Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“So, why did you pick me up?”

Hitchhiking is rare in Japan (even more than in Canada) and for many drivers, I was the first one they’d picked up. For others, I was the first they’d ever seen. Answers to the question, “What made you decide to pick me up?” were interesting and varied.

Some people were complimentary:

“You have a good, handsome face.”

You seem like a cool guy.”

“You looked friendly.”

Others had hoped to spare me from various perceived discomforts:

“You looked cold.”

You looked hot.”

You looked wet.”

“You looked lost.”

And many others gave answers that just can’t be categorized:

“It seemed like I was in a movie.”

“You’re tall, and easy to see.”

“I saw you and thought, the longer I spend helping a hitchhiker, the less time I have to spend with my annoying wife.”

My next driver, Daisuke-san, picked me up because he was lonely.

“I moved here recently for work,” he explained. “I don’t have any friends nearby.”

“How far are you going?” I asked.

“Well, I was on my way to buy some shoes, but I’ll take you as far as you need.

That’s what I call a win-win.


  1. that really made me lol - very good

  2. I laughed at the last one with the wife : D A nice short read~

  3. this is so funny!! i really enjoyed the last one about the wife!

  4. Cool!
    Do you think it would be different for a female hitchhiker though?

  5. As a female you would be offered rides a lot more quickly, often by people who are worried about you. Many will try to take you to the nearest train station. I'd recommend that girls who hitchhike do so with a friend.

  6. In all my hitchhiking treks across Japan, I have not been asking this question-- how unfortunate! I'll be writing a sociology paper about hitchhiking in Japan this month and I'd love to talk story with you to get some ideas.

  7. Hey Dave, great blog man!
    I'm actually planning a trip to Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Gifu, Osaka) in May.
    I was looking to do some hitchhiking myself for a week or so in the Gifu prefecture.
    I'm also Canadian! Great to read all your experiences. Too bad I probably won't stand out quite as much as you in Japan (being Chinese-Canadian and all).
    But I'd definitely give it a shot. Thanks for some of the reaffirming messages from your travels.