This lovely quote from the rickshaw driver that I was taking a ride with. I don't care that it is pretty much a tourist trap! I got to see the other side of the city and I had time to kill before my train arrived. The guy was really informative though, and there was a lot of historical shrines/houses around that area.
Yesterday we traveled to the lovely Nara, Japan. The only thing I ever heard about Nara was that there are deer everywhere that you can feed and pet and stuff. And holy moly, they weren't kidding. Those things are freaking everywhere, and they are SMART (they cross at crosswalks! How awesome is that??). You can get a stack of deer crackers for 150 yen, and they will follow you around begging for them.
I had a wonderful time hanging out with deer. The only times I'm ever that close to deer at home are when they're dead on the side of the road. Those ones aren't too much fun. As modern as Japanese are, it shows a deep connection between the old and the new. It was so thrilling to walk around this centuries-old city and think that even the samurai were feeding the ancestors of these very deer. Speaking of old, we were in Nara for a very important anniversary- the 1300th anniversary since Nara was made the capital of Japan. I know, I know, it isn't anymore (it was Kyoto after that, then Tokyo), but that is pretty sweet that in 710 they were celebrating. That's like 34982734 times as old as our country... I never said I was good at math. Anyway, here are some more deer awesomeness:
We also went as a group to Todaiji, which is a huge Buddhist temple (ji means temple), with the Great Buddha inside. That thing is MASSIVE. Something like 54 ft tall. Yeah. Huge. I read in my guide book that when it gets dusted, 4-5 monks can stand inside the upturned palm.
That really doesn't show the perspective, but take my word for it. Really.
This last one was taken farther south at the Wakamiya Shrine (I think... I just kept walking and I'm not too sure which shrine I was near). I adore this photograph for the color contrast of the orange and green.
Beautiful day. I hope at some point I upload my camera phone photos... I've been keeping track of some engrish on t-shirts and signs (Japanese phrases translated into English = hilarious). It's because literally translated, it sounds wacky, but it makes total sense in the Japanese language. It's English that's the messed up one, really. My absolute favorite that I've seen is a t-shirt that Erin took a picture of in Tokyo: "SMOOTH TROOPER LOVERS YO MAMMAS FLAPJACKS," multi-colored with a Storm Trooper doing kind of a Michael Jackson move by holding his junk and giving the devil horns. Yeah. Classy. If I was there, I totally would have gotten that shirt for Luke.
We have a free afternoon after class today, so I think the gang and I are going to Nagahama to see some glassblowing and have dinner at a microbrewery thats there. THEN I will work on my portfolio :) Hiroshima tomorrow!