Flying with the Harlem Globetrotters

I’m currently laying on a bed that is about a foot and a half off the floor in the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Japan. It’s symbolic of EVERYTHING in Japan – everything is LOW to the ground. The sinks at the airport hit me around my thighs. But hey, they have the fanciest toilets I’ve ever seen. I admittedly did enjoy that the toilet seat was heated, but I wasn’t brave enough to explore any other functions on the toilet, like the “bidet” button (There was a button with just a crude drawing of water misting a pair of buttocks with the single word “spray” – is that not basically what a bidet is?).

The flight here was actually not too bad for it being 12 hours. The plane was the largest plane I had ever been on – I was in row 63. The Harlem Globetrotters were on our flight, and I sat next to one of the members. We had a really interesting talk about how both of our respective businesses functioned, and he was pretty inspiring. After talking to him, I realized that there seems to be a mold that successful, artistic people fit (he choreographed a lot of the stunts and “pieces” for the show). It sounded like he (and others I have observed) are excellent at marketing themselves, constantly creating their own opportunities, and last of all, really good at continually putting themselves out there. For example, this guy worked his way up from Chucky Cheese and explored theater and doing his own stunt work before auditioning for the Globetrotters. I think the lesson learned here is don’t be afraid to take any opportunity even if it’s not EXACTLY what you want to do at the time.

We were served two meals, and to be frank I’m not certain what I ate. What I did know was it was free, everything is expensive in Japan, and I had no yen. So, I ate everything on my plate, including a few raw pieces of what I assume was fish and some pasta dish that incorporated shrimp, pasta, and some sort of brown sauce. The fact that liquor is free on international flights didn’t go unnoticed by me and helped when it came to not caring what I ate. I didn’t sleep at all and instead watched some great movies (The Reader), some fair movies (Grand Torino, part of Quantum of Solace) and some I’m ashamed to say I watched in their entirety (Mall Cop, Bride Wars, and part of a Lilo and Stitch movie).

Once we landed, some interesting things happened. We had quarantine doctors come on our plane – dressed in surgical robes, masks, booties, hair coverings – to discern if we were ill with the swine flu. The flight attendants wore masks the entire flight. We had to fill out a questionnaire, and they came around and looked at everyone on the plane through a special camera. If I had to guess I would say it was a thermal imaging camera to see if any of us were feverish. After being detained for almost an hour, we were finally allowed to exit the plane. At one point there were six masked doctors in our section of the plane – people were taking pictures. It was like being in a horror movie about a killer virus.

I’m in the hotel now, and I’m going to try and get a decent nights’ sleep to offset jetlag. I do not have wireless in my room so it may be hard to reach me in Japan – best bet is to email, and hopefully there is wireless at the venue tomorrow. Tomorrow the work begins!


4 responses to “Flying with the Harlem Globetrotters

  1. I can tell that I’m really going to enjoy reading your blog. The voice is so *you* it’s like having a conversation with you!

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