Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scary Caves and a Great Deal

We had a meltdown in our family last Friday night. Excuse me while I huff, stomp my foot, and grumble loudly, "The #&% school system!"

Yesterday was the first Saturday since January that my son didn't have school or club activities and I wasn't banging on rocks, so I decided we should go somewhere to relax, see some autumn colors, and not think about linear equations and Japanese classical literature for awhile.

We drove up to Mount Fuji's five lakes and were pleased to discover a sign that read the Bat Cave. They had these posters everywhere.

I've visited a lot of caves in the States and quite a few in Japan, and there really is a difference. First off, as far as I can judge Japan's aren't nearly as spacious or deep, no vaulted ceilings and pretty colors. I mean they are just hollows in volcanic rock and hardened magma, right?

What Japan caves do have though is a healthy dose of Fear. I've always loved how the Japanese don't feel they must protect you from yourself, or any crumbly rocks, darnit.

Here's a shot of us entering the bowels of the Bat Cave. You might notice a few things: no lights, no convenient bars to grab, and no one has previously come along to build some vaguely walkable surface upon which we can trudge.

I swear I have had nightmares made up of this stuff. Descending into darky depths where the deeper I go the narrower it gets. It's wet and hard and cold and my feet keep falling into crevices and my head keeps banging into the ceiling which is fast meeting the floor and before I know it I must get on my stomach and scoot and I can't back up because someone is behind me.

I'm serious, stomach scooting was involved!

Here are the kids taking a picture of me. They're probably laughing. I was in near freak-out mode by this time. They're all crouched down because they can't stand up.

It wasn't until I surfaced that I realized we saw not a single winged varmint and no Adam West. Still, it was cool.

Now for the bargain of the day. I found this guy in a souvenir shop selling nothing but gorgeous pieces of blown glass. It was in a dusty, unlit corner all by itself.

The Robot from Lost in Space!

The only one left and marked down from eight bucks to four!

And, I'll have you know, I did NOT buy the five dollar bag of pine cones.

No, really. They were selling pine cones for five hundred yen. Small bags at that.

Finally, a couple of shots of the beautiful scenery.

There are two dots waaay in the background. That would be J and his best friend stretching their legs after a long-ass drive.


Matt D said...

That's awesome. We have a couple touristy caves and a couple you're-not-supposed-to-go-into-here caves. When I was in my late teens we spent a lot of time in those. They were awesome.

Anonymous said...

Glad you made it out alive!


Kappa no He said...

Matt, I'm not sure how long I could spend in one. I kept expecting to see Injun Joe jump out around every corner. You're very brave.

J, I need to call you!

Gina said...

That cave looked like so much fun! I've only ever been to Carlsbad Caverns when I was little. : )I remember the bats and stuff! : )

I would very much like to go to the bat cave you went to someday! : )

Also, J is really busy now that he is in junior high school isn't he? That part really worries me Terrie. : ( Sniff sniff.

Anyway I am really glad you enjoyed and your family! : )

PS glad you mentioned Adam West. Made me think of the comic book type words above their heads when they'd fight the bad guys.Words like...."Splat, zonk, and pow!!!" LOL!!! Sorry, but it made me smile! : )

Pat said...

The only cave I've been in is the Blue Grotto in Capri. It's lit by sunlight bouncing back up through the water from the floor of the cave. Brilliant blue - very cool!

Don't think I could do the dark, claustrophobia-inducing cave you went in. I've had dreams like that too! Yikes!

Tigermama said...

I`ve been to some caves in BC, Canada. We had all the gear including flashlights on our helmuts. It was fun but kind of creepy....especially when our guide had us all turn off our lights. PITCH BLACK.

Those fall colours are amazing!

Kappa no He said...

Gina, not too long ago I was showing Julyan some original Batman episodes from Youtube. He couldn't believe they weren't paradies. I thought he'd bust a gut laughing. Shark repellant! POW!

Pat, now THAT is the kind of cave I want to visit. I was Googling cave images and some awesome ones came up.

Tigermama, I wished they'd have given us flashlights. My American mind keeps saying, How do they avoid lawsuits?

MDK said...


You braved caves with no side rails and lights and all you got was a miniature robot? Hah!

Kappa no He said...

MDK, oh, but the robot is oh so cute. I got a scratched elbow if that counts!

womaninawindow said...

I was getting all sweaty just reading about it. Don't like tight spaces.

I could give you five garbage bags of pine cones for free! Really. I might even pay you to take them. Just find me in Northern Ontario and they're all yours!

Hilary said...

If only you had visited the gift shop before you entered the cave, the robot would have waved its little arms and warned you.. "Danger, Will Robinson.."

I'm too claustrophobic to attempt one of those narrow caves. I've been in larger walk-through caves where the walls narrow and those were bad enough. Ceiling-to-floor narrowing would just not happen. I held my breath throughout the post - at least until we got to the gift shop. ;)

Kappa no He said...

Womaninthewindow, maybe we can start some side business. With prices like that we could make a fortune and clean up your yard while we're at it!

Hilary, indeed! All he did was do that Robot laugh when I got out.

I really should have taken pictures of the gift shop. They were all so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I sure missed you lately! Sorry I have been absent = (

I need to figure out a work/life/balance!

They were selling pine cones? hehe How lovely, and the fall leaves very fallish and BEAUTIFUL!

Gina said...

Did you see Terrie? Girl Japan returned! I emailed her...she's just been busy! Man did we miss her or what?! Ha ha ha. : ) I did.

Anyway I wanted you to know, I tagged you Terrie. Not sure if you are into that sorta thing, but it seems like a fun one. In any case, I wanted to include you and tag ya! Ha ha ha. : ) *winks*

Kappa no He said...

Gina, I'll give the meme a go. And thanks for the GJ update. Wew! I was a afraid we'd lost her.

rebecca said...

oh, what a brave, brave woman you could not pay me enough to do that! no amount of cajoling, money, threats -- NOTHING -- could ever make me go inside a dark, dank cave with no lights! I'm claustrophobic and afraid of bats....need I say more?

you're my hero....

Kappa no He said...

Ah, but had I known how dark and narrow it was I so wouldn't have gone in. Everyone that was walking back was smiling!

Kappa no He said...

Girl Japan! How did I miss that comment. I know what you mean about time management though. I just switched to instant coffee thinking it would save me a few seconds a day. Mostly it just tastes like crap.

Mary Witzl said...

I love the bats, but when it comes to caves, give me Mammoth Cave any day -- or any other cave big enough to run around in. Have you been to the ones at Ofuna, though? I seem to remember they were bigger!

Love the pictures of Hakone. That is Hakone, right? My kids are so nostalgic for Hakone...

Kappa no He said...

Mary, haven't been to Ofuna. I'm putting it on my list. Those were taken near Kawaguchi Lake, one of the five lakes near Mount Fuji. Now, Hakone! There's a beautiful place!