Japan Airlines flight number whatever bound for Tokyo. My back hurts, my body is crooked and I went to a chiropractor on the way to the airport. Must have pulled a muscle and it knotted up like a twisted rubber band does when let loose in someone's hair. Have ya ever done that or had that happen where someone would twist up a rubber band and let it go in the small hair behind your neck? Ouch! I seem to have acquired a bit of a hitch in my get-a-long which is just what I need right now.
So I immediately pass out on the plane and wake up hour after takeoff to discover I am sitting next to a mid meal Japanese businessman who is a few drinks into the wind. Handing me the menu, "oh, which one do you order? Japanese meal o American meal?" he asks while perfectly combining al R's and L's in into a hybrid that makes me smile. "Well," still trying to hack through the haze, "Um, which on is that?" as I point at his food. While the presence of small rubbery flower shapes, chopsticks and bowls of brightly colored mystery globes clearly gave it away, he nearly shouts "Japanese meal!" Well, then that is what I will have then. Engulfed in excitement he yells down the isle for the flight attendant, orderes my meal and then proceeds to partake in what appeared to be some sort of joke telling session with her that suspiciously felt like it was at my expense.
"To drink?, um water, please," still trying to form words awaking from one of those slumbers that leave your arms feeling like lead. "Water? why water, no wine? why no wine?" he stares, loud and curious as can be. Ummmmm, well, how about a wine please. "Ahhhh yes, Cab Syllah, velly good!" And so it went, with him asking me each time I ate something if I liked it. I could only come up with two answers able to break the language barrier without insult; "yes, good" if I liked it and "hmmm, so-so" when it was beyond the realms of edibility. He loved "good" but really loved "so-so" and so once again he calls the flight attendant over followed by more laughing, a bunch of sounds I don't understand mixed in with the occasional "so-so" followed by more laughing. Wine and more wine and more laughing and I soon figured out that whenever he did not understand something he would invariably look forward as if think intently and nod his head and say yes, yes, ah yes. Then I realized that he barely had understood anything I had said the whole time except "yes" and "so-so."
His English was very limited and very hard to understand and yet still light years more advanced than my Japanese which is primarily relegated to names of Americanized sushi items, "hello" and "thank you." But that did not stop us from chatting away and in the middle of a jumbled question I hear what sounds familiar but not English. So I ask if he speaks Spanish, in Spanish and that is when the fun really began. Turns out he is a car parts distributor for Latin America and he can rock the Spanish. Though I may not have the syntax all down, I fair pretty well as well. So there we go, a common language all good as we both get yelled at several times to hush down. Too much fun and say hello to my plane ride friend Tsuchiya!
Landing at the airport, turns out that all that wine has left me a bit less chipper than the average bear but not so bleary to miss this after Leif pointed at it. Check it out, up there under the C-Clamped webbing is a birds nest with little birdy chicks in it. The webbing and triangular roped off area is to prevent poo bombs from taking out unsuspecting travelers. Cool stuff, I like the awkward mesh of different speiceis looking out for each other.
Next stop, hotel and the 'day of landing production meeting' where a bunch of delirious western roadies attempt to discuss things we pretend are important through interpreters with a sharp team of Japanese perfectionists that tend to be damn good at what they do.