Waking up today was a bittersweet moment – although I was excited to travel to Nara, I was also sad to leave Kyoto. Our ryokan owners presented us with a lovely set of chopsticks and holders and wouldn’t let us leave without gratuitous thank yous and bows. A kind cleaning lady also found a pair of pants I’d inadvertently left behind and returned them to me. And so, pair of pants in hand, I bid farewell to Kyoto.
The train ride was not scheduled to take too long, but with having to deal with Sarah’s lost JR pass, our trip became more of a hassle. As we hovered around a pillar in the train station trying to keep out of everyone’s way, a sudden, huge wave of screams split through the crowd.
Immediately I looked around, wondering if a car had crashed or if something else had happened. A huge crowd of school children on a field trip screamed, waving their arms.
What’s going on?
Suddenly, a camera crew surrounding a person snaked through the crowd and took refuge inside a nearly empty ticket office. Famous person? Apparently.
As Sensei was buying Sarah’s ticket for the train, I ninja’d my way into the ticket office to scope out the situation. The celebrity was facing away from me and surrounded by her watchdog pack clad in black suits. She had a bright green bow in her hair, but as she turned, a kind of got a picture of her.
And then my FREAKING camera deleted it (I’ve been having problems with that bugger of a memory card for the whole trip).
As I discovered a few days later, it was none other than the famous Japanese comedian Kintarou!
After that, we got on the train and took the short ride to Nara, stashed our bags at the hostel, and then went back out to explore some more temples. But before that, a few of our group mentioned that they were hungry, so Sensei found a cozy little place for us to eat lunch. I wasn’t particularly hungry, so I just ordered some huge pieces of toast and a glass of guava juice. The ice cube looked like a pokéball!
After lunch, we stopped by a few temples that, like the ones before them, were both intriguing and yet familiar. Once again, we seemed to be the life of the party as far as middle-school students were concerned – foreigners are the bomb, apparently.
Rather than continuing to spend most of my time taking pictures of the temple itself, I focused instead on finding rarer things about the temples that I could examine. At one temple, I found an interesting “gutter” than channeled water from the roof in a very aesthetic way. I also found what, in my opinion, is the most handsome pagoda we’ve seen so far.
Because we’d spent half of the day traveling and dropping our things off, we were all content to end the day after that temple. We decided it’d just be best to return to the inn and take it easy for the rest of the night.
And that’s exactly what we did. And it was heavenly.