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Japan Journal Day 4: Oh Deer

I spent the morning of Day 4 walking 10,000 steps. After a night apart from my brother, I decided that the next time I come to Japan, it would be without his grumpy ass.

Nara has to be the most beautiful place I've been to. I don't know what it's like in the summer, but it's definitely beautiful in the winter. I had the legendary melon bread for breakfast, and you wouldn't believe just how many calories it contained. I don't want to talk about it. Thankfully I did a lot of walking to burn those calories away.

I didn't just do a lot of walking in Nara. I did my fair bit of climbing too. Maybe not as much as in Himeji. However, after so much walking, my legs were definitely aching. Despite that, I persevered.

As my brother refused to act as my GPS during Nara travels, we went the wrong way to the entrance. Anyway, I got this shot while he dragged his grumpy ass off, cussing at me.

This wall seemed vaguely familiar. I remember in a Minecraft stream that Kaida Haru from Nijisanji did. He made a similar wall where people wrote whatever they wanted. However, I can't confirm if this was it.

As some of you who did your research might know, Nara has a strong Buddhist influence. It explains the many temples too. However, neither my brother nor I have a religious affiliation, so we didn't find a need to enter any of the paid areas, which were mainly for worship purposes.

There was a wishing well that would be very busy in a few days as it would be the new year. However, we walked right past it after a photo because we believe in working hard rather than leaving that grind to another person.

The pagoda that could be seen from the hotel room was sadly under renovation. My legs were slightly happy about not having me climb up that building because I didn't think pagodas came with elevators.

Anyway, the one thing that caught my attention was that bathhouse. Why was there a bathhouse in the middle of nowhere? Also, I learned that right behind the main hall was a school of sorts. It was interesting to see religion helping non-religion-based practice because I've seen too much propaganda going on from my mother's side.

We passed by many olden architecture, and this was one of them.

Going ahead a little more, we found ourselves at the deer park. These deers were friendly, and they were numerous. However, if you buy deer crackers (each bundle is 200 jpy) they will chase after you until you drop them.

The park is huge, and the deer further from the Todaiji Temple were hungrier than the ones closer. You could consider feeding those instead. Also, beware of deer poop! They are everywhere! It was a miracle that I didn't step on any, but my brother's right shoe didn't do so well.

After several wrong turns, I finally found the Tori gate meant to lead us to the Tadaiji Temple. Way to go, navigator me!

This deer was standing there and bowing. I thought it was a myth that these creatures bowed. However, I was wrong. They really bowed to you if you bowed to them.

And because it was a deer park, there were many deer families. The ones with horns (males) had the horns cut off. It was likely done to protect them from poachers or injury to guests, as they can kick, bite and headbutt when in a bad mood.

On the main street to Todaiji Temple, we found this. I know there's a dish called Buddha Jumps Over the Wall. However, seeing Buddha noodles with that image just tickled my funny bone.

Isn't the Nara town just beautiful? I promised myself to make a lot more money so that I can come back to Japan and probably live in a small town with olden vibes like Nara.

You know you're closer to a main tourist attraction if you start seeing merchandise like this.

This random tree I found was a little late for winter. Still in the autumn mood, I see.

On our way to the Tadaiji temple, we overheard a Chinese tour guide talking to his tour group. He explained how these are baby deer grouped together while their parents are away. It's kind of like a nursery or kindergarten, and I couldn't help but take more pictures.

The Todaiji temple is in view. This is early in the morning, but there are already this many people.

Remember I mentioned above sometimes deer can have a bad day? Exactly. I saw a kid getting bullied by a deer because he tried to pet the deer.

This is the front entrance. The main hall is beyond this, but we didn't go as it was a prayer place, and the strong incense smell was triggering both our sensitive noses, so we left.

After my brother washed deer poop from his shoes, we took an off-beat path and came across these curious stone sculptures.

Climbing up yet another flight of stairs to explore, we found the Kaidan-In Temple.

It was a little place, and very few people were here. We took a photo and then politely left.

If you can't guess it by now, my toes were crying. It was another flight of stairs. These winter boots had a low heel to them, so they weren't ideal for walking and climbing this much.

After passing by the residence of the famous Buddhist photographer Irie Taikichi, we found a charming alley great for photos.

The traditional garden was closed for the New Year holidays, much to our disappointment, and my brother contemplated climbing the walls from a ditch nearby. I wasn't impressed.

From the entrance, it looked like a place we would have enjoyed seeing.

Closer to the main road back to the hotel where we left our luggage, we found a charming old tea house. Too bad it wasn't open for business yet.

As it was still too early to leave Nara, we walked around the town a little, and I found a store with purple kimono on display!

In one of the small alleys near a traditional Japanese Medicine shop, we found a small altar.

As the new year is arriving, many shops have little notices like this informing customers they are closed. This shop had a cute dragon drawing, so I took a picture.

The mini lorry caught me by surprise. It was so small, and the streets were narrow. I guess that's why many Japanese vehicles have a compact version.

For lunch, we dropped by a place that had just open for business at 11 am. They did not take big groups of customers and would close as soon as all their ingredients were sold out. I guess we were in luck.

It had Muji's aesthetic vibe. I'm sure they sold more things that were written on the Japanese version of the menu that wasn't included in the English one.

My brother ordered the egg roll set, and I tried the fried udon set. Whoever said Japan had small food portions was lying. I couldn't finish mine!

After lunch, we went back to collect our luggage and headed back to the station to get to Kyoto. However, I had to order the waffles along the way.

Thanks to the amazing waffles, I forgot to take the picture, and we kind of missed the direct train bound for Kyoto.

After less fuss than the first time we transferred trains, we arrived at Kyoto, where we dropped the luggage at the hotel because it was still too early to check-in. We walked around the neighbourhood and found this.

It was so out of place with the Aeon Mall right behind, but I'm not complaining.

I guess you really can find the old and the new in Kyoto.

We arrived at Aeon Mall to check it out and kill time when I had to take a picture of this. I bought a new pair of shoes for 1,500 jpy. I was way easier to walk in those than in my boots. Hopefully, I won't cry when hiking 7km tomorrow.

They had a book department with just about anything you can find. There were medical and law textbooks for some reason. Then, I realised just how small these light novels actually were. Honestly, if English books were like light novels, I could probably publish one every week, excluding the illustrations.

This was what I came to Japan to find lmao! I'm going to get the whole set from Primary 1 to Primary 6 when we're in Tokyo. As it is, I'm only able to read Primary 2 materials at a snail's pace.

We were finally able to check-in. Neither of us could wait, so we dumped all our things before I remembered to take a picture before leaving for dinner.

I found it odd that the sinks were sometimes not in the toilet with the shower. This happened in Nara too. As this is a business-class hotel, the room size was miserably small for two people. I'm not looking forward to sleeping two nights in a row in this room with my grumpy brother and his snoring.

We found this place that has beef bowls for a reasonable price but ended up ordering other things. It's called Matsuya, and I guess Yoshinoya is its competitor.

Look at their sauce variety! There is also a self-service for green tea or hot water.

This was my order. It did not break the bank, but if this were the standard for fast food all the time, I'd be a very healthy person.

My brother ordered this. Although I had my reservations about ordering kimchi soup in Japan, this was actually great.

Right after dinner, I visited the convenience store with my brother to get ourselves breakfast for tomorrow. At the same time, I had to find a moisturising face mask because the winter air is making my skin super dry.

After dinner, my lazy brother changed his mind about visiting the rest of Kyoto and showered. I decided to try the hotel's large bath (sento/public bath) because my period was finally over. All I can say is that anybody with body issues should go to the public bath. Apart from the amazingly huge hot tub and sauna with an amazing level of hygiene, seeing all sorts of women from all walks of life and all ages come together without concerns about their flaws was empowering.

Of course, I had to fuck up because I forgot not to wear shoes in the changing room and wore them out. But that's a done deal, and I can't reverse time. Anyway, I'm off to sleep soon because we have to wake up early for the shrine hike.

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