July 16, 2012: The previous day I sprained my back while on the road in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. This morning when rising at 5:20 a.m. from the bed in the capsule hotel where I spent the night, an excruciating lower back pain greeted me. It was difficult to stand up and walk. To make matters worse, though I expected the weather to be fair and sunny, a low pressure front reached Aomori causing heavy precipitation from time to time. Nevertheless my goal was to return home to Niigata, and to hitchhike as much of the distance I could.
After checking out of the hotel at 6 a.m. I walked 30 minutes slowly to the train station pushing my luggage with wheels while putting some of my weight on it with one hand in an attempt to alleviate back pain while holding an umbrella in my other hand. The rain was constant but not too heavy. At Hirosaki Station I bought a 320 yen ticket to Nagamine station as I usually do and caught the 6:51 a.m. train. Hopefully the rain would stop upon arrival at Nagamine 25 minutes later. Because it did not, I not to get off at Nagamine but go as far as Shirazawa Station which is just before Odate City and on the other side of the mountains on the border of Akita and Aomori Prefecture. From experience I knew the weather may be different on the opposite side of the mountains. It was not. The rain was even heavier. Rather than go further and spend more money for the train, I got off at Shirasawa hoping and praying for a change in weather. The tiny Shirasawa station was only 20 or meters away from Route 7, a place to flee back to in case of a downpour. Because the station is small, it is unmanned to save the railroad operating costs. Only large train stations in Japan have a staff. There were no passengers waiting for trains. I laid down on the bench in the station waiting room trying to relieve back pain, but the bench was hard and uncomfortable. It was not a place I could rest.
I walked to Route 7 and began to hitchhike. Though today was a Monday, it was the end of a three day holiday with traffic from prefectures as far as Mie which is past Nagoya. I saw several cars with Niigata license plates.
The rain constantly changed from a light drizzle to torrents. After fleeing several times from the road back to the train station for refuge, I found a building next to the road with an overhanging roof just large enough to protect me and my luggage from the rain. There I stood holding my umbrella for the next two hours while sticking out my thumb to on coming traffic. Though much of the traffic was local, there were plenty of cars going long distances of 200 or more kilometers. None stopped for me and my lower back continued to hurt. It rained hard with thunder and lightening from time to time. For some reason the Japanese mentality changes on rainy days. They become more reluctant to stop for me. Normally I wouldn’t wait much longer than 30 minutes on the same road had it been bright and sunny.
Around 10:45 a.m the rain completely stopped and the sky got a bit brighter. I now had a slot of time to hitchhike sans the umbrella! I knew it would probably not last very long.
At 11:00 a.m. a car with two men with middle eastern looking faces stopped and the driver asked me in Japanese where I wanted to go. They said they could take me to Odate City, only a few kilometers further. Normally I wouldn’t accept such a short ride, but I wanted to make some progress no matter how small. The two men are in their 30s, both from Pakistan. I guessed correctly they are used car dealers. Almost everybody from Pakistan who lives in Japan is. The passenger asked me my age. He said I look very weak for somebody who is 62 years old! He knows an American who is 80 who looks better than I do! I replied I happen to be in constant pain from a strained muscle in my lower back from yesterday. The man sheepishly smiled which meant to me he excepted my reason for looking “weak.”
Though the men at first offered to take me only as far as Odate City, they said they could take me as far as Noshiro City, 60 kilometers up the road, if I didn’t mind waiting from time to time as they visited certain locations along the way that related to their business. “That’s fine” I replied. I was in no hurry. It started to rain hard again and I was thankful to be with them out of the rain and resting my back sitting down in the back seat of their comfortable vehicle.
For the first several minutes I conversed with the Pakistani men was all in Japanese. I called my wife on my cell phone telling her I finally caught a ride, I ended the called with an “I love you too.” The passenger in front responded, “I love you three!” It turned out both the driver and his friend understood and spoke English! They were just testing my Japanese ability. This is not always true for Pakistani people. Most do not speak English with me.
We switched to talking in English. I asked them many questions about their country and told them what I believe to be true about certain current events in the middle east.
I told them that:
- al-Qaeda is a CIA creation in the imagination of the public. It doesn’t exist as an organization at all.
- Osama Bin Laden had probably died a long time ago, maybe even before the end of 2001. He was not the man the U.S. Military said they killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
The driver smiled with surprise that I, an American, would know such things! He agreed with me on both counts. This is exactly what many Pakistanis already believe. They know that al-Qaeda does not exist as an organized group. And they doubt that it was Osama Bin Laden who was killed in Pakistan for the simple reason the U.S. military did not show a body!
We agreed together that there are wealthy people seeking to exploit the public by creating problems where no problems exist. Freemason Albert Pike said that World War 3 would be a clash of cultures, Islamic fundamentalists against the Zionists. Islamic people certainly have a bad image in the West, but this image is not the same that I see when meeting them face to face! They are not the fearful “terrorist” types the media portrays them out to be. Both men were very friendly. They called themselves Muslims but said they were not very “good” ones because they don’t always pray 5 times a day. It struck me that they would use the adjective “good” because this reminded me of Roman Catholics, some who are called a “good Catholic” and some who are not so good.
The passenger then started to talk about his faith in Allah and obeying Allah’s laws. He said killing is not part of Islam, and that especially includes suicide bombers! I told him that Islamic suicide bombers have giving Islam a very bad press in the West. He agreed but said these people are really not part of true Islam. It could be that these suicide bombers are part of the CIA mind controlled MKULTRA project and their purpose is to cause trouble where there would be no trouble.
The passenger continued to share his pure and simple faith in Allah. I asked him what he thought of Jesus Christ. He replied that Jesus, who he called “Isa” is a Messenger from Allah like Mohammad was, but that Isa was not Allah’s Son. “But did you know that Jesus’ mother Mary was a virgin when she conceived him? I replied. “Jesus therefore didn’t have an earthly father, but a Heavenly one!” “Allah can do anything!” the Muslim man responded. “He’s the Creator and does what He wants. It doesn’t mean Isa was His son!” I saw they have a set answer for Christians. I don’t argue with them, I just give them facts from the Bible in a loving way.
My opinion of Muslims: Their faith is simple and pure. They call Allah the Creator and believe all things were designed and created. They do not hold the pseudo-science doctrines of Darwinism and Evolution. And they call Allah a God of Love. The Muslim man said it was because of Allah’s love he and his friend gave me a lift. In my book Allah is the same as the God of Love I worship. I don’t care if some people claim that Allah is really the moon god. They call Allah almighty and the Creator. They are still yet only ignorant of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the sin of mankind on the cross, but they do acknowledge the doctrine of sin and that all humans are sinners.
The next time you hear or read anti-Muslim bashing material, you might do well to question the source and motivation of the author. Though I’ve never lived in an Islamic country, I’ve met many Muslims in Japan and Russia and can tell you they are not the image that the media portrays them to be.
The Pakistani men took me to Noshiro train station, a good 50 kilometers from Shirazawa. I thanked them profusely and we warmly shook hands when parting.
I took a train the rest of the way home. While on the train I continued reading my Bible from where I left off at Ezekiel chapter four and was impressed with verse
14: “Then said I, Ah Lord GOD!…” (emphasis on Ah Lo) After hearing the Muslim man say the name Allah so many times, it strikes me that the first 4 letters of “Ah Lord God” sound so similar! Could this be where the name Allah came from?
After I returned home, using the Theophilus Bible program on my PC, I did a search for the phrase. “Ah Lord God” and found it occurs exactly 10 times in the KJV, and only in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, both prophets! Interesting, don’t you think?
I also learned today that burping causes pain in my lower back muscles but sneezing does not. :-)