Nara is a beautiful city, often overlooked by travelers. It is famous for it’s many temples that are all recognized as World Heritage Sites, and of course for their sacred Nara deer (shika) that roam freely on the temple grounds.
It is popular to buy shika senbei, which are rice crackers used to feed the deer. The following is my story of what happens if you give a deer a cracker.
If You Give a Deer a Cracker
If you give a deer a cracker,
He’ll not want to eat your stupid cracker.
When you hold out the cracker,
He’ll probably stick out his tongue and turn his head in disgust.
When you try to offer it again,
Then you start to notice why he doesn’t want your cracker.
When there’s someone handing out better food, you know you have no chance,
So you move to a new area further away.
When you offer a cracker to these new deer,
He’ll take a little interest in your cracker.
He might sniff it and then finally nibble away at it.
He may even call his friends over to get a cracker as well.
When all his friends come over,
You’ll give them every cracker you have.
He’ll continue to call more friends over, even though you’re out of crackers.
When his last friend comes and you don’t have a cracker, he’ll get angry.
So you try to back away from the angry deer,
When you back away he’ll just follow you.
He’ll start nipping at you and head butting you.
He’ll even start to rip apart your purse, hoping you’re hiding more crackers inside.
When you spot a temple, you try to run inside to escape the deer.
Then you notice, there’s nowhere the deer can’t go.
Which is bad for you when no one will help you as you’re getting attacked.
He’ll continue to follow you, until you direct him to another poor soul handing out crackers.
Looking around, you spot a baby deer.
He’s sniffing the air and the lingering scent of crackers will remind him that he’s hungry.
He’ll approach you and let you take photos of him.
And chances are if you stop and hold out your hand to give him a pet,
He’s going to want a cracker to go with it.