Nara and the giant Buddha

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Today was pretty laid back. Took the train to Nara, hung out with Phil and a bunch of hungry deer and thectourists happy to feed and pet them. It still seems weird to me that these deer aren’t afraid of people and don’t really seem “wild” anymore, but as Phil pointed out, at least they’re not trapped in cages (or worse). I guess it’s good that they’ve learned to adapt to life in such a developed country. I guess there are worse things than being hand-fed cookies made just for you.

I had a variety of food from the street vendors, including teriyaki sauce covered mochi, tako-something (balls stuffed with octopus), and yakisoba. The deer didn’t get any food from me.

Besides the deer, the main attraction in Nara is a giant wooden temple with an enormous Buddha inside. Pictures don’t really show just how large it is. They also don’t capture the smell of incense in and around the temples.

After I’d had my fill of Nara and it’s tourist traps, I headed back to the Guesthouse Yougendo to drop off Phil and pick up my bags. Then I headed into Osaka and got a taste of crowded city life while dragging my bag through a busy subway station and down a busy sidewalk. And this is just a Sunday night!

I guess the Hotel Cross was out of single rooms, so they upgraded me to a double. It’s nearly the size of a standard US hotel room. Huge by Japanese standards.

Only downside is that it’s only on the 6th floor, and faces the street. As I write this, I can hear a jazzy brass band playing Christmas tunes. Hope I’ll be able to sleep later. Oh, and no wifi (at least not in the rooms). All that said, I’m excited to check out this neighborhood. I spotted a stand-up noodle shop counter and a couple walking streets with lots of shops and restaurants.

Update: since my hotel in Osaka doesn’t have wifi, I’m posting this from just outside the apple store, the next day. And I slept fine. The band stopped playing and then it was just standard city hum. Today was a nice lazy day doing laundry (after getting a random nearby store clerk to help me choose a detergent without bleach), and just wandering around Osaka.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Kyoto for the morning, and then on to Nagano area for snow monkeys!

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