by Kensatsukan Gaijin

I suppose I can sleep when I get back in Court.

The "kid-on Christmas morning" effect gave me 3 1/2 hours of sleep, so here I am at 7:30 a.m. in the hotel writing and planning my day instead of sleeping.

If I can make a travel suggestion, it would be to avoid American Airlines.

I’ve been studying Japanese for some time now, but apparently never learned that the word “Code-Share” is Japanese for “you are buying a JAL ticket but you will fly American Airlines.” This is the travel equivalent of “Welcome to The Ritz Carlton. You’ll be dining at our lovely McDonald’s.” A joked that for breakfast we would just get a ½ frozen sandwich with a slice of meat and a slice of cheese for breakfast. That joke was funny until we got breakfast. And it was a a ½ frozen sandwich with a slice of meat and a slice of cheese for breakfast. The condiment du jour was a packet of dijionaise and (I swear I am not making this up) a breath mint.

Perhaps it was a good way to set my mind into Japanese mode – in America, it is easy to take others’ negligence and discourtesy as a personal and intentional attack. For example, when someone cuts me off, I assume it is because they decided to almost cause an accident with me on purpose. I get the sense, however, that Japanese people view such behavior as what it is – negligence and impersonal discourtesy that is just a part of everyday life, not to be taken as a direct assault.

Still, this is the second time that AT&T has screwed up activating my phone in Japan, so it has to be something personal they have against me….

The airport is probably not the best place to reflect on human nature. However, it is an easy place to remember why one is going back to Japan. Japan, a land where people are almost universally polite to strangers, where people do not steal from each other, and where lost property is promptly turned into the police for recovery, even if it is cash found in the wasteland of a Tsunami ($70 million US turned in so far, at last count).

Plus, when this is the food you can get at the Food Court, it's a nice reminder.

However, it confuses me to no end to get repeatedly asked “why are you going back to Japan.” Especially considering my job is to deal with cheats, liars, and their clients.

Now, upon arrival, it is as if I am washing away a year and a half of vacation-less stress, anxiety, and tension. Considering most of that is probably self-inflicted, I've got a bit of work to do.

A 2 a.m. visit to an Izakaya on Meiji Dori was a good start.