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Monday, October 11, 2010

Health and Sports Day

It's a summery day. Temperatures have reached 28 degrees Celsius in Yokohama and have reached over 29 degrees Celsius in several areas.

Health and Sports Day (体育の日) is held on the second Monday in October. It was designated in 1966 to commemorate the opening day of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Many schools held their athletic meetings today, but the date of the athletic meeting varies from school to school now. Some schools hold them in spring.

The event of cutting antlers was held at Nara Park on October 10th and 11th. Althought antlers are shed and regrown by itself in early spring, the event started in 1671 to prevent antlered deers from injuring people or another deers. Cut antlers are dedicated to the god.

The deers living around Nara Park have been regarded as the messengers of the Kasuga Grand Shrine (春日大社, Kasuga-taisha) and have been designated as a national natural treasure. They were already living there when the Kasuga Grand Shrine was found in 768.

They are wild animals although they are accustomed to people. It's dangerous to come close to deers be in estrus.
Their staple food is the native plants at the park. We are allowed to give the deers only shika-senbei(鹿煎餅:deer biscuits) that Foundation for the Protection of Deer on Nara Park sells as a snack. It contains rice bran and cereals. A part of earnings from these biscuits sales are used to protect deers.

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