Student Diary – Day Three. James Duffy’s account of our day at Nara.
June 26, 2016
Day 3 (As written and experienced by James Duffy)
My third day began again at 7am. Just like yesterday, I went to breakfast and ate toast with jam as
well as oranges and orange juice. A slight deviation from my previous breakfast was the addition of
two small pork sausages. Small though they were, it was just enough to break my capacity and I
was unable to completely finish my meal. But ill, I was not! I was still genki desu (energetic) and
ready for the day ahead.
We were soon brought to a distant town known as Inari. Here there was a vast shrine complex
leading up a mountain. A mountain which we were made to climb. Normally, this would not have
been a challenge but due to the heat and high humidity I had still yet to grow accustomed to, I
would be remiss in saying that it was a comfortable journey. After returning to the base with aching
heels and defeated spirit, I decided to heed a cohort’s advice and buy an item from one of the
many food stalls located in the area. My choice was a pineapple skewer that was fresh, juicy and
cold from being soaked in ice. It was a natural icy pole in a way and it was fantastic.
A while after finishing my snack, we travelled to Nara, a large town that was apparently once the
capital city of Japan with an affinity for two things: enormous flashy temples and deer. Lots of deer.
The town was literally crowded with the things and there was plenty of stalls selling deer food to
tourists. We immersed ourselves in a brown, furry, antler-filled world for a long time before moving
on to the aforementioned enormous temples. The largest of all these temples known as Todai-Ji
contained a gigantic statue of Buddha. How gigantic? Well, according to the ticket which included
the statue’s various proportions, the eye of the Buddha alone was over a metre tall! Many of the
students also tried their hand at a little game set up at the base of a pillar within the temple. The
aim was simply to crawl through a small tunnel that passed through the pillar. The point of this is
still a mystery to me but it was very entertaining to watch nevertheless.
Next, we travelled further into Nara to an area with a much more city-like feel. Here, we were given
two hours to find dinner and explore a little more, and find dinner I most certainly did. I and a few
others were lucky enough to come across a restaurant with a sushi train inside. This, for those who
don’t know, is a Japanese restaurant with a conveyor belt that passes by every seat. On the
conveyor belt is a large selection of delicious sushi that I took great pleasure in devouring. After
paying for dinner, I took a stroll around the new surroundings and browsed around the various
tourist shops and supermarkets spread around.
After all that was done, my day was more or less over. We headed back to Kyoto once again but
not before visiting that commercial utopia one more time. My second trip to the department store
consisted mainly of looking at the floors that I had missed on my first visit seeing as though I
couldn’t possibly have seen it all in just one session. These floors were chock-full of products once
again, this time of more of a household variety with furniture, appliances and clothes. These were
mostly uninteresting to me so I soon retreated to the second and third floor which held all the
incredible products that I am so passionate about. And so my third day ended very similarly to my
second day not that that is a bad thing at all! Would my fourth day offer a new range of
experiences for me? I would soon find out.