Nara Bimble 1
Nara Bimble – Part One
We leave our digs just beyond the Union Jack, the flag hangs outside a small cafe serving afternoon tea and scones. The shops along this pedestrian precinct are mostly high end fashion, hairdressing and nick-knack with a few newsagents. We cross the main road to a huge shopping mall complete with McDonald’s and the usual suspects such as Starbucks. Bear gives a few bob to an elderly man who has been travelling for forty years, as I wanted his picture.
We have become used to finding what we fancy by looking at the plastic examples, a new one on us was the shop advertising their coffee range. We also look for the tiny ‘Ask for an English menu’ which makes life even easier.
So there we were, mincing along between poundland, eateries, supermarkets, clothing and fruit and veg shops, with a kimono hire shop (forty four pounds for men per day), makes me pleased they won’t come in my size.....when we look left and find a real surprise. The sign reads: The Anglican-Episcopal Nara Christ Church Hall, Roofed Passage, Shin-Ai Kindergarten Building. Registered Tangible Cultural Properties, dated 1930. Just then loads of little ones began pouring out and their was a flurry of activity as parents found their chicks.
Opposite the kindergarten we found the plastic we fancied, went up the stairs to find a very pleasant eatery. Despite being late in the afternoon the nice lady said we could choose from the lunch menu, well she said “Hai” when I pointed. Our welcome cup of tea was lovely and within minutes our order arrived. Amazingly fast has been our experience so far between ordering and receiving, even if a place is bursting at the gunwales.
We like three-course set menus at around seven pounds and whilst Bear is far more adventurous than me, I’m happy to stick with my favourite sweet and sour – commonly pork here as I haven’t found chicken but I remain hopeful. Bear hasn’t had a beer yet, Coke averages at two pounds fifty so three to four pounds for a shared sake is the way forward and some tap water. We generally eat lunch out and find Lawson’s or 7-Eleven for a picnic supper. Pot noodles, a banana and a cake or chilli flavoured chicken escallops and a yoghurt have become staple fare.
Five minutes up the busy main road and we were surprised to see a deer scruffing about with cars whizzing by. Through some gates and Bear sees we are in the corner of Nara Park. A few steps in and a little girl was feeding one of the deer chattering away as she did so. The creature was patient, gentle and happy to wait as the little one fumbled with breaking her offerings.
A resting cutey. According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.
Tame sika deer (also known as spotted deer or Japanese deer) roam through the town, especially here in Nara Park, in 2015 there were more than 1,200 of them. Snack vendors sell sika senbei (deer crackers) to visitors so they can feed the deer. Some deer have learned to bow in order to receive senbei from people and we are up for the challenge on the morrow as today we just want a quick look.
Our first look at the buildings here, many World Heritage caused instant Wows.
Now we really feel like we are Japan, the classic shapes and foliage creating so many photo opportunities.
Culture and deer from every angle.
One of the main shrines is having a hair do and makeover.............
.............there were plenty to enjoy as the afternoon sun dropped.
One final look back for today.