever gods overlooked that particular shrine, and we left.
Across the road was the Nara museum, full of paintings and sculptures and things which we spent a fair chunk of time in. Sitting outside planning a new destination, Simon foolishly left the map on he seat, where a deer promptly walked over and began to eat it – not ten seconds after I had said, “what could go wrong?!”
Nara had free wifi- it’s like Lawrence, town of the future!
The Todaiji temple with the giant Buddha was enormous. Like… words don’t describe the size of the place, or how much effort it would have taken to build it. There was a column with a hole in it, and people were trying to get through it; there was probably some significance there but I couldn’t find an explanation. I paused to watch an old man get stuck and struggle his way out, and met up with Swang.
Hunger overtaking us, we went back into town for some grub.
We stopped in a sizeable restaurant with hot plates in he middle of each table and got ourselves the specialty in this area, Okonomiyaki – basically a savoury pancake. I got pork and it was pretty good.
From here I zipped around the area and took some photos of close-by temples; Swang also noticed that the Crane statue he saw by he pond yesterday which mysteriously followed him with its head the night before had disappeared (read: a real crane was watching him in the darkness last night) and we legged it back to the hostel for our bags.
There were 4 trains an hour, so there was no trouble getting to Osaka – and I’m surprised at how carefree I’ve become when it comes to the trains, considering how uptight/ much of a nervous traveller I am.
Was easy finding the hostel, but of a dump but it was cheap.
We had some pretty excellent ramen at a place across the street, and when I went to pay for the out of us the teen at the counter asks in Japanese if we were together, and then got all flustered and used another word to ask if I was paying for two, so I believe the double entendre in his initial question was able to be interpreted as asking if we were a couple or not. I merely nodded and smiled as I gave him the money, we left and I told Swang so we could laugh about it on our way to the Lawson (convenience store) to try and get money out – but alas, it wouldn’t work.
I found a 7-Eleven just down the road so we walked in and managed to get out 100,000 Yen each, hopefully enough to last the rest of the trip. I also bought some melon pan (bread) as suggested to me by Siobhan, and it’s pretty fantastic if I do say so myself (and I do!).