Travel stories

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  1. December 2, 2010 at 5:03 am

    I once saw a PBS television series called “Great Train Rides of the World” and in my heart I said I would really, really love to do that some day. About 10 years later I got an opportunity to go to Japan building churches. At the end of our project I bought a two week rail pass to travel anywhere unlimited in Japan. It was great! I saw as much of Japan as I could in two weeks.

    One of my stops was Hakone, a lake and tourist town in the shadow of Mt Fuji. There are 5 lakes surrounding the mountain. I stayed at a youth hostel and in the morning I took off for a day trip on a beautiful fall day. I took the boat ride across the lake with about 50 Buddhist monks from Taiwan. On the far side of the lake was a gondola up over a mountain to a tourist area where I took in an outdoor sculpture park. It was a great experience and it was getting late so I headed back. I caught the very last gondola back to the lake which delivered me to the boat dock where I could catch a ride back to my hostel. The ferry boat was closed! I could not believe it! Something about traveling in Japan, not all of the signs are in English or even in Roman alphabet. So I’m sure there was a sign there but I could not read when the last boat was. My heart sank because it was getting dark and cold. In the parking area were a couple taxis and a bus. I got out my map and approached a driver. He expressed some concern and pointed out that the only way was to go a long way back to the city then back up to the lake from another route; like maybe tomorrow or something. However, a foreigner in Japan asking for help soon becomes a community project. He called the other drivers over and they consulted for a long time. They would throw their hands up and turn away like it was hopeless and then all come back together. Finally they devised a plan. They told me to get onto the bus, so I did. I had no idea what to expect. The bus made an unscheduled stop on a remote stretch of road and he motioned to get out, so I did. I about 5 minutes another bus came along and picked me up and dropped me off right near my hostel. I said in my very best Japanese; your kindness I thank you very much.

    I was amazed at the kindness of these men. They could have made a $200- fare driving me around for 4 hours. And also I see God’s hand in that. There are pictures of the sculpture park on my blog.

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