When I arrived in Nara I came originally to see the famous shrines and the Giant Buddha.
But once I arrived, the lady at the tourist information was very excited to inform me that there was an antler cutting ceremony going on in Nara park, which is where I was heading to anyway.
Antler cutting ceremony? Never heard of such a thing, so of course I had to go check it out.
And I have to say it turned out to be another one of those weird and wonderful things that make Japan so worth visiting.
Nara is close to Osaka, so while I was staying there, I went on a day trip to the famous shrines and temples of Nara. Just like Miyajima island there are tons of deer roaming around! Except that the Nara deer are very dangerous.
Check out what these evil beasts can do to little girls and old ladies with a walking stick! Simply shocking behaviour.
The braver tourists (and men without walking sticks and little boys) can buy deer biscuits at stalls dotted all around Nara park. I like the name of this franchise.
The deer wait patiently next to these vendors and once a tourist has paid, they accost the poor person to get to the biscuits. Basically, most people who buy the biscuits have to start running straight away if they don’t want half a dozen deer tugging at their clothes, biting their bags, bums and what not. It’s very funny to watch.
Dogs in Japan seem quite lazy to me. Or it might be the owners making them lazy… but I came across several little and medium sized dogs being carried or even pushed in special dog prams as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
One dog owner told me that her dog didn’t like going for walks.
Very different from the western world where we believe that dogs need to be walked outside as much as possible!
Osaka has its own little Akihabara in Nipponbashi (also called den-den town) with endless shops with manga character paraphernalia, comic book stores and of course maid cafes!
I came across a lot of girls wearing maid uniforms handing out flyers to men to invite them to their cafes. In maid cafes, the waitresses dress up as maids and treat their customers as their masters. It’s supposed to feel more like in your own home rather than in a cafe.
Osaka has an outdoor museum dedicated to old farm houses. It’s a bit of a trek to get to and probably not worth it if you have very limited time in Osaka but I had five days, so I decided to check it out. It was quite pleasant.
And they provided mosquito repellent at the entrance! Japan is just such a civilised place.