Friday, April 05, 2013

Nara Deer

Oh dear!  I have too many pictures!  Where to start?!

My friends and I have been planning a trip to Kyoto and Nara for a couple of months.  These are ladies who have been coming to my house for years and years though one friend and her husband retired to another part of Japan.  We all coordinated our schedules and spent two happy, laughter filled days!

It takes about an hour by Bullet Train to get to Tokyo from the station.  Even though it is not that far away, I can count the number of times I've been to Tokyo by Bullet Train.

From there we took another Bullet Train to Kyoto, and our friend Sachiko-san boarded the train half way there.  In Kyoto we left our luggage in a locker and went on to the city of Nara which is famous for its historic temples... And its deer!

I considered myself very foresighted to have worn a bright red coat on this trip.  I do not want to get lost!  I don't know why all my friends wore neutral colors...

"I can't see you guys!"

Kaoru-san, Eiko-san, Sachiko-san, Mari-san and Yumiko-san.  (Do you notice that I call these friends by their first names whereas I don't with my patchwork friends....  I don't know why.  Maybe because we normally speak English when we're together...)

Kaoru-san made sure I was well taken care of during the two days...  Not unlike leading a child by the hand and keeping track of the many train tickets.

Anyway... Nara has free-roaming deer.  I even remember seeing the deer when I visited Nara as a child with my family.  The highlight of that Japanese trip was seeing my father being chased by a deer!  I hope I am a little more cultivated now in my old age and can say that the highlights of the this trip are the historic temples and statues and gardens.  (But I did enjoy the deer...)

Nara deer just roam the park freely.  There are no fences, there don't seem to be any places they are not allowed to enter.  Hundreds?  Maybe thousands!  They nap where they wish to, they wander around looking for unsuspecting tourists.  The deer seem to know perfectly well that the tourists are visiting Nara in order to feed them and if a tourist hasn't bought a pack of deer crackers from the many vendors, then they are not worth talking to.  Ho-hum...

BUT... if a tourist buys crackers (and we all do) suddenly any nearby deer will pay close attention as money exchanges hands and then the tourist better beware!  A deer has a second sense about when a cracker has been hidden and will pursue the tourist earnestly!  There are signs around to warn the tourists and it is all in great fun but you do hear an occasional scream as a tourist runs through the park with a couple of deer in pursuit.

A tourist surrounded by deer.  If he's got crackers he's not going to be able to do much cherry blossom viewing!

Aww...  A baby deer...

I was amazed that the deer were just standing by the main intersections and didn't seem to wander out into traffic.

Such a nice quiet deer.  Shall we feed it?

Kaoru-san bought me crackers so that I could have the feeding "experience".

Oh my!  Here they come!

"Okay, okay!  Here's one for you... and you... and you...  Stop biting my coat!  Hey! Don't push!!!


The Nara deer are wonderful.  Expect to be popular if you feed them.

Tomorrow's post will hopefully have a bit more of a cultural view of Kyoto and Nara. 

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