Nara, Japan, is home to the free roaming deer. Over 1000 deer nonchalantly wander the streets and incessantly block traffic while lazing on the sun-heated roads.

Nara Park is where all the action is, with tourist attractions, street stalls, food vendors and who could forget, deer crackers.  The deer are surprisingly tame despite the deer warning signs that inform people that ‘the deer are wild animals and will occasionally attack people in forms of biting, kicking, head butting and knock downs’. The Nara deer are polite, but cheeky as they do occasionally try to steal a cracker or two from the cracker stand or rummage for leftovers in the food stall bins only to be shooed away by the saleslady.

You should know that as soon as the crackers are in your hand it’s all over. The deer start following you and crowding around you in droves so it’s better to hide them in your pocket where they can’t see.  They’re big on manners and know that in order to get a piece of cracker they need to bow you. And when they do, it’s so adorably cute (yes, I’m making hand gestures)! There were many standing in the middle of busy walkways bowing at every person that walked past hoping to get a piece of cracker. And so, when I ran out of crackers I gave them head pats instead. Head pats are almost as good as crackers, right?

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