I visited Nara City for the first time since Nara orientation at the Kencho. A JET CIR, M, took me around. She's been in Nara for 2 or 3 years now so she knows her way around the city. I met her around noon at the fountain near the Kintetsu Rail Station.
Before heading off to the shrines and temples, she took me to a place that makes Okonomiyaki! Okonomiyaki is like a pancake made with batter and egg. It's almost like an omelet. We order one with cheese and potatoes! Yum! We also order soba and split the bill.
After lunch, we went to the Todaiji Temple. It is the most important Buddhist temple in Japan! There were deer everywhere! They are much smaller than the deer in America...but that just makes them cuter. When you hold food up, they bow until you either give them the food, or they get pissed and bump you in aggravation.
The Todaiji Temple is gigantic. The pictures I posted just don't do it justice. On the inside there is an equally large statue of Buddha. Just on the outside of the temple is a statue of Binzuru. Apparently he was a devout friend of Buddha, but he was also kind of a playboy, so they put him outside the temple instead of inside. Legend has it, that if one rubs the statue of Binzuru, then rubs an ailing part of the body, it will be healed. I haven't had much an appetite lately so I rubbed Binzuru, then my tummy.
Around the inside of the temple are statues of scholars and warriors, miniature scale replicas of the temple itself, gold lotus leaves, and other stuffs. A popular Buddhist tradition when a temple opens is to climb through the eye of Buddha, and out the nose. If one can do this, they are considered clever and blessed. To simulate this tradition, there is a column with a hole through it. People were lined up trying to pass through the column. When we passed by, there was a rather large man trying to go through. He got stuck and people were trying to push and pull him through. It took like 10 minutes, but I think he got through.
M and I also visited the sanctuary in Nara City. It was a LONG walk, but it was pretty and shaded. The sanctuary has a Shinto shrine at the center. Around the sanctuary and shrine are 3,000 lanterns with people's prayers on them.
Before leaving Nara City, I bought a Jinbei for the To-kae festival on Thursday. It's a traditional clothing worn at festivals. I wanted to buy a yukata, but I could not find any in my size. I am waaaaaay bigger than Japanese people.
Here's some pics:
Binzuru and I.
The Todaiji Temple
Bambi and I. Now if I could just find Bambi's mother...oh...
M and I at the sanctuary