Today marked the beginning of a week’s holiday from school, and so I decided to hitchhike to Kyushu, the most South Westerly of Japan’s four main islands, and at approximately 1100km from Tokyo, it was certainly going to be a challenge. At my first hitching point I was informed that I was on the wrong side of the motorway, not the best of starts, but things soon get better as I managed to get a ride all the way from Tokyo to Kyoto (about 450km and 5 hours) with the same family, who also bought me lunch, and insisted that I meet up with them when I return to Tokyo; in all honesty I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
From Kyoto it was a little harder going, and it took an age to get just past Kobe (about 75 km from Kyoto). However I was then picked up by an elderly couple, who bought me dinner, and put my advertised claims of an ‘Englishman who can speak Japanese’ to the test, with a series of questions that made my recent listening exam seem like a treat. At one point they told me that they had been somewhere before they picked me up. Not recognising the word, I asked if it had been fun, to which the answer was a resounding no: turns out they’d been to a funeral. By the time it got to 11 pm I was beat, so I got a cab into the nearest city (Okayama), and spent the night in a capsule hotel. Whilst the hotel was perfectly clean and comfortable, it was just bizarre, and I felt like some kind of giant hamster. All in all I travelled about 700km today, so I have (fingers crossed) definitely broken the back of the journey.