Hitchhiking in Japan! James Japan's Log

Routes I hitchhike in Japan

On the map the red lines show roughly the main routes I travel when hitchhiking. The black circle is the area where I live in Niigata. I was inspired to make a log of my trips thanks to my good friend Paula who says she is always glad to read them. The most recent adventures are on the top. I still have stats about older adventures too and therefore hope to add new material both at the top and the bottom of this list. Each entry represents at least two days of travel to my destination and back home. For distances more than 100 kilometers, the date represents the departure date and the return is usually after one or two days. The reason the distances differ though the destination is the same is because of different routes I take and the fact that sometimes I have to use public transportation from time to time for various reasons. The distances listed are those traveled only by hitchhiking.

Two abbreviations used on this page:

Date Destination Distance # Vehicles Highlights of trip
10/31/08 to 11/09/08 Aomori City 714KM 29
Mother and baby
Lady with her baby who took me further up the road.

This trip brought me past the 70,000 kilometer mark -- the distance traveled by hitchhiking since keeping statistics from August 2003. My destination was Aomori City, the northernmost city of Honshu, about 470 kilometers north of my home. I have to allow myself two days to hitchhike this distance because it is mostly by regular highway, not expressway. Going toward Tokyo or south to Osaka by expressway is quite easy due to the large amount of traffic, but to take an expressway to Aomori City I would have to first take the Ban'etsu expressway going east to Fukushima and then the Tohoku expressway going north. After waiting 40 minutes from 8:20AM at the Ban'etsu expressway entrance, I gave up going that direction and decided to take the slow but sure Route 7 highway heading north instead.

Hitchhiking along regular roads long distances can be tiring, but also inspiring because though most people are going only a short distance, I get to meet more people overall. Some of the interesting folks who picked me up were:

  • A young mother with a one year old baby strapped to her back.
  • Four drivers who went a considerable distance out of their way to help me.
  • A man with his wife who is afflicted with Darwinism. Her feet barely extended past the car seat. I estimated her to be about 110 centimeters tall. She was very sweet and talkative. She became a believer in Christ while in the Philippines for medical treatment.
  • A man from the tropical north of Australia. He said he used to have racist attitudes until he fell in love with a Japanese lady, married her, and moved to Japan.
  • Two young men whose car's gas gauge showed they were running on empty. They bought 1000 yen more gas to take me to the next town. One of them said he just came out of a reformatory. Both were receptive to hearing the message of Salvation in Christ!

I clipped small mechanical device to my belt that counts the steps I take during a full day's hitchhiking. The amount was double that what it would be during a normal day around town when at home.

The hardest part of the trip: It was pouring rain in mid afternoon the first day. A truck driver gave me his umbrella and let me off at a traffic light about 50 meters past a tunnel. I ran back to the tunnel's entrance for refuge from the rain and was stuck there about 30 minutes. Nobody would stop for me because the traffic was going fast and the tunnel too narrow. Imagine me standing in the tunnel with trucks zipping past me at 40 miles an hour splashing water from the wet pavement! I desperately prayed for the rain to stop. It did 30 minutes later and I got a ride to the next major city of Tsuruoka -- a good hour further up the road.

From Tsuruoka due to the rain and darkness I had to take a train the rest of the way that day to Akita, but it gave me a chance to visit a drugstore family who gave me and my teenage companion lodging back in 1993! They remembered me and thanked me for seeing them again.

10/19/08 Tokyo and vicinity 595KM 7

I left home at 10:30AM and my destination was a town in Chiba, just on the other side of Tokyo, about 330 kilometers from Niigata. The first driver took me only a few kilometers down the road and let me off at a rather undesirable place with no good traffic light to catch rides. I decided to hoof it to the Shinnanogawa River road (about 30 minutes walk) from where I knew the traffic would be heading more in the direction I needed to go. Just a few meters before reaching the river road, a driver named Mr. Sasagawa stopped and offered me a ride to the main highway, Route 8, from where it would be even easier to get to the Hokuriku Expressway. I told him I fix computers for my friends. Mr. Sasagawa then offered to take me all the to the Expressway (about 20 kilometers) if I would come to his home and look at his computer. It was slow to start. I accepted his offer. I really wasn't so much in a hurry. I knew from experience I could reach Tokyo in only 3 hours and the time was still around noon. As long as I could catch my last ride before dark, I knew I would be OK. Now with winter approaching it starts to get dark just after 5PM. I'm usually in a race with the sun when I travel long distances.

Working on Mr. Sasagawa's notebook computer took much longer than I expected. It was infected with a Trojan that was robbing resources and CPU cycles. It was already after 1PM by the time I finished and just a bit after 2PM when I arrived at the expressway. Mr. Sasagawa bought me lunch at the local convenience store before we parted.

I didn't get my next ride till 2:30PM but it was worth the wait because the driver, Mr. Miyashita, is a man I had met before. It was June 2007 when he took me home from Joetsu! Now because I was going in a different direction, Mr. Miyashita could take me only as far as Sakae PA, about 7 kilometers further up the road. I often stand at Sakae PA. Sometimes I get immediate rides, sometimes I wait for an hour or more. This was one of those times.

After an waiting an hour it was 4:00 PM and one hour before getting dark. Several drivers offered me rides but all were going just a short distance. I told God my deadline today is 4:30PM. If I didn't get a ride at least as far as Saitama Prefecture just before Tokyo by 4:30, I would abort going to my destination and start hitchhiking the 30 kilometers back home. Any drivers even even offering me half the 300 kilometer distance to Tokyo would drop me off at a place after dark - something I consider to be undesirable. I was even tempted to leave Sakai parking area before 4:30 and go back home, but the Lord told me to stick it out till the deadline I set.

At 4:25PM a man with Chiba license plates stopped and offered me a ride to Kawagoe in Saitama just before Tokyo! This was just fine with me because I knew I could stay with my friend in Sayama city in Saitama, a place I usually stay on the way back home to Niigata. I would be able to continue on to Chiba the following day.

08/29/08 Aomori Prefecture Misawa City to Tokyo 700KM 8
Map of Japan
The dark line shows my journey from north to sounth. Click the map to see an enlargement.

Traveling 700 kilometers (about 440 miles) in a single day was even stretching my faith a bit because it's 230% further than I usually cover in one day. I left my friend's house in Aomori (the northernmost area of Honshu) at 9AM and reached Tokyo a little after 8PM, exactly when I hoped to arrive! In all 8 vehicles picked me up. The 4th driver was impressed with the distance I covered by 2PM -- about half way as far as Hanamaki in Iwate ken. He told me that he has no doubts I'll make it the rest of the way. I caught the last ride just before it got dark at a service area near Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture from a man who said he is a Christian! In the last 10 years since I've been hitchhiking in Japan meeting at least 3000 people, only a dozen or so have called themselves Christians -- only 0.3%!

Even more amazing was the 300 kilometer return trip to Niigata the next day. Only minutes after arriving at the expressway service area in Saitama just north of Tokyo, I heard a voice calling my name. Lo and behold, Daniel and Reiko, close friends, were standing by their car at the gas station waving to me! They had just visited Tokyo Disneyland and where returning back to Niigata, and of course they where glad to take me home. A gasoline station worker was surprised when Daniel and Reiko called me because he saw me hitchhiking a couple minutes earlier. He asked Daniel, "Was it a coincidence that you met up with your friend?" I myself wouldn't call it "coincidence" or "luck" as another person did. I like to call it "God's set-up".

Because friends took me back home, I'm not including this distance in my hitchhike statistics.

08/09/08 to 08/21/08 Kyoto, Kyushu (Fukuoka, Oita and Kitakyushu), Osaka, Kobe (Mt. Rokko), Gifu and Chiba (Tokyo area) 2500KM 53

Trip to Kyushu - August 2008

All photos in this section are will enlarge when clicked.

A young single couple who took me
from Sanjo city to Tsubame city in
Niigata Prefecture the first day

From August 9 to August 21, 2008 I hitchhiked approximately 2500 kilometers (1560 miles) from Niigata to Kyushu and back! This is the second time I went to Kyushu from Niigata but this trip is perhaps longer than the first one because I took a detour on the way back all the way to the other side of Tokyo before returning home. (Please see map) Because the middle of August in Japan is a holiday season known as Obon the drivers who stop to pick me up are often with their entire family, their wife and children and sometimes their parents as well. They go back to their birthplace to honor their departed ancestors. It is relatively easy to hitchhike long distances during this time. Of the 53 cars that picked me up, 18 were entire families. Of these 9 cars had small children and two even had with them the family dog!

(Click on the image to see an enlargement)

The main problem hitchhiking in August is the summer heat. I pray for quick rides but sometimes have to endure standing under the noonday sun at an expressway entrance for periods up to an hour or more. There is usually no source of water nearby. I try to carry a plastic bottle of water with me during summer travels.

August 9, Day 1: I went to the city of Kashiwazaki, home of the largest nuclear power plant The production of electricity came to an immediate halt in July 16, 2007 due to a major earthquake just off shore in the Sea of Japan. The power plant is still under repair since the earthquake, but because it supplies electricity to Tokyo 300 kilometers away, the local prefecture of Niigata is not affected by power loses. Kashiwazaki is only 60 kilometers (40 miles) and only took 3 vehicles on regular roads. The last man who said he is a worker at the plant took me way out of his way to my destination. I asked him how many power work there and he replied around 3000. When I asked him what 3000 people are doing all day, he replied, "They're busy".

A young couple who took me part way to Kyoto

August 10, Day 2: I hitchhiked to Kyoto and spent the evening with members of The Family International. It took me 10 rides to get to Kyoto, approximately 550 kilometers further down the road. Normally I try to hitchhike long distances via expressways as much as possible, but it took me 3 rides just to get on the expressway. My friend Nobuo took me to the Yoneyama IC of the Hokuriku expressway which runs along the Sea of Japan, but because there were relatively few cars entering the expressway at that point, I decided to hitchhike a bit further on the regular road to get to a parking area. The third driver took me along back roads to the Nadachitanihama SA. From there it was relatively easy to continue on to Tokyo.

Today 4 married couples picked me up. I got to Kyoto at 4:30PM, a very good time considering the distance traveled.

August 11, Day 3: After standing only a few minutes at the Katsuragawa SA in Kyoto, a car with a man and his wife pulled up. The man asked me my destination and I said I was heading to Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan. I looked at his wife and saw she had a worried fearful look on her face! I told the man that I am a Christian, a missionary for Christ in Japan, and mean them no harm. Nevertheless he continued to ask me doubtful questions in spite of the fact that I gave him my business card. His wife continued to look worried and so I told him that I would look for another car to travel in. I do not beg people to pick me up! I don't even like to ride with people who are reluctant to take me! It is extremely rare to encounter such situations as this. The vast majority of rides I catch are from those who willingly want to help take me closer to my destination. Because the driver continued talking to me I could tell he really did want to take me and was really trying to convince his wife of the same. He invited me to get in the car, but immediately asked me for more identification as soon as I did. I showed him my Alien Registration Card - a document required by Japanese law for all foreigners to carry with them at all times. That seemed to satisfy the man. They took me to the the Miki SA of the Sanyo expressway in Gunma Prefecture just past Osaka and Kobe - a two hour trip due to heavy traffic passing Osaka. The wife who was silent all during this time later bought me a beverage and we exchanged a few words.

Satoshi who took me 300KM to a SA just before Hiroshima

The second car today was a young man named Satoshi who took me close to Hiroshima - quite a good distance from Gunma - around 300 kilometers or about half the distance I needed to travel that day! He played Jimi Hendrix music on his IPOD. While I was impressed that a young Japanese boy would be interested in music from the time I was only a teenager, I told him that rock music is related to witchcraft.

The third car today was a married couple with a female friend who took me on the Sanyo expressway all the way to Shimonoseki, the city on the southern tip of Honshu. Shimonoseki is connected by both a bridge and an undersea tunnel to the next island of Kyushu. I remember when I hitchhiked to Kyushu in 1981 before the Sanyo expressway was built, it took me two whole days to hitchhike the 600 some kilometers from Osaka to Shimonoseki on regular roads. The ladies where constantly studying the road maps as we drove past small islands just off shore in the Inland Sea (body of ocean between Honshu and Shikoku) close to Hiroshima. I commented that women usually aren't very good in reading maps. :-) I wish I could describe to you the scenic beauty of the coast along Hiroshima with all the small island in the Inland Sea. I have an elderly Japanese friend who was born on one of these islands, and was 7 years old when she saw the light of the first atomic bomb explosion.

Couple from Saga who took me to Kyushu just before Fukuoka city.

It was about 5:45 PM when they dropped me off at a parking area just before getting off the expressway at Shimonoseki. From there I had hoped to go all the way to Oita city which was my main destination during this trip. However the shortest way to Oita is by regular roads along the eastern side of Kyushu. At first I was told by a driver it would take only 2 hours, but my friends in Oita said it would be probably more like 4 or 5. The latter turned out to be true. Hitchhiking in the dark on unknown lonely roads is something I like to avoid, and so I decided then to first go to Fukuoka city where I knew at least two different Family International members who were welcoming me to come visit. As I always say and firmly believe, "Where God guides, He provides." Within 5 minutes after changing plans a young couple who were on their way to Saga Prefecture picked me up and took me to the Koga parking area just before Fukuoka city. From there an older couple took me all the way to Hakata station in Fukuoka from where I spent 560 yen to get to my destination. I arrived around 9PM.

Aug. 13, 2008: A father and his daughter who took me down the Kyushu expressway to a parking area just before the Oita junction.

Aug. 13, day 5: I spent the previous day in Fukuoka working on fixing computers for my friends. I left their home at 8:40AM and walked about 10 minutes to get to a highway. My destination is now Oita city on the east side of Kyushu on the Inland Sea. Within the first half minute of hitchhiking, a man and his son who were on their way to Kurume City took me to the Chikushino Interchange of the Kyushu expressway -- a good 1.5 hour drive from Fukuoka city! This was much better than I expected.

The mother and daughter of the same car in the previous photo.

However I had to wait a whole hour under the hot sun at the expressway entrance before getting my next ride. A married couple stopped, but they were going the opposite way of my destination. However I opted to go with them anyway because I knew there was a parking area called Sue located about 10 minutes up the road from where I could walk to the other side to get traffic going toward my destination. I was pretty thirsty after waiting so long at Chikushino and was glad to get to a parking area where there is water available to drink.

After waiting only a few minutes at Sue, a family on their way to Kumamoto took me to a parking area just before the junction that goes to Oita.

From Kyushu expressway to Oita expressway: Grandmother holding her grandson.

The mother of the baby in the previous photo. She is sitting very uncomfortably in the small child seat in order to make room for me!

The father of the baby.

Map in a PA on the Oita Expressway.

Children in a car that took me to Oita Station. The father meant to get off at Beppu, the city just before Oita, but missed the exit being unfamiliar with the area. This family is from Hiroshima.

My friends Caleb, Hisako and children in Kitakyushu.

The bridge spanning Kyushu and Honshu. You may notice from the sign that I am now heading back home.

On top of Rokko Yama with a scene of Kobe in the background.

A mother and daughter who took me close to Tokyo.

Ms. Miki, a mother with her son on the way to a spa in Yuzawa.

There are many more interesting things I can write about this trip. Maybe I will if you ask me about it.

06/06/08 to 06/10/08 Osaka, Chiba (Tokyo area) 1385KM 21

This is one of the longest trips I ever hitchhiked in such a short amount of time. I went from one corner of Japan to another, first southwest from Niigata on the Sea of Japan to the second largest city of Osaka, and then to northeast to Chiba which is the prefecture on the eastern side of Tokyo. During this trip I took notes of the arrival and departure time from each point. This way I'm able to calculate more accurately the average waiting time.

On June 6th the first leg of the time, I set out to see my friend in Osaka which is roughly 600 kilometers or 400 miles from home. This is twice the distance that I normally hitchhike in a single day, and so I knew I had to pace myself. The city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is about halfway, and so I set my goal to reach it by 3:00PM at the latest. I arrived at an expressway rest stop near Kanazawa by 1:45 PM! It took ten rides to get to Osaka but the average waiting time for the next ride was only 14 minutes. I left home at 8:50 AM, walked twenty minutes to the main road, caught the first ride at 9:20 AM, and was taken to the very neighborhood of my friends house by 6:20 PM. In ten more minutes I walked in the door of my friend's house spending not a single yen in transportation costs. He didn't expect me till after dark! Today was perhaps one of my best records to travel such a long distance in a relatively short amount of time.

Of course the most fun part of the trip was talking to the people who picked me up. Among the 10 drivers who picked me up, one man was a university professor of sociology who spoke excellent English. I thoroughly enjoy meeting highly educated people because after becoming a Christian and learning so much from the Bible and God's Truth, I now have something to teach them. Before becoming a Christian, I used to feel intimidated in their presence.

One 60 year old man told me he learned to fly like a bird from only a year ago! He flies a motor driven glider for an hour at a time 1000 meters or 3000 feet over lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. The motor is a 300 CC gasoline powered engine strapped to his back. He said that no license is required to fly it.

One lady who stopped but didn't pick me up drew me a paper sign in Japanese to show my destination of Osaka. I accepted the sign but didn't use it much. I find that if my destination is relatively far away, people are less likely to stop after seeing the sign rather than if they didn't see it. My best assets are always faith in my heart, a smile on my face, and my thumb pointing in the direction I want to go.

I noticed this year more drivers are asking me to buckle up my seat belt when sitting in the backseat. Recently there has been a nationwide campaign to cut fatalities by requiring people sitting in the back to buckle up.

The first car on the second leg of this trip on June 10th was a young mother with her 3 year old daughter sitting in the back. She said that she has been learning Gospel music, and so it was a perfect opening for me to talk to her about Jesus. She dropped me off at a parking area near Kyoto at 10AM.


When I woke up this morning I knew I had to leave Osaka but still didn't have any idea where I would wide up that evening! I prayed and told God I would go where He leads me. I wanted to visit my other friend in Kyoto, but he and his family were out of town that day. I thought to go to the Nagoya area, but none of my contacts there anwered the phone. I remembered that friends in Chiba asked me to visit because they needed my help to fix their PC problems, but I orginally had no intention to go there this trip because it's on the other side of Tokyo and nearly the distance I traveled the previous day. However I decided to call them anyway. This time I got an answer. They rejoiced to hear from me and asked me to come. Where God guides, He provides. In only a few minutes, a young man going all the way to Chiba picked me up! This is perhaps one of the longest distances I traveled in a single vehicle when hitchhiking, about 500 kilometers or 315 miles.

The next evening on Monday I first heard about the killings the previous day. I was shocked to realize that I had taken the exact same road the previous day only hours after a 25 year old man with a lust for murder in his heart drove a rented truck into a pedestrian crowd and killed 7 people an an area of Tokyo known as Akihabara, the electronics center of Japan, a place I've been to countless times. Japan is still a relatively safe country to live in, but the recent string of indiscriminate knife killings are nothing short of appalling!

03/07/08 to 03/11/08 Tokyo and back 570KM 15
My silver case next to a mountain of snow
My luggage next to a mountain of snow.

At a little past 11AM on March 7, 2008, I set out on another hitchhike trip toward the Tokyo area, about 300 kilometers from home. I always feel a rush of inspiration every time I start out on a new trip because each one is a fresh adventure with different challenges!

Some wealthy people my age (now 57) spend 10s of 1000s of $ to climb mountains to relieve their boredom. They could have just as much fun or more without spending any money and make new friends on top of it by hitchhiking!

This trip took me through one of the snowiest regions of Japan, the mountains between Niigata and Gunma. In the photo you can see my silver aluminum carrying case with my umbrella leaning on it next to a mountain of solid snow that was piled up by a snow plow. The case is 43 centimeters or about 18 inches tall. I would estimate the snow mountain to be at least 4 meters or about 14~15 feet high.

Among the interesting people I met this trip, one was a professional bicycle racer, one a director of a printing company, one was a lady whose nephew is a missionary in Brazil, and one was a lady driver so small her hand looked about half the size of mine!

The first leg of the trip was a bit of a challenge. One driver let me off at a an expressway parking area with only few cars. After waiting 30 minutes for a ride, I decided to leave the parking area and walk along the access road to the Ojiya Interchange about 2 kilometers away. There would be more cars passing at the interchange which would increase my chances.The problem was how to leave the parking area without walking through deep snow in my dress shoes. I finally found an exit road leading to a gate that was locked. On the side of gate was a fence that was low enough for me to climb over. After walking less than a minute, I flagged down a passing driver who took me to the interchange saving me the 20 minute walk.

01/27/08 Niigata 17KM 1
Hiroe and Rieko
Hiroe and Rieko.
Hiroe and her daugher Haruna
Hiroe and her daugher Haruna.

After waiting about 30 minutes trying to catch a ride back home, I heard a voice in the distance that seemed to be calling out, but I couldn't see anyone. I walked further up the side of the road in the direction of the traffic and I saw two ladies in a parking lot who seemed to be waiting for me. I walked up to one of them and she asked me where I wanted to go. Their names are Hiroe and Rieko and are both FM radio station announcers. The driver, Hiroe, said that she would be on the air the next day at 10AM, and so I set my schedule alarm to turn in to her broadcast. The first thing Hiroe talked about was picking an American hitchhiker by the name of James! See another photo of Hiroe on the radio station's web page. (Japanese) Hiroe's daughter Haruna was with her.

01/01/08 to 01/06/08 Tokyo and vicinity 566KM 14
Hiroaki, Naoshi, Mai and Yoko
Hiroaki, Naoshi, Mai and Yoko
They took me from Akagikogen to Sayama
Young boy
Boy whose mother took
me a few kilometers on my way

On New Years day I set off for Sayama City which is close to Tokyo. It snowed in the morning but had stopped by 10AM when I set out. Though Japan basically comes to a halt during during the first two days of New Years holiday with few people travelling during this time, I had no trouble at all hitchhiking to the very city of my destination! At one point in the mountains of Niigata I had to stand in for a while waiting for a car while it was snowing, but the wait was relatively short of only 15 minutes or so.

Among the 14 drivers who picked me up, one car had 4 young people (all 27 years old) who knew each other from junior high school, three were married couples -- two of them with small children riding in the back seat -- three were married ladies travelling without their husbands and one had two small children riding in the back seat, two men went a considerable distance out of their way to take me where I needed to go, and one was a foreigner from Bangladesh who took me back home to Niigata. He's a successful businessman in the car business with his own showroom. Bangladesh is a dirt poor country and so there are very few Bangladeshi people living in Japan.

The challenging part of the return trip was hitchhiking across the Kanto Plain north of Tokyo from Oyama City to the Kamisato SA on the Kan'etsu Expressway. Though it's only about 60 kilometers, because there is no major highway that would take me directly to Kamisato, it took 8 vehicles and 4 hours to get to my destination. I got stuck in Tatebayashi city where I went the wrong direction because of a sign that said, "Fujioka" which I knew is close to Kamisato. It turned out to be the wrong Fujioka! As in America, there are towns in Japan with the same same but in different areas.

11/15/07 to 11/18/07 Nagoya 580KM 8
Miyuki and Saki, took me from Gifu Hashima to Owari Ichinomiya SA
Miyuki and Saki. They took me from
Gifu Hashima to Owari Ichinomiya SA

I got a ride from a truck driver fairly quickly to Midoriko PA on the Nagano expressway, but after waiting for over an hour for my next ride, I thought to abort traveling to Nagoya via the expressway and take the low road, Route 19 instead. And so I threw out a "fleece" (Judges 6:37-40), that is, if I didn't get a ride by 11:30AM or within the next 10 minutes, I would leave the expressway parking area and walk to the regular highway about a mile up the road. God honored my fleece and a driver offered me a ride exactly 10 minutes later! However he was going the wrong direction after the junction to the Chuo expressway, meaning toward Tokyo instead of Nagano. Nevertheless I hopped in the car knowing that I could get off at a larger expressway service area near Lake Suwa just a few kilometers past the junction and walk around to the other side of the expressway to parking area that heads in the opposite direction.

The Suwa SA on the Chuo expressway is on the side of a mountain, and so to get to the other side I had to walk a couple hundred feet down the mountain, walk down the street about half a mile and then back up the mountain to get to an underpass of the expressway that leads to the parking area with traffic heading to Nagoya. I had to climb a 1.5 meter concrete wall to get out of the first parking area.

After a few minutes, a 27 year old man, Mr. Yoshii, saw me hitchhiking and offered me a ride to Nagoya. He was on his way to Kyoto. He said that he was only taking the expressway part way and the regular road the rest. This would mean it would take over twice as long to get to my destination, but I wasn't in a hurry and had plenty of time.

Mr. Yoshii was unfamiliar with the road, and I was so into conversation with him that we both missed his intended exit point from the expressway! This meant that he had to take the expressway a little further than intended, but that was OK with me. It was interesting to realize that if I had taken the low road, meaning Route 19 from the beginning, I might have met Mr. Yoshii there too. Route 19 was his intended route of travel and he may not have missed his expressway exit point if I had not been riding with him from Suwa SA.

On the way back from Nagoya I spotted a young couple hitchhiking at the Enakyo service area. They were going the same direction I was. I walked up beside them, and pulled out of my bag the paper sign that shows the drivers my destination. They both laughed! It is a very rare thing indeed to run into other hitchhikers in this country. Often I tell people that hitchhiking is easy in Japan because I have no competition. In this case I would be brothering the other hitchhikers if I continued to stand where I was, and so I told them I would move further up the parking area which would give them the first chance to get a ride. They were picked up before I was.

While waiting for a ride at Enakyo is the midst of the mountains of central Japan, I was inspired to review the wonderful Psalm 19 and can now again quote it by heart. It was a real spiritual high to review it in the midst of His beautiful creation.

I got as far as Joestsu City which is about four fifths of my way home from Nagoya and took a train the rest of the way because of the inclement weather. This time of year in areas bordering the Sea of Japan it's frequently stormy with lots of rain and sometimes snow. It did snow in the mountains of Nagano when I passed through them during the final leg of this trip.

09/01/07 to 09/04/07 Tokyo 580KM 8
Family who took me
from Miyoshi SA to
Ozumi PA in Niigata
to Kyoto Station.
Yuna (3)

The purpose of this trip to Tokyo was to meet a Christian sister I knew from 33 years ago but have only seen once before in the last 30 years. She and her husband are missionaries who went to Thailand in 1978 and are now in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Due to a late start in the morning and a bit of waiting at Sakae PA, I arrived at Takasaka SA in Saitama which at 6PM. Takasaka is relatively close to Tokyo. It gets dark early in Japan so rather than continue to try to hitchhike further down the expressway, I opted instead to walk out the back pedestrian exit and walked in the direction of the nearest town hoping to find a train station. I had never been to that area before and had no idea how far away the station was. Usually when walking down lonely highways, when a car comes toward me from behind I'll turn around and stick out my thumb hoping for a ride.

A middle aged lady pulled up and asked me what was my problem. I explained that I just got off the expressway and was hoping to take a train the rest of the way to my destination, but had no idea where I was. I asked her for a ride but she was hesitant. However after a few minutes of talking to her, she agreed to take me to the nearest train station at Sakado City. It turned out she had traveled overseas many times and liked foreigners.

Monica holding
her Bible

When visiting an International Family Home in Noda City just north of Tokyo, I met up with Monica, a lady who has been a Christian for a few years now. Monica of course is not her legal name, but a Christian name given to her by a Family International disciple named Ezra. It turned out that I intended to visit Ezra's home the very next day and so I took her picture to show him. The New Testament she is holding in the photo was given to her by Ezra!

The two photos at the top of this section show the family who took me back to Niigata. The husband is a pharmaceutical researcher. I enjoy meeting scientists such as he is because they seem to understand best when I explain to them the false assumptions of Darwinian Evolution.

08/10/07 to 08/20/07 Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Ogaki (Gifu), Toyoto and Nagano 1310KM 24
Noriyuki and Tomoko
Noriyuki & Tomoko, who took
me from Owari-Ichinomiya PA
to Kyoto Station.
Bus full of ladies
A chartered bus of ladies
who sell imported bottled
water from Hawaii.
They took me to a parking
area near Toyota city.
Sports car
Man with two seater
sports car who took me
to Matsushiro PA near
Nagano city.

This was the longest trip with the most cars travelled in since keeping records from August 2003. I had to take some public transportation to save time in crowded city areas, but the total cost over the ten day period was only about $20. Had I taken public transportation the entire trip, it would have cost roughly $300. The toughest part was waiting for cars under the hot summer noon day sun in some of the hottest areas of Japan. God had mercy on me and I didn't have to wait too long for rides.

The first day I travelled to Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture to meet my good cyberspace friend, Brazilian Silvio, a Christian whose ancestors are from Germany. We have been in contact for nearly a year by email but I didn't even know what he looked like before we met. I stayed two nights with him and his Japanese wife and helped to fix their laptop PC installed with the free (free as in "free lunch") cutting edge technology Fedora 7 Linux operating system.

Noriyuki and his girlfriend Tomoko took me from Aichi Prefecture most of the way to Kyoto Station. I visited friends in Kyoto and Osaka.

A mother with her young son and daughter took me from Otsu PA near lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, up to Yoro SA. She said she became a Christian in her early 30s after a Korean lady in her neighborhood told her about Christ! Her husband later became sick from cancer and died, but she said that he received Jesus as his Savior two weeks before "graduation!"

From Yoro SA I hitchhiked to Ogaki city in Gifu Prefecture to visit my friend Philip from Gibraltar. He introduced me to a fascinating book he picked up from the library, "Mother Tongue, The English Language" by Bill Bryson. The temperature soared up to 41 degrees C (106F) in parts of Gifu the very next day!

A lady in charge of a chartered bus full of passengers on the way to Shizuoka offered me a ride. This is not very common and only the third or fourth time I was ever offered a ride in a bus. She offered me a nutritious Japanese style box lunch called obento, and a bottle of imported water from Hawaii that she sells. I'm pretty sure she's involved in a network marketing type of business.

A man with a foreign passenger took me to Shiojiri City in Nagano. It turned out that the foreigner, a young man from France, had also been hitchhiking! I was therefore the second hitchhiker the driver picked up that day. In my recollection this has only happened once before in all my years of hitchhiking.

07/27/07 Nagano, Tokyo 746KM 10

Yutaka, a son of a
real estate agent, who
took me from Takasaka
SA to Niigata.
Among the people of the 10 cars I rode in, one is a retired elderly man who went 40 kilometers out of his way to take me to the expressway, one is a high school physical education instructor, one is a Suntory Brewers engineer, three men are room designers, and one is a real estate agent.

It was pouring rain the day I wanted to return home from Tokyo. I took a short train ride from Ikebukero to Tsurumi which is the closest train station to Miyoshi PA on the Kan'etsu Expressway. It was still raining hard when I arrived at the station and so I waited till the rain subsided about an hour later. From Tsurumi I took a short bus ride to a bus stop closest to Miyoshi and walked 20 more minutes the rest of the way in the midst of a slight drizzle. From Miyoshi I got back home in only 3 rides with very little waiting.

07/16/07 Shirazawa Akita Prefecture to Niigata City 510KM 2
Mr. Yanagihara
Mr. Yanagihara (51) and his
fiance (23). They took me home
from Fukushima.
This morning I faced another long hitchhike back to Niigata city from Aomori. I decided to take a train part way bright and early in the morning to get to a road where it would be more likely to get a good ride. God blessed my efforts and the first car that picked me up said he was going all the way to Saitama near Tokyo on the expressway! This route is about 130 kilometers longer than traveling on highway route 7 but it's much faster because it's an expressway with no traffic lights! He took me to Adatara SA just before Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture. After waiting some 20 minutes, a man with his girlfriend picked me up going to the very town in Niigata I call home! He took me to the train station closest to my house where I had my bicycle parked. From there it was only a 5 minute ride by bike back home. I arrived home at 4:30 PM, six hours earlier than I did the previous week coming from the same location!
07/08/07 Aomori City to Niigata City 460KM 11
Lady who took me to Odate
Lady who took me to Odate
Mrs. Shirahata with her two daughters
Mrs. Shirahata with her two daughters

I had originally hoped to hitchhike to Tokyo on the Tohoku Expressway, but expressway road officials spotted me standing near the toll booth and asked me to leave. And so instead of Tokyo, I decided to return home to Niigata via Route 7 which is a low road passing through Akita and Yamagata. Though I had an early start at 8:30 AM, I knew I was facing a long trip of 460 kilometers (287 miles) with most cars going only a relatively short distance. Normally it would take me two days to hitchhike such a distance by low road. I have friends in Akita city which is 170 kilometers into my journey home and where I'm always welcome to stay. I knew I could get at least as far as Akita where I could spend the night. Even with good rides and little waiting, if I attempted to hitchhike all the way home that day I knew the last few hours of my journey would be after sundown. Because there is no daylight savings time in Japan, it gets dark relatively early just after 7PM. Unless I could catch my last ride to Niigata before sundown, I might wind up in some desolate area hitchhiking in the dark! It sure is a lot harder to hitchhike at night when people can't see you so well. And so I decided to pace myself to see how early I would arrive in Akita.

I caught the first 4 rides with very little waiting and went as far as Odate City in Akita prefecture. Among those who picked me up were two young ladies to whom I shared the Gospel with in much detail.

It took me about a hour waiting in the hot noon day sun in Odate before catching the next car. The man saw me earlier with the sign of my destination being Akita City, and because he was going back to Akita after finishing his business in Odate, he decided to pick me up if I was still waiting when he was done. I was so thankful to meet him! Going to Akita city in one ride from Odate is a considerable distance of over about 100 kilometers. He even went a bit out of his way past Akita city and drove me to an intersection from where he knew I was more apt to get a ride at least as far as the next city of Honjo.

It had taken me 6.5 hours to travel 40% of my journey and it was now 3PM with only 4 remaining hours of daylight with yet 270 kilometers to travel. I decided to 'go for the gold' and trust God to take me home that evening.

The next 5 cars took me as far as Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture. Among them was a lady, Miss Chika, who was with her parents. Chika spoke every good English and has some Christian background with is relatively rare in Japan.

At 4:35 PM a lady with her 11 year old son took me as far as Sakata City in Yamagata. But by the time I got to the other side of Tsuruoka city which is only 30 minutes drive further down the road, it was already 6:20 PM. I still had 170 kilometers left to go with only 50 minutes before sunset! The sky would be totally dark after about 90 minutes. I needed a major miracle with one good final ride taking me the rest of the way home or I would wind up hitchhiking in darkness. That miracle came 35 minutes later when Mrs. Shirahata with her two teenage daughters offered me a ride all the way back to Niigata city! I arrived home 10:30 PM that evening.

Living by faith is so much fun! You know that God will provide. You just don't know when or by whom until it comes.

06/15/07 Shiojiri City Nagano, Soka City Saitama (near Tokyo) 600KM 11
Two angels.
Two angels who brought me on my way.
Mr. Shimada
Mr. Shimada, a YMCA Chairman
Family from Okinawa
Family from Okinawa

This was one of the best hitchhiking trips I had in some time with very time spent little waiting for rides. I just turned 57 and began to have doubts recently whether people would continue to pick me up or not. God really encouraged me this trip and I think I have still a good many years to go before I "retire". :-)

At an expressway parking area, a man saw me holding the paper sign of my destination of Nagano and so he offered me a ride. At first I thought he would take me to the parking area closest to my destination, but he happened to be going to the very city I needed to go and so took me right to door of my friend's home! I consider this a little miracle because it was about 200 kilometers away!

On Sunday June 17, 2007, a Christian and the chairman of a local YMCA, Mr. Shimada, took me about 100 kilometers on my way to Saitama near Tokyo. It turns out that he met a member of my Christian fellowship about 10 years previously and had just thought of that person the previous Wednesday. I consider it to be one of God's setups for him to pick me up at this time! Mr. Shimada so far has been the only Japanese Christian I met hitchhiking who asked to have a word of prayer with me just before leaving him. He prayed for my safe journey and I prayed for the speech he was the give about the subject of miracles at the YMCA conference. After returning home, I was able to get Mr. Shimada back in touch with his friend.

A family from Okinawa took me to the famous "Electric Town" of Tokyo known as Akihabara. I had intended to go to Akihabara to buy a used computer part after finishing my business in Soka City near Tokyo, but because the Okinawa family happened to pass though Akihabara, they saved me time and transportation money. From Akihabara I took a short train ride the rest to my destination.

Among the others who picked me up on the return trip to Niigata, were a family from South Korea, 3 young men, a mother of 4 and grandmother of 6 who was raised in a movie theater and loved the classics (10 Commandments, Ben Hur), 2 young ladies, a manager of a drive in food chain, and two businessmen. Because one of the rides was going to Toyama (200 kilometers south of Niigata city), I returned to Niigata by a route that was 100 kilometers longer than the one I normally take. However I also ended up 100 kilometers closer to home. Though I knew it would take longer, I wasn't in a hurry and knew I would meet more people by taking the longer route giving me more opportunities to share the Message of Christ.

03/23/07 Tokyo 580KM 8
A nurse who picked me up
Eiko, a nurse and mother.
A couple on their honeymoon
A couple on their honeymoon

Armed with a couple dozen of "Watch out for 666!" tracts and Activated magazines, I began another hitchhike adventure to Tokyo which is located approximately 300 kilometers (188 miles) from my home. All of the 8 drivers who picked me up received the tracts, but only half of them knew that the number 666 represents the Antichrist of Revelation chapter 13. The ones who knew about 666 said they learned it from the Hollywood film, "Omen".

Two of the drivers were ladies. One of them, Eiko, is a young mother who is a nurse working in a hospital. Her 6 month old baby was in the back seat. (Photo above)

A couple on their honeymoon traveling to Yokohama took me most of the way to Tokyo. I hope to see them again because they live in a town near my home.

A man with a beard, Mr. Tomita, took me most of the way on my return. It's not common for Japanese men to wear beards unless they are either artists, musicians, or have some type of skill that permits them a bit of freedom from conventional Japanese society. Mr. Tomita makes hand man leather goods.

Mr. Tomita took me to a city about 60 kilometers from home and dropped me off on the main highway going toward home. I thought to take a train the rest of the way, but the train station was a bit too far away to walk to. I could have hitchhiked to the station but because it was only 4PM and still bright outside, I opted to go for the gold and hitchhike a bit further up the road. I was glad I did because a young man, Mr. Wada who is a university student studying biotechnology picked me up. I love meeting highly educated people, and especially those who study something related to God's creation because it is easy to expose the lies of the doctrine of Darwinism to them. Mr. Wada acknowledged that some branches of science, especially biology and astronomy, are based on unprovable postulations. He said he chose to major in biotechnology because it is the most mysterious branch of science. He agreed that DNA could not have be made by chance, and conceded it had to be created by a Supreme Being. I explained who Jesus is, why He died on the cross, and the responsibility man has toward God, namely to acknowledge Him, thank Him, and accept His Son Jesus as their savior. All these concepts are new to most Japanese, but they do readily acknowledge that if God is the Creator of all things, they should say "thank you" to Him for their many blessings.

12/28/06 Tokyo and surounding areas 550KM 17
Mrs. Okazaki
Mrs. Okazaki, a nurse who took
me about 50 kilometers

Today was the 300th hitchhike adventure since keeping stats from Aug. 2, 2003. It was raining hard around 9AM but seemed to clear up at around 10, and so I hopped on my bicycle and road a couple kilometers to the main highway. An elderly man with his young grandson picked me up almost immediately and took me about 10 kilometers down the road. It started to rain again so I bought an umbrella. It nearly broke because of the high gusts of wind!

The next driver was a bank president, perhaps the very first one who ever picked me up! I asked him how his business was doing and he replied, "Badly!" I said, "But the government says that the economy is on the upswing again! "Only in the metropolitan areas like Tokyo and Osaka!"

Shi and Takuya
Shi and Takuya, a young couple
who returned my camera.

The bank president took me as far as Kamo City where I got stuck in the rain for about an hour. There was a MacDonald's on the corner so I spent some time there hoping the rain would stop. I was still only about 15 kilometers into my journey of 300 kilometers, and though I was tempted to return home, I didn't want to because that would mean defeat.

The rain stopped around 11:30AM and I resumed my journey. A lady who said she is a police detective took me to the expressway interchange.

The driver who took me most of the way to Tokyo on the expressway told me that he experienced 5 major earthquakes to date: Sendai in 1978 (I lived in Sendai up to just 2 months before the earthquake), Akita in 1983, Hachinohe in 1994, Kobe in 1995, and Niigata in 2004 - the only one I experienced. I would say it is quite unusual for anybody to have been in 5 earthquakes because these areas are quite far from each other except for Aomori and Akita which are bordering prefectures.

Mrs. Okazaki san, a nurse, took me down the Kan'etsu expressway as far as Kamisato. I told her in detail the Good News of Jesus Christ and the meaning of His death on the Cross, and she said that she believes! I found that nurses in Japan are some of the most receptive people to the Gospel. It could be because they have a lot of love and compassion for strangers in need, and all true love ultimately comes from God.

A family
A family who took me to Rt. 16
in Kashiwa city, Chiba Prefecture

The main hazard of hitchhiking for me is leaving personal possessions in the car. During this trip I nearly lost two items, a camera and my wallet! I left the camera in the back seat of the car of a young couple who I had wanted to photograph, and didn't realize the camera wasn't with me when I got off! I only knew that I had promised to take their photo, but forgot. It turned out that they returned to the spot where I was hitchhiking after turning around, and so I yelled out that I forgot to take their photo! It was a major highway and so the driver pulled to the side and I frantically searched my bag for the camera, but couldn't find it. I ran to the car and the driver turned around and saw my camera still on the back seat, and so he handed it to me and I immediately snapped the photo.

I left my wallet in a truck and realized it a few seconds after the truck driver pulled out! Thankfully the driver, Mr. Matsuura, was a very friendly man and we exchanged cell phone numbers before I disembarked. And so I was able to immediately phone him before he got too far away. He made a U-turn and brought my wallet back. I didn't have much money in it, but important IDs including my Alien Registration Card, and I was thankful I didn't have to go through the trouble to apply for that card again. As a foreigner, I am required by law to carry it with me at all times.

10/13/06 Tokyo, Ogaki City, Gifu 1193KM 19
Megumi who took me from
Matsumoto to Obasute PA
Three young people who took me to the expressway enterance at Numazu, Shizuoka
Three young people who took me to
the expressway entrance at Numazu, Shizuoka
On a charter bus
A charter bus that took me part way on my journey.

I hitchhiked to Tokyo and took trains to Numazu city in Shizuoka Prefecture. From there I hitchhiked down the Tomei Expressway to Oogaki City in Gifu Prefecture which is not far from Nagoya. This trip took me over the 50,000 kilometer mark since keeping statistics from Aug. 2003.

While hitchhiking at Owari-Ichinomiya SA of the Meishin Expressway, the driver of a charter bus full of ladies just returning from a Shinto Shrine offered to take me to the exact exit on the expressway that I intended to get off at! I consider this a real miracle of God's supply because charter bus companies have rules not to pick up extra passengers, and so I usually never even bother to ask them for a ride.

On the return trip, a beautiful young girl named Megumi picked me up and listened intently to the Gospel. She reacted with wonder hearing that Jesus was executed as a criminal through innocent of any crime or sin! And so she willingly prayed with me to receive Jesus as her Savior!

08/27/06 Kyoto 1105KM 16
Mr. Tokuno from Kobe
Mr. Tokuno from Kobe
Mr. Nakamura from Nagano
Mr. Nakamura, a truck driver

It is normally easier to hitchhike to the Kyoto / Osaka (Kansai) area down the Hokuriku Expressway bordering the Sea of Japan, but because a man offered to take me as far as Ichinomiya which is a good 450 kilometers or about 2/3s of my destination to Kyoto, I took up his offer and took the route through the mountains of Nagano. I spent 3 days visiting friends in Kyoto and Osaka.

On the way back Mr. Tokuno from Kobe picked me up in a '85 Ford Bronco. He was dressed like a cowboy and says he likes all things related to the American West. I had quite a deep discussion with him about spiritual things and the Bible. Mr. Tokuno treated me to lunch before taking me to a good spot to continue my journey. After that I met Mr. Nakamura who was driving a large truck. He may come to visit me some day on his Harley.

Mr. & Mrs. Ebara
Mr. & Mrs. Ebara who took
me toward Joetsu.
Nobuo, son of a man who invited me to his home in Kashiwazaki
Nobuo of Kashiwazaki

The night before returning home I stopped at Kashiwazaki and stayed overnight with the Iizuka family. Mr. Iizuka picked me up hitchhiking during my Aug. 11 trip to Tokyo (see below) and I became not only his friend but his son Nobuo's friend. Nobuo is an English teacher and is interested in reading and learning the Bible. I didn't have a full Japanese Bible to give him, and it is hard to even buy a Bible in his small town, but God supplied him one right from a bookshelf in his parent's summer house when he took me there to show me around! Nobuo called it a coincidence but I considered it a real miracle considering his family is not Christian but Shinto!

08/11/06 Tokyo 415KM 10

I started this hitchhiking adventure an hour later than planned because I was asked to do a job to clean out a drainage ditch. I requested it be done on another day but then felt so selfish for refusing, I did it anyway. It was true that my schedule was not that tight. I just didn't want to have to hitchhike under the hot mid day August sun!

The first 2 cars picked me up with very little waiting time and took me as far as the expressway entrance, but I ended up waiting nearly 2 hours under the hot afternoon sun waiting for a car to take me on the expressway! Four cars did stop and offered to take me, but because they were going in the opposite direction, I turned down their offer. However I decided to grab the 5th vehicle even if was going in the opposite direction knowing that there is a parking area 20 kilometers away and I could walk to the other side. I did this before on occasion. And this is exactly what happened.

By the time I got to the expressway parking, it was after 3PM and I was still 300 kilometers or several hours travel from Tokyo. A man going to Kashiwazaki picked me up. Kashiwazaki is a small city on the Sea of Japan and is not on the way to Tokyo, but because I knew of another parking area just past the point of entrance to the expressway where I first was waiting for a ride, I asked him to take me to that parking area. But that would mean only about about 5 kilometers further toward Tokyo though nearly 3 hours had elapsed! I nearly wanted to abort my trip that day and return home, and had the opportunity to do so because the previous driver was actually going near my home, but to do so would be admitting failure and defeat. I knew that God's delays are not necessarily His denials and that sometimes when I have to wait a long time it just means that He has somebody special prepared for me! And He had!

The driver on the way to Kashiwazaki turned out to be a wealthy real estate broker and asked me to come spend the night at his house and help his son with his English teaching. He said that if I came and helped his son, he would pay for my fare to Tokyo the next day! I accepted. And so I made some new friends. The man wants me to come regularly to Kashiwazaki from now on. The next day I rode the super fast "Bullet" train to Tokyo. Normally unless I'm in a real hurry, I don't want to spend the money to ride on a bullet train because the fare is rather expensive. But my new friend bought the ticket for me.

Part of this trip took me a little north of Tokyo to Tochigi Prefecture. Two ladies picked me up, one middle aged and the other her elderly mother. The younger lady spoke to her mother in sign language.

Kazuhiro and Airi
"Clever Kazu", Airi, and "Crazy Kazu"

After that two young men around 21 years old picked me up. They said they could take me as far as the next town of Koga city, but ended up taking me nearly twice the distance as far as Kasukabe city. Both of their names are Kazuhiro. The driver said for me to call him "Crazy Kazu" and his friend said to call him "Clever Kazu."

Clever Kazu used his cellphone to call his girlfriend, Airi, and arranged to pick her up. Airi lived 3 years in NYC with her parents when she was younger, and spoke good English. I had a great time talking to these young people about who Jesus is and they all prayed with me to receive Him as their Savior!

Hasegawa Hiroshi and his wife Satomi
Hasegawa Satomi and her husband Hiroshi

On the way back home 5 days later a young married couple, Mr and Mrs. Hasegawa, picked me up and asked me why I was hitchhiking. I told them that hitchhiking is one of my hobbies and that I post my adventures on my web site. The driver, Mr Hasegawa, pulled over to the side of the road a minute later and brought out his laptop computer with a wireless Internet connection and accessed my Japanese web page! They saw the photos of other people who pick me up and the things I wrote about them and knew I was telling the truth. I tell you, having your own web site is a great resource to prove your credibility! :-)

Mr. and Mrs. Okabe who took me from Nagano to Niigata on June 4, 2006, saw me hitchhiking near Sanjo IC and offered me a ride. I knew I met them somewhere before but couldn't quite remember. It's not too often I run into the same people twice when hitchhiking.

07/04/06 Niigata City 37KM 2

Mrs. Ogawara, a housewife, took me part way to my destination. She says that she read the Bible in her youth and is interested in attending our Sunday fellowship meetings for Bible study!

On the return trip an older man picked me up. He lamented how the Japanese society has degradated due to American influence. Before WW2 children used to respect parents and honor their ancestors. Not nearly as much today.

06/30/06 Aomori City 585KM 22 Two boys who took me toward Takanosu Mt. Chokai in between Akita and Yamagata Truck carrying steel girders that took me to Sakata

Photos left to right: A truck carrying heavy steel girders that took me as far as Sakata City in Yamatata Perfecture, a view of Mount Chokai between Yamagata and Akita Prefectures, and two young men who took me a short distance.

On the way up north, 5 ladies in a row offered me a ride, and two of them had children under 5 years old with them (one was an infant). I accepted a ride from only 3 of them because the other two were not going very far.

In Sakata City Yamagata Prefecture, two policemen approached me and wrote down all my legal information. I happened to be hitchhiking in front of the police station and they saw me! There was no problem with me hitchhiking. They were merely checking for visa over stayers and were very friendly.

The first night I got as far as Akita City. The last man to pick me up said he biked from NYC to San Francisco. It took him 2 months. He said he had a pleasant experience in the USA until the very end when he was knifed and robbed.

In Aomori I met a young man named Aki who spoke good English and who says he majored in anthropology in college. I asked Aki if the theory of evolution is related to anthropology and he replied yes. You can imagine what a fun time I had debunking that false old fashion outdated 19th. so called "science" of Darwin to Aki! He of course heard all the arguments for Creationism before and proceeded to ask me theological questions like, "What is God's Name?". Aki took me as far as Odate in Akita Prefecture.

This trip was nearly as long a distance as the one I made on June 22, but unfortunately had to abort hitchhiking part way on the return trip due to heavy rain in Akita Prefecture.

06/26/06 Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture 42KM 2
Miss Sumie
Went for a short one day trip to fix my friend's faulty Internet connection. Miss Sumie took me as far as Kamo City. She called herself a "M.R." meaning medical representative. I told her that I try to stay away from drugs and medicines and live a clean life by following God's principles of health from the Bible: Good food, clean water, enough rest, good exercise (I walk a lot) and faith in Jesus Christ. She agreed that natural God given ways are the best ways. From Kamo two security workers picked me up and took me practically to the door of my destination.
06/22/06 Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture 1118KM 22 Deer on expresswayShida san and Sato san(Photos: Miss Shida and Mr. Sato, took me from Sakata City to Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture, A deer on the expressway near Noshiro City, Akita Prefecture.) This was a longer than usual trip heading north on mostly regular roads near the Sea of Japan. I allowed 2 days to get to Misawa to be on trip for my appointment, but was able to return in 1 day. Among the 22 vehicles, 3 were trucks. One of the truck drivers was only 19 years old! Five of the vehicles took me a considerable distance of at least 120 kilometers (75 miles) which is very good on a normal road. On on return trip I thought to take a different route, an expressway going toward Sendai. This is a considerable distance from North to South but not heading exactly my direction toward Niigata. After waiting a considerable time from 8:00AM to 10:30AM with no results, I opted to take the route I came down the Sea of Japan - slow but sure. I'm a firm believer in the principle of, "Where God guides, He also provides" - a principle which has proven true over and over again in my life of serving Jesus. Sure enough, once I headed the way the Lord wanted me to go, I got rides one after the other and was back in Niigata by 8PM in only 5 rides. Pretty good for a distance of 475 kilometer (297 miles). One of the drivers, Mr. Yaguchi, a retired high school teacher. said over and over again how fortunate he was to see me and pick me up! Mr. Yaguchi took me a long distance all the way to Sakata city in Yamagata. We were surprised to see a young deer on the expressway!
06/10/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 527KM 15 Mai and Ai, twin sisters Mai, Katsuya and Ai Tomohiko and Kaori Five year old boy

Photos from left to right: Mai and Ai, 19 year old twin sisters / Mai, her 33 year old husband Katsuya, Ai who took me to Tokamachi / Tomohiko and Kaori who took me to Midoriko / a five year old boy whose grandmother was driving who took me to Shiojiri. On the return trip I met a second time the tsukemono truck driver who picked me up last month. He said he read the literature I gave him. The last ride home was from a 24 year old young man from Hiroshima who poured out his problems about his girlfriend. He is working only temporarily in Niigata which is far from Hiroshima. His girlfriend says now she is not willing to leave Niigata even though they marry. Doesn't sound like a good match to me.

This may be my last trip to Nagano for a while. The wedding company I was working for went bankrupt! I'm not sure I will even get paid for the 2 and a half months I worked. But I'm not worried. I trust God for finances, have no debts, and live within my income. That, I consider, is the only way to stay free from NWO control.

06/05/06 Niigata city 32KM 3 Two young ladies, Shizu (24) and Chris (28), took me a little more than half way to my destination. I shared the Message of Christ with them and asked them if they would believe. They said it is very interesting but they need to think about it more.
06/02/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 520KM 8

I met again the same English speaking teacher who picked me up last week! He said he read the tract I gave him about Heaven. Because of the rise in crime in this country grammar school children are warned by their teachers not to talk to strangers. The man told me he once asked a child for directions and the child immediately ran away from him!

A VP of a large software company went a few miles out of his way to take me to my destination. He says he is greatly interested in religion (which is rare for most Japanese), and especially in Buddhism because it takes in all religions. He said that most Japanese no reason for living other than their jobs and families. They get depressed when they have too much free time. I told him I was like that too until I came to know real salvation in Jesus Christ, and that Buddhists too can believe on Jesus as their Lord and Savior! He didn't debate that.

On the return trip I debated whether to take a short train ride to get to an expressway parking area or to hitchhike from my usual spot in Chino city, I'm so glad I chose the latter because within minutes after arrival to the traffic light a middle aged couple driving a car with Niigata license plates took me 92% of the way back home! This is excellent because usually I can go no further than 7% of the distance from that particular point in a single ride. They expressed amazment that the timing was just perfect to meet me, and I told them how blessed I was to meet them! Their two daughters are living in the USA and the eldest daughter is married to a man who is a domestic airline pilot. They met at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Since the Iraq war the tuition doubled for foreign students at that university forcing half of them to return to their home countries being able to pay the tuition.

05/26/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 495KM 13 The return trip began with a cloudy day. Just minutes after starting to hitchhike it began to pour down rain! I was in a desperate situation holding an unbrella while clutching my belongings close to keep them from getting wet and praying for God to rescue me. The Lord sent two of His Angels, Christian ladies from Brazil who gladly picked me up! They were on their way to church! I also pioneered a new way to get to the Azusagawa SA. The last ride was from a young single couple who both listened intently to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, said they wanted to believe, and prayed with me to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior!
05/23/06 Niigata City, Terao 44KM 3 One man went way out of his way to take me to my destination. The last man was one of the rare Japanese with a Christian background. I could tell his spirit is different from most Japanese and he readily listened to what I shared with him from the Bible. I gave him a music CD for which he thanked me.
05/19/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 392KM 9 A mini van filled with tools in the back stopped at Sanjo IC to pick me up. He said, "You've ridden in this car before, haven't you?" I then recognized him and remembered he picked me up last year! On the return trip a young man who is a student took me a short distance. He was quite interested to hear me share some historical events from the Bible and immediately brought up the "Omega Code". This film is now highly popular in Japan. I'm glad because it opens more doors and opportunities to me to tell the Japanese of God's true history "His Story" and debunk the Omega Code for being yet another false Hollywood mind control beguilement.
05/12/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 542KM 13 I met again Yoshiko, a former Jehovah Witness, who picked me up the first time Oct. 15, 2005! After one year with them she doesn't want to have anything more to do with "religion". It is sad that she was brainwashed against having a real relationship with the Almighty. On the return trip a well dressed man and his wife picked me up at Yoneyama SA and took me to Niigata city - nearly all the way home. The car was a brand new Chrysler! I suspect that the man is involved with the Japanese Mafia which is called yakuza. Foreign cars are expensive, about double what he would have paid in the USA. The man was highly interested in what I had to say about the New World Order and seemed to agree with most of it.
05/03/06 Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture 236KM 7 A man with his young son took me to Sanjo. He said that his boy told him to pick me up because I needed help! A couple went out of their way to take me to Tokamachi. The husband is a prosecuting attorney! I think he is the first one I've ever met. I proceeded to ask him a flood of questions but he didn't seem too interested to talk about his job.
04/26/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 484KM 12 A truck stopped and the lady passenger got out and asked me if I had a gun! I told her I am a Christian and do not carry firearms. (It's illegal in Japan to carry weapons.) She and her boyfriend, Mr. Fukuda took me as far as Echigokawaguchi, the area hit by the Oct 2005 Niigata earthquake. Mr. Fukuda plays a musical instriment and has often played in churches. They would like to see me again. On the return trip a young man in a two seater sports car took me home. It's pretty rare to get picked up in a two seater! If I remember correctly, my average is about 1 out of a 1000 vehicles.
04/21/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 370KM 9 It was a windy and rainy day. My umbrella nearly broke with the force of the wind as I started out. In minutes a car stopped and offered to take me part way to the next city, but because it continued to rain I asked him instead to take me to a train station. Unfortunately we both misjudged and I got off 3 to 4 kilometers from the station! A friendly gas station attendant saw my plight standing in the rain trying to hitchhike and so he took me to the station. From there I took a train about a 1/3 of the way to Shiojiri. By that time it had stopped raining and so was able to hitchhiked the rest.
04/14/06 Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture 488KM 10

A family belonging to a zealous Buddhist organization called Sokkagakkai took me about 50 kilometers. Sokkagakkai differs from other Buddhists sects in that they are very intolerant of other religions, and especially Christianity! But they were friendly and polite and turned out to be acquaintances of a person I know! When meeting such people I first listen to what they have to say, and after they talk themselves out I then present what the Bible has to say about real salvation in Christ.

On the return trip two businessmen going to Utsunomiya took me to the exit ramp near my home. Because they could not exit the expressway, I had run down the exit ramp to a point where I could climb down a hill -- in the dark -- and then climb a 1.5 meter fence to get to the city street below. I have to do this to avoid passing the toll booth. The toll booth masters tend to get upset when they see pedestrians walking along the exit ramp and so I avoid them when at all possible. :-)

04/04/06 Tokyo, then Nagano 703KM 11 A three day trip! I hitchhiked in areas I've never been to before. The distance travelled would have been longer had I not had to take a train from Nadachitanihama. The Nadachitanihama SA is not a very good one to hitchhike at, and especially so after dark! And so I walked 45 minutes to the train station. But because that particular expressway service area is on a mountain, the walk was a gentle decline most of the way which made it less rigorous, even carrying luggage.
04/03/06 Niigata International Airport 44KM 2 A young mother with her two year old son took me as far as Niigata City, and from there I grabbed a bus the rest of the way. Approximately 7% of drivers who pick me up have children under 5 years of age in the back seat. I bet I couldn't get anywhere close to that hitchhiking in the US of A. I like keeping these kinds of statistics because it shows what a safe country Japan still is. But things are getting bad just like the rest of the world, sad to say.
03/25/06 Niigata City 10KM 1 A young man went out of his way to take me home. I shared the Good News with him.

Did you like this page? Please write and tell me about it! Or if you see any typos, misspellings or bad grammar I would appreciate hearing about it so I can correct it. Also, please check out the other articles on this site.

[ Home James Japan ] [Most recent adventure ]