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Hitchhiking in Japan

7 bytes added, 15:56, 18 January 2010
From my own meandering experience, that is most certainly not the case.
The top worries of a Japanese driver when they see a hitchhiking gaijin are: Can he '''communicate'''? Does he know how to behave? The quick way to answer those questions is with a sign: 日本語できる! (''Nihongo dekiru!''), literally "Japanese can!", is just six characters and works like a charm. And you don't really need to know Japanese all that well to use such a sign, as long as you can communicate... somehow...
Please only write it down if you can speak a little, otherwise it will be an awkward ride for the both of you. Keep in mind that all most Japanese understand Eglish basic English words when you write it written down, ; it's the key once you get lost in translation.
Second on the agenda is '''appearance'''. This is not the place for a mop of unruly hair, ripped jeans and sunglasses — foreigners are by default scary, and you need to do your best to look like you stepped out of an L.L. Bean catalog. Neat trousers, clean shirt, a hat to protect you from the sun instead of sunglasses. If you have a huge rucksack, hide it off to the side. Personnaly I wouldn't hide it but make sure it's clean and there are no things sticking out, you don't want them surprise them with a large backpack.
Once the car does stop, a window will roll down and you will almost always be asked a simple question: ''Doko made?'' ("To where?") Do not make the mistake of giving your final destination, as the driver may assume that you will insist on going all the way. (This is also why it's usually not wise to use a destination sign.) Instead, pick the nearest major waypoint and state ''X no hō'' ("In the direction of X").
I personally ask in teh service area if they can drop me off at the next major service area. Once in the car they will ask you where you are going and you will ask them and so you can ride along until you want to get out.
==When to hitch==
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