Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 18:42, by Teri
Today we fly back home. It's been a delightful trip. On Monday, we took the JR locals to Nara, a most exciting trip. A long from the rail station to the temples, but well worth it. I have a bazillion more photos to process and get online now!
Speaking of Photos...
If you have not seen the photos to date I've posted, please have a look. They cover at this writing some 6 pages, but only the first day and a half. I will process more as I get time.
A major faux pas for me was taking photos inside one of the temples in Nara. I must admit, I found it unusual for photography to be allowed, since it was not allowed in any of the other sacred structures, but I was delighted to have the opportunity. After shooting a good half dozen, I saw the sign "No Pictures" - and gasped in horror as I put my camera away.
Later on, we walked among the deer who are as free in the area as pigeons in a park. You may purchase wafers to feed them from vendors, but if you feed them, they do have a tendency to follow you around and bite at your jacket or bags to get more food. They are tame and may be petted, although they do not seem to like it as much as one would hope.
We went to Todaiji ("Great Eastern Temple"), one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara.
Todaiji was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower its influence on government affairs.
Not only is Todaiji housing Japan's largest Buddha statue (Daibutsu), but it is also the world's largest wooden building, even though the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple's size.
Photos were allowed inside the Todaiji temple, and I will have some beauties to display when they are processed.
Yesterday we stayed close to "home" - walking from the Shin-Osaka area to downtown Osaka. I found some Pachinko parlors and tried my hand at the game. Even though the attendants did their best to show me what to do, I really didn't understand a bit of it. I played three machines (Richard simply watched) and left. There is a bit of skill to this game, but I didn't quite get the hang of it. I also didn't quite understand what you "won" if you did win - you get additional balls for the machine, but past that, I'm not sure what happens...
We had a grand lunch at a Japanese restaurant - sitting in the areas I always thought were floors, but now realize the more modern traditional restaurants have sunken areas for your feet. At a glance, it appears everyone is sitting on the floor, but in fact, the tables and feet area are sunken.
Our evening was capped off with a bit of fun luck - we had dinner at a mom and pop restaurant at a time a Japanese food journalist was visiting and writing a review. She and her associate photographed foods and cooking endlessly, and I feel certain we got extra nibbles just because they were there (the four of us were the only customers during the time). She photographed Richard and me, asked our nationality, and I suppose we'll be featured in print somewhere as Americans enjoying the cuisine of this restaurant!
It's been great here - but I'm ready to go home and get back to my family and my work!