Sometimes a blog post starts with a title, or with a photo idea, or something I happen to randomly see, read or hear. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months while that idea evolves into actual post, and often it may be just because I have to wait for the right moment (or season) to take that particular photo.
This year I was not just waiting for cherry blossom season, I wanted to take one particular photo. It had to be a deer (ok, ok, a Disney’s Bambi type) under a blooming cherry tree. An idea that got stuck in my head and the only way to get rid of it was to make it happen or at least try. That was how I ended up going to Nara.
In line with the Murphy’s Law, exactly that weekend turned out to be grey and rainy. I reminded myself that there is no bad weather, there can only be wrong clothing, and having told my boss that I am taking my Premium Friday, I left the office early to catch a Shinkansen going towards Kyoto.
For those who do not know, Premium Friday is a new initiative, where Japanese government strongly encourages Japanese companies to let employees leave office earlier on the last Friday of the month. Well, given that it was not the last Friday of the month, I did not wait to see my colleagues’ reaction (as you know, in Japan you do not interpret the rules, only follow).
Japan is not as small as it may seem on the map, and it takes over 2 hours to make those approximately 500km to Kyoto, and then almost another hour by a local train to reach Nara. Nara is an ancient capital city, which has a number of historical and scenic sites, but gets overshadowed by its very popular and well known neighbor – Kyoto.
One of the key places to see in Nara is Nara deer park. The legend says that in the old days, the god Takemikazuchi came to guard the city riding a white deer. Since then deer got a special status as heavenly animals and envoys of the god. Nara Park is home for more than 1,200 tamed Japanese (sika) deer.
Do not expect to get a message from the gods, but with some luck and deer biscuits you may get a photo with one of those ‘heavenly animals’. Their behavior may not be that heavenly though, especially if they see or smell a deer cookie in your hand.
Handling cookies, always hungry deer and a camera at the same time is not an easy task, even more so if you want a photo of a deer under a blooming cherry tree.
It took me one package of deer biscuits, two hours of walking around those not-too-many cherry trees, a few bites to my jacket sleeves, and a couple of dozens of wet noses trying to sneak into my bag in search of yet another cookie, but I got my photo.
Maybe not exactly Bambi, but well…
“The head says no
but the heart says yes
I want to dream again”*
* Haiku by Nick Wong at Almostpoetic