It’s been fun to have our friend Paul visiting again this month. Paul teaches at a year-round school in the LA area, so he often uses his vacation time to come to Japan. He buys a rail pass, and has been to all 47 prefectures and probably almost all the hotsprings there are to be found in this country!
In all of his travels, Paul will often hitch-hike, especially in the remoter regions. On Friday, Paul hitch-hiked across Kyushu, a large island southwest of us. He will go into a local grocery store, and ask for a cardboard box. Then he will take a piece of the box and ask someone in the store to write in Japanese (kanji) the place location where he is trying to get to. He will then hold it up at a nearby intersection and catch rides.
So, this could happen anywhere across the world. What is different about Japan hitch-hiking, though, is that Paul is often given gifts by the people who pick him up. One couple who picked him up tried to give him money for his travels. He refused ,and finally the wife hid the money in Paul’s backpack… Here is a picture of Paul with his booty from Friday, and the sign that got him across Kyushu.
Our friend Megumi has some New Zealand friends who want to go hitchhiking in pairs. They were going to do a contest to see who can get to a certain location the fastest. Instead, we think they should see who can get the best loot….