Just Who Picks Up Hitch-Hikers In Japan?

One of our first rides was from a van packed full of five individuals over seventy and the driver was a young man. They were returning from a religious event and somehow squeezed together to fit us in as well. The back seat contained three little old women who were an absolute giggling hoot as they tried to figure out whose seat belt belonged to whom. Two of them were excited to take a picture with us. Since then, most of our drivers ask to take a photo with us!

As a small token of our appreciation we gave them a magnet from Vietnam. Then they purchased six hamburgers for us! We always got the better end of the deal.

We were amazed by the wide spectrum of individuals who picked us up. From the elevator mechanic who’d spent a month traveling from the East to West Coast in the US, to the quirky woman obsessed with the color yellow,

from the the gracious potter on her way to a dance lesson, to the married businessman who had a girlfriend in Thailand, from the flirtatious couple covered in tattoos, to the spontaneous couple that joined us for a Tall Ships Festival,

from the joyful old surfer man strung out on too many drugs, to the cheerful group of recent college graduates on their annual road trip,

from the middle-aged couple on the verge of becoming fist time grandparents, to the trusting family who let the hitch-hiker sit next to their cute baby who loved to pull pony-tails… hitch-hiking provided an unexpected way to really get to know the kindhearted people of Japan as they shared their car, their time, and their stories with us.

I never would have guessed it, but I am SO thankful we gave hitch-hiking a try.

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