My flight from Tokyo was uneventful. The flight was full and I had a seat towards the back of the plane, next to a window but with only one person next to me. I was seated before my neighbour, so of course spent some time wishing, please let the seat next to me be empty, but no such luck. My neighbour was a middle-aged Japanese man; he didn’t seem unfriendly but neither did he speak to me the whole flight. He spoke briefly when a member of the cabin crew asked him anything, he never said please or thank you.
As soon as he had sat down he pulled out a thick book, a textbook of some kind. Curious, I watched out of the corner of my eye as he started to review the contents. The majority of the text was highlighted in a riot of pink and orange; there was less unhighlighted and consequently the sentences he had not chosen to highlight stood out more. It was a book about French wine-producing regions and the wines themselves. I imagined he was on his way to a sommelier course.
After take off we were offered a drink. He asked for ginger ale.