The wait at Gate D4 of the Detroit airport turned into hours as a nice, thick fog settled in around Chicago's, O'hare Airport making it impossible to land the miniscule plane parked outside the window.  I kept nervously glancing at the ticket for my connecting flight, which was planned to leave for Tokyo, Japan in about two hours. I could hear a business man behind me gabbering on and on to the passengers around him, and based on the one-sided conversation, I gathered that he lived in Japan, and was also catching the connecting flight to Tokyo.  My hopes lifted a bit, because the odds of the airline holding the flight to Tokyo were probably greater with multiple late passengers.  As I continued to involuntarily eavesdrop, the conversation turned political, and the man began comparing Japanese politicians to Detroit's own "text message happy" former mayor, Kwami Kilpatrick.  

"They're the same over there," he said.  "Corrupt as ever.  The only difference is they say they're sorry.  That's really important in Japan.  They say they're sorry, and then they're thrown back in."

Fortunately, I'm correct about the plane.  When I rushed to the Japanese Air checkin desk, a woman there twitted happily to herself as she looks at my passport.  

"Oh...Disney," she giggled when she sees "performer" on my work visa.  She passed me onto another lady who led me through security.

"You very lucky," she said.  "They hold plane for you.  You last one."  I glanced at her ever-shuffling feet and asked, "should we run?"  She nodded, and we were off.

A a speedy sweep through security, she bowed and told me she can't follow, and I dashed to the gate where several Japanese woman bowed in greeting when I arrived.  They hurried me through, and I said quick hellos to my fellow cast mates as I clamored to find seat 54H and settle in for a 13 hour ride. 

My friend, Shavar sat across the isle from me, his tall legs banging against the seat in front of him.  I was seated in the center with an empty seat next to me, and another tall lad at the end of the isle.  I asked Shavar how to turn on the monitor in front of my seat, and then proceeded to press every button in my attempt to turn it on.  Eventually a woman arrived and asked if she can help, and I realized I'd accidentally pressed the call button to signal for a flight attendant's assistance.  

After she helped me turn on my tv screen, I turned to Shavar who pointed out the man next to him who was downing a beer.  

"There's no charge for drinks," he said.  I figured this was a great time to introduce Shavar to sake (Japanese rice wine).  We called the flight attendant back to our seats and order our drinks. Minutes later, we were handed small, round bottles with Japanese characters scrawled across the label and small plastic cups.

As if he has an internal alarm clock, the man next to Shavar woke up the instant the drinks arrive without a hint of drowsiness.  Upon seeing our sake bottles, he announced that he also would like some sake.  We pushed the call button again.  When his drink arrived, our new friend has to call the somewhat frustrated attendant back again because he prefered warm sake instead of the cold drink she brought.      

Finally once everyone had what they needed, we toasted to a wonderful tour in Japan, and I watched Shavar's face in anticipation.  In my opinion, sake doesn't have the harsh impact of other liquors like vodka or scotch.  It goes down smooth, but then it begins to burn once it's in your stomach.  Shavar smiled and said it's not too bad.  

A mere five minutes later, the man next to Shavar, who we learned is from Korea, falls back asleep.  But, as soon as the wheels of the drink and food cart rolled within ten feet of our isle, the man instantly awakes, ready to eat.  Shavar leaned in towards my chair and whispered that the Korean man reminds him of the people riding the Japanese bullet train he saw in a YouTube video once.  He says the people all cram into the train compartments even though there is no space left.  Once the train begins to move, they fall asleep instantly, their heads all bobbing to the same silent beat, and then wake up exactly when they need to get off.

The attendant parked the food cart next to our isle, and looked to the Korean man, and began listing off the menu.  There was a choice between chicken curry and seafood.  

"Which one is more expensive?" joked the Korean dude.  The attendant, who visited our isle one too many times for her patience limit, was not amused.  

After eating his meal of slightly more expensive, seafood, the man fell back asleep, along with nearly every other passenger.  I looked around in jealousy.  I watched movie after movie and fell into a restless sleep, until I felt Shavar tap me on the shoulder.  He asked me if the girl in his row can move seats to the one next to me.  Apparently while Korean dude was "sleeping" he was also rubbing her thigh.  She understandably felt a bit uneasy, and now was in need of a new seat. 

We rearraged ourselves while the Korean guy was in the restroom, and once everyone was settled in, I settled in for yet another movie and dozed as much as possible.  Near the end of the flight, the girl moved back to her seat, and I chatted with the guy on the other side of her seat.  He's an English teacher who's come here to teach young children for a year.  I told him about our show, and he said perhaps he can take some of his students.  Having been to Japan once before, he gave me three pieces of advice he wished he would have heard before his trip.  

1. Always hurry.  The Japanese don't like to be held up.

2. Eat every bit of rice in your bowl, otherwise they'll just thing you're weird.  

3. Say thank you after everything. 

When I'm informed that my bags have been lost and won't arrive until tomorrow, the amount of "I'm sorrys" I heard verged on ridiculous.  Pretty soon I wondered how long I could go before blurting "you should be!"...just to see what happens.