A not too early traditional Japanese breakfast (yum…. rice, miso, pickles, nori and fish) and we were off exploring again. After a quick Starbucks stop, and the biggest coffee I have ever had, we jumped on the rapid train to Nara.
Nara was the original capital of Japan from 710-794, before it was moved to Kyoto. Many significant temples remain and the Kasaguyama Primeval Forest. It is only a 40 minute rapid (local) train ride from Kyoto, costing ¥710…. about AU$8.50.
This was Mya and my second visit, and the first time for everyone else. I loved it the first time, and I loved it again. Nara is pretty, busy, but serene and reverent, and at peak cherry blossom season, the deer under the sakura were almost too ridiculously aesthetically pleasing to comprehend!
I am experiencing many firsts on my third visit…. and in Nara we found a lovely little restaurant serving taco rice, an Okinawan specialty that we have prepared in kitchen class at my school. It was delicious! I have never seen it on a menu in Japan before, and I am noticing a slight difference from my first two visits….. some restaurants are offering a range of different things, rather than one type of food only.
I have written about Todai-Ji before. It is such an impressive and beautiful building, the largest wooden building in the world (and it used to be bigger)…. if you’re keen to read more about that, you can read the original blog here.
One of the highlights of my day, and it was definitely a challenge, was when Abby found a wallet on the ground in front of an ATM. I went into a shop, asked directions to the koban (police box) in Japanese, which the guy understood, who then gave me directions, in Japanese, which I understood. I went to the koban and explained I had found a wallet, in Japanese, which was good, as the two police spoke no English. Somehow, with my limited Japanese, I managed to convey where I had found it, and then pinpointed it on Google maps street view. I was able to understand the questions about time, and that if the owner was not found, the money would be mine, if I was still here in three months. Miyuki Sensei, my Japanese teacher, would have been very proud of me. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I am able to make myself understood, and when I understand.
We raced back, after catching the bus in the wrong direction and went to a lovely little okonomiyaki restaurant just down the road. A couple of Kirins and an amazing okonomiyaki, in a homey, traditional type environment was the perfect end to a great day!!