October 14, 2009: Today I went to Sendai via the same route I took on my adventure to Aomori via Fukushima on Sept. 17, 2009. I thought it would be a piece of cake considering that Sendai is only 290 kilometers or a bit less than half the distance to Aomori. This time, however, I got stuck at Aizuwakamatsu City in Fukushima for nearly a couple hours both going to Sendai and on the way back home. In spite of that, the wonderful people I met along the way made it all worth while.
After walking 30 minutes from home to the main road, a young man, Hiroshi Tazawa picked me up and took me to the next town 10 kilometers further. Hiroshi encouraged me to take a bus or train, but I told him I only had about 3500 yen in my pocket (about $40 US), not nearly enough for even a one way trip! He responded, “Isn’t it a bit reckless to travel with so little money?”
“No, not at all” I answered. “I’m a professional hitchhiker. I have more than enough money for this trip.” Nevertheless Hiroshi felt sorry for me and gave me 1000 yen out of his pocket.
I left home at noon but only made it as far as Lake Inawashiro by 6PM. This is only 90 some kilometers from home, not even half the distance to Sendai. It was already dark. After 45 minutes wait at the parking area, two businessmen pulled up and asked what I was doing. I gave the driver my business card and explained I was going to Sendai. They took me as far as Sendai station and from there I took a short train the rest of the way.
One of the men said he would never have picked me up had he been alone for security reasons. I told him that over half of the rides I get are from men traveling alone, 15% of the rides are from women, and some of them are young mothers with small children in the back seat! The man was absolutely dumbfounded to hear that! Ironically on the return trip, 3 different women picked me up, and one was a mother with two young children in the back!
The most exciting part of this trip was meeting again Mr. Eiji Tsukita, the same man who took me to Sendai on Sept. 17! I was waiting for a ride at Sendai Minami interchange when he came. The first time he took me from Aizuwakamatsu to Sugo parking area just before Sendai, and this time we met at Sendai Minami on the way back! Eiji rejoiced to see me because he said that only 4 hours after he dropped me off at Sugo, he got a job offer and is now employed again! Eiji’s father said that good fortune blessed him because he was kind to me. I immediately gave the credit to God and said it was because of Jesus. Eiji told me he never picked up a hitchhiker before but when he first saw me on Sept. 17th, he went past me and then turned around feeling something in his heart that he needed to help me. I told him this was no accident, it was God speaking to him.
Eiji said over and over it was a miracle to meet up with me again. I agreed for I told him I left the area briefly to ask someone how far away the Sugo parking area is. I thought to walk there if no more than 3 kilometers distance, but when a taxi driver told me Sugo was 10 kilometers away, I turned back and waited again at the expressway entrance. Just a couple minutes later Eiji pulled up. He took me to Koriyama city from where I hitchhiked the rest of the way home on route 49. Eiji said that he would even take me all the way home if he had time. He read the Activated Magazine I gave him the first time. I gave him my extra copy of a Japanese New Testament after I signed and dated it.