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Author Topic: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home  (Read 618 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

`The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« on: November 24, 2008, 08:36:44 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20081121/ap_tr_ge/lt_travel_brief_mexico_living_at_airport

Quote

MEXICO CITY Hiroshi Nohara is on a layover at the Mexico City airport. It has lasted almost three months, and he has no plans to leave.

For reasons he can't explain, the Japanese man has been in Terminal 1 of the Benito Juarez International Airport since Sept. 2, surviving off donations from fast-food restaurants and passengers and sleeping in a chair.

At first, he frightened passengers, and airport authorities asked the Japanese Embassy to investigate why the foul-smelling man refused to leave. Now, he's somewhat of a celebrity, capturing Mexico's collective imagination with nearly daily television news reports on his life at the food court.

Tourists stop to pose with him for photographs or get an autograph.

The Tokyo native flew into Mexico with a tourist visa and a return ticket home, but he never left the airport. In an interview Thursday alongside the airport McDonald's, he said he had no motive for his extended stay and doesn't know how much longer he'll remain.

"I don't understand why I'm here," he said through a visiting interpreter originally hired by a television station. "I don't have a reason."

The embassy can't force him to leave, and since Nohara's visa is valid all Mexican officials can do it wait for it to expire in early March.

During his stay, Nohara's wiry goatee has grown into a scraggly mass. His red-tinted hair is speckled with dust and dandruff, and his cream-colored jacket and fleece blanket are dingy with overuse. He smells like he hasn't had a shower in months.

"He's a calm person, a nice man," said Silvia Navarrete del Toro, an airport janitor. "He just sits here and eats all day."

Various stalls in the food court give Nohara free snacks and drinks, sometimes even throwing in hats or coffee mugs with store logos to get free publicity during his frequent television appearances.

Strangers often buy him pastries or hamburgers; he prefers the latter.

He sits with the interpreter, talking and laughing for hours, at a small table covered with cups of cold coffee, packets of ketchup and sandwiches wrapped in foil.

Stroking his facial hair, Nohara said the 2004 film "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks as an Eastern European man stuck in a New York City airport, was not his inspiration. But he acknowledged the similarities.

"My life," he joked, "is 'The Terminal 2.'"



Offline Oniya

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 08:52:08 AM »
You'd think that there would be someplace where the guy could clean up, what with all the travel-size toiletries and such available.  And really, I'd think the embassy would be well-advised to send in a counselor instead of just an interpreter (I'm sure they have one on staff, even if it's not a normally-provided service).  It's nice that people are making sure he gets fed, though.

Offline Mathim

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 11:35:50 AM »
I guess the guy must not have any family or anything or he might have a motivation to go back; or at least we'd have heard about someone back in Japan wondering where the hell he is.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 11:57:25 AM »


Well, as big as international airports are, there has to be a shower facility somewhere in there, at least for employees. At least get that man a damned bar of soap and get him cleaned up. I know how grungy I can feel just going under the hood of my car or doing something in the lawn...I'd go berserk having to sleep all crappy and itchy like that.  :-\

Offline Oniya

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008, 12:37:58 PM »
I know business travelers will sometimes shave in the bathrooms, and there are usually all sorts of traveler services available for those people with 4 and 5 hour layovers (long enough to be bored to tears, but not long enough to really leave and come back, especially with current security). 

But it's really sort of sad that he says he 'doesn't understand why he's there'.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008, 12:48:37 PM »


Yeah you tend to think it's a layover and misplaced luggage scenario gone horribly wrong, but when he doesn't even know why he's there...sounds like one of those 'find yourself' situations and you just get lost at an airport in Latin America. Jeez.  :-\

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 01:20:11 PM »
. . .maybe he's getting sick in the head and really just can't remember what he doing there.  OR maybe his destiny is in that airport and he's waiting on it. . .*laughs*

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008, 01:26:53 PM »


I can imagine a hundred personal destinies better than getting stuck without soap Mexico City's airport...unless it involves a chance meeting with a ravishing senorita from a well to do family with extensive property somewhere on the Pacific coast...like Santiago Bay or something, that turns out to be my 'other half'.  :-\

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008, 01:33:32 PM »
Maybe he's supposed to save somebodies life. . .like some poor kid or something from a mugging that would have killed the kid.  Then the kid grows up to cure AIDS or cancer or something. . .?  *laughs*

Offline Mathim

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2008, 01:48:23 PM »
. . .maybe he's getting sick in the head and really just can't remember what he doing there.  OR maybe his destiny is in that airport and he's waiting on it. . .*laughs*

His name's not Hiro Nakamura, right? LOL. Heroes reference, if anyone doesn't watch the show.

But yeah, sounds to me like someone needs to give him some anti-psych meds.

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2008, 01:59:13 PM »
It doesn't have to be psychological, it could be a brain tumor, or some kind of degenerative brain disease - I guess in March when they send him home he'll at least have native-language authorities to talk to.

Offline Mathim

Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2008, 02:02:54 PM »
I suppose; but obviously it's something wrong with the brain, whether physical like a tumor or chemical like a disorder.

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Re: `The Terminal 2'? Japanese man makes airport home
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2008, 02:33:29 PM »
*nods*  Interesting note - when I Googled his name, I came up with one of the animation staff on XXXHolic.  Makes me wonder how common that name is (or whether it's the Japanese equivalent of Fred Jones).