So I know I’m going to Japan because waiting at the gate everything is different from just 20 metres away. You have the endless numbers of glasses for starters. The formal style on the men with the spikey, manga haircuts and plain colours. The women wear their ill-matching colours, layers over layers, scarfs and jackets and funny shoes. Everyone looks like their mum dressed them on speed.
Then there is always the Japanese guy who travels, wears his Indian threads and has a beard. Japanese men follow their girlfriends around and no one says anything. The occasional Japanese is wearing a white surgical mask, a forlorn attempt to keep the germs away. A group of Pakistani men in their dress walk past and looked. The Japanese don’t notice.
The waiting is quiet. The gate is open but there is no rush. No one wants to go first. So you apologetically, or serrenditiously stand up, like you are just stretching. It’s a young crowd of boarders, all in their 20s, like some university trip. Most have boarded and I can’t remember anything. We can’t wait any longer. It’s the final call. Time to go back to Japan.