難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

City of Deer

My sister has left Japan for home.  We spent two weeks together, rambling around Kansai, exploring its great cities.  Now I get to sort through the photographic evidence.

Among our jaunts were into Nara, an ancient city that was the capital of Japan before Kyoto was even a notion in the emperor’s mind, now an eastmost span of Osaka metro.  In my last post about the city, I might not have emphasized the fact that it is full of deer.

lopsided deerloaf

The main gate of Todaiji, a temple dating back to the heyday of Nara as a capital city in the 8th century.

The gate guardians of Todaiji. They're rather immense.

The great hall, formerly destroyed by war and lightning, rebuilt in the 18th century. It is reputedly the largest wooden building in the world.

The giant Buddha of Todaiji. When the great hall burned, the statue partially melted, but the core was salvageable. Thus, the statue contains pieces from various eras of Japanese history spanning the 8th to 18th centuries.

 

 

 

 

Ancient statue of a sage who was among the living Buddha's friends. He was reputedly an arcane sorceror, and it really shows in this image.

 

This unassuming log cabin-y building is actually of prime cultural and historical importance. It is the Shosoin, built in the 8th century as the emperor's treasure vault. It has survived intact, and so have its riches. Some historians refer to it as the eastmost end of the Silk Road, such were the various treasures that made their way here through China from as far as Persia and Samarkand. No, you can't just visit it. I took this through a tall fence.

 

Todaiji from behind

 

 

After having my sister around to buddy with, I’ve come to feel a lingering loneliness in my empty apartment.  Such is the life of the wandering expat.  Next month, though, I’m going to land back in the land of my upbringing, to meet my family again.

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One response

  1. lord kelvin

    Lopsided deer is probably enjoying the benefit of a well-lived past life. Aren’t these deer treated with respect?

    July 5, 2011 at 12:23 PM

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