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When my parents first new that I was going to be studying in Japan for a semester they knew it would be a perfect excuse to finally come back to the country they spent over 6 years living in and loving. They fulfilled their dream by first travelling to Tokyo and the visiting me in Kyoto the very week after I was in Singapore with them.

They decided to stay in Nara, a lovely town just 45 minutes outside of Kyoto. The town is famous for their local inhabitants, the deer. According to local folklore, deer were considered sacred due to a visit from one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine. He was said to have been invited from Kashima Shrine and appeared on Mt. Mikasa riding a white deer. Nowadays the deer are considered as national treasures and are protected as such. Throughout the town there are little stalls where you can buy ‘deer-crackers’ so that you can feed them. Considering there are hundreds of people visiting and feeding the deer everyday, they are particularly greedy and will nibble at your clothes and chase you down the street if they know you have some crackers.

If my parents visiting weren’t enough, the same week my cousins were in Kyoto with a few of their friends. We all met up together and spent the evening showing them the joys of Okonomiyaki and the Japanese love of complete extravagance in the most amazing Ice-cream shop. One sundae was worth more than a months rent!

I took my parents on a tour of Kodo, my (very) local area, and Shin-Tanabe and explored the depths of Kyoto. We came across the most adorable HEDGEHOG CAFE and I was so awestruck that I went back again the next day. We also found a quirky Jazz Bar in Nara where the bar was completely circular. We were the only people in the bar for a while so were treated to our choice of music.

It was almost harder saying good bye to them this time. I’m half-way through now, I only have 2 months left but it seems like longer as I know there will be no breaks in between now and then. It seems to have gone by so quickly so I’m trying to make the most of every week. I am even planning to climb Mt. Fuji at the beginning of July – that should be interesting!

Thats all for now x

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Deer in Nara Park.

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Hedgehog Cafe!

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The Ice-cream sundae that is worth more than my rent and requires 2 weeks notice.

When Mum and Dad Came to Town

Ilsa Jones


2nd Year BA Film & English Student. Studying at Doshisha University, Kyotonabe Campus, Japan.


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