Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spelunking in Ikura-do Cave and Painting Fukiya Red

Hi guys and gals!
Last weekend was a holiday weekend thanks to Marine Day, so I was out and about exploring again. My poor sewing machine has been severely neglected, but it will get some love soon over my summer vacation. We took a day trip to northern Okayama, up to the towns of Fukiya and Niimi. I had my hesitations when my other half told me he wanted to see these places, but it proved a nice trip.
Fukiya is known for Bengara, which is a red iron oxide they produce there and use in things like paint and ink. The old village proudly shows their heritage with roofs that are uniquely orange from the Bengara oxide.

The post office was my favorite, because I've never seen one in an old Japanese style building.

I really wanted to buy a souvenir here, and I chose a bottle of homemade soy sauce. I can't wait to give it a try!

Fukiya's village was a quiet, relaxing walk. The next part of our trip tested my nerves a bit. We went to the Ikura-do Cave near Niimi and the Sasaune Copper Mine in Fukiya. I didn't know we'd be spelunking that day, and I had worn a long white prairie skirt that I carried nervously through the 2 kilometers of narrow, wet caves.

I made my husband pose with the miner mannequins for a bit of comedy relief.

I'm not much of a spelunker, but I loved one thing about the caves: they were COLD! Beating the heat in the caves was the best part. I could live in one for the summer, away from the menacing sun in natural air conditioning. I might form a case of claustrophobia after awhile though.
After our long journey through the winding caves, I was rewarded with ice cream. The stand had a ton of flavors, and I couldn't get them all in one shot.

They had some unique flavors for sure. The blue one next to the orange mango one is wasabi, and next to it is brown rice. I tried a blue soda flavored one, which is a sadly tame choice. Next time I'll be a little more adventurous, I swear.

Summer vacation is so close that I can taste it! I've been hoarding sewing patterns for the time off. On my to-do list is Colette's Hawthorn still, and yesterday I just got my Deer & Doe Datura all the way from France. I still need to finish my Bombshell... I am procrastinating and blame my lack of chance to use a swimsuit for it.

Have you been keeping cool and finding fun things to do?

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