I made it!!!!…Through the Quarentine?

So Swine flu is a funny thing…just when you think you’ve heard the last of it, the stupid thing comes back with vengeance to mess with your life once again. I’ll skip right to the good part of the day since no one wants to hear about the twelve hours I spent in a airplane yesterday. Needless to say, it was long, it was really long, but surprisingly, not as bad as I thought. Anyway, I spent the flight delving into a book on Japanese culture and history, and managed to get a good deal through it on the way (believe it or not). While we snaked through the endless rice patties and low lying clusters of run down houses on board Tokyo’s metro train we managed to run into three high school-aged Japanese girls nervously practicing their English. Seeing this I couldn’t help but wonder what an English class in Japan must be like. I mean, here I was sporting a 300 page block of text on their peoples’ history and culture, and what the hell would a “Guide to American Culture and History” have in it? Cheeseburgers, The Revolution, and some fat people? I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to scrounge up one of these relics while in Japan in an attempt to figure this mystery out! But more on that later.

Moving on, I was halfway between switching my inflight movie selection from the good parts of Caddyshack to Milk when the screen went blank and presented the whole passenger base with “Passenger Announcement in Process.” Attention pricked, the flight attended comes over the loud speaker to give us the lovely news that we would be staying on the ground an extra hour while we filled out these health questionnaires, got our temperature taken, and got individually questioned about the aforementioned questionnaire responses. At this point I couldn’t help but laugh since I had already spent far too much of my life in this fluorescent hell hole and didn’t really see the harm one more hour would bring me; plus, half of the Japanese women on the plane were already in masks and looked at me like a leper, so I really had nothing to lose. Long story short–we were quarantined. A group of eight or so members from the Ministry of Health boarded our plane, complete with an ominous orange glow that haunted us from the open aircraft door, and proceeded to take the whole airplane’s temperature using an infrared camera which, for personal satisfaction, I smiled and waved at. Imagine the scene from ET when the officials are all in full suits with cords connecting them to the outside world and that would be roughly what it was like. Each passenger got asked several questions regarding their health and an hour later the process was completed. Result? We passed!

Our Yellow, "I don't have Swine Flu" papers!

Our Yellow, "I don't have Swine Flu" papers!

The tale of Swine Flu doesn’t end there folks; after becoming lost in Tokyo (good job Steve!), we finally rolled into Bunkyo at about 7:45PM Local time. Side note: things our group assumed wrong about Japan: One, many people speak English; two, the University administration would be able to speak English; three, we would have a decent amount of freedom at the University while there; and four, Japanese cab drivers are all nice and don’t mind helping you out. Anyway, we arrive at the international dorm after snaking through some of the most sketchy looking alleys I have ever seen for what seemed like an eternity, and during the orientation the woman tells us that as part of a precaution against H1N1 we are all required to take and record our temperature every morning. What elicited the shutter from everyone is when she held up the sizable thermometer and exclaimed, “We do not take it inn the mouth here”–thankfully she was referring to the armpit instead.

Well it was at this point where I couldn’t take it anymore and unpacked my stuff then crashed. Some 26 hours awake and 6000 miles traveled and I am done. The best part was that after sleeping from 9:00 to 1:00AM, I am up and ready to go which is why I sit here typing now. To finish up, I am safely over here for everyone who cares, and I’m making the most out of it. Until next time~

~Pat

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3 Responses to “I made it!!!!…Through the Quarentine?”

  1. Alburt F. Leufawnsa :)hehe Says:

    iCooie:iGo to Japan
    In this episode Coo finds himself in Japan/on a plane for 17 hours/being questioned by about a gazillion flight peeps!!!!!YOU DID IT!!!! now just manage to have fun and relaxxxx….ya know the power within!!!!!Mom says hi!
    ~Care

  2. steventhomas Says:

    Shameless plug for my own blog on the topic:
    http://engl243.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/tokyo-diaries-japan-vs-swine-flu/

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