Tuesday, July 29, 2014
After seeing the catacombs and the opera house, I bought myself a French baguette with some salami and went to the airport.
Once at the airport it was time for another culture shock. I found the check-in counters for my airline, but there was no one there (at least no one working, there were other people waiting to check in). There was a sign saying that the counter would be open for check-in after 18:00. In Japan, I would expect the counter to be open at any time the airport is open, so it was surprising.
I waited around for a while and was then allowed to check in. The French woman checking me in was very helpful and I got a good seat.
Later, there was another line to get into the airplane. I was wearing a shirt that says 日本人ではありません ("I am not Japanese"), so people also waiting in line kept pointing at me and saying to their friends things like: "Look, that guy has a shirt that says he is not Japanese". There was even one girl using her cell phone to tell someone on the other end of the phone call about me and my t-shirt, haha.
The old couple standing in front of me in line also talked about my shirt, so I said: "So as not to be mistaken for a Japanese person" to them in Japanese. They were very surprised that I could understand what they were saying, and that I could say things to them that they understood. That it is surprising that someone flying to Japan can speak Japanese is surprising to me, but this happens all the time. The husband said that he thought the risk of me being mistaken for Japanese without this t-shirt was pretty much exactly zero, but that he gets mistaken for being Chinese all the time (when in Europe) so a similar t-shirt might be useful for him.