Friday, November 13, 2009

The Spice of Life

Sunday was a particularly heavy hitchhiking day – I covered over 300km over six rides on my journey Northeast to Nemuro.

Map picture

Many readers have written in asking for more descriptions of the people I traveled with. No, that’s a lie, but in any case, I give you, in order of appearance,

The Cast of Characters

Mr. and Mrs. Iida
These two retirees had come from Chiba (near Tokyo) and were also doing some sightseeing. They asked me lots of questions and happily listened to stories from my trip.

Satomi & Naomi
A cheerful mother and daughter out grocery shopping. I mentioned that they were the first women to pick me up, and Naomi got a little nervous and said, “Ehhh, maybe we should not have picked you up!” I smiled and took out my pocket knife did my best to look harmless.

A middle-aged teacher who’d learned English from American missionaries. He asked that I stay at his house for two nights, but I got a weird vibe (probably nothing) and just took a ride to the next highway. He gave me the phone number of a young English teacher in the next city who might enjoy my company. Before we parted, he prayed to God for my “safety and continued good fortune.”

A mirthful, 25 year old “cow-milker” who was very excited to pick me up. He seriously considered skipping work to take me farther along the highway. Perhaps cow milking isn’t as much fun as I imagine it to be. (Don't they have machines for that now? Maybe Yuuichi is better than the machines. That's what I like to think.)

A Professional Recycler. This guy loves to recycle and made a career out of it. Keep in mind that these professions are gleaned from basic Japanese, the limited contents of my pocket dictionary, and whatever gestures are possible while driving. (And yes, if that's what you're picturing, the trip really was an entire month of charades.)

My final, and certainly favourite ride of the day – find out why in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. My backup plan to all my backup plans is to be a professional recycler of sorts. I met one outside my apartment complex one time. He was nice. He told me he finds computers, furniture, new shoes, expensive watches, buckets of change, and raccoons in the dumpsters. All of which sound pretty cool.