The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

There Is No Rival, Because There Is No Equal.

Today we are going to be taking a look at some non-car related coverage. We were in Japan for a week and in the time that we were there, I would say maybe 75% was catered to strictly car stuff. Since it was our last full day in Japan, we decided to spend the morning and early afternoon doing some sightseeing. Japan is a very beautiful country so it would be a shame if we didn’t at least make an attempt to take in some sights. Ayako had taken the two days off of work since we were around to hang out, and the Tactical Art guys also made sure that we were taken care of by having someone constantly there to drive us around. With all the food they had been feeding us as well as driving around everywhere, we felt like royalty, haha. They went above and beyond to be hospitable and I love that about those guys. The culture is just very different out there. I mean, we try to take care of everyone that comes out to visit us here in California but man, they really put in an effort to make us feel welcome. Just because we were in Osaka, it didn’t mean that the shop was going to be closed. They were still very much in business so Yasutaka had to man the shop while Atuki worked his craft. All the others like Beeyan and Masashi had regular jobs as well so we didn’t see them during the day. Since Yasutaka was working, our friend Taku Kusugami took the day off to spend the day with us. We only hung out for a couple of hours the night before during dinner so it was cool to chill with the dude and get to know him. Their English is getting better by the day and Taku was able to communicate with us a lot of the times with his improved English skills. Whenever he had a problem, Ayako was not too far behind to help him translate…

Osaka was a great city but if you’re going to do some sightseeing of traditional Japanese landmarks, one of the places that you have to go is the city of Nara. Nara is old school Japanese, I mean, like dating back to before the 700s. No, not 1907, not 1700…700. Nara is home to Tōdai-ji, an ancient Buddhist temple that houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha Vairocana, or who the Japanese know as “Daibutsu”. The temple use to be the largest wood building ever constructed as well, up until 1998. It has been rebuilt twice after fire and the current building was finished in 1709…

One of the coolest features of Nara City was that they had Sika deer that just roamed freely throughout the area. You could hang out with them and feed them and shit, which was something that none of us had experienced prior. I had been to Nara once before maybe 10 years ago but going there this time around with friends was a completely different experience. I know what you’re going to see today isn’t exactly related to what you normally see on the site, but trust me, it’s pretty cool stuff…

We are just one more portion of coverage away from completing the 12-part series. Many of you aren’t able to come on the site everyday to read everything that I post so I’ve attached the previous ten parts below. Feel free to read them now and catch-up with the rest of us…

The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 1: Intro and TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 2: TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 3: More TAS 2013 Day 1 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 4: Dinner With USDM FREAX and Day 2 of TAS ’13…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 5: The Last of TAS ’13 Coverage and Dinner With USDM Magazine…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 6: Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 7: More Honda Collection Hall and Trackside At Twin Ring Motegi…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 8: The Meal After Motegi and We Begin Our Journey To Osaka…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 9: Our Visit To Tactical Art…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 10: More From Our Visit To Tactical Art…

Once you’re all caught up, continue below…

I guess you can call Part 11: “The Chronicles of Nara”…haha, stupid…

I completely forgot what time we had woken up that day. Honestly, I was so beat from traveling to Osaka and then touring the Tactical Art shop that I literally just knocked the hell out as soon as I went to bed. I’m pretty sure we had to meet up at the lobby by 9 am or something so let’s just say it was 9. Ayako arrived shortly after we made it downstairs and after walking around the Dotonbori for a bit, Taku arrived in the Toyota Alphard van that we had ridden in the day before. We hopped into the car and set off for Nara City…

Maybe about a halfway to Nara, we decided to make a stop for some brunch. There was much to see so we wouldn’t know when we were going to eat again that day so we ended up at Komeda’s Coffee, which is a popular coffee shop chain in central Japan. I liked the cozy feeling immediately upon entering and was interested to see what they had to eat…

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Der, Ayako, and Taku looking over the menu…

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May and Nick after the waiter came and took our orders…

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Ryan and I…

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Thought these Komeda’s Coffee mugs were cool…

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Ryan, Nick, and Der had eaten breakfast earlier before we left so they just got drinks and snacks. May and I each got one of these sandwiches with fried shrimp patties in them. They were fucking delicious…Even up until now I still have a craving for one of these things…

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Taku had one as well…

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Nothing out of the ordinary happened, just a nice quiet breakfast with good company. After we finished it was back on the road to Nara…

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Taku might be the most unphotogenic guy ever, haha…

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The crew dippin’ in the Alphard…

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I figured I should take a photo of our means of transportation while in Osaka. This Toyota Alphard is by far the best van I’d ever ridden in. The black leather interior was super comfy and the thing just hauls ass. The best feature about it has to be the lazy boy seats in the middle row…

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Once we got to Nara, Taku and Ayako had to glance at the map to see where we had to go because even they hadn’t been to Nara in a long time…I think Taku mentioned that he hadn’t been back to Nara since he was 11 years old…

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The moment we got there, we immediately saw the Sika deer. You could get really close to them and it didn’t really bother them. They were very peaceful and let you take photos of them while they just roamed the area…

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These Sika deer that live in Nara are actually regarded as messengers of the gods…

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…something that may have been true many, many years ago because the only message they passed onto us that day was that they wanted to shit…EVERYWHERE…

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Ryan peed and it was visible to everyone since the bathrooms only had these wooden bars that probably prevent the deer from walking in while you took a shit…

What was cool about having the deer around was that you coudl buy stacks of these wafers that you could feed them. That wouldn’t work here in the U.S. because people would just feed the deer all kinds of stupid shit and probably force the Sika deer to smoke weed or crack, but in Nara, they trusted you with their deer. For a small nominal fee, you got these wafers and they just went absolutely crazy for them. One thing that I did not understand was why the deer didn’t attempt to eat the wafers straight off of the carts where vendors were selling them to people. These wafers just sat on the carts and were easily accessible to the deer but they didn’t go near it. Maybe they have some sort of agreement with the vendors and were smarter than we all thought….

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Nick put some of the wafers in his pocket and tried to act like he didn’t have anything but the deer were able to sniff them out…

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May feeding one of the deer…

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Ryan getting ambushed because he was hiding wafers…

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Giant Nick with a baby deer, I think the correct terminology would be to call them “fawn”… Taku getting chased down for wafers…

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Once they found out you had food, there was no getting away from them…

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After the food is all gone, the deer act as if you don’t exist…

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Nick thought it would be funny to put a wafer on one of their backs to see how long it would take for them to notice. Let’s just say it was a good thing that the male deer no longer have antlers because they most likely would have impaled one of us because they love to headbutt people. “Headbutt” might be a little strong but they definitely like to nudge you with some force. They don’t have antlers most likely for safety reasons since Nara is such a huge tourist destination…

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After having some fun with Nara’s deer population, we headed over to the Tōdai-ji. The structure is remarkable to see in person and looks massive. I did some quick research on the Tōdai-ji and it used to be 30% bigger before it was rebuilt entirely where it stands back in 1709. Records show that the originally building was constructed in 743 and over 2,600,000 people helped in creating the wood structure and the Buddha statue inside…

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The sketchiest part of the day came when I asked someone to help take a group photo of us in front of the Tōdai-ji. Normally I don’t think I would trust a Canon 5DMKII in the hands of some random stranger but being that we were in Japan, it seemed okay. After all the Japanese are rarely keen on stealing and are generally very respectful of peoples’ property. It all seemed fine until the dude asked me how to operate the camera and it was some Asian American dude speaking perfect English. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to chase this guy down to get my camera back because had we fought, it would be like a WWE Royal Rumble where all the other combatants were Sika deer…

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May rinsing her hands in the chōzuya, which is an area where you would traditionally rinse your hands, mouth, and handle of the little scooper thing before you entered the temple. It is originally meant as a purification area before you worshipped within the Tōdai-ji…

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The view when we first walked into the temple and are greeted by the world’s largest bronze Daibutsu statue…

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The Great Buddha statue has also been renovated multiple times due to various issues including Earthquake damage. The current hands of the statue were made during the Momoyama Period (1568 – 1615) and the head was created in the Edo Period (1615 – 1867)…

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Behind the Great Buddha is Bishamonten, who serves as the guardian of Tōdai-ji….

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Seated next to the Great Buddha was the Kokūzō Bosatsu. Kokūzō symbolizes the “vast and boundless” wisdom that permeates the universe. The Japanese who practice Buddhism pray to Kokūzō to grant them wisdom in their journey towards enlightenment…

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Random shot but I just liked the single large candle that was lit…I think it helps to capture the peacefulness that existed within the Tōdai-ji…

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While I was walking around taking pictures, Nick went to one of the sections inside the hall to get his fortune read. For about 200 Yen, you shake this bamboo canister that Nick is holding and it releases a wooden stick with a number on it. The number corresponds to a piece of paper that a monk gives you and it provides you with a fortune reading in both English and Japanese….

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Der got in on the action too and had his fortune read. Hindsight being 20/20, I don’t know if he would have done it again…

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..because his didn’t have the best reading. It wasn’t anything terrible or sad, the paper just said something about how he should just not attempt to make any major changes in his life right away because things might not play out in his favor. It was kind of a half-luck thing where things could go either way…also known as “average everyday life” for everyone. Nick I think had a good one. Either way, you can choose to believe it or not. It’s just one of those things where you can either take it as truth or not and just kind of make your own luck as you go…I don’t really like to do those things because then I’m gonna have it in my head all the time where if it’s bad, I’m expecting it to be bad or if it’s good, I’m gonna be shitty because it isn’t as good as I thought it would be…ehh, I’d rather just roll with the punches that life throws at me…

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While they were going over the fortunes with Ayako and Taku, Ryan sat alone on the steps of the temple thinking about his own good fortune…It was either that or some obscure Seinfeld reference that only he would understand…

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Why not take another group shot…minus Der. Again Taku has to be the most un-photogenic guy ever, haha. Hopefully he was making that face on purpose…

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I thought this shot of the Nara forest came out pretty cool…

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After some more walking (A LOT OF WALKING), we stopped at a local eatery to grab some snacks and drinks. I myself enjoyed some water and these two pieces of rice cake wrapped with a sheet of seaweed and covered with a sweet sauce…

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A grown male deer seated by one of the restrooms we stopped at on our way back to the car. You can see here how their antlers have been removed…

The walk back to the car wasn’t a short one so we decided to jump on May’s iPhone and Face Time with DPK David and his wife Jackie. They didn’t make the trek out to Japan with us so we wanted to let them know how it was. It was the afternoon for us then in Japan but probably between 9-10 pm back at home in the U.S…

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As we were walking, we were followed by this baby deer/fawn…

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Again, nothing spectacular or remotely car-related but I wanted to detail this part of our trip because I feel that it was an important part of it. I’m happy that I was able to experience it with these guys and I’m sure we made some memories that day that we will not soon forget…

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That pretty much wraps it up for today. I spotted this BB4 Prelude in front of us at a traffic light on the way back to Osaka. Not the best look for a Prelude I’ll admit, but this was the only Prelude I saw at all in the week that I was in Japan…

And so concludes Part 11. Next up is number 12 of 12 of our Japan Trip coverage where we take a look at our visit to J’s Racing, our final dinner in Japan with our Japanese friends, and a secret meeting with one of the most infamous Kanjo racers in Osaka…stay tuned!

5 thoughts on “The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 11: The Historical City of Nara…

  1. evan says:

    sweet!
    seems like an awesome experience.

  2. Hector says:

    Cant wait for part 12!

  3. @egentirony says:

    Best blog bar none , hope to meet you at a show sometime…Peace

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