Just pulled into Narita on my way back from Beijing. We’d been parked in a holding pattern due to high winds (and experienced one of the most roller-coaster landings I’ve ever endured), which gave my bladder extra time to fill up and stretch. It’s the damn Diet Cokes that do it. Anyway, as I was in the bathroom, the guy standing next to me hawked up three big, noisy ones. This, I thought, was good preparation for my re-entry into Beijing. A quick glance at the man-bag and fashion choices suggested that he might be joining my on my connecting flight. Assuming that happens. We’re currently delayed at least an hour.
At any rate, the sudden hawk-a-thon brought to mind the many contrasts between China and Japan, including this sign, posted over a water fountain at Kansai Airport, in kind of near Osaka:
This made me wonder, what happens if you do gargle there? A polite warning? A ticket? A beating? I wasn’t courageous enough to try.
Something else I noticed at Kansai: In the departure lounge they were playing the documentary show “Air-Crash Investigations” over the big LCD TVs. I’m not a nervous flyer, but this struck me as an odd choice of programming for an airport departure lounge. The topic was United 232 which, you may recall, ended in a fireball in Sioux City that was caught on video. They showed this video. I was reminded of the old Leslie Nielsen comedy “Airplane”, which is probably not what your average airport administrator wants to evoke. But, hey, maybe the Japanese are different. Gargling prohibited, air crash videos allowed. It takes all kinds.
In other news, the NewsMorphosis conference yesterday morning went well. I met some really cool people, including a bevy of Hawaii based entrepreneurs and journalists, TechCrunch writer Sarah Lacy, and Michael Freedman, the Executive Director of George Washington University’s Global Media Institute and a longtime CBS newsman. There was some great discussion. Sorry that I wasn’t in a position to live-tweet it or blog it. However there should be video available soon, and I’ll post a link or embedded video as soon as I can.