I managed to find some free internet access in the departure lounge, so decided to make use of it. I left Panasonic today at 3pm local time, and caught the train back to the hotel to pick up my baggage. My timing was impeccable, as the airport bus was only a few short minutes from leaving as I got to the stop. The 70-odd minute ride to the airport was quiet, and gave me a chance to try to find a word to sum up my impressions of Japan. I think I found it – “drab”.
Now, this may be peculiar to this part of Japan (Osaka – Kyoto), but everything feels just a little gray, perhaps grimy, and yet remarkably sterile. There is very little litter, and I never saw any graffiti at all. Perhaps the youth of Japan are instilled with a little more respect for others and for authority here, and certainly crime is lower in Japan than back at home. For all that, it still feels a little lifeless.
Approaching Kansai Airport near Osaka, I realised something I hadn’t picked up when I arrived – Kansai Aiport is on a man-made island (check it out on Google Maps), and is reached by a bridge about 3km long!
I arrived at the airport about 90 minutes before check in opened, and so sat down for a while before taking a walk to find some sustenance. Much to my delight, I found … a Starbucks!! Real coffee!! I was so thrilled at the prospect that is was some minutes before I realised that I had lost my mobile phone. It must have slipped out of my pocket while I was sitting down, two floors above. Retracing my steps brought no joy – it was gone. So, off to the info counter. Had a phone been handed in? “Oh, please wait while I get paperwork”. It wasn’t until about a minute later that she pulls out my phone and says, “Is this yours?” That phone may not be much more than a hill of beans, but it was my hill, and those were my beans!!
Anyway, I am looking forward to getting back to Oz and seeing my (in some cases sick) kids again. It’s been a good trip, and one that has given me some good memories, but for now, I’m glad it’s over.