Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I've been away for a few days, our last dash before Angela leaves on Thursday, vacationing on Shikoku, so I haven't updated with the usual regularity. I won't write much today, as we're going to her sayonara party in a few hours, but I just wanted to catch y'all up as I might not get another chance for a few more days.

Transportation costs are one of the most expensive parts of living in Japan. There are many options, most of them privately owned, but none of them are cheap. We saved some money when we were traveling in Shikoku by hitchhiking, which I highly recommend if you get out of the major cities and time is not an issue. Not a bad idea in one of the safest places to live in the world.

We never waited more than five minutes for a ride, most people taking us to our exact destinations. One couple even going as far as finding us lodgings for the night when we were in the middle of nowhere. Hitchhiking is also one of the best ways to meet Japanese people who are otherwise more reserved in the daily workaday world. Armed with a few expressions and, most importantly, the names of our destinations, we muddled our way through most conversations, met many people and had a great time.

Shikoku became my favorite place in Japan, particularly the small island of Shodoshima off the Northeast coast of Shikoku, which can only be reached by ferry. The people were especially friendly and helpful while we were there. We also found a cheap place to spend the night, Dutch Pancake Camping, which rented us a tent and sleeping bags.

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