Thursday, September 24, 2015

Japanese Visitors Pass Through Schuylkill County on Cross Country Walk

If you are driving along Route 54 or Route 309 on Thursday and Friday, and see two Japanese men, one pulling a cart, and the other kicking a soccer ball, make sure you give them a friendly Schuylkill County welcome.

Yu Suzuki and Ryuta Ishibe began a journey on March 18th that started in Los Angeles, the day after they arrived in the United States.  Their final destination, Manahattan, New York City.  The goal is to "dribble" the soccer ball across the United States while they explore country.

After beginning in California, they traveled down the southern border of the U.S. until they got to Texas where they traveled North to Chicago, then headed east.

Their Schuylkill County story began yesterday, Wednesday, when Angie Butler, of Girardville, found them at Boyer's Food Market in Ashland.  Butler asked them if they needed anything, but all they said was they were resting.   They began telling their story to Butler and gave her the information to their Facebook page documenting their trip.

Butler went home and 3 hours found them walking up Main Street in Girardville.  She again offered her help and offered a place to use the bathroom and gave them water.  By this time it was getting later in the day, and while talking they were looking for a place to setup a tent for the night.  Butler offered her backyard which they graciously appreciated.

Butler offered dinner and a welcomed shower and relaxed and invited them to spend the night in her living room.

Early Thursday morning, they got up and started back on their journey on Route 54 towards Mahanoy City and then to Route 309 to Tamaqua.

Butler says they aren't poor or asking for money, just a place to set up a tent and sleep as they walk state to state.  They treated everyone with the utmost respect.

According to other articles written about their journey, Ishibe’s mother is a nurse and his father works in a fish market. Suzuki’s father is a banker and his mother works in a supermarket.

The men worked hard before they left to finance the trip, which is being sponsored by New Balance Shoes. New Balance provides them with shoes, socks and soccer balls. Each has worn out three pairs of shoes and gone through three soccer balls.
Below are photos sent to us by Butler with the final photo of Suzuki and Ishibe right before they left Thursday morning.

Link to Suzuki and Ishibe' Facebook Page