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.