1000 Bar Mitzvahs

My little brother (who’s taller than me) was in town a while back, so we decided to go out and find some tradition outside of the neon jungle of Tokyo.  We settled on Nara, which is a forty minute train ride from Kyoto.  Nara is like Kyoto, focusing on history, but is a little more low-key and very slightly less touristy than its bigger neighbour.

What’s amazing is that this year, Nara is celebrating their 1300th anniversary, complete with a special commemorative Kirin beer to celebrate (the coloured band along the bottom is the special edition part):

It’s mainly famous for impressive places like this and the ant-like people who visit them:

This is Todai Temple, the largest wooden building in the world.  It’s difficult to fathom the scale when you’re standing in front of it. It’s build to house this massive statue of the Buddha, one of the biggest in Japan:

How’s this for some history?  The temple was built in 752 AD.  In 855, the Buddha’s head fell off after an earthquake.  Shortly after they fixed it, the whole building was burned down in a war.  Then they rebuilt it.  Then it got burned down again in another war in 1180.  They they rebuilt it.  Then in 1567, it got burned out in another war.  Then they rebuilt it.  In 1610 it collapsed in gale-force winds.  Since 1709, the current building has endured.

For a life of 1258 years, I guess that’s a pretty good track record, but I can’t help but think of another famous building:

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