My first pilgrimage in Japan was in 1973, when I and a partner hitchhiked from Tokyo to Kyushu and back.
We got easy rides in cars and trucks, and this was before they completed the expressway, so traveling from
Tokyo to Kyushu took a couple of days, if you stayed over somewhere for the night. Often we would just ride on through the
night, if our ride was going all the way, then stop on the way back to visit various places.
On this particular trip we travelled through the night in the back of trucks, quite a bumpy ride. When we arrived in Fukuoka,
we then hitched a ride to Kumamoto, in the center of Kyushu. Our stay there was short, only one day, as we ran out of funds
and food , so we saw what we could and hitchhiked to Shimoniseki, where we caught a night truck going to Tokyo.
I was very impressed once I got out of Tokyo to see that Japan was such a beautiful place. On this trip we could see almost
every aspect of God's wonderful creation. The sunrises and sunsets, the tides at the beach, the mountains, rivers , fields,
in-between the cities that is.
For a while there it looked like we were never going to leave the city, and when we did, and got a brief look at the countryside
, it wasn't long before there was another city we were passing through.
This went on until we passed Osaka and Kobe, where the cities got smaller and fewer, but there were still large cities such
as Okayama and Hiroshima, only a couple of hours apart, then we didn't see cities as it was dark, until we arrived in Fukuoka.
I carried my guitar everywhere I went and took advantage of every opportunity to sing to people, as my Japanese wasn't so
good, and they appreciated it and liked it very much. We had only a few songs in Japanese , three of which were taken right
out of the Bible and put to music, one had been translated by some Catholic sister friends of ours.
We found that English songs went over good too. It did not occur to us at the time that we could have lengthened our trip,
if we had known about busking, which we had no idea of at the time, Duh, but later
discovered that it was a great way to raise funds and witness at the same time.
We did not consider it begging, as we were giving them a show, and offering Christian gospel literature, and of course not
charging for the singing, but just accepting free-will contributions, with a clear written explanation of what the finds were
going to be used for.
We found that when the people knew exactly where their gift was going, many people were more than happy to donate some loose
change to help us missionaries on our way.
We did not have the advantage of busking on this first trip, as it wasn't discovered until much later.
The Japanese people we met were very sweet and open to the message of the Gospel.
We were able to pray together with many Japanese people who received Jesus into their hearts and lives.
I did not count them, but I know there must have been around 50 or 60 just on this one week trip.