Nara (population: 330 000)
Nara is described as the cradle of Japanese civilization in terms of design, literature and industry. Strolling through the quiet streets you really feel like you’re stubbled upon a different side of Japan. Maybe it’s because I’m so urbanised now living and working in the hustle and bustle of the big cities. It’s pleasant to experience space again.
Accompanied by the fabulous Jennifer and Nicola, we perused the old Japanese style city centre and examined the local wildlife. There were many turtles and deer with surprisingly bold personalities. One decided to start munching on Nicola’s map, and another dominant alpha male head butted a Japanese girl in the butt. It was funny to see people going to the trouble of buying special deer biscuits only to be persued aggressively by all deer within a 10m radius - forcing the feeder to drop all the biscuits in fear of a mass attack. However, some more vivacious Japanese boys were happy to feed the deer biscuits from in between their teeth.
Todaiji Temple was rather spectacular housing many statues and wood carving displaying extremely expressive, furious faces to ward away bad spirits. In contrast, the enormous bronze
Buddha statue sits calmly as a centrepiece, surrounded by lotus flowers. Lotus flowers are a pictorial representation of the religion that describe that all worldly creatures are infinitely interconnected and act upon one another while completely enveloped in the light of Buddha. So the sooner we make peace with deer the better.
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