12 Apr

Hello, readers! So this past weekend, my abroad group and I went to the old city of Nara to view the historic temples and indulge in Hanami (flower viewing). Needless to say, the trip was incredible. The weather couldn’t have been better: 75º and sunny the entire two days. We first went to old capital (from 710AD – 784AD) to see sights like Todaiji and the surrounding park. The first thing one will notice, if they have been here before, is the abundance of deer. These deer, keep in mind, are not shy of people and will frequently try to take things away from you, such as food or maps. Before you enter the main part of Todaiji (I’ll explain what this is in a bit, so don’t worry), you pass through a giant gate, featuring two very large and very famous statues (unfortunately, I can’t decipher the Chinese characters. Sorry). I have a picture of them to go with this post. In my opinion, the colors of the statue make it look almost like a painting. Next, we entered the Todaiji. Now, for my explanation: This is a very old Buddhist temple, dating back to the 700’s that also happens to be the largest wooden structure in the world (See the attached photo). Inside the temple is the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world, made from bronze. It makes one’s jaw drop to see this place in person. If you ever get the ability to go to Japan, you need to stop by this city and see it for yourself. We spent the night at a near-by Ryokan and then had a Hanami picnic. Many families take a day in April during Sakura blossom season to have a picnic with their families and enjoy the view while it lasts (about two-and-a-half weeks). Surrounding hot-spots for these picnics are vendors of all sorts, selling candy, Takoyaki, Yakisoba, drinks and all sorts of goodies. Nothing is better than sitting with friends under the Sakura and eating a caramel-filled Taiyaki while drinking Calpis (a flavored softdrink). I had a real blast with this trip. Unfortunately, this trip was also our last for the semester. I don’t have a lot of time left here, but I want to have fun with this group while I still can. Thank you for reading this week’s entry about my travels. I don’t have anything planned for next week’s entry, but I’ll think of something. Jaa, ne!

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