About an hour train ride from Osaka is Nara, a place renowned for a couple really cool things including its free roaming deer population and the Todaiji Temple. This was the destination Sean and I chose for a little day trip this past weekend. I was incredibly excited. Animals and huge statues of the Buddha, how could it not be awesome?
The temple and deer were amazing, but one of my favorite parts of the day was not something we had planned. While we were sitting eating shaved ice (I opted for the lemon flavor figuring it was a safe bet. Wrong. It was one of the first times I was truly disappointed in my food choice) Sean proposed that we go explore a well maintained grass hill. I didn’t see why exactly he was so intrigued by the hill, but I went along with it since I had my fun feeding deer and exploring the temple already.
We walked up the steep hill and upon turning around, realized that there was a magnificent view of all of Nara as well as the green foothills flanking the city. As I sat on a log at the top of the hill, I had one of those “Oh wow, I’m actually in a different country getting to experience things I never thought I would” moments. I sat in silence for a while, feeling that unique sense of peace that only comes around every so often, usually inspired by some sort of wondrous moment. AND I had some good cookies to eat, which made it an even better view.
Finally, we decided to take a path at random hoping it would give us an even better view and also because when has taking random paths ever not been a great idea? Well, we were right and even though the steep climb and humid weather was not kind to my inhaler-less asthmatic lungs, the view was totally worth it. At the viewpoint, there was a guy who managed to get a butterfly to land on him as his friend took pictures of the scene. Later, we started talking to them. They were college aged travelers from England with whom we went to go grab some food. They were good conversationalists who had interesting stories, but what I found even more interesting was their drinking. They were getting more rounds before I had more than an 3 sips of my drink. It was amazing.
In other news, Ive eaten a lot of weird stuff in Japan I thought I should let you all know about. The list includes: Octopus, squid, beef tongue, and chicken cartilage. Yay for trying new things!