Have you ever wondered how you would spend your time waiting for your next flight while in a foreign airport? Well that foreign experience happened to me. Just like in the movie “The Terminal,” Victor Navorski, played by Tom Hanks was a visitor from the fictional country of Cracovia. He was stuck for months in the John F. Kennedy International Airport unable to leave the Airport because of immigration problems. In my case, I was stuck at the Nagoya International Airport for an eight-hour layover, the wait seemed like an eternity. This is my version of ‘The Terminal’.
This unforgettable memory begins aboard the Continental 737 aircraft, 10 minutes into first sight of Japan. The co-pilot on the intercom spoke in Japanese. All the Japanese people stood up and looked out of the windows.
My sister took a picture of what we thought was Mount Fuji. The soft humming of the engines instantly got louder after I popped my ears to regulate the air pressure in the cabin and my head. After disembarking the plane, we met an automatic sidewalk that announced something in Japanese.
A fast mumble, ‘Sensei didn’t teach me that’. Later, the automatic sidewalk stated, ‘Stay to your left please’. I stepped to the left after I noticed that I was standing on the right.
The travelers arrived at the end of the sidewalk, and heard the words, ‘Watch your step’ in Japanese and English. I scanned the room for the restrooms. I walked into the restroom; each stall had a sliding door.
I stepped into the stall with a toilet seat that was off of the floor, slid the door closed, and turned the knob to lock the door with writings written in English and Kanji. I flushed the toilet by pushing a blue button in the wall labeled ‘Flush’ in English and Kanji. I got out of the stall and washed my hands with a liquid soap that dried out my hands.
I turned to the bizarre hand drier, stuck my hands in between the drier and out came fast cold air. We then went to the connection desk; my dad told them that our flight would be in eight hours. The Japanese workers with their Japanese accents told us to go into the airport shops.
The flight information board caught my attention, it was written in Japanese. I wondered what it said even though I can pick up some annunciations. Suddenly the board translated into English. Upstairs, there were crowded walkways in between each Japanese style store.
The delicious smell of food lingered in the air near the food court. We ate lunch; we enjoyed eating burgers in various flavors such as Teriyaki and Yankee burgers. We got inside the talking glass elevator, I saw a picture of a crying face with crushed fingers and said to myself, ha ha! We, the Castillo’s family walked through the security checkpoints and went to the check in desk. We walked toward gate 18. On the way, we drink from the water fountain; we noticed that when you pushed the lever and released it, the water continued to flow. After we drank we pulled our heads away from the fountain and the water stopped. I saw vending machines and tried to figure out how to use it. After getting two soda cans, each the size of half a regular sized can, my brother’s curiosity, lead him to walk through the wrong side of the automatic sidewalk. An alarm sounded and his face turned bright red.
My two younger siblings were rowdy so my mom and I walked to an indoor playground. After 30 minutes, I saw our plane pulled in from eight gates away. On the way back, we saw three connected recycling bins labeled combustibles, cans, and bottles. The Japanese workers at the gate were talking in Japanese and making hand signals to call the passengers aboard. I picked up the word business class in Japanese and told my dad ‘ — not yet’. When I heard the Japanese word for general seating, I told him ‘OK’.
The Continental 777 aircraft took off. The plane leveled off and turned toward Honolulu. Luckily for this long flight, each passenger used a personal entertainment center. Continental Airlines spoils its customers. The Nagoya International Airport housed the eight hours of this memory. From which I have learned differences between customs. These funny events left me with joyful laughs that instantly relived the stress of traveling. Laughing loudly instantly relives stress.
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