So this morning, instead of heading to Hiroshima(because our rail passes won’t get us there), we zipped over to Nara instead. The city is well-known for the wild deer that are used to humans and will bow to beg for food. The key word here is ‘wild’.
Anyway, we packed up the kids and hopped on the train. We made our way there and before we even got to the park deer were everywhere. Little vendors sell deer crackers for tourists to give to the over-sized pests. My son buys a package, the kids pet deer and all is well. We then stop and take a lunch break near a temple and a pagoda, of which the kids eat none of the food they demanded we buy, and then we continue on, as we’ve just entered the very edge of the park.
We soon are making our way towards the center of the park, seeing signs for a National Treasure Museum(I didn’t know that movie had a museum! I kid, but seriously, Nicolas Cage should get on that), and numerous Buddhist Temples and Shrines. Then it happens.
My son, in trying to pet a larger male deer, doesn’t read that it’s annoyed and is trying to leave. So he gets in its way. Multiple times. Did I mention these deer are wild? Well, this one rears up and in a split second has kicked my son in the face and chest. I quickly pick him up and get him moved, and the deer kind of hangs out on the periphery, maybe looking for round two. We check him out, his mom and I taking turns cuddling him while checking on the damage. He’s bleeding a bit, but just from the hoof scrape on his cheek. No damage to the collarbone. We get out the sanitizer, find a bathroom and leave the asshole deer behind, and wash the tears, grime and blood off. Poor guy got into his first real fight and had no idea what hit him. Did this put him off deer? For half an hour until we got ice cream. Then he was game to pet them again. His sister? Nope. She was done with deer completely after that moment.
So we decided to wander off to see some of the temples in the park, some of which are contained within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visited Todai-ji, which houses a Daibusu-san, or Great Buddha. When they say great, they aren’t kidding. The temple was built around this thing. It’s enormous. It’s also in an area the deer are kept out of, so if you’re tired of them or don’t want to have to fight them in revenge of their heinous assault on your son, this is the place to go. Numerous Buddhist statues are throughout, and it really is a breathtaking site to see. If you’re in Nara it is worth the walk to see. Just watch out for the deer crap everywhere.
After our tour of the temple we headed back to the train station and took the kids to a playground near our apartment. They’d earned some time to blow off steam. After finding an impromptu sort of neighbourhood parade, we then ate a dinner of Okonomiyaki(a savoury japanese pancake – we love them), rice, ramen and chicken and put the kids to bed. Tomorrow we’re headed to another former capital of Japan – Kyoto. While there we’re planning on going to the Monkey Park. Wish us luck!