Ross School

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6th, NaRa

Today was a long and productive day of adventure, language barriers (and overcoming them), and of course strange and delicious new sweets. We began our day very early to catch a train to NaRa, land of the many shi-ka (deer)! There we met our new friends, students from a nearby english school. We formed groups and set out to the Todaiji Temple, home of the biggest buddha in all of Japan! The impressive bronze statue towered over us and just fit inside the gigantic wooden temple. Among the many other visitors, worshippers and tourists alike, I overheard a tour guide say that the body is 800 years old and the head only 400. Interesting. Takeda sensai explained that this could be due to heated competition between rivaling monasteries complete with arson and theft! Exciting! Or perhaps due to the fact that the temple (like most structures here) is made almost entirely out of wood. I prefer the first explanation. After that we explored the area meeting many deer and beautiful mountain-filled views along the way. The stairs up to one particularly beautiful building were lined with wooden totems and bright red banners, causing the still wintery forest to appear full of life. All of the groups seemed to get along well with the other students who ranged in age from about 19 to 55, we had a lot to talk about and learned many new Japanese words. We learned how to sit on the pillows that lay on the floor of restaurants and that the bumpy paths on the sidewalks are for blind people. There were some funny moments, a student in my group found it especially funny that I liked the vending machines and especially shocking that people back home actually kill the beautiful shi-ka (deer) that are protected in Na-Ra.

-Camille Coy

-Photos: Ryan Anderson

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