Boeing 767-300 (763)

Boeing 767-300 (763)

In the air, likely near the Alaskan coast and definitely between Vancouver and Tokyo.

Before I reached Vancouver, I sat beside a poor woman who had left her engagement ring in the departure lobby of Regina airport…a little excitement to pass the time before reaching Vancouver.

I flew over the Pacific on March 10/11 (depending on the timezone of course) in a Boeing 763, with lovely new “mood lighting” which made the cabin seem much roomier than it really was. Before leaving, every TV throughout Vancouver airport displayed news coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. EVERY TV. I sat beside a Malay woman who was amused nearly as much as I was while I watched the Canadian movie “Winter Stories” during the flight. I highly recommend this movie to anyone remotely aware of the significance hockey has (used to have?) in Canadian culture. It was a great, family friendly movie.

Arriving in Japan was an experience… Immediately after leaving the plane, I was greeted by airport staff. At the end of the exit ramp, I was greeted by airport staff. Along the moving walkways, I was greeted by airport staff. When I say airport staff, I mean fully uniformed women, caps and all, standing in pairs at the walkway exits, smiling, bowing, and greeting every passenger or group of passengers going past them. As if this was not welcome enough, I soon heard a familiar voice speaking to me as I neared the end of each walkway – Michelle Yamamoto from the NHK World Radio Learn Japanese Lessons! Her voice was used for a message warning that the end of the conveyor belt was fast approaching… You can hear what she sounds like and learn some “useful Japanese expressions” here: http://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/english/learn/list/ Thank you for making me feel at home, Ms. Yamamoto.

I nearly died of the heat entering Narita Airport, and it is still beyond my comprehension how the Japanese women can wear sweaters, jackets, caps, scarves and so on, even when it is quite hot inside! Finally, after passing the pairs of greeters, I came close to the immigration room. Then, I saw it. A hologram, waving, and welcoming me to Japan. Yes, a life-size, manga-style hologram. Female of course.

That was that. I made it to Japan.

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