Sunday, August 16, 2015

Japan Day 9: Nara & Tōdai-ji

I realized I got stuck not finishing our Japan posts because there were just so many pictures of deer that I couldn't sift through them all! Our last full day in Japan was spent in Nara which is about an hour away from Kyoto. We went to visit Tōdai-ji, a Buddhist temple complex, and feed the many tame (and supposedly sacred) deer that live on the grounds. Being an animal lover you can imagine my glee at this particular temple and why I got a little trigger happy with my shutter!

Vendors around Tōdai-ji sell special crackers that you can feed the deer. The deer have been trained to recognize the sound of breaking crackers and will surround you once you they hear it. 

All the many things the deer can do to you! Apparently they pick on the small and elderly. You gotta show them who's alpha! 

There were tons and tons of Japanese school children at Tōdai-ji that day! A lot of them went up to John to practice their English. I was surprised that they didn't come and talk to me and then realized it's because I didn't look foreign.

Feeding the deer by mouth! Haha!

One of the cracker vendors taught us that if you put your palm out and down that it will signal the deer to stop and go away. It worked for the most part. You can also make the deer bow to you by holding the cracker above their heads. Yes, the deer in Japan are so polite that they bow to you! It kind of makes you feel awesome.

This kind of summarizes Tōdai-ji: deer and tons of Japanese school children. And no, the kids are not flipping me off, even though it totally looks like it!

Lest you think all the deer were Bambi-like, here is some evidence of their fiesty-ness. This stinker is actually the same deer in the picture where I'm feeding it under the huge tree. 
Something we noticed was that the Japanese kids (and some adults) didn't really know how to interact with animals.  When the deer were persistent they would run away screaming and some of the kids even started crying. This video portrays the intense deer fear perfectly! It was kind of funny. We learned that we had to put the deer in their place and if they pushed, we pushed back, gently of course.

1 comment:

holtkamp said...

This looks awesome!