At this moment I’m at the airport. Here since 10:00 pm yesterday waiting for my 6:25 am flight today. Experiencing first hand the joys of Haneda airport scheduling that doesn’t allow them to run international flights at the same time as Narita.
Don’t get me wrong, I quite like the 6am departure time, what I’m not so fond of is the fact that it necessitates the use of a hotel room nearby or in my cheapskate case, the use of a bench to park myself on as I vainly try to ward off sleep until I’ve boarded my plane in some foolish attempt at avoiding jet-lag.
At least there’s free wifi.
It’s about 1:00am now and I’ve set up shop on the 5th floor of the airport.
It’s quiet up here; the rows of people sleeping across three seat benches are sleeping surprisingly quietly or watching DVDs on their laptops. Mercifully no loud, guttural snoring echoing on polished floors.
I’m across the hall by the windows. Typing quietly, slowly. Not my usual mad scientist, jazz pianist approach to typing.
There is however one noise that pierces the air at every moment.
The escalator with a split personality.
The escalator with two voices.
The English voice is calm, American, authoritative but dulcet. At least to my western, currently sleep deprived/soon to be jetlagged, ears. I assume the voice, despite being computerized in some fashion, to have at some point belonged to a beautiful woman. It sounds like someone I’d listen to instinctively. It exudes a certain sense of control, it gently reminds you of the danger you know to be part and parcel of motorized steps.
The Japanese voice sounds younger but that doesn’t mean much. Most Japanese women are in possession of the ability to shoot up a couple octaves when on the phone or if they happen to work in the service industry. It doesn’t sound authoritative, it sounds worried, somewhat cloying. Like a child reminding you that you promised to take them to Disneyland this weekend.
I wonder whether Japanese hear the same thing as I do. I wonder if I’d even hear it were I in possession of more sleep or something stronger than a bottle of green tea.
Is the cure to cloying, coffee?
I think it might just be… if only because the café is about 50ft from the closest escalator.
But this is always a risk you run in Japan. The technology talks, it beeps, it whirs and it chimes. It attempts to lull you into a true sense of security through a casual barrage of unadulterated, undiluted Disney voices (excusing Donald’s voice, presumably they use that in prison though for a sense of commanding cuteness).
I typed too soon.
The snoring has begun, the lights have been turned up to a daybreak kind of glare and music is beginning to chime louder across the whole place.
Time to escape for that coffee I think, before Donald’s voice comes across the tannoy to inform me that the check-in desk is now open.