Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kansai International Airport

I was expecting to be really amazed by Kansai International Airport, famously designed by Renzo Piano on top of a big pile of compacted refuse in the Bay of Osaka. Maybe my expectations were a bit high: it's just another big airport; nice and efficient, like Narita or Hong Kong, but not exactly mind blowing.

Plus the wonder of the architecture is diminished the first time you see a big sign draped on a wall warning about terrorists, that looks for all the world like the security guard made it in his garage with bedsheets and emulsion paint. You'd at least think they'd stretch the edges tight, rather than having it droop from fastener to fastener.

On the other hand, the Customs officials have very bright blue uniforms. Very bright indeed, which helps to distract as they page through a ring bound set of laminated photographs of Things You Must Not Bring In. Drugs and guns and knives and porn magazines, the last of which seems rather quaint if you come from a country where the internet, or USB memory sticks, are easy to get to.

Like Japan.

Still, it's a lovely, lovely sunny day, the sky is blue, the air is clean and I'm about to check into a hotel that looks like a half-transformed Optimus Prime. I think despite the harsh start to my day, this is going to go pretty well.


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