Over spring break, I went to Osaka, Nara, and Takamatsu. I hadn’t made it to Nara yet, even though it’s close to Osaka and Kyoto and not much more money to get to. I arrived in Nara in the morning and took a bus to the place (Deer Park Inn) I was staying which was located in Nara Park. The place was nice and clean and right outside you were surrounded by deer and sakura trees. The trees weren’t quite in full bloom while I was there but I guess it would have been even more crowded if they had been.
It was a really nice day just to walk around, see the deer, and visit some of the temples in the park. The park was wonderful with sakura trees, camelia trees, and many large, old trees. I enjoyed just walking around and being outside, especially after having spent the weekend in Osaka.
Todai-ji is an impressive temple with a giant buddha statue inside. Some other smaller temples were cool too and many people had bought prayer/charms that were hanging in different places near the temples and shrines.
That evening we walked into Nara City closer to the train station to have dinner. I normally don’t want Japanese food while traveling because there are often other options that I prefer when outside of the semi-rural area where I live. I had fried avocado, brick oven pizza, and a salad that made me so happy because it was the first time I’d seen swiss chard since being in Japan. Salads in Japanese style restaurants tend to just be a pile of cabbage with a thick dressing (less often is it the lovely salad/dressing at Japanese restaurants in America).
After five the buses were no longer running, so after dinner we had to walk back through Nara Park to get to our hotel/hostel. It was around eight so it was dark. Some parts of the way back were only slightly lit up. It was eerie seeing the deer everywhere sleeping but a neat experience to be in the park when almost no people were around.
In the morning, we tried to wake up early to get out before crowds started. I decided to finally buy the deer crackers and feed the deer since there weren’t people everywhere. It’s crazy how the second you buy it the deer swarm you and start begging for the crackers. I wonder what the ladies selling the crackers do to keep them in check. It doesn’t seem like the deer try to take crackers from the stand. I was a little afraid because they get really close and will bite at your clothes trying to get the crackers. I’m glad I did it but I’m not sure I’ll buy the crackers ever again. It was nicer just petting them when you didn’t have any food.
After walking around for a little, we went and had some soba and onigiri for “brunch” and then made our way back to the station to go home. In the evening, I had a work “farewell”party for all the teachers who were switched to different schools. Teachers get switched every 7 years. Three English teachers left including my supervisor. The party was mostly everyone giving speeches during dinner and then the second party was more relaxed with time to talk. Soon we’ll have three new teachers to work with.