A neat place that we visited is called Nara Park, and I assumed that is outside of some temple. This park has deer that are running loose and almost domesticated like goats. It is the most odd thing to see a deer, walking up to you, and wanting to interact with you. They are known for being so polite because they will be bow for you, asking you to feed them. These suckers are a bit aggressive, and I’m not sure if they were horny or hungry but they like to mount people. One literally tore my shirt off my backside. Another one put it’s hooves up on my chest.
You are able to buy wafers to feed the deer but they will chase and follow you for quite some time. One of the best parts is so many people and different cultures are just terrified of animals and those deer were included. So to watch people try to walk to the temple, thru the aggressive deer was daunting to them and entertaining to me. That would have been a great place to find somewhere you could sit back and people watch, if you could keep the flipping deer away.
We also stopped to count the stones at Ryoanji Zen Temple, in Northwest Kyoto Japan. As I was researching to be able to accurately type about this, I found a great description of how this place was laid out, and also how many other tourist attractions are once you walk there from the bus parking.
“Visitors to the expansive Ryoanji complex must walk for 10 to 15 minutes past a placid point and under arching cherry and plum boughs before arriving at the wooden building that houses the rock garden.” It’s why Japanese are so skinny.
“The temple’s rock garden is famous for embodying a Zen Lesson: It contains 15 rocks, yet is arranged so that visitors can only see 14 of them fro———-ippm any one vantage. The idea is that to fully apprehend the garden, you have to find the 15th stone in your-that is, you have to absorb the outside so completely that the distinction between the garden outside and the garden inside disappears. The two become as one.”-National Geographic
I’m not sure that any of our travelers were extremely deep thinkers and needed quite the time allotted to find our Zen moment, but it really was a special place to visit and walk to. Japanese must enjoy fine mist rain, and walking, and walking in the rain.
We by this point had pulled out my Phase 10 card game and loved being on the bus and playing cards and probably being a bit loud for the Japanese culture. The back of the bus had a table that we were able to gather around and play in between temple stops and on the way to dinners and such. It is a great game that everyone can play, and all ages, and can get very competitive and fun. Then put Andrea and Yasiel, two young boys in the mix it gets real competitive, and not all of the above mentioned are good losers. Some are very sore losers at cards.
I am a sore loser when I get forgotten though, yup, I was forgotten also. Ely and Yasiel will still deny it, but as we were entering an underground tunnel I saw a Starbucks and of course, I had to grab one! We had all kind of broken into groups based on what we were going to eat and I overheard Ely and Yasiel saying they were going to eat pasta of some sort. Hallelujah, I was down for pasta and I knew I had a few minutes to grab a Starbucks because nothing is fast moving.
I say to both of them, “I am going with you two to eat pasta, wherever you are going, I am going in that Starbucks, (point to where I am going) and say I will be back out within five minutes, promise. “Of course Topeka, just go!” I’m sure came from both of them. I run in, and I’m not joking, it was the fastest making of a venti iced white chocolate mocha without whip that I have ever received. I grab my golden coffee, first one of the day and headed to get a real meal and when I walk out, there is not a soul to be found.
I walk to the T juncture and look all around and then I was sure those fuckers left me. Probably within one minute of that time, my phone starts ringing from Lisette, “Topeka, Yasiel is coming back!! They didn’t forget you, stay where you are!” As the guilty party comes strolling back to find their forgotten comrade. Ely will still recite exactly what I hollered when I saw them strolling down the way, “You fuckers forgot me!”
One night we had dinner at the Japanese version of Melting Pot but only better. It had a smorgasbord of everything you can imagine, Japanese style and American style food that you literally took back to your table to fry up. These tables had much larger frying pots and a way better selection of things to fry. I think our tour guides adapted this night because we were all getting a bit hungry. All of us had not had a full belly in a couple nights so this was a perfect choice.
It was a fun atmosphere and not only was it all you could eat, it was all you could drink too. That was the only place in Japan I saw string cheese, eclairs, cream puffs, potatoes, bread, I guess anything that is unhealthy and full of carbs. If you were craving your squid, or fish or it was a long list of random things you could fry that were much more healthy that the marshmallows.
I can’t even begin to explain how it feels like you walk out of the hotel, go twenty feet in the open air unless walking to a temple, go straight back underground and never see the light of day or a breeze again. It’s like a maze under there and trying to find our way back wasn’t easy, and I swear all cities were like that. I would compare it to an underground long strip mall that has zero air movement and never stops going. You can walk and walk if you don’t know that this is the section you are to go up. It was extremely confusing so you can tell I never led the way.
I do need to insert another story of us perhaps forgetting someone in the group because we weren’t counting or paying attention.
Yasiel’s mom was waiting patiently outside the restaurant for us as we were doing who knows what or trying to find something. In the confusion of what we were doing, we forgot about his mother who was waiting for us to make a decision. She was where we left her when we returned. Let’s say she also was hopping mad and I don’t know what she was saying but that was the most animated and ticked off I have ever seen her.
I hope you will check out the video on YouTube. I have just compiled some pictures from each section so you are able to see them.
Lots of Love,