Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nara



Our second day in Osaka, we decided we were done with Osaka, and so headed to Nara, a popular tourist spot for Japanese people. We somehow managed to make it up early and head out by 10, tiny Japanese convenience store snacks in hand. The train ride wasn't so bad, and the train was empty so we could really chill and giggle at the Japanese people sneaking peaks at me, or us, I guess either is an enigma.

The area is wooded and hilly, just the way I like it
The station was very simple, and I found that delightful. 
I was roasted like a lobster from the previous day, so we spent the first few minutes in Nara dodging from shadow to shadow ("I know the word for this! 影!" "wow caleb your chinese is better than anybody in the whole world" is exactly how that conversation went) and searching for a place that sold sunscreen. After coming across the most fortunately placed drug store in the world, I lubed up and we headed east towards where maps said all the cool stuff in Nara is, in the hilly park.

Some sort of exhibition hall. Everything inside was closed but the bathrooms were perfect for a pre-hot-day-walking-forever prep. 
Came across these terrors in a little touristy shop
As we were walking down this little pedestrian, shop-lined street, Tanchin got a wicked case of hiccups. She asked me to scare her. When I did, loudly screaming in Japanese "LOOK OUT A CAR" as a biker road past, I got a lot of weird looks. I thought they believed I was just a random scary laowai scaring the shit out of a helpless Japanese girl so I thought it best to book it to a street over.

The first temple or whatever we came across. I noticed lots of white highlights, challenging what I though earlier about the white on the Osaka castle meaning western influences. 
Our second mission, after sun screen, was to find Mochi. Great success. 
Still haven't found ramen as good as the last time Tanchin and I got it in Tokyo, but whatever, it's the most filling thing offered in Japan. It had been my running joke that if you want to eat in Japan, your only options are Soba, Ramen, Udon, or Sushi. It made her furious every time I cracked that when we were trying to figure out what to eat, and yet without fail we would not be able to find anything but those foods for our entire time together. 
Tons of school kids running around in absurdly hot uniforms. 

The temples in this area were HUGE
Turns out the most exciting thing about Nara is its deer. There are hundreds of deer just wandering around, totally unafraid of people. In fact, they are really bold, and will really mess with you if you don't feed them.


We spent a good hour or two just watching people get chased around by deer and having their shirts chewed on, then headed on to a pretty cool museum. On our way there, we came across some sort of festival in which Japanese people in traditional Polish outfits were on stage playing Mariachi music. I really wish I had taken a video.

Japan's most mysterious job: Waterer of the Ground. I used to have to do this at my kindergarten. I never got an explanation as to why. 
Inside the museum, we found Goku.
If you've been trying to figure out what a "戈“ or "dagger-axe" is, here's where the character originated from. 
This sink is a totally self contained washing unit. Even has a dryer on the right. 
We spent a long ass time in a pretty cool museum of ancient statues, mostly just sitting around being exhausted and lazy. We finally got some energy and headed out, towards what I figure must be the main attractions of Nara considering it was milling with students.

Everything here was massive. It was incredible to think people had built these huge structures hundreds of years ago, and yet they still stood. 

It doesn't come across in the picture so well, but this statue had highlights on it that made it look utterly surreal. 

We decided we had enough and zombie-walked our way back to the station, where the worst Jazz I had ever encountered was going down.

You ever heard Jazz off of sheet music? Blew my mind. The Japanese people loved it though. I told Tanchin I was insulted on a cultural level.

We somehow made it back to our hotel, showered, and decided we didn't have enough of the night yet. So, we headed back into downtown Osaka to the most Tokyo-esque area they've got. We wandered around looking for some clubs based off of recommendations from redditors, and ended up at some pretty cool bars.
It was no Tokyo, but the place was pretty bumpin. 
We finally found something other than noodles. Edamame and Takoyaki. That some yummy octopus balls, fo real. 
The last picture I have from the night, taken at a chill bar cafe on the water. 
We ended up finding a club that caters to foreigners quite well, called "Pure." I balked at the price, 25 dollar cover, but when we got in they were giving out free drinks all night. Helluva deal in my opinion. We met a couple guys there who we chilled with most of the night, probably had too much to drink, danced (if you could call it that. We were convinced we were the two sexiest people on the dance floor), made some friends, and stumbled out of the place at 5am to a rising sun and trash trucks careening madly through the tiny pedestrian streets. Made our way to a train, somehow got into the hotel, and crashed with our shoes on.

Helluva day. My feet hated me after.