I have been chewed by deer.
For a long time now, students and teachers have been telling me to visit Nara Park, about an hour north of where I live by train. One of the students even gave me this paper five storey pagoda as part of a presentation she had to give as part of a speaking assignment about Japanese landmarks and attractions:
This is part of Kofuku Temple, built in 669. It was moved to its present location in to-day's Nara Park in 710.
Here's the real thing from when I finally went on Saturday:
Here it is blocked by a deer:
Another thing Nara Park is famous for are the legions of tame sika deer who roam the place. Mostly they were just standing around or even dozing.
Adult deer didn't even seem to be nervous about bringing their fawns around to see the tourists:
I was a little worried about this little fellow:
I've since read that deer have started foraging outside the park more often lately because, due to Corona, the number of tourists feeding them has drastically decreased. Vendors in the park sell special deer cookies to give the animals. I bought a pack from a little old woman and a group of five deer immediately started to mob me:
This big fellow was especially aggressive and started chewing my vest when I was too slow on the draw with a cookie:
Fortunately I was wearing a tough canvas vest.
Some of them do look a bit thin.
The whole thing kind of reminded me of the chapter in Through the Looking Glass when Alice met a fawn in the woods where things have no names.
Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with its large gentle eyes, but didn’t seem at all frightened. ‘Here then! Here then!’ Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood looking at her again.
‘What do you call yourself?’ the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had!
‘I wish I knew!’ thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, ‘Nothing, just now.’
‘Think again,’ it said: ‘that won’t do.’
Alice thought, but nothing came of it. ‘Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?’ she said timidly. ‘I think that might help a little.’
‘I’ll tell you, if you’ll move a little further on,’ the Fawn said. ‘I can’t remember here.’
So they walked on together though the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice’s arms. ‘I’m a Fawn!’ it cried out in a voice of delight, ‘and, dear me! you’re a human child!’ A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.
Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation at having lost her dear little fellow-traveller so suddenly. ‘However, I know my name now.’ she said, ‘that’s some comfort. Alice—Alice—I won’t forget it again . . ."
I bought a deer mask before I left:
I must say, covering 80% of my face has really improved my features.