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Monday, November 28, 2005

At Narita Airport 

I arrived at Tokyo's Narita Airport just under two hours ago, facing a five-hour layover until I could board my Qantas flight to Melbourne. I was very excited to see that the Japan Air Lines club, right across from my gate to Australia, had affiliations with both Continental Airlines, my most frequently-flown airline and my airline of debarkation, and Qantas, my airline of embarkation. Naturally, I assumed my Continental President's Club membership, my in-bound Continental ticket stub, and my outbound Qantas ticket would get me through the door.

No dice. I encountered one of the many arcane barriers-to-entry for which the Japanese are famous. It seems that in order to take advantage of the Japan Air Line club at Narita, notwithstanding its advertised affiliations, one must have an affiliated club membership that matches one's airline of embarkation. My Continental membership, Continental inbound ticket, and Qantas outbound ticket got me nothing but a long stream of "so solly," and no end of pleading changed the result. So here I sit, recharging my batteries by the child play area, isolated from all that serene relaxation by the dead cold soul of Japanese bureaucracy.

3 Comments:

By Blogger Screwy Hoolie, at Mon Nov 28, 08:06:00 AM:

Hawk,

I just got home from a lengthy holiday weekend to see that you're gallavanting on the other side of the earth!

I'm. Jumping. Up. And. Down. Really. Hard. Now. Feel that?

Blogging is incredible, eh? Just plug in your laptop and you're blogging in real time to your rabid U.S. audience. The wonder of it all...

Have a wonderful trip. And, please give us the skinny on the international perspective - Man on the Street Style - on Iraq, Bush, and America would you? I'd love to hear what the average bureaucratic Japanese counter employee thinks of the whole scene.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Nov 28, 05:38:00 PM:

Narita's a strange airport. Enjoy your trip - I loved Japan. Where are you going?  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Mon Nov 28, 08:15:00 PM:

Actually, I'm now in Melbourne, having arrived here about three hours ago. I'll be in Australia until Saturday morning, and then I fly back to Japan. I'll have Sunday to goof around in Tokyo and environs, and then it is work, work, work through December 7, when I return.

I came to Japan for a couple of weeks as a student with a backpack more than twenty years ago, so I'm looking forward to this return trip, even if I will miss most of the country.  

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