I had to meet up with Ayaka at 18h at Sukagawa. She was a friend of my friend Nammy from Sendai. She could provide me a place to stay overnight at her parents place.
It was 16h and I still had 40km to get there. The day had begun with a 20 km sustained climb on a mountain road near Fukushima. Because many mountain roads are still cut due to big earthquake a few years ago, the alternative route was about 15 km uphill longer. This made me lose precious time.
Finally, at 18pm it got dark and I accepted my defeat. I stopped in a small village shop and asked if they could provide me a place to sleep, that I had a tent. After doing some mimics, using Google Images, Google translator and do some drawings, I thought we understood each other, and that they would let me camp somewhere, probably in of their properties.
Then the woman grabbed her purse and she indicated to follow her. She started her car and I started to follow her with the bicycle. We made about 4km until we arrived at a road station. There, meanwhile recovering my breath she made awaiting signal. I did not understand. where it was the land I was supposed to camp? After five minutes the woman returned with a couple of sandwiches and hot tea that she gave me.
Then I understood that the woman had convinced the person in charge of the road station restaurant so I could sleep between the tables overnight. At least it was indoors. I was astonished and pleased. At least I should not set the tent and I could sleep inside. I thanked the woman and she went away.
While I was eating a sandwich on a bench outside the restaurant, I sighted the grandeur of the parking lot. It was huge, and the movement was constant. Suddenly, I noticed a small pick-up truck type. It seemed that the driver was getting ready to leave. Suddenly, I had an idea, and I translated into Japanese: towards Sukagawa?
I approached the truck. The truck driver had switched on the truck and was strapping the seat belt. Then I came out from the darkness showing my bright screen with the translated sentence. To my surprise, the man did not say no, and after some more gestures on my part, the man accepted to bring me to Sukagawa!!.We put the bicycle and bags on the trunk and we started the trip.
After 45 minutes we reached Sukagawa. It was 20:30h. The Ayaka received me with open arms even though at 22h he had to go to work until 7am.Then I was introduced to her parents. Ayaka showed me the tatami where I could sleep and offered me dinner. Rice balls, soup, salad, tea and strawberries. The family contemplated me eating as if I would come from another planet. Ayaka told me that her parents had never left Japan. For them, to watch TV or look at me was somehow a way of travelling.
The day began with a typical Japanese breakfast: rice, soup and grilled salmon, among other small side dishes.
After that day I could verify again how great and sincere Japanese hospitality is.