Published: September 15th 2010September 15th 2010
So tonight I am in Nara and its raining for the first time since I’ve been in Japan. When it rain here, it pours. I can’t complain though. After the heat, it feels amazing and this is by far the nicest hostel if I am going to spend an evening inside. It’s totally traditional with the tatami map and rice paper dividing walls.
Kyoto had some interesting sites but I honestly didn’t see that much. Their transportation system was a pain and they had a major lack of English maps but the scenery was nice. My hostel was right on the river which made a nice evening walk and the staff were super friendly and pulled me out of my homesickness with good conversation several times. The train ride was much slower than the shinkansen but still nice.
I love Nara, probably more than anywhere else I’ve been. It’s small enough to be basically walkable and Nara Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. Aside from being a huge nice park, some of the most famous temples are also in the park. I saw the giant Buddha of Nara, the biggest Buddha in Japan and that was pretty impressive. I don’t really have a specific religion but hearing the Buddhist singing coming from within the temples is very moving and it makes me feel instantly more relaxed. There are also tame deer that roam the park and you can feed them pretty much anything out of your hand. I was alerted to this at the entrance by a rather persistent old woman trying to sell me biscuits “Food Bambi!” “You want food Bambi!” Unfortunately, one of the deer also thought maps were food and devoured mine before I really even realized what was going on. I also saw them chasing a couple people who were attempting to eat lunch. I guess you can only “tame” wild animals so far but it was entertaining to watch.
My experience has been kind of tainted by homesickness at times but this truly is an amazing country. I’m continually shocked by how friendly, generous and helpful everyone is here. Even if there English goes no further than “herro” they make sure you feel welcome. Tomorrow I go back to Tokyo and then home in the morning. Traveling is exhausting and I’m ready to be home but I think everywhere you spend some time becomes a home in itself. Even in the course of a few days you find special places and activities and meet people that remain part of you. I know that if I came back here again, there are already certain places that would feel a bit like going home. Anyways, I have a few postcards to write but maybe some pictures later? Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!