Now, there were several things I could have done--preventative measures, we'll call them--that would have made my trip go a bit more smoothly. Knowing the name of my bus company, for example, would probably have been a good idea. Running around ten minutes before my bus was supposed to leave without any idea where it was leaving from was a situation that I would like to never repeat, please and thank you.
Aside from the utter lack of sleep I managed to wrangle, the actual bus ride was fine, and bright and early this morning I found myself sidling into Kyoto, the center of Japanese religious heritage, capital city (pre-Tokyo, of course) and home to the biggest and most obnoxious bathroom line in the history of Planet Earth. We'll discuss Kyoto more later, because I didn't actually spend any time there. I headed right out to Nara, the city known for a giant bronze Buddha and several thousand mostly-tame deer.
Before we continue, I need to pass on the message of caution provided by the kind Nara government officials:
My city map was not so lucky, and did, in fact, get eaten.
Apart from the super-cute deer roaming the streets in packs, Nara has some amazing temples and shrines that I've read about a ton and am ridiculously excited to see in person. (Did you know the bronze Buddha got burned to the ground by Kiyomori in the Genpei Wars and that's the reason why his death was so terribly gruesome? Oh, wait, only a total nerd would even care about such a thing? Woops.)
Dinner was udon with marinara sauce, eggplant, tofu, and scrambled eggs. Completely inauthentic, but it's so fun getting a chance to cook again!