Friday we got up bright and early and headed to Kyoto for the monthly flea market at Kitanotenmanguu. Sometimes the sun came out to warm us up, but we also got some snow flurries, as in this picture. We shopped for about three hours...I wound up buying more kimono items, including my very first furisode--the type with very long, dangly sleeves. My parents tried various foods from the vendors, such as candied beans.
I'm sorry that the cherry blossoms haven't opened yet--they're mostly just tiny buds. However, the plum blossoms are quite lovely, especially when contrasted against various elements of shrine architecture. The snow made it even more picturesque.
After the flea market, we had lunch at Kyoto station and headed home. We started watching TV for a while, but around 6pm the jet-lagged crew were all dozing off, so we pretty much called it a day.
This morning we decided to take a day trip to Nara. Our adventure started when we arrived at the platform to find the train incredibly crowded. After debating for several minutes, I decided to go ahead and push my way onto the train, which meant the others all had to follow. Even more people squeezed on after us. We heard an announcement that another train line had been cancelled for some reason, so all of the passengers who normally take that line had to take this one instead, causing the overcrowding.
We arrived and picked up some lunch at a nearby convenience store, where I discovered habanero cheese. It's expensive, but boy is it good. We then took the bus to Toudaiji, the location of an extremely large and famous Buddha statue.
To give you some idea of the size of the statue, this pillar has a hole in it as big around as one nostril. As you can see, it's big enough for an adult to fit through, although it does take a bit of squirming.
Other impressive things about the place are the giant, fearsome guardian deities in the corners and the scale model of the entire complex.
After that, we all went strolling around the park. The famous miniature deer were everywhere, sometimes bowing, sometimes just poking their noses at us trying to get food. We went to the Nara National Museum and saw quite a lot of archeological artifacts before returning home.
When we got off the train at Kyoto to transfer to my train line, however, jornada202 announced that she had left her digital camera on her seat. We rushed back and told one of the station attendants, who let us search the train when it came back to start its run in the opposite direction, but it was nowhere to be found. The conductor hadn't seen it either. Another gentleman asked at two different ticket gates for us, but no one had turned it in. We were just about to go down the block to the lost and found office to leave a description and contact information when jornada202 searched her bag one last time and found the camera. Whew!