Cover image for Hokkaido highway blues : hitchhiking Japan
Hokkaido highway blues : hitchhiking Japan
Ferguson, Will.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Soho Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
433 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS812 .F47 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Cultures collide when a Western journalist travels the length of Japan along a trail of cherry blossoms, & recounts his often hilarious experiences.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author had been teaching English in Japan for two years before he decided to hitchhike from one end of Japan to the other and then write about it. His goal was to follow the trail of cherry blossoms that, at the start of spring, crest in a wave from Cape Sata in the south to Cape Soya in the far north. Ferguson hitchhiked with "a decidedly limited arsenal of Japanese, most of which seemed to revolve around drinking and the weather." Although many of the people he encountered not only went out of their way to transport him long distances, offering him meals and opening their homes to him, there were times when he was treated as if he were a stereotypical Westerner. After a sailor called him "Henna gaijin!" ("Weird foreigner!"), Ferguson replied by asking the sailor whether he was Korean. This is one of a few incidents throughout the book that touch on Japan's caste system, which stigmatizes Japanese-born ethnic Chinese and Koreans. Most of the writing, however, is less concerned with social issues, and the general tone of the book is irreverent as Ferguson encounters wild monkeys, visits the famed Bridge of Heaven and shares a drunken, emotional evening with a former soldier who had been a POW captured by the Americans during WWII. It all makes for a pleasingly witty and offbeat travelogue. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ferguson (The Hitchhiker's Guide to Japan, Tuttle, 1998) was teaching English in Japan when he decided to follow the cherry blossoms as they bloomed from south to north. To get to know the Japanese people better, he opted to hitchhike the whole way. Hitchhiking is technically illegal in Japan, but Ferguson had little trouble getting rides. He not only provides some insight on Japanese manners and mores but really captures what it is like to be a foreigner in Japan. As a gaijin, he played various roles: the honored guest, the entertainment (kids at the zoo find him more interesting than the animals), the temporary escape from Japanese society, and the rude barbarian. But the one thing he wanted most he could never have: to feel as if he belonged. He captures all of this with great humor, a touch of sarcasm, and a clear affection for Japan. This book is an updating of Alan Booth's The Roads to Sata (1986), which remains the standard. Highly recommended for travel and foreign studies collections.‘Kathleen A. Shanahan, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.