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The Rainy Day Deer

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I’ve been in Japan a week now, and it’s safe to say the weather is not on my side. Things are gorgeous when the sun comes out, but I’ve only had one truly sunny day since I got here. The rest have all been variations of rain, clouds, fleeting sunshine and then more rain.

Still, I came a long way to see Japan, downpour be damned. Today I took the train to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. How ancient? This year Nara is celebrating it’s 1300 anniversary. So yeah, kind of old.

Wandering through the downpour in my rain gear, I tried to compose a blog post on the advantages of sightseeing in the rain. I couldn’t do it. Walking around the rain sucks. It’s cold and uncomforatble and everything looks drab.

One group who wasn’t put off by the rain:

The deer of Nara have been living in the park for as long a history goes back. They have a distinguished lineage and are believed to be possessed by gods and roam around, fat, happy and fearless.

The first couple deer were a novelty and I photographed copiously. But there are actually hundreds of them, wandering nonchalantly along the paths.

Also they are really not shy:

Especially if you have some food for them. To them humans mean food, usually in the form of special biscuits you can buy from the vendors around town. Give them a cookie and their heart is yours:

That is until you run out. As soon as I fed one adorable little baby deer, a gang of it’s older brothers started circling me like sharks.

This little punk didn’t believe me when I told him I was out, and decided to go rummaging through my bags. All over the place I spotted deer nuzzling people’s pockets and purses.

When he found nothing of interest there he chomped me on the arm!

See that crazed look in his eyes? Make no mistake, he may seem cute, but for a biscuit he would kill you and everyone you love. Look at this poster of the deer beating up little girls and old ladies:

The temples in Nara are great (probably even greater in the sunshine) and include the world’s largest bronze buddha, but it was these crazy thug deer that truly brightened my day!

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37 Responses to The Rainy Day Deer

  1. Unbravegirl October 3, 2010 at 8:20 AM #

    I feel for you! The first time I was in Nara it was raining horrendously & the deer were in attack-mode.
    Sorry to hear the weather hasn’t been nice. The fall in Japan can be really lovely… hopefully it will clear up for you soon!

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:25 AM #

      They days that have been nice have been REALLY nice. Just kind of a mixed bag!

  2. Luke October 3, 2010 at 9:42 AM #

    This is incredible! I simply must make it down to Nara!! Those deer are amazing.
    Glad to hear you made it over my side of the woods on your travels! I’m currently living and working up in Niigata prefecture so be sure to give me a shout if you pass through. Watch out for earthquakes though, we had three this morning.. D:

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:35 AM #

      Definitely go! Don’t think i’m going to make it up to Niigata this time around but thanks for the heads up!

  3. Michael Tyson October 3, 2010 at 10:18 AM #

    “Crazy thug dear” – hahaha! We spent a very soggy day sightseeing in Venice with wet feet and all! The one bonus was that St Mark’s square was completely deserted. W huddled under our umbrella in the middle of it, listening to our Rick Steve’s audio guide and had the whole place to ourselves. It was pretty special. But yeah, apart from that it was rather miserable :p

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:36 AM #

      Yes, the lack of tourists is a definite bonus. It rained the whole time I was in Venice as well!

  4. Emily S. October 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM #

    How funny! Those deer are adorable, but look like they’d peck your eye out for a few crumbs. Makes me think of going to petting zoos as a kid–the goats would do the same thing.

    You took really great photos!

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:36 AM #

      I never trusted those petting zoo animals either. These deer are even worse!

  5. ehalvey October 3, 2010 at 1:46 PM #

    “… for a biscuit he would kill you and everyone you love.” That’s hysterical!! Reminds me of the evil peacocks that roam a lot of historic estates. Or my cat.

    Loving the attack mode photos.

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:38 AM #

      Yeah I really should have been fighting for my life instead of snapping photos. Priorities!

  6. Marsha October 3, 2010 at 3:09 PM #

    The deer nuzzling through your bag looks so adorable. The one biting you on the arm looks psychotic! Looks like you’re having a great time in spite of the weather!

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:39 AM #

      haha, same deer though!

  7. cojovo October 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM #

    The signage is no joke. I went in November when a lot of the deer had nubs of antlers on their head. I got surrounded without biscuits and got rammed at the knees from 2 deer on either side of me. I bought more biscuits then :)

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:41 AM #

      ouch! Guess they got their point across :)

  8. Alisha October 3, 2010 at 11:02 PM #

    BAHAHHA! my favorite part of this post was the photos. THEY’RE SO CLOSE! I would have freaked out to be surrounded by hundreds of deer, in the middle of Japan of all places. insane! Glad to see you’re still entertaining all the way on the other side of the world!

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:53 AM #

      AT first they were cute, but they started to really creep me out by the end! Still cute though I guess….

  9. Cailin October 3, 2010 at 11:10 PM #

    A rain forest is pretty awesome to see in the rain and most times its a warm rain (i guess depending where you are haha) and water sports/tours are fun in the rain because you are wet anyways :) but I can understand how frustrating it is to tour around somewhere that is not that place, except for the fact that maybe there would be less tourists? haha and biting deers are never fun either, they can be huge!!
    I hope you are enjoying the trip so far! :)

    • Steph October 4, 2010 at 8:54 AM #

      Okay yes, those things would be un in the rain. Sightseeing in the rain though is just suckitude.

  10. Caroline October 4, 2010 at 10:13 AM #

    You had me laughing out loud with the deer rifling through your bags and the poster! It reminds me of going to petting zoos as a kid when the goats would try to eat my grandma’s sweater. I’m enjoying your amazing travel story!

    • Steph October 5, 2010 at 11:13 AM #

      One of the deer at Miyajima yesterday tried to nibble on my shorts!

  11. Gray October 4, 2010 at 3:27 PM #

    Aww, I LOVE animals! Great photos. I have deer envy!

    • Steph October 5, 2010 at 11:17 AM #

      LOTS of deer in Japan! I don’t think I’ll every envy them again!

  12. Rebecca October 4, 2010 at 4:41 PM #

    Aww, sucks about the rain!!!

    The deer totally remind me of the kangaroo’s in Australia. Get ready! Most of the “wild” animals in Australia are pretty domesticated and will come right over to you.

    And forget about animal parks. They’ll all climb on you to get whatever food you’ve got!

    • Steph October 5, 2010 at 11:22 AM #

      Haha I will prepare myself!

  13. Emily October 4, 2010 at 6:12 PM #

    Hahaha–that is too funny! Domesticated animals do weird things. I know what you mean about dreary weather…it was like that almost the whole time I was in Istanbul earlier this year. It really can change the way a city looks and feels, and can make you feel kind of “blah.” I hope it clears up for you before you leave!

    • Steph October 5, 2010 at 11:23 AM #

      Thanks Emily! I think my last few days hsould be pretty sunny, which makes it much easier to love everythign!

  14. Ramblingsaffie October 5, 2010 at 1:04 AM #

    Those warning signs are classic. Dangerous deer indeed!!

    • Steph October 5, 2010 at 11:25 AM #

      I’ll have to post hte monkey ones I saw in Miyajima!

  15. Jenny October 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM #

    Bummer the weather is giving you fits!

    I love seeing the funny danger signs the world posts. el oh el

  16. Candice October 5, 2010 at 3:16 PM #

    Hahah, awesome photos, and GREAT sign.

  17. Mike October 7, 2010 at 10:07 PM #

    That’s so crazy. Never would have thought deer would be rampant in Japan, but then again, why wouldn’t they be? Great pics and I also agree, that is an awesome sign.

  18. alexis October 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM #

    hahahaha! I like the deer warning sign!

    • Steph October 14, 2010 at 3:24 AM #

      Me too- so ominous!

  19. Verity November 9, 2010 at 5:39 AM #

    Hehe too funny. Bambi may look cute but really he’s a menace to society :)

  20. mercedes December 12, 2010 at 4:54 AM #

    oh my god, they are like adorable pigeons.

    that sucks about the rain! when i was in spain last year, it rained the entire ten days, and i just kept telling myself over and over again “well, at least it keeps away some of the crowds!”

    …it still felt like a pretty sad trade off, but hey, at least that is something!

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