Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bowing Bambis

People always dream of an escape, at least I do. Whenever I get too stressed from the inescapable present, I dream of packing up and heading straight to the airport. Destination? It always changes. One day, I’ll be flying to Paris dreaming of walking the halls of the Louvre; some other days, I’ll be staring at the map of New Zealand wondering where the set of the Lord of the Rings must have been. Today, the evanescent shower of the sakura petals led me to daydream my escape to Japan. A recent article in the LA times introduced Japan’s old capital, Nara. Nara has many historical buildings, shrines, and surprisingly… deers! There is a local mythology in this historical city which says that a deity named Takemikazuchi was led by a white deer which guided and protected the deity to arrive to the city safely. Therefore, for the past 1,300 years, deer of Nara has been considered sacred. Naturally, citizens of Nara respect the deers and the deers have become used to such treatment that they roam around the city with liberty—they may follow you to the stores, bathroom, and elevators! However, these Naran deers have also learned to return the favors by bowing down to the people who give them a treat. Therefore, in this city, you can see a quite bizarre scene of people and deers bowing back to each other. I guess that’s another thing to check-out when I’m finally free to enjoy my too-long imagined escape.

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