Hitchhiking Rides With Buddha

Hitchhiking Rides With Buddha - Will Ferguson…by Will Ferguson

I spent a few weeks in Japan on a school exchange trip almost 20 years ago and ever since then I’ve always wanted to go back and see more of it.

I picked up this autobiographical book because the premise intrigued me—the author, teaching English in Japan at the time, decides he’s going to follow the cherry blossoms bloom, starting at the southern end of Japan at Cape Sata to the very north at Cape Soya—and he’s going to hitchhike the entire way there. The route he takes was completely different from where I went (which I guess should be a future post here sometime soon 🙂 ) so I was also curious to know how he viewed those parts of Japan.

The route he takes is a bit off the beaten track…a lot of it is dependent on where his rides are going, but for the most part he is able to stick to his planned route. Things I liked about the book: Will’s oft-humorous, and sometimes poignant observations about Japanese culture and its people. Descriptions of the places and festivals he attended. The bizarre but funny Japanese to English translations of things. And most of all, getting to know the people who picked Will up along the way. I don’t think there could’ve been a more wider cross-section of Japanese society that Will could’ve run into in any other situation than this. Housewives, professors, gangsters (perhaps), mayors, senior citizens, all on their own journey of sorts and sharing that slice of life with him.

A very engrossing and entertaining book.

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