Oct. 6, 2010: Today was one of those “as good as it gets” experiences when hitchhiking in Japan. I traveled on a rainy day in 6 cars some 250 kilometers from Niigata to Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku area. It was ALL on normal highway! Usually I try to catch cars that are going on the expressway, but I learned from experience that it’s not easy to do so going from Niigata. There are too few cars going east on the Ban’etsu expressway that goes to Fukushima. Route 49 is slower but surer.
My purpose was to visit friends to fix their PC. The hard disk on their PC was registering an Ultra DMA CRC error count of 9478, and I believed that to be the cause of it failing from time to time.
The rain was light and intermittent. I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem. Normally I try to avoid hitchhiking in the rain, but I had a certain schedule to follow that made traveling today unavoidable.
A truck driver, Mr. Miura, took me in a single ride from Niigata to Route 4 near Koriyama city in Fukushima. He was driving a rather large truck. It’s pretty rare these days for truck drivers to stop for me. I couldn’t be in a better situation than to go directly to Route 4, for it was well over half way to my destination and a straight shot to Sendai.
On Route 4, the first driver was 22 year old Takeshi. He took me to the Nihonmatsu interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. Takeshi told me that the people of Fukushima are very kind, and I certainly found that to be true considering the ones I met later! He would have taken me as far as Fukushima, but I had hoped to catch a car going on the Tohoku expressway and save a bit of time. After waiting some minutes at the expressway entrance, I realized I made a mistake. There were too few cars going on the expressway and it was likely I would have to wait a few long time to catch a ride. I walked back to Route 4 which was a good kilometer away from the interchange.
The next driver, Mr. Motoyuki, (27) said he used to be a professional boxer but quit after too many losses. Now he sells supplies to beauty salons. Mr. Motoyuki took me to Fukushima city.
The next driver was a man who sells motorbikes. He took me to Mikuni.
After about 15 minutes standing at a traffic light with an umbrella over my head during a light rain, a man pulled up and offered me a ride. He saw my sign, turned around and came back from me. His name is Mr. Aizawa. Though he had just come from Sendai, some 70 kilometers further, he offered to take me there, all the way to my destination! This meant he was willing to go 140 kilometers out of his way just to help me! I protested saying that I didn’t want to trouble him, but he insisted saying he wanted to help a person in need. Mr. Aizawa is a caretaker for elderly people. I often get rides from people whose job it is to care for others. I had a great time sharing with Mr. Aizawa basic truths from the Bible, especially from the first 3 chapters of the book of Genesis, and he seemed to enjoy and appreciate it.