Sunday, November 04, 2007

Anitbiotics and Nara

That pretty much sums up the past few days. After going to the doctor on Thursday, I started to get cabin fever and decided that the next day, I would go to Nara.

Nara is a strange place to visit. It is one of the oldest cities in Japan and therefore, contains some of the oldest buildings in Japan. When you go there and see some of the temples and the deer that roam around the town, you get a sense of just how small our time on this Earth is. Many of the buildings I went into were built before 800AD. Do you realize how old that makes them? I was walking around an area that existed 700 years before Christopher Columbus was even born. The first Crusade was still a couple of hundred years away and the Byzantine Empire still ruled over a chunk of Eastern Europe. It would be one thousand years before the United States was even founded. That is a really really old place.

One example of this is Todai-ji Temple. It was built in 752AD and is to this day, the largest wooden building in the world. This is despite the fact it has burned to the ground twice and the current building that was built in 1692 is two-thirds the size of the original.

This is Todai-ji:

Now, you must ask yourself, "Why in the world do you need a building that size?" The answer is simple, you need to make a shelter for this to sit under:

The picture doesn't give you a good gauge of how big the statue is but the head is almost 18ft. tall and the body is almost 50ft. tall if that helps. This is the Vairocana Buddha and it was also made in 752AD. It is bronze with gold leaf and like the temple, has had to be repaired several times. Todai-ji Temple is the heart of the Kegon Sect of Buddhism and was constructed to be the head temple to all of the provincial temples in Japan. Basically, this temple is very old, very big, and pretty important.

The other fun part about Nara is the deer that call the city home. Many temples have families of cats that have inhabited them for generations, Nara has herds of deer that make most of our family trees look pretty pathetic. The Nara deer are funny because they are the most domesticated I have ever seen. Visitors will give the deer cookies that are made especially for them and the deer are quite accustomed to walking up to people and begging for handouts. As you walk by them, they stroll up to you and start nodding their head and making noises. Once you give in and give them a snack, they let other deer know and pretty soon you end up getting stalked by three or four woodland creatures in search of yum yums. When you run out of treats for them and if they feel like you haven't given enough, they will start nipping at your pockets and bags in search of more food. They can actually be quite indignant creatures. Here are some deer related pics:

This is a sign warning people to stay away from the baby deer during the spring so that the parents don't become angry and try to kick or ram you.

These are the deer snacks you can buy all around the area.

This is what happens when you either run out of or are unwilling to give them cookies.

Various pics of deer hanging out around the park.

Some of the deer obviously have no fear of cars or crowds of people and lounge wherever they feel like.

Likewise, some kids have no fear of the deer. Unfortunately for this little girl, a few minutes after I took this pic, her mom and grandma urged her to get closer to one of the deer and try to pet it. The deer was getting agitated after all of the constant attention and after a few seconds, he either butted or kicked the little girl to the ground pretty hard. She cried for a while but was okay.

Speaking of little kids, here is one of the many flocks of school children that take field trips here everyday.

So that was my trip to Nara. While I enjoyed the excursion, my stomach did not. I think all of the activity and walking started to bother it. It could have also been the antibiotics kicking in as well. Either way, my tummy was not happy the rest of the day.

On that note, the antibiotics I am on are helping...I think. Yesterday, I felt pretty good but today I feel even better and my plumbing issues are showing signs of clearing up. I have to take meds after every meal and they are strange. I have one pill and then a packet that contains two more pills and this weird white powder that tastes like I would imagine very fine sawdust to taste. So far, I think they have worked. Going to the doctor also calmed my nerves somewhat so that my have played into it all too. Who knows, I am just glad to be getting better.

Tomorrow, I think I have one more trip to the doctor and I think I get to find out the results of the lab work they did on me. I am hoping he gives me a new supply of pills because while I think they are working, I think I need a few more days to get everything back to normal. I guess I will find all of that out tomorrow.


At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You been to see the monkeys in Arashiyama yet?

The deer are cute, but a monkey you can put in your pocket and take home with you.



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