July 29: I needed to go this day to Aomori city, 470 kilometers from my home in Niigata. It was raining hard. I attempted to take the very first train out at 6:16AM but after arriving at the station was told that all trains were stopped on that particular train line. When a rainfall reaches a certain level, the railroad company cancels all trains to make time to check the tracks. Landslides due to heavy rain are not uncommon in Japan.
To make any progress at all, I need to take a different line using going a slightly different direction but which would take to me the main station of Niigata city where another train line going to Murakami city would take me further. But due to heavy rains, that train had to stop at Nakajo, about 2/3s of the way to Murakami.
I’m now in a do or die situation. It was imperative that I be in Aomori city that evening. My only recourse was to hitchhike. It continued to rain hard for the first 30 minutes after arriving to Nakajo, but then the rain subsided to the point I could walk outside with an umbrella.
The day turned out to be another miracle day of hitchhiking! Six drivers took me as far as Noshiro city in Akita Prefecture. It was 5:30PM by the time I got to Noshiro, just in time to take a train the rest of the way arriving in Aomori at 8PM. Five of the six drivers went out of their way for me! One man went as far as 1 hour or about 60 kilometers to take me to Yamagata Prefecture. The last two drivers, a young man and young lady want to see me again, and they will therefore be meeting each other for the first time when they do when I pass through Akita city again next month.