By electra | September 3, 2006
Today we arranged to meet Sarah in Nara. With what was the beginning of a trend, we were unable to get to the train station in time to meet Sarah at the time we’d arranged.
Electra also discovered, on the train ride out to Nara, that the shorts she’d picked for that day was too uncomfortable to justify how cute she looked. It was also very hot.
In Nara, in Sarah’s friendly presence, things got much more fun. We three at lunch at a ramen shop and found that ramen in Japan comes in HUGE portions. Roy also learned the way to order a glass of beer (namba kudasai). Electra learned the difficulties/intricasies of the squat toilets that are standard in Japan when one has been having trouble digesting foreign food.
Then Sarah led us into the throng of sacred (ravenous, persistent, nosy) deer along the circuit of temples and shrines.
Roy had a blast feeding deer. He bought several packets of the grain-wafers. The deer followed him around and bit at his shorts cargo pockets. Remembering that Aunt Liza had been terrorized by these deer, we bought her a stuffed deer coin-purse as o-miage. Roy also discovered a Grand-Prix-checkered water bottle shaped like a gourd, which he couldn’t resist. The water in it was unfortunately warm.
Electra found a monk (houshi) quietly and unobtrusively begging alms and so gave him some money, and he was joyous and blessed her. That made her day!
We went to the large temple that housed the Great Buddha. We gratefully cleansed our hands and faces and feet with water from the front, and then filled our water bottles like the Japanese visitors were doing. The water was as good as any, and slightly cooler than the water Roy had bought, but it was still water from an outdoor fountain, no matter how clensing.
The statue really was the biggest buddha statue that the three of them had ever seen. Electra attempted to use video to convey how very tall the statue was, but it probably didn’t do it justice. Even the lilies in the vases beside the buddha were enormous. Next to Buddha was another kami/bodhisattva, and he was only small in comparison to Buddha. He was a kami of scholorly knowledge, and carried a brush (writing instrument). Nearby him was a load-bearing pillar that had a hole carved through the base that was approximately child-sized. The deal is that if you can go through the hole, you obtain enlightenment. Electra was tempted, but didn’t want to interfere with the queue of kids, nor did she want to risk the embarrassment of her hips getting stuck. We bought o-mamori (amulets) and our fortunes. Roy’s and Electra’s were strangely similar. Sarah pulled out one but the monk decided it wasn’t a good fortune so told her to choose another.
We then walked up a hill to a giant bell (dodging more dear), sat for a while wishing we had water, walked some more and had food/dessert and water in a little restaurant. Roy had curry udon, Sarah had a sort-of macha ice cream sunday, and Electra had ichigo (strawberry) shaved ice. Very yummy. The curry hit the spot for Roy’s low blood sugar, and the shaved ice hit the spot for Electra’s thirst and heat.
Then Sarah went back to Sakai and Electra and Roy walked to the JR station and went back to Kyoto. Electra was distracted almost to tears by the uncomfortableness of her clothes and showered and changed immediately upon arriving back at the ryokan.