Tuesday, April 10, 2012

3 Weddings and a Purple Potato: Return to Nara

So Saturday. There's cherry blossoms (sakura) to be seen! I decide what a better time than return to Nara, where there are bound to be sakura aplenty. Nara is a pretty expensive jaunt, so my friend told me of a secret train station a bike ride away that is cheaper to travel from. Of course I get lost (in the frustrating way) on the way there, but eventually we get there and manage to park the bike (I'm sure the bike attendants thought I was an idiot, but this is okay).

So we get on a train! To change to another train! But we're not sure if this is the correct train! So I wait in confusion, for no reason. (This happens on the way home too, grrrr.) Future reference: When in doubt, get on the train.

So I miraculously get to Nara for the glorious price of 480 yen (I told my RA, who lives in Nara, this price and she was shocked, haha) and promptly go in the wrong direction, haha. OH I forgot to mention something important in the last entry. One Piece is everywhere right? Even in the random Sky Building. The one puzzle I wanted they didn't have, and I found it in Nara of all places :)

So anyway, we head over to Kofukuji Temple to gather some awesome stamps, but I don't stay here very long...it's the same, and I want to see the new shrines and temples. I head towards Kasuga Taisha, the grand shrine I did not see the last time. After walking down a long path that led to a long hill, I made it! Yay! And while I was there, there was a wedding! An actual wedding, in progress....without about 15 people videoing behind it. You can't just rent out a shrine like you can a hall. Weddings just kind of happen with everything else. So I felt awkward creeping like the rest of the people, so I continued to explore the shrine grounds.

When I was heading down the hill, I found another shrine! Wakamiya Shrine is a teeny shrine behind the grand one, it was very pretty. I'm pretty sure there was some significance for lovers there, but I couldn't read any of it.

After coming back down the hill, I was closest to Todaiji, the huge temple with the Buddha, so I headed through the park to go there. The sakura was juuuuust starting to come out, so it wasn't super pretty, but its still pretty! There were people hanami-ing, so it counts.


Hanami: When groups of friends and family get together, sit on a blue tarp, picnic and drink sake while having general merriment.

What I've Been Doing: Running around taking pictures. :p Don't worry; I'm going with Riyo and her club on Saturday for real Hanami.

Anyway! I saw another bride taking pictures in the park too. Then, I fought my way over to Todaiji, home of the giant Buddha, which was ridiculously crowded this time. Luckily I had been there before. So at this point I was a bit tired, and hungry. So I stop and buy this purple potato, a sweet thing that was very delicious.

There are deer everywhere. I had to be alert or I would lose my potato. I looked away for a second to get a drink from the vending machine....stupid deer. It didn't bite it, but I'm pretty sure it put its mouth on it, the stupid thing. I wasn't going to give it the satisfaction of eating my potato, so I carried it with me until I could find a trash can. (So you could basically end all of the sentences from now until the train station with 'while holding a purple potato', haha)

So now I'm heading towards the train station, when I spy what looks like a shrine across the street bursting with sakura. I am intrigued to say the least. So I cross the street and lo and behold (there's another bride taking pictures, haha) there are people and sakura everywhere! It was a happy accidental discovery. The stamp for my book was double the price here for some reason I obviously didn't understand, but it will be a happy memory.

Then I make the epic hike down the hill to the station, the epic train rides home, and make it to the bike people who think I'm special. I ALMOST made it out without incident. They locked my kickstand, you see, and I never knew you could lock the thing. I also did not know the vocabulary for kickstand, and stuck. Boo. But they were ridiculously nice and helpful, so it was fine.

Then I started to bike home in the wrong direction. Perfect end of the day. (Don't worry, I noticed immediately haha)

Pictures! (I'll put Easter in there tomorrow)


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