Tuesday, November 8, 2011

License to drink

I walked boldly through the partitioned walkway to the security gate at Tokyo's Hanada airport. Nestled within my grey carry-on was one 150 ml bottle of moisturiser and a full sized tube of toothpaste (extra minty). Tucked into an outside pocket of my red rucksack was --bold as brass-- a bottle of fizzy orange soda I'd bought at a convenience store in downtown Tokyo.

Basically, I was armed up to the teeth.

Without hesitation, I dropped my pack onto the conveyor belt for the x-ray machine and then lifted out my laptop from the rucksack. That at least I had the good manners to declare, laying it gently in its own tray to be scanned separately.

"Anything in your coat pockets?" the security guard asked me, glancing briefly at my boarding pass for Sapporo.

Hell yes! My phone, wallet, keys and --just for good measure-- a sachet of liquid bubble bath I'd swiped from the hotel bathroom. I don't believe in doing things by half. Without bothering to list these items, I slid my arms out of the sleeves and slung the gortex onto another tray. Then, without even removing my shoes (possibly for the first time ever in a Japanese public building), I marched through the people scanner.

My carry-on, laptop and coat were already waiting for me at the other end. My rucksack was brought through by a security guard. He tapped the bottle of pop. "Check?" he asked.

I indicated he should go right ahead but as soon as he lifted the bottle he lost interest. "It's not open."

"No, still sealed," I agreed.

Contrarily, he slid it back into the pocket on the opposite side of the bag and handed bag plus bottle back to me. I went over to my gate and crack the top. Somehow it tastes so much better when it's brought from the other side of security.

When my flight came to board, I scanned my own boarding pass at the gate. Not once did I show any of the multiple forms of identification I was carrying[*]. My demonic plans for world domination were now irrevocably set.

Sitting next to me on the plane was a passenger with a stinking cold. He proceeded to buy two cans of beer.

.... might have to put a hold on domination plans until after Christmas.

[*] Note to self, birth records of all family members dating back to 1742 are not required on Japanese domestic flights.

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