Fortress America

Stepping off the plane, we were ushered to the gates of Fortress America. Amazingly, as we gathered into two immense, concentration-camp-esque ques down a seemingly endless airport hallway, an airport staff woman with a Chinese accent so thick you could fry dumplings in it, continuously shouted into the crowd, “Don’t worry! Be happy! You’re in America now!”


We boarded our plane, reluctant to leave Japan, and at length took our seats. As it turned out, we were magically selected to operate the emergency exit in the event that our chances for survival (and also possibly the plane itself) should take an unexpected nosedive.

Cultural limbo / Winning points / Magical thing

Headachey, and very tired. Excitement for our arrival mingles with delirious travel stupor.

Now that we’ve been on this plane for six hours or so, it has dawned on me that international flights are essentially a species of cultural limbo. Multiple languages, multiple cultures, multiple peoples all homogenized into the experience of jet travel. Neither here nor there. Weird.

Ten Thousand Shrines