After being delayed a couple hours in Chicago due to snow, I finally arrived in Narita, Japan around 7pm local time. That means I was in the air for approximately 14 hours. I’ve flown overseas a few times but 14 hours pretty much doubles any continuous time I’ve been 35,000 feet. Luckily, I was in Business class and I had enough room to stretch out and get “some” sleep.
When I landed in Narita I learned that, due to the delay in Chicago, I had missed my connection to Guangzhou. Since there were no more flights to GZ until the morning, I was shuttled to a nearby hotel for the night. I was slightly excited to have a layover since I wanted to check out some of Japan but Narita Airpot is nowhere near any sort of city center. It’s now Sunday morning and I’m in United Red Carpet lounge waiting for my 9:50am flight to GZ.
From what I’ve seen of Japan, this place is definitely high on my short list of places to return to. It’s hard to accurately describe what it’s like but I’ll try. First of all, everyone is extremely gracious. And I’m not just talking about the people that are paid to help you like hotel or airline staff. It suspect the Japanese are raised/taught that graciousness is an important virtue. Leaving Chicago, a very ungracious place, then landing in Japan is like traveling to another planet. All the way down to their tone of voice (seriously, the way women smile, talk, and make eye contact here is unexpectedly attractive) the Japanese are a delightful people. And this is coming from someone who has never had much interest in Asia or Asian culture.
Furthermore, when you are in Japan you feel like you’ve boarded a DeLorean and traveled forward in time about 5 years. And it’s not like they have crazy inventions that are inconceivable (i.e. I haven’t seen any hoverboards for purchase). It’s more like they’ve just been quicker to adopt current trends; they invest in new technologies because they are useful and not because their old technology broke and they had no choice but to replace it with something newer. While small, I think the example below shows just how progressive the Japanese are. I certainly don’t need a machine that perfectly pours my beer but if we have the technology to do it… why not?