21.09.2006 30 °C
Today I saw something scary. It was the first time that I got kind of freaked being on my own. On the train to Nara, this dude came into my carriage and at first I took no notice of him, assuming he was getting off at the approaching station, which he didn't. All this I picked up on my periphery. What caught my attention was his fist smashing the glass of the train doors, repeatedly, and him rocking back and forth and side to side, lifting each leg off the ground sumo style. I thought perhaps he'd meant to get off at the last station and was expressing his frustration for having failed to do so.
Then he turned his head, and oh my, it was shaved in the exact place where you'd expect a lobotomy to have been performed. Then he turned right around and the same spot on the other side of his head was also sheer. Double whammy. He then proceeded to freak out the entire carriage by continuing to beat the doors and stomp about and mutter. As each station rolled up he stood by the doors in what looked like preparation to alight, but never did. Each station I kept thinking, please please just step off. I wanted to doze the trip japanese style as I was extremely tired, but there was no way I was closing my eyes with this guy about.
Finally, after maybe 5 stops he sat down on the seat opposite mine. The seats ran the length of the train up to each door, one on each side, so I had a very good view. He stuck his hands in his crouch and scratched furiously. The poor old dear next to him was quietly wigging out, with her left hand across her body, clutching at her neck. At this point I had to feign a coughing spasm for the whole scenario suddenly seemed very funny. It wasn't. And nobody laughed.
It certainly wasn't funny when everybody else reached their station and we were left alone.
After some intimate time together, to my relief he got off the the train.
The doorways connecting each carriage were open, so you could walk the length of the train without interruption. Maybe 10 minutes later, the same guy comes tumbling down the carriages, clapping and resumes his former routine in his old spot. We rode the rest of the trip to Nara together.
Poor, poor dude. Still really creepy.
Nara was beautiful, and again I hired a bike to get me about. As I got there kind of late, I only had time to check out two temples, which, though very unfortunate, did mean I didn't exceed my pre-stated temple allotment.
First stop was the Kohfukuji Temple complex which included The Kohfukji National Treasure house. It had an impressive assortment of statues, paintings and books which have been designated important cultural properties.
Next I rode up hill to Todai-Ji Temple, which was magnificent. It's outstanding features are The Great Buddha Hall, which is the largest wooden structure in the world, and contained within it, of course, the Great Buddha, which rates as the largest Bronze statue in the world. It was truly splendid and enough to turn even the most ardent atheist religious. If only for a moment. I hung around for a bit soaking it all up and taking some very average photos before returning the station area to chomp a Teriyaki Mcburger. It was quite disgusting.
Binzuru, loitering outside the Great Buddha Hall