Thursday, May 10, 2007


Osaka is not a city that inspires - fortunately, however, it is surrounded by places that do.

In need of some inspiration and a taste of the 'old-world' Japan, the best part of yesterday was spent in Nara; a 45 minute train ride from home. It was most enjoyable to get out of Osaka and see some 'green', some nature - which is one thing this industrial, concrete city lacks.

Nara is home to six impressive Buddhist temples, a Shinto shrine and Heijō Palace, which was the Imperial Palace of Japan from 710-784 AD. Just thinking about these dates and this country's extensive religious and cultural history amazes me, especially coming from such a young country like Australia.

Nara is also well known for the free roaming, tame deer, found throughout the temple grounds and parkland. According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god, Takemikazuchi, arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Deers were regarded as heavenly animals and thought to protect the city, and the country.

I am developing a fascination for Japanese folklore, particularly those that feature animals with supernatural powers. I shall be curious to see if this interest sprouts inspiration that influences my work in the near future.

Speaking of inspirational writings, Haruki Murakami's new novel, 'After Dark', was released on Tuesday and I am yet to get my hands on a copy. I had planned to race down to the bookstore yesterday, however, I have been distracted by the work of another writer. I recently purchased a copy of Soseki Natsume's 'I Am a Cat', a book I have been wanting to read for quite some time. Though not far in to its 638 pages, it has already begun to delight me, and after a literary lull since arriving in Japan, it is nice to be able to get lost in the world of words again.

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