Nara

This town south of Kyoto was on the list primarily for the famous Buddha and temple complex, but all the guides placed the "deer park" pretty high on the list of must-sees. Which, being from Michigan, we did not understand at all. Why the hell would anyone want to go to a deer park?

ell, they had this Buddha of deer, for one thing:

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And as it turns out, you can't avoid it. You walk right through the herds on your way to the temple. Vendors sell "deer cookies" so you can feed them, and man, do they know when you have cookies. Saw more than one guy get bitten in the butt because they walked away, or ran out of cookies.

So, of course we fed them. These little kids were offering pine cones, and the deer is all "What?"

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The draw here - Todai-ji Temple Complex - is the Buddha "Daibutsu" the world's largest bronze Buddha and it is impressive at 50 ft  tall.

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There is a hole at the base of one of the pillars, that if you can squeeze through it you are supposedly granted enlightenment in the next life. It's so small that mostly, we only saw little kids going through.

So, of course Ryne had to try it - and I would LOVE to post a video of it except stupid squarespace (which I otherwise love) seems to require that I upload video to YouTube before it will load it. And Google will only send my 2-step authentication code via text, which of course won't come through via wifi for some reason. "So secure you can't use it!" Is going to be their new motto. 

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In case you were wondering, the hole is supposed to be the size of the Buddha's nostril. Not sure how that relates to enlightenment in the next life, but it seems about right. Also, the family you see inn the photo applauded Ryne' successful exit.

On our way back to the train, we passed up this opportunity to have a drink with owls - 14 different species, making it a cafe with "the best selection of owls in the world!" Which makes me want to find all the other owl cafes.

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However, the allure of pizza was not to be denied (and it was decent):

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More terrible Japanese food for dinner - plus a traditional sake pour:

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