“Dear Monk,” my name is Joe

August 8th, 2009

My girlfriend Katsuko, I, and our friends, Rika and Andy, went to ‘Tokae’ in Nara.  It was my second time attending the event and it was as beautiful as I remembered it.  There are thousands of candles floating in small cups of water that are scattered throughout the city and park.  As night descends, volunteers walk the grounds and light each candle.  Tame deer roam amongst the visitors, occasionally bowing for rice crackers.

The girls (and Andy) were wearing what is known as a Yukata, which is like a summer version of a Kimono.  I was wearing something called a Jinbe, which is kind of…Japanese pajamas?  Food stalls with all types of Japanese treats lined the perimeter and we sampled quite a few of them.

Maybe it’s the deer, or maybe it’s my imagination, but Nara festivals always seem to be a little more enjoyable than those held in Osaka.  In any event, ‘Tokae’ really is wonderful, but must be seen in person to really be appreciated.

In the second photo you can see Katsuko feeding a deer.  This particular one appears to be injured.

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