The Great Buddha of Nara: this is one of those times when you thank your telephoto or macro lens for acting as a miniature telescope, because this level of detail is not visible from the ground.
As the name implies, this Buddha inside Todai-ji is enormous. In fact, it's the world's largest bronze Buddha Vairocana.
Alexander Pushkin in "Autumn":
This is my time: I am not fond of spring;
The tiresome thaw, the stench, the mud - spring sickens me.
The blood ferments, and yearning binds the heart and mind.
With cruel winter I am better satisfied,
I love the snows; when in the moonlight
A sleigh ride swift and carefree with a friend.
Who, warm and rosy 'neath a sable mantle,
Burns, trembles as she clasps your hand.
(I like spring before the rain season, by the way.)
The amount of effort I invest photographing various kinds of somewhat elusive deer in the Rocky Mountains is inversely proportional to that of capturing the near-domestic ones at Nara.
End result? Several portraits, like this one.
If you click to expand this image, you might see the reflection of me and my friend in the eye!
As I've mentioned before, I've been visiting Japan "backward": from lesser-known places like Morioka during my very first trip working up to major tourist attractions like Narnia...err...Nara today.
One of the biggest deterrents? The other "Western" tourists. Why, yes, I realize that, to a certain extent, this sounds hypocritical, though I'd like to convince myself that the kind of photography I do is a little more serious. (All photos here were shot merely by an iPad.)
Today, however, I found out that even a place brimming with the non-Japanese can be wonderful. It's all about the company you keep.
That is, this is the case if you're sufficiently sleep-deprived, which makes everything a bit more funny, and your unofficial tour guide is your very own former Japanese teacher, to whom you normally refer as Mister Middlemountain.
The latter and I went on many adventures in Narnia. We fought off some overly dependent and permanently hungry deer, which are the perfect metaphor for the welfare-state citizens; got soaked in the rain; did not climb through Buddha's nostril; passed by the Girl Who Was Death; got soaked some more; listened to hooting owls; unsuccessfully looked for predatory mammals (who ate all that deer before the welfare state?); more rain; saw many predatory birds; found X-rated bamboo; almost bought a pregnancy-wish charm at a shrine by accident (okay, this was my accidental almost-doing, I ended up buying a generic good-luck one to cover all the bases!); got lost in the woods slightly fearing the local ghosts and the second appearance by the Girl Who Was Death, this time, perhaps, with a scythe; and, exhausted, barely made it to my Shinkansen back to Tokyo, where I write this now.
Doesn't this sound exactly like something one would expect from a magical place like Narnia?
Oh, and this: