At around 7 am I took the local train to get closer to the next parking area. The way was rather far and I was exhausted when I arrived at my hitchhiking site. But the effort was worth it.
I stretched out my thumb and the first car stopped. That was a good start and the day would end even better. The around 40-year old man took me to another service area, where I took a short rest and moved on.
Then after five minutes of waiting an old man stopped and a miracle happened:男の人：どこまで？
So I got a ride at 10 am directly towards Kyoto – without any other rides. On the highway we occasionally talked about life and the usual stuff. The man was very kind and did not drive too slow at all. He even bought me lunch and eventually dropped me off at Otsu (大津) at around 6 pm.
That’s it. I managed to travel almost 800 km in around 12 hours via hitchhiking. A new personal record.
Generally I have learned several things from this trip:
- Never ever try to hitchhike from an urban area in Japan. It is just a waste of time.
- If you did not bring any blanket or sleeping bag, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is right: your towel is your loyal companion.
- Be patient, it is worth it
- When you are about to give up, just go a bit further.
- And several new vocabulary (hoshi, genbaku, aki, hashi, niji …)
And the most precious thing I received was the Japanese hospitality. The Japanese are very kind and they always treat you as their guest. I got invite several times and every ride was fun. I am glad that I did it.
Kanji of the day: 業 – Goo: Karma