It’s 4AM on Thursday on the U.S. East coast. But it’s 5PM Thursday in Japan – a place I have been to several times but not in a couple of years. I sit in the Delta SkyLounge at Narita International Airport and look at tarmac on a sunny afternoon. A typhoon has finally lifted and there’s sushi and Asahi beer nearby.
I’m in Japan all right but not really. I can shop in the duty free shops, watch Japanese television (of course I speak virtually no Japanese), and eat Japanese food. However there are no kimonos, no sight of the remarkably organized flow I see everywhere in the streets of Tokyo. It is fastidiously clean here in the lounge which is so very Japanese.
I am on a layover from New York to Hong Kong and as the saying goes am just passing through. It was nearly a thirteen hour flight to get this far and I have a four and a half hour flight to go after my brief two and a half hour layover. Two movies, three meals and a little sleep have me feeling pretty good at this point.
I am scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 10:30 PM Thursday night local time which is 10:30AM East Coast time. It’s doubtful I will be able to go to sleep when I arrive. So I probably won’t. I have a series of business meetings mostly all next week so for the next few days I will get to enjoy Hong Kong and Macau before I set off (via MTR subway into China) for Shenzhen for the week. The World University games are slated to be held in Shenzhen next month so I expect the city (of 14 million) to be buzzing in preparation.
However for now I am in a country I truly enjoy but can only watch the planes arrive and depart while I make believe that somehow I had a little taste of Japan. I am here but not really here. It doesn’t count when you just pass through does it?