Japan 2015 - Nara Park

First full day in Japan is over and it's been very fun! I woke up this morning and met my host's three boys, aged 2, 6 and 10. Their English is amazingly good - it turns out that Ryuusei reads Animorph books on his kindle! I used to love those.
After a nice breakfast we set off for Nara Park, a large park famous for its deer and many temples and shrines dotted about the place. We spent all day there, walking around and visiting different temples. It was full of tourists, mostly Chinese, and the cherry blossoms (sakura) were all in full bloom.
My host family took me into a little restaurant/bar for lunch, and thankfully knew what they were doing because I would have had to resort to smiling, nodding, and hoping that a konnichiwa and an arigatou would get me something edible. We had shrimp tempura and udon noodles (which we saw the man making from scratch behind the counter) and it was oishii.
One of the highlights was Todaiji Temple. It was an absolutely enormous traditional Japanese temple, and inside it housed a crazy-big Buddha statue. I'd heard about that from my research before coming and I highly recommend going to see it. I don't know what it was made of, but it looked like the green of patinated copper or bronze. One of the giant wooden pillars inside the building had a little tunnel cut through the bottom of it which you could crawl through, which was supposed to be the size of one of the statue's nostrils.
There were also some angry-looking samurai statues, defeating various little demon creatures.
The deer were just meandering around everywhere, hoping to be fed like pigeons. You could buy 'deer biscuits' and the boys had fun feeding them, although there was also some screaming and fleeing involved too. They make for nice pictures, but really once you've stroked a couple and spent the rest of the day walking around them everywhere you go they lose their magical appeal :P
Finally we had some ice cream and headed home, only to go straight back out again to a local sushi place! We sat at our little booth and picked things off a conveyor, like Yo Sushi!, but there was also a little screen where you could choose anything from the full menu and it would be whipped along on a high-speed conveyor right to your table. Neat! And everything was 100 yen, which is just 60p. We all ate till we were stuffed, getting through 30-odd plates, and it came to just £24. You poked your empty plates down a little slide and every five plates you had a chance of winning a little plastic ball with a toy in it. The kids were well into that :P

It was a very tiring day with lots of walking and entertaining children, and even though it's only 20 past 9 everyone has gone to bed and I'm well ready for it too. Oyasumi!

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