Mitsumine-jinja, Chichibu


After a peaceful hike down the mountain, I find a bus stop heading toward the Chichibu train station. As I am biting into a bright orange kaki (persimmon) in preparation for an hour long wait, a young man stops his typical Japanese tiny farmer’s truck and asks me if I need a lift. I already have experience with Japanese hospitality as well as hitchhiking, an his offer does not surprise me. I hop onto the passenger’s seat and we talk about my travels and farming work in very basic English. He then proceeds to call his English speaking relatives for me to say hello. Later he invites me to have a dinner at his home and meet his wife and his really sweet 3 year old kid. We have a dinner of Japanese curry and watch endless videos of Shinkansen trains. All four of us then travel to the train station and they put me on a limited express to Tokyo and wave at me relentlessly as I board the train. Japanese country side hospitality is charming, disarming, and touching, and so very foreign to me yet makes me feel completely at home. I did not expect my culture shock to be from the Japanese offering me help and channelling their curiosity foreign things through genuine care.