Photobombing deer at a Japanese temple

I’m in the middle of scanning a whole lot of old negatives that I brought back from Australia. 

This one dates from my time in Japan in the mid-80s. 

I’d just got my degree and had gone there to teach English and make a bit of money before I decided what to do with the rest of my life.

The photo was taken in Nara, I think. Most of the temples there seemed to have deer wandering around but I’m happy to stand corrected if any of you recognised the specific temple.

What I love most about this photo is that I’m not in it.

It had become something of a given during my time in Japan that if I stumbled upon a group photo being taken, I’d be invariably dragged into it.

The Japanese love a group photo. 

Having a foreigner in one gave it added an extra talking point.

I was in a lot of group photos.

On this day, however, I was in luck. A handful of deer had wandered into shot in search of the tender green shoots growing between the flagstones

The people in the group shot were absolutely delighted.

They had deer in their photo.

So much more of a talking point than a scruffy Aussie English teacher.


About Author /

Australian travel writer and podcaster with a funny way of looking at the world.

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