[Reflections] Touring 3 Countries in 12 hours.

What a day. I woke up this morning in the sunny beaches of Guam and checked out of my hotel and headed for the airport. As the plane took off for my second country of the day, Japan, I could see the beautiful ocean surrounding the island of Guam. 3 hours later I arrived to Japan where I was faced with a tough decision to either stay in the Narita Inetrnational Airport for 8 hours before my connecting flight to Beijing or to head out of the airport for a couple of hours. As you may know, Narita International Airport is NOT located in Tokyo. In fact, it’s located in another prefecture: Chiba. A lot of people think that a short lay over in Narita Airport is enough time to check out downtown Tokyo but it takes at least a 2 hours roundtrip from the airport to the heart of Tokyo. The largest city surrounding the airport is Narita city  but again, there’s really not too much to do in this city. But since Narita International Airport Terminal 1 has even fewer options and things to do I decided to head out.
I’ve been in China for the last 6 months and so this was the first time back in Japan since I left. I noticed that there are much more Chinese tourists now in Japan than before. It’s always interesting to observe Japanese people and Chinese tourists visiting Japan interact with one another. The Japanese shopkeepers don’t speak English nor Chinese and the old Chinese man will continue to force his way through his thick Chinese accent. In short, the Japanese vendor tells him to write down which number he wants  but this message does not go through. They spend about 3 minutes just staring at each other and the old Chinese man is getting a bit annoyed and impatient. For the first time in his life no one understands him. I think these kinds of interactions are important no matter what for the future of these two neighboring states. The more Chinese people and Japanese people interact the better for the understanding. Today, I spent a total of 4 hours in Japan just observing these interactions and by the end of it I saw that both sides usually try to help each other to accomplish what they want. I headed back to Narita International Airport and hopped on a plane back to Beijing where pollution welcomed me back home. I still can’t believe I was on an island this morning watching the sunrise by the palm trees on th beach.

Two Lover's Point in Guam.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.

One response

  1. Justin Wolf

    Wow, that is quite the observation and quite that day you had. I noticed when people cannot understand each other, they usually form a consensus to use hand signals and noises to imitate things. It is quite amazing what kind of basic interactions everyone experiences and everyone innately knows, but never uses until they feel that communication is on the breakdown. I interact a lot with Japanese and Chinese students here at OSU, and it is quite amazing to see that even though most know at least some English, they still feel awkward around the others speaking their respective language because they know the feeling they get when they cannot understand the other. Yet, when it comes to reading and writing, which they can understand at a similar level, they find a lot of common ground. Thus when they cannot explain something in English, they just write it down because of the Kanji/Chinese Characters being similar in meaning. On another note, that picture of Guam creates envious sentiment in me! So beautiful…

    December 8, 2010 at 2:42 am

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