Arigatou gozaimasu

Aviation related only
Message
Author
User avatar
boing
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2358
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:32 am
Location: Beautful Oregon USA
Gender:
Age: 75

Arigatou gozaimasu

#1 Post by boing » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:10 pm

OK, here is another airline story. I've been a little reluctant to share this one because it seems to me a bit self-aggrandizing but I apologise for that, it's just the facts. Besides that we are bored.

We were planned to depart Narita for Taipei in a 400 in the late evening. Unfortunately heavy fog had moved into Taipei, the airport was virtually closed and people had been diverting all over the place. We hung around the airport for a couple of hours based on some dream of US dispatch but eventually they gave up and the crew and passengers were sent to hotels with a planned departure of 6am the next morning.

Now, this was not smart for the following reasons. First, Narita airport was not normally open in time for a 6am departure. All the essential airport staffing would need to be bought in early, customs, immigration, security, probably extra ATC as well as the companies own staffing such as dispatch and gate staff. A heck of a lot of trouble to gain two hours on the departure time. Second, the fog was caused by wind blowing wet air from the warm sea over the cold land up against rising terrain. This stuff is thick and persistent (as anyone who has flown out of Lincolnshire knows) it was extremely unlikely that the fog would clear before late morning but US dispatch refused to listen. Third, there were diverted aircraft all around Taipei who would be heading there as soon as a clearance started. They only had one hour to fly, we had three and a half so we would arrive at the end of an unusual rush hour and probably be held for at least an hour, despite protests from US dispatch I loaded tons of fuel.

Early the next morning we arrived in flight planning at which point we were told there was a departure delay due to fog in Taipei, well who would have thunk it? We head to the gate, a heavy load of passengers in the gate area, I chat to the Japanese gate agents who are not happy, the passengers are grumpy. We board the aircraft, the flight attendants are there in First Class with their feet up reading magazines and drinking coffee. We carry out part of the pre-flight checks so we will be ready when the leash is removed.

A little later I walk back to dispatch just in case, just in case of what I don't know because nothing is going to happen in a hurry. I then walk back to the gate and chat with the agents again, they are not happy in a restrained Japanese sort of way. They are not culturally allowed to complain but I get the message that the passengers are really upset because they are stuck in the gate area with no restaurants or drinks available since it is so early and nothing has opened yet.

This calls for executive action. Down the jetway, find the Purser, suggest he makes coffee and tea, breaks out any snacks he can find, loads them onto trolleys and distributes them in the gate area. Purser's face has look of shock at the inconvenient work involved and then he plays his Ace. "Sorry Captain, we can't do that. All supplies on the aircraft are custom's bonded goods and we can't use them on Japanese soil". I suspected he had already had this discussion with the gate agent which is why she gave me gentle hints. I pointed out that I would deal with any problems from the Japanese Authorities and that I would appreciate him getting on with the job as I suggested. Not a happy camper but he complied.

About half an hour later after seeing the trolleys depart down the jetway and having had a cup of coffee myself I went to see what was happening in the gate area. The first surprise was having the gate agents bowing so low and so frequently I thought their heads were going to fall off. Second, the passengers were raising their hands in appreciation and holding up cups and sandwiches, goodness knows what the gate agent had said to them. I waved back and headed for dispatch in some confusion. In dispatch I got more bows and formal Japanese treatment which was unusual for our westernised dispatchers. I returned to the gate and the agent addressed me as "Commander" instead of "Captain". I can't remember the Japanese words but this was apparently a large jump in status. The Japanese recognise a Captain as someone who carries delegated authority a Commander is the one who actually issues the commands.

A silly story I know but the attitude to me among the Japanese staff continued and I think I got a reputation because of that one minor event. I suppose it shows that people don't remember you because of your continual respect for authority but because you ignore authority when you need to do so which is a very un-Japanese attitude. Never did hear any complaints from the Japanese Authorities.


.

.
the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

Boac
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 14997
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:12 pm
Location: Here

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#2 Post by Boac » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:17 pm

A fine piece of 'commandering', boing.

User avatar
TheGreenGoblin
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 17597
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:02 pm
Location: With the Water People near Trappist-1

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#3 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:34 pm

boing wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:10 pm
OK, here is another airline story. I've been a little reluctant to share this one because it seems to me a bit self-aggrandizing but I apologise for that, it's just the facts. Besides that we are bored.
Never allow faux English modesty (you are an Englishman, now living in some part of the USA I take it) to get in the way of an excellent professional anecdote, as all of your's have been to date.

I say that before I have even read your piece.

I will now pull my neck in and read... ^:)^
Though you remain
Convinced
"To be alive
You must have somewhere
To go
Your destination remains
Elusive."

User avatar
Smeagol
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1233
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:15 pm
Location: UK, Carrot Cruncher Country
Gender:
Age: 70

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#4 Post by Smeagol » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:49 pm

Boac wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:17 pm
A fine piece of 'commandering', boing.
+1
We hates Bagginses!

Pinky the pilot
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1948
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:20 am
Location: Still looking for that bad bottle of Red
Gender:
Age: 67

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#5 Post by Pinky the pilot » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:14 am

A fine piece of 'commandering', boing.
+2.

Having spent somewhere around a total (so far) of just over two years living and working in Japan and trying to learn as much as I can about the Japanese Culture, I would say well done Commander! ^:)^
You only live twice. Once when you're born. Once when you've looked death in the face.

User avatar
boing
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2358
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:32 am
Location: Beautful Oregon USA
Gender:
Age: 75

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#6 Post by boing » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:31 am

Pinky,

I have had quite a deal of contact with the Japanese but never worked there. My daughter was an exchange student and we visited her sponsors for two weeks and we had two Japanese exchange students in the US and their parents visited us. The Japanese fascinate me and I have always enjoyed them because you never quite know what they are going to do next. In a way the Japanese are the Asiatic English. They have very old customs and practices that at least the older folks keep alive. They have what we would call the stiff upper lip and they hide emotions well.

Examples.
While on a visit to Japan to meet my daughter's sponsors, a well-to-do industrial family, we were invited to a very large event which included a meal at a very large, believe it or not, Chinese restaurant. There must have been 100 people in the room, all sitting on the floor Japanese style, and we were the guests of honour. I was trying to act properly so I adopted the classic Japanese sitting style of knees on the ground and sitting on your feet. After a while my legs were killing me so I asked our host if it would be acceptable to adopt a more comfortable pose because we westerners were not used to this sitting style. He, of course, said I could do what I wished because I was the senior guest of honour so I slid off my ankles and sat on the floor western style. There was an immediate huge communal sigh of relief as everyone else in the room also relaxed. They must have been aching as much as I was and many of them were older than me but not one darn person was going to crack and relax as long as I stayed in the traditional position. As I found out later it would have meant a tremendous loss of face and it would have been taken as a great social gaffe if they had relaxed before the guest-of-honour.

Second example.
The whole journey from the airport to the layover hotel was a carefully choreographed dance. Your taxi stopped at the designated point precisely on time. You carried your suitcases to the curbside near the rear of the taxi and left them there, it was the driver's specific job to put them in the boot. The driver also off-loaded the suitcases at the hotel and they were picked up and taken inside by tiny, delicate, Japanese girls who did not look as though they could lift a shoe box. The suitcases were then placed in a designated position near the check-in counter where you could then claim them to take to your room. Now, you must not ever, ever, ever, disrupt this flow, it was as if the whole stability of the society depended upon following the correct procedures. Even following the western ideal of not letting a young lady lift a heavy object was forbidden, it was a disruption of the "Wa" or harmonious flow of society. A briefing on these procedures was considered vital for any new crewmember flying to Japan. It took some effort not to try to help but people quickly found it was better just to accept the way things were.

Last example.
I was flying with a new co-pilot. After several trips through Japanese customs he asked me why my bags were never examined when he seemed to have his inspected regularly. This was in the days when our dress code was relaxed and you could fly to Asia wearing a short sleeved uniform shirt and you did not need to wear your hat, just have it with you. This gave me my chance for my favourite lecture.
I pointed out that pilots had status. I told him that if he dressed like a flight attendant, no jacket and no hat, he could expect to be treated like a flight attendant which is why I wore full uniform and hat all the time. He protested that he had his pilot wings on his shirt so I pointed out to him that various airlines had various dress codes so he could not expect customs to know them all. I gave him my procedure, always wear full uniform, choose a young female customs agent (they were less likely to challenge a senior male), never put your suitcase on the table for inspection voluntarily. Simply stand erect next to your suitcase a few feet away from the table and look at the agent, more than likely you could face them down and they would wave you through uninspected.

Many more Japanese stories but that is enough. We can start on Singapore, Vietnam and New Zealand but, without doubt, the most overbearing, arrogant, incompetent and unpleasant federal airport workers are to be found in Los Angeles.

.
the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

unifoxos
Capt
Capt
Posts: 882
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:36 am
Location: Twycross Zoo, or thereabouts
Gender:
Age: 76

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#7 Post by unifoxos » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:07 am

the most overbearing, arrogant, incompetent and unpleasant federal airport workers are to be found in Los Angeles.

They must be going some if they can beat New York.
Sent from my tatty old Windoze PC.

User avatar
tango15
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1426
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:43 pm
Location: East Midlands
Gender:
Age: 77

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#8 Post by tango15 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:35 am

Interesting stories, boing. I've only been to Japan a few times and only for a few days each time, though I did once manage a visit to beautiful Kyoto. What I find odd about the Japanese is this strange dichotomy in their culture. Their unfailing politeness, (even the exchange of business cards turns into a ceremony) and their attitude to women being a typical example. The word 'arigatou', according to Portuguese friends of mine, is a Japanese version of 'obrigado', the Portuguese word for 'thank you'. The story goes that the Portuguese were the first people to visit Japan in the 16th century and in doing so discovered that the Japanese had no means of showing their appreciation for a task performed. I have never been able to find independent verification of this from the Japanese side, except for a bar girl, who with considerable loss of face and after a few drinks admitted that it was true - admittedly not perhaps the most erudite source of information! My daughter-in-law worked for a Japanese bank in London for several years and I remember telling her about this. She wasn't in the least surprised. Although obviously a female, she wasn't a lowly secretary or PA; she worked on the trading floor, but nevertheless was treated with disdain for most of the time.

User avatar
Woody
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 8443
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:33 pm
Location: Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand
Age: 58

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#9 Post by Woody » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:39 am

unifoxos wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:07 am
the most overbearing, arrogant, incompetent and unpleasant federal airport workers are to be found in Los Angeles.

They must be going some if they can beat New York.
I nominate T3 security at Manchester X(
When all else fails, read the instructions.

User avatar
Capetonian
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 12104
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:44 am
Location: Enjoying the self-destruction of the EU.
Gender:
Age: 69

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#10 Post by Capetonian » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:31 pm

I have only been to Japan once. I was quite reluctant to go as my experiences of the Japanese had been limited to large tour groups travelling around Europe, and I had always found them pushy and overbearing 'en masse'. As it turned out, I loved Japan, the food, the people, the scenery, the efficiency, the cleanliness, the honesty ...........

Here is what I wrote at the time :
From the land of the Rising Sun, the falling Yen, and Pocari Sweat (*)


The Yen has far to fall before this ceases to be the most expensive country in the world for the average traveller. At first, prices seem almost shocking, but the superlative quality and standards quickly take away the sting. Japan’s reputation for being expensive is deserved, but my trip laid to rest any other negative misconceptions about this delightful country and its people.

Many of the old sights of Japan have passed into history, but some live on. As the plane docked my first sight, through early morning eyes, was of a group of workers in orange overalls performing morning exercises, perfectly synchronized under the leadership of a man in green overalls. This set the tone of a uniformity and conformity especially noticeable in Tokyo, where although the stories of people being rammed into the underground railway by ‘pushers’ with long poles turned out to be exaggerated, it is impossible not to think of a colony of ants as one sees unbroken streams of grey suited businessmen with their briefcases hurrying towards their offices. A lot of the people look very similar ..... specially the middle aged men as they all wear grey suits and carry small black attache cases. The younger men and the women are a bit more varied as they tend to be of differing stature and wear clothes which whilst not exactly bold by European standards, at least are different shades of grey!

After a few days I lost the awkward feeling of helplessness which comes from not understanding even the simplest things except for the few place names written in English, felt totally comfortable in this very foreign place, and began to enjoy the quality of life and the delightful people of this country. Several overwhelming impressions will endure, in particular the friendliness, honesty, courtesy, and hospitality of the Japanese, and the almost frightening efficiency. Whatever the guide books say, you will not be prepared for the warmth of the welcome that awaits. The misconceptions that abound about the Japanese being rude, arrogant, pushy, cold, and humourless are utterly untrue. I never heard a voice raised in anger, never witnessed an altercation, never felt uncomfortable.

Even in the main cities, it is safe to walk around at night, to use public transport, to carry valuables and large sums of cash, as most Japanese do, without concern, and women can go out at night alone or in pairs without attracting unwanted attention. This is perhaps why the Japanese, great international travellers who indulge in orgies of buying on their short but intensive trips, finding huge savings compared to prices at home, often become the victims of crime on these trips, as their own society has such a high moral code that the type of criminal activity which makes life in most countries a constant battle of wits, is almost unknown in Japan, although there is a fair amount of fraudulent activity in business circles.

The strength of Japan’s economy and the world wide success of its products, most of which are household words round the world, come at a high price. Long working days and lengthy commuting times, total commitment to the employer, short holidays, and the all important keeping up of appearances create huge pressures, the results of which can be witnessed after work hours as ‘sararimen’ (salary-men) drink away the stresses of all this. Late at night, the streets are full of businessmen staggering homewards, those unable to make it passing out in coffin sized slots at ‘capsule hotels’ near railway stations. These capsules have room for a mattress, a small TV, an alarm clock, a briefcase, and of course, a paralytic recumbent body. The less fortunate collapse in the street from where they are efficiently removed by the ambulance service, or end up at the end of the subway line. Drinking is socially acceptable and a legitimate passport to what in other circumstances would be regarded as unacceptable, such as belching, farting, and urinating in public.

I couldn’t help wondering if the trade in used panties sold from vending machines at railway stations is related to this phenomenon of heavy drinking. I imagined a scenario in which a guy goes out boozing all night with his friends, in one of the many bizarrely named and semi-clandestine bars (I saw a ‘Virus Bar’ and a ‘Fuku Men’s Bar’) sleeps in a ‘capsule hotel’ and on returning home ‘lets’ his wife find the panties as ‘evidence’ that he hadn’t been drinking away the family finances after all but engaging in other pursuits perhaps less harmful to the family.

A ride on the famous ‘Bullet Train’ from teeming Tokyo to the rather more laid back town of Osaka cost £ 120 – one way. (A taxi from Tokyo’s rather distant Narita Airport into town costs more). The ‘Shinkansen’ is an unforgettable experience, and one of the highlights of my trip. Running from dedicated parts of the stations, it is spotlessly clean, punctual to the second, the staff were polite and pleasant, and with comfortable spacious seats. About as different as one can imagine from the grim and grimy conditions on most of the UK’s rail routes and boasting a perfect safety record. The smooth running belies the speed, until you cross another train at a closing speed of about 600 kph. I had hoped to see Mount Fuji, even to the extent of asking the girl in the reservation office to book me a seat on the appropriate side of the train (right hand side if travelling from Tokyo to Osaka). This amused her greatly and her laughter, and that of her colleagues echoing through the office, disproved the misconception that the Japanese are humourless – far from it. Alas, Fuji remained shrouded in cloud, as is often the case except in spring, on both legs of my journey. A good reason, I felt, for another trip to Japan to see this mystical and sacred mountain, although flying out of Tokyo I had a splendid view of her snow capped and distinctive peak off our left wingtip. A nostalgic moment, as I felt a sorrow at leaving this lovely country, whilst normally at the end of a trip, however enjoyable it was, I look forward to leaving.

As my trip to Japan was business the high prices were not of great concern to me until I discovered that the cash withdrawal limit on my credit card barely covered a coffee in the morning and a beer at night. At one point I had premonitions of starvation as my cash reserves dwindled and I found that the restaurants that take credit cards typically charge a minimum of £ 50 for a meal, whilst a ‘Health Breakfast’ (orange juice, coffee, and a bread roll) in a good hotel – cost £ 18, and a meal for two in a moderate restaurant, with a bottle of wine, can easily cost £ 120. It is not necessary to pay those outrageous prices, but not doing so requires leaving the comfortable world of hotels and restaurants with English menus and going to the places the locals frequent. It is utterly rewarding to do so, and there is no need to be concerned about being ‘ripped off’. I went to a busy up-market Sushi bar in Osaka where I was offered a seat at the bar between two small groups of diners clearly enjoying the meal and company, and who within minutes had done their best to strike up a friendly conversation with me, albeit in very limited English, and offered me food from their plates as they made recommendations. They ordered for me, drinks appeared, and the sushi was prepared before me and piece after piece placed on a wooden board as I wondered how many months' I would need to pay off the debt. In the end the bill was remarkably little, particularly considering that they could have charged me whatever they wanted given my inability to read the menu or argue the case, I would have had little defence. Trust and honour ensure that visitors are not taken advantage of. This is one of the delights of Japan.

I had a bad cold for the first few days. Unfortunate considering that one of the very worst breaches of etiquette in Japan is blowing your nose in front of other people, or even producing a hankie. You have to sniff until you are able to find a private place and moment to do the necessary. Sitting in a restaurant next to a snorting sniffer is bad enough, but that’s not the end of it. Noisy slurping of food such as noodles is considered good manners, so sound effects are ever present when dining.

Hotel bathrooms are interesting places. The toilet seat was fitted with a control panel that would not have looked out of place on an aircraft. Buttons were labelled with strange symbols looking vaguely like dehumanised diagrams of the pelvic area being squirted with water. That of course was the idea. The chart on the wall was illuminating : “pressing button A causes spraying warm water on posterior”. The hairdryer had a label on it advising : “This is for drying hair and may not be used for the other purpose”.
Part 2 follows ..............
"Religion is the advertising campaign for something that doesn't exist."
The late Clive James

User avatar
Capetonian
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 12104
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:44 am
Location: Enjoying the self-destruction of the EU.
Gender:
Age: 69

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#11 Post by Capetonian » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:47 pm

Part 2 ..........
Strange slogans abound. Japanese copywriters appear to invent these by taking any two unrelated words in the English language to create a slogan. A popular motor bike accessory brand is called : ‘Stop Idle’. T-shirts bear meaningless slogans such as ‘Happy Brick’ and ‘Magnet Day’. Many signs in ‘English’ are grammatically correct but hard to comprehend, such as: “this vehicle will be driven in two minutes”. In the ‘hotel regulations’, it states : “After 6 pm. your companion may not be guested in your room unless registered for this purpose.” A receipt from a railway station cafe was printed : ” I miss you, I need you, I feel you, I love you.” I pointed this out to the attractive young girl who’d served me my £10 coffee and asked her for a date (I thought maybe it was included in the price) but she just looked at me with the dumb incomprehension that most nationalities reserve for harmless nutters.

The Japanese have a problem distinguishing between the letters ‘L’ and ‘R’. This means that : “Do you have a problem?” sounds like: “do you have a programme?”, and vice versa. It is common to see the letters transposed such as on a shopfront : ‘Good Plice Compact Discs’.

One Japanese told me that she was a great lover of Spain, a country she had visited several times, having been to Glenda, Londa, Behserrona, Seborra, Higellas, and Torero. Until she showed me the map and pointed out Granada, Ronda, Barcelona, Sevilla, Figueras, and Toledo, I thought she was talking about another country.

Whilst I was in Osaka, the earth moved for me. Sitting in the office at lunchtime I felt a thump as if someone had dropped something heavy on the floor above. The building began swaying slightly and at the same time the various fittings rattled - it was not unlike being on a slow moving train. I went to the window, expecting to see other buildings in motion but there was no sign of anything abnormal. The whole thing lasted about a minute. Nothing fell or broke but I heard afterwards that at the epicentre, some 300 miles away on the West Coast, it registered 7.3 Richter, bigger than the one which destroyed much of Kobe in 1995. Initially we heard that there was only minimal damage and no injuries, although the Bullet Train services were suspended as a precaution in case the tracks had become misaligned. Over the next few days reports of damage and injuries filtered through from rural areas.

Osaka as a city is pleasant, not as busy and noisy as Tokyo and people have more time to stop and smile and be friendly. On the downside, there is almost no English spoken and few English signs or menus, making getting around difficult. Compared to Tokyo it's a compact city and the pace of life is slower, and people smile and chat more easily. I only had to walk out of my hotel to be in an area of buzzing evening activity.

Saturday night seemed a good night to sample Osaka's apparently vibrant night life. I wandered for a while and fell into conversation with a seemingly respectable and smartly dressed Japanese guy a bit younger than myself. He offered to take me somewhere where we could have a drink or two without paying too much.

'CLIPJOINT !!!' flashed the red neon sign in my brain. I envisaged the evening ending with a nasty scene as I refused to pay several hundred dollars for having a couple of beers with some sleazy 'hostess' running her hand up my leg, whilst he shared the commission. Nevertheless I intuitively trusted the guy and I went for it, eyes open, and sober. He made a call on his cellphone, and 5 minutes later we were met by a pretty girl who led us through narrow streets heaving with neon signs and masses of people, to a basement corridor with numerous doors opening off it, each with various Japanese signs on it.


She led us through one of these doors to nothing more exciting than a small bar with about 6 men in various stages of intoxication chatting to each other and a rather unattractive barmaid. The other girl went behind the bar and served us each a beer. After half an hour I'd had enough of the increasing level of intoxication, although it was all very friendly and good natured and I'd even been offered a couple of drinks by some of the other patrons. This was simply one of the infamous Japanese mens' drinking clubs. I was tired and decided to leave. I asked for the bill and was shocked ........ it was less than $30 - which for Japan, for three beers and a snack in a 'club' is not just cheap, it's unbelievably cheap - and my friend even paid his share. My intuition had been right.

We went off and patrolled the streets for a short while until he decided to go home. I wandered around taking photographs, including one of a furtive looking couple, he about 5 foot nothing and 60 years old, and a girl of about 18 who was a good foot taller, leaving a 'Love Hotel', with the neon sign 'Hotel You and Me – Front Robby' clearly visible behind them.
A nearby establishment in the same area was called : ‘Rovers Hotel’, with the sign outside indicating prices for ‘Rest’ (quickie) and ‘Stay’ (overnight).

Hunger kicked in and I sat down at a street restaurant where something was sizzling on an open range, I saw hot fat, batter, bits of fish, and vegetable. I had no idea what it was, all the signs being in Japanese. A seat became free and I sat down next to two young girls and enlisted their help in ordering. A plateful of steaming stodgy doughy lumps was placed in front of me and they started trying to explain what it was. It was all meaningless, I just tucked in. As I listened to the giggling banter between the two of them, I realised one was trying to tell the other how to say something in English.

"My friend say you rook rike Richard Gere", eventually came out. It was the first time I've ever been accused of looking like Richard Gere - she was very, very drunk.

After a while chatting one disappeared to the toilet .... alone. They don't seem to go for this odd thing of European girls going to the toilet together (team-talk time?). After half an hour when she hadn't reappeared her friend went off to look for her, and returned alone. We decided she'd gone outside for fresh air, as she'd been knocking back the beers faster than I and had been looking a bit the worse for wear.

We found her in the street, lying on her side, comatose, under a food counter, in a pool of her own vomit, with streams of spewed up food and beer coating her clothes and her dyed blonde hair. Someone had removed her ten inch platform heels and placed them neatly by her side, with her handbag and mobile phone (anywhere else in the world they would have been stolen.) Her friend hailed a taxi which like all taxis in Japan was spotlessly clean. I felt a pang of sympathy for the driver, in his neat suit and white gloves, as I envisaged him having to clean his taxi after the journey. I suppose in Japan that is a risk of the job. No wonder they charge so much.

Apart from all this, Osaka is an excellent centre for visiting the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, less than an hour away by frequent and efficient local train services. It would be possible to visit both places in a day, but this would do justice to neither.

Most of the temples and shrines of Nara are in the park and it is easy to stroll round in 4 hours or so (accompanied by the deer and their strange high pitched calls) enjoying the fact that this place is a little off the beaten track for most tourists but a favourite Sunday outing for Japanese families. Despite the large numbers of people there is never a feeling of being crowded or jostled and the Japanese respect the sanctity of these places and are quiet and controlled. And of course, there is no litter. The whole time I was in Japan I never saw litter, nor anything broken, dilapidated, or discarded in the street.

A trip which I had not particularly looked forward to, turned out to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding I have ever made. I will certainly see the Japanese differently now when I meet them on their travels around the world, and it will be easier to understand some of the cultural differences which make them seem, to us, sometimes abrupt and lacking in charm. They more than make up for it in their own country.

* BODY REQUEST POCARI SWEAT is a tinned beverage, which according to the labelling : “is a healthy beverage that smoothly supply lost water and electrolytes from perspiration. At work, when playing sports, after bath, when waking up, POCARI SWEAT is the most appropriate beverage to ease one’s thirst that the body needs in the varying scenes and situations in one’s life”
I had a minor accident after visiting the temples in Nara. In the dark, I stepped off the pavement to cross the road and did not expect there to be a wide and deep storm drain, into which I fell, and climbed out, filthy, clothes torn, wet, and bleeding. I probably looked is if I'd been in a drunken brawl. I went to the closest place I could see which happened to be a Ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel), to ask if I could clean myself up in the toilet. They offered me a shower, towels, tea, snacks, and to call a doctor if necessary. Having used the facilities, I offered to pay them, stressing that I'd left them several bloodied and dirty towels, but they refused to take anything. Tipping in Japan is a social 'no-no' and considering an insult, so all I could do was offer profuse thanks.
"Religion is the advertising campaign for something that doesn't exist."
The late Clive James

User avatar
tango15
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1426
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:43 pm
Location: East Midlands
Gender:
Age: 77

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#12 Post by tango15 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:40 pm

Very interesting Cape. Your Mention of the inability of the Japanese to pronounce the letter l reminds me of a true incident many years ago. I had been invited onto the flight deck of the Vanguard (yes it was that long ago!) for the duration of the flight to Gib. As the pax boarded, the crew were going through their checks, the radio was on speaker and the usual ATC conversations were taking place. As the final pax boarded and the paperwork was completed, the radio burst into life again.
"Ah Rondon tower, Japanair 422."
"Japanair 422, go ahead."
"Ah, requesting star-up crearance for Tokyo."
"422, you're cleared to start - temperature plus 2." (It was a November evening).
The Vanguard crew strapped themselves in and prepared for the pushback.
"Tower, Bealine 068 requesting start-up clearance."
"Bealine 068, you're cleared to start - temperature plus 1."
"There's a nip in the air tonight." (No response from ATC.)
The JAL DC-8 taxies out ahead of us and receives its clearance, lines up, takes off and is instructed to change frequency.
We line up, receive our clearance and the Guardsvan begins to rumble down the runway as we - eventually - become airborne.
"Bealine 068, you were airborne at 58, contact London Centre on 128 decimal 5 and have a nice fright!"

Pinky the pilot
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1948
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:20 am
Location: Still looking for that bad bottle of Red
Gender:
Age: 67

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#13 Post by Pinky the pilot » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:25 am

Boing, Capetonian and tango15; :-bd :-bd :-bd

I'll try to come up with a few stories of my adventures there. Give me a few days.
You only live twice. Once when you're born. Once when you've looked death in the face.

Pontius Navigator
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 13885
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:17 am
Location: Gravity be the clue
Gender:
Age: 79

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#14 Post by Pontius Navigator » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:49 am

Woody wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:39 am
unifoxos wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:07 am
the most overbearing, arrogant, incompetent and unpleasant federal airport workers are to be found in Los Angeles.

They must be going some if they can beat New York.
I nominate T3 security at Manchester X(
Darwin

User avatar
ExSp33db1rd
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2849
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:51 am
Location: Lesser Antipode
Gender:
Age: 87

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#15 Post by ExSp33db1rd » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:58 am

...........which is why I wore full uniform and hat all the time.
As a Co-pilot I once flew with a Captain of similar persuasion, he said he could fly the aircraft naked if necessary, but if he turned up in casual gear, the passengers would think that he looked like them on their day off, and they couldn't fly the beast, so could he ? Bullsh*t Baffles Brains, he said.
......the most overbearing, arrogant, incompetent and unpleasant federal airport workers are to be found in Los Angeles.
Absolutely totally agree, less than a year since I last experienced them. Total A**eh*les. Big, black, female ( not being racist or sexist, just stating fact ) TSA agent yelled at me to take me shoes off. I pointed to the notice allowing those of a certain age to remain shod, itself a remarkable allowance considering the rest of the nonsense, but she said "That's for Domestic, you're International, get em off." I considered suggesting that in that case it was perfectly OK for terrorists travelling Domestic to carry a shoe-bomb ? But decided not to push my luck and removed my shoes. I then sought a Supervisor, who agreed that I was right, but didn't apologise. I wear a Colonoscopy bag, and have been told that some agents regard this as a medium for smuggling small items like diamonds for instance, and insist on a "strip examination", which I imagine must include a detailed inspection of the contents of the bag ? I hope mine is almost full if it ever happens to me, I will enjoy that !
"Bealine 068, you were airborne at 58, contact London Centre on 128 decimal 5 and have a nice fright!"
Early days of the then new Boeing 737 at Heathrow, PanAm taxying for 28 L cleared number two to a Lufthansa 737, did they have it in sight ? " Don't rightfully know what a 737 looks like, but we're right behind a little clockwork mouse down here," replied PanAm. At which --" Plees, ve are not clockwork mouse, but new Boeing 737 bound for Frankfurt," came the Lufthansa response. "Waal, have it you're own way, but you sure look like a clockwork mouse to me" said PanAm. At that LHR ATC cleared Lufthansa 123 to take off, climb to 3,000 ft, contact departure control on 128.5 and squeak 2745 !! Magic !

User avatar
ExSp33db1rd
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2849
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:51 am
Location: Lesser Antipode
Gender:
Age: 87

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#16 Post by ExSp33db1rd » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:13 am

Met the first Mrs. ExS. whilst we were flying in and out of Japan quite often, after we married and bought a house, we named it - Moshi Moshi !

Pontius Navigator
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 13885
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:17 am
Location: Gravity be the clue
Gender:
Age: 79

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#17 Post by Pontius Navigator » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:09 am

As well as keeping their apart in the air and guiding them on the the ground ATCers obviously need a quick wit.

Landing at Goose Bay and for some odd reason our skipper streamed the brake chute, or rather tried, and the whole thing popped out in its bag.

"Hey Limey, your bird just scrapped on my runway"

Short, succinct and accurate.

User avatar
OFSO
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 15030
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:39 pm
Location: The Peoples Republic of Whitton
Gender:
Age: 78

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#18 Post by OFSO » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:55 pm

My German ex-wife led a software team to our satellite ground station at Iberaki to install the station main computer, or STAMAC, plus hard and software systems. Local Japanese more or less ignored her as she was just a woman, and insisted on dealing with her number two, a man. About three days into the visit the locals held a karaoke evening at which my ex, despite being known as not much of a drinker, still managed to out-drink every male there.

Next morning when she arrived for work all of the Japanese men had lined up to bow to her and from then on treated her with the utmost respect, going to her for help and advice on every occasion.

Needless to say, as a highly qualified systems analyst she was furious at being accorded respect for the wrong reason.

Hydromet
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2854
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:55 am
Location:

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#19 Post by Hydromet » Thu May 07, 2020 8:52 am

Daughter & SIL went to Japan after graduation. SIL had a job & daughter, a double degree software engineer, could have had one at the same place. She thought about it, but found out that she would have still been the tea-lady. Instead, she studied Japanese language full time, which was probably more worthwhile.
She did, however, receive great respect from her husband's colleagues for the same reason as Mrs. OFSO.

User avatar
Smeagol
Capt
Capt
Posts: 1233
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:15 pm
Location: UK, Carrot Cruncher Country
Gender:
Age: 70

Re: Arigatou gozaimasu

#20 Post by Smeagol » Thu May 07, 2020 7:19 pm

I am no expert in genetics, but I was once told that Asians (and Japanese particularly) are genetically less able to deal with alcohol than Europeans. I worked for a Japanese oil company for 3 years and my, totally unscientific, research at events where considerable quantities of alcohol were consumed would seem to confirm this.
We hates Bagginses!

Post Reply