Saturday evening, however, we decided to go to a festival of lights being held in Nara. First we went to Kyoto Station, where we had to change trains anyway, and stopped for supper at an Italian restaurant to have pizza. Japanese pizza has the thinnest crust I've ever seen. It's practically a tortilla. One of the things people often crave after staying in Japan for a long time is "real" pizza.
While reading the restaurant's menu, which they provided in English (though I didn't really need it), we noticed a section for "Kyoto bland wine." Mixing up Rs and Ls is a running joke...but it's funny because it's true. If there is an R or L in a word, the Japanese will nearly always choose the wrong one, even on official signs that must have taken quite a bit of effort to produce. I can't help but wonder why they would go through the trouble and yet neglect to ask a proofreader or check the spelling in a dictionary. There are online dictionaries now... Another common problem they have is with articles, since there are none in Japanese. This sign in front of a restaurant illustrates how articles are often misused. They intended to say "the entrance is on the escalator side," but knowing when to use "a(n)" and when to use "the" is considered one of those mysteries that can never be fully understood.
Anyway, we took a train from there to Nara. In front of the station, there was a fountain where many people gathered to watch street performers. The one performing when we arrived was putting on a marionette show, accompanied by traditional Japanese music. As you can see in the background, girls were wearing yukata for the occasion.
We followed the crowd (generally the best way to navigate here) down a covered shopping path. There were so many interesting and beautiful things in the shops, it was hard to tear ourselves away to continue on, but somehow we managed.
There was a general route to follow to see the locations that had been decorated for the festival. Most of the spots were cultural heritage sites or museums. The Nara miniature deer were wandering about, completely unafraid of the crowds. In fact, the deer considered it yet another opportunity to beg for food.
There were many kinds of lights set up as decorations. Some were candles in white cups arranged in patterns on the grass or pavement. Some were candles in bamboo posts lining the walking paths. Some were even works of art.
We spent about two hours strolling around, seeing what we could, and trying not to get lost. We then made our way back, arriving at my apartment shortly before midnight.
Sunday I played more Warcraft. The various characters have been making good progress. The blood elf paladin I've been playing on megory's behalf has reached level 27. I was excited to win a new axe and bow for my hunter in Karazhan, and my shaman won a number of new items as well.