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I (we) spent the day in Nara today- a 45 minute train ride JR pass from Kyoto. Nara is famous for its Daibutsu- large seated Buddha in a beautiful shrine- unusually unpainted-you can see the stain of the wood, its age and way it was constructed. Even the gate opening to the shrine grounds is magnificent and very large. Throngs of uniformed kids from various places visit during this time as well as other Japanese and of course the Gaijin from many countries including us. It was very hot about 32 degrees by noontime. Alain and I spent quite a bit of time on the inside- pics to come. I people watched and wondered about the makers of these oldest of sacred sites. The other scuptural parts inside equally impressive in scale, detail and age. Nara is also known for a five storey wooden pagoda which we saw. On the way stopped into a Shinto shrine area which we could not even find on our tourist map. Later afternoon we stopped into a local sake maker who offers sake tasting and even sake ice scream- delicious! After jumping back on the train we arrived back at Kyoto Station about 7pm and headed home on foot looking for a supper place. Stumbled on a very hip, crowded tapas-type place Italian influenced yet with Japanese leanings. We took the only table available which was outside in front-enjoyed good wine, shared tapas and good company back at our very modern, clean and inexpensive guesthouse. Ready for bed after shower and ofuro-type very hot soak...Japan continues to surprise and delight-

We have another 10 days here in Japan. Tomorow we will check out but see afew more endless beauties before heaading back to rural Urasaki for the weekend and guest arrival.

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