By Deborah Howell

When your friends have intimate knowledge of the back roads of their country and volunteer to show you around, you just follow their lead.  And when you really trust them, when the tell you we’re going to explore some lesser known caves around Mt. Fuji, you just say “Ok!”

You put on your hard hat and had up through the ancient forest and then down the wide  stone stairs into Batman’s Japanese hideout   Or so it seems.

The cave is damp, and drips onto your helmet in an ominous way.   You hope against hope it’s just cave moisture and not something else.   Then the cave narrows and the ceiling becomes so low you have to crab walk so you won’t hit your head.  It’s a great workout for your quads, to be sure, but when you start dragging yourself up some slippery stairs in almost complete darkness, for a fleeting moment you wonder if this is where it will all end.   In a dark, damp bat cave in a rural Japanese mountain.

Luckily, we survived the journey, and luckier still–the thousands of bats who call this cave home remained asleep as we crouched our way back into the light.

Glad to have had the experience, but also glad to turn in our hard hats and get back on the road




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