October 21, 2011

Todaiji Temple . Nara

It's been 13 years since Sara and I were last in Nara.  Many changes in our family since we were last here: Sara has long hair, I have less hair, and we have 4 kids.  When we were here right after we got married, I could have never imagined coming back here with our family 13 years later.  There is no way we could have planned it out for us to come back here in the fashion we did (by government van).  We have been so blessed to come back to Japan and being in Nara reminds me that our lives are sometimes guided by a Heavenly hand.

While our lives have changed immensely since our last time here, Nara has not changed at all.  There are still deer everywhere.  Temples and Shrines abound.  The kids had a blast feeding the deer wafers you can buy from street vendors.  The deer are like hoodlums waiting for some poor unsuspecting visitor to buy the wafers.  As soon as the vendor gives them to you, the deer come for you in mass.  It is really quite intimidating (especially the ones that have horns). Emma got tenderized by a group of hungry deer.  One time she got nailed right in the back and it knocked her down.  She popped right up laughing, I probably wouldn't have been as happy.

My favorite part about Nara is Todaiji Temple. The largest wooden structure in the world, a big buddha, awesome grounds, cool gates, and lots of little side temples and shrines.  It really is one of my favorite temples in Japan.  There is just something about it, some feeling in the air about that place.  In the temple, there is a support beam that has a hole in it.  Supposedly, if you crawl through the beam, you will be blessed.  All the kids went through (except for Abby, who was tired, and not in the mood for any blessings). Sara was blessed with a big bruise on her arm for her efforts, but still fit through the hole.  Quite an accomplishment.  Hopefully, next time we're in Nara, she'll still fit through.  Better ease up on those chocolate chip cookies girl!