A forty-five minute train ride out of Kyoto will take you to a park where the squirrels have been replaced with friendly deer who bow for treats. I promise!
As much as I adore all animals, I normally don’t like to see them locked up in places like the zoo. I once visited the zoo in Seoul, and 10 minutes in, I was already looking for the exit. The polar bear’s skin and fur hung off him like an oversized t-shirt. His pool was just that, a pool with white paint to make it “feel” like the north pole. It was all wrong. The eyeless monkey topiary made from what appeared to be plastic brown twigs (I guess it was more like a “fauxpiary”) that hung by the entrance should have been a warning of what was to come. After I left, I couldn’t bring myself back to another zoo.
I did have a Japanese roommate once who showed a great deal of affection to animals. Maybe Japan was a little different.
The 1,200 sika deer that roam around the park freely seemed happy. I mean, after all, these guys are considered sacred.
The deer knew where to wait for the goods, but the treat vendors shooed away the beggars with fans and rolled up paper. These peanut butter-scented wafer disks were sold for 150 Yen and could almost guarantee five minutes of popularity amongst the deer.
I held tight to my handful of treats as a herd of deer gathered around, pulling at my shorts and bowing for attention. Overwhelmed, I ran up the hill, away from my new friends. I decided I’d find a more patient group of deer to share the rest of my wafers with.
Instead, I found a bunch of uninterested deer hidden away from the main walkway. I held my hand out, but only one of the seven or so deer accepted the treat. These were obviously the organic eaters of the bunch. I imagined the guy who took my wafer probably had to deal with a lot of crap after that, so I felt bad afterwards.
Dejected, I broke the remaining treats into several small pieces and gave them to the same eager group who tried to depants me and made my way back to the train station.
I appreciated the fact that the park wasn’t flooded with tourists. It felt like any other park, but instead of little squirrels running around, this one had deer.
In Kyoto, it seemed I wasn’t too far from some bit of nature.
The buildings and houses were lower, for reasons I am still researching, which is, according to my boyfriend’s father (an acupuncturist), better for you. His logic behind this is that we’re supposed to be closer to the earth in order for our bodies to absorb certain minerals.
And can we just talk about Kyoto’s handful of green spaces for a minute? Actually, I’ll show you.
Seoul’s spring has been pretty unpredictable, to say the least. I’ve been anticipating the cherry blossoms since I landed in February. While many people around the world have already enjoyed their blossoms, ours are running a tad behind. Perhaps they are just getting extra pretty–like they are going on a hot date.
Just making sure things look good before they make their appearance.
It seems the Seoulites have taken it upon themselves to add some green life to our streets. Thank goodness for potted plants.
I went to Yeouinaru Station on Monday hoping to avoid the sea of couples, families, tourists and pretty much the rest of the city who all had the same goal-find some cherry blossoms.
Well, there were definitely no crowds. However, there was also a lack of blossoms. I wonder if our moody weather has much to do with this.
Less than one week left of my Canadian winter. I wish I could say that I’m heading somewhere with a beach and golden sun rays. Unfortunately, Seoul is just as frigid as Canada.
When I woke up this morning, the city was coated in white. At least it is cold with a purpose. It was pretty, until the morning rush. Now the city is like a Coca-Cola Slurpee.
As much as I’d love to curl up on the sofa and watch old Woody Allen movies, there is too much to do before Sunday’s departure. My first errand of the day was a stop at the photo lab. This might be the only errand I actually like.