On the Road Again and Better than a Radio: Wednesday 29th June

This morning I got up early and went about exploring the island paradise that is Naoshima. As well as a couple of pretty spectacular modern art museums, there is a collection of art pieces built around one of the villages on the island that is a lot of fun, and well worth wandering the streets to find them all. At around midday I decided to get the ferry across to Uno, on mainland Honshu. My plan was to set off hitchhiking back to Tokyo, seeing how far I could get by the end of the day. I struck gold almost instantaneously, as I had attempted to flag down one of the disembarking cars, and they were able to take me to Okayama (again!), so that I could get onto the highway and begin the long trek home.

Naoshima: Literally an island paradise.

After waiting at Okayama for around 15 minutes I was picked up by a chap who was currently relocating to Yokkaichi (about 300 km from Okayama), and we had a very enjoyable chat for the 3 hours or so that we were together. At the beginning of the conversation I mentioned that I liked the music that was playing, trying to be polite, and so I we were then treated to every Eminem song in existence, twice. I don’t even think that he really liked rap music, but I had obviously given the impression that I was an avid fan. At Yokkaichi I turned down a lift to Nagoya, hoping to get a little bit further than 50km or so. However, after another 20 minutes or so of waiting I was beginning to loose faith, when who should appear but a scrap metal merchant who offered to take me all the way to Tokyo. As well as buying me something to eat and drink (I really need to shave as I obviously look destitute), he drove me the 400km not just to Tokyo, but also to my door! I didn’t have the words in English, let alone Japanese to thank him, but he said that it was a pleasure, and that I had been better than a radio, which I’m guessing is a good thing! So, after 5 days, 4 islands, and almost 3000 km my first hitchhiking experience in Japan has come to an end. The two main things I have learnt are: 1) The Japanese are the kindest people in the world. 2) Hitchhiking is bloody brilliant for practicing one’s conversational skills! Although if I have to tell one more person that the British don’t survive solely on a diet of fish & chips and English Breakfasts…


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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