For straight-through long drives it is hard to beat trucks on the expressways, particularly at night when the long-distance truckers are in action. Drivers who have given a lift will frequently try to arrange a continuation with a truck going beyond their stopping point. Though they rarely speak more than a few words of English, they are invariably good natured and interested in their passenger. Often this is their first meeting with a foreigner. It gives them added prestige to be able to show off a gaijin in the cab of their truck.

They are usually quite earthy and the closest inheritors of the ancient Japanese spirit. They will most likely know and sing traditional folk songs and be familiar with other elements of the true folk culture, in contrast to the court culture that produced such arts as the refined tea ceremony and koto playing.

Whoever your driver, you will probably be treated with such kindness that you are sure to want to return the favor in some way. This will be difficult, as they normally refuse to take money and will not let you pay for their meals; usually they will want to treat you! Before setting out, stock up on fruit, candy or sembei (rice crackers) and feed them to your driver as you go along; you can leave the rest of the box or package when you get out. Foreign cigarettes are also very popular (the Japanese smoke like chimneys) - bring them as your duty free allowance.

Quoted from P.97-98, "Japan: A Budget Travel Guide", Ian L. McQueen, Kodansha International, Japan, 1992.