Some time ago, I happened to read an article analyzing habits that people have when taking a plane. They looked at the choice of seat, frequency of traveling and so on, and the conclusion was that dreamers always take the window seat, while those who prefer the isle are cynics. The article did not further investigate those who sit in the middle or do not care about their seat in general.
Based on the article, the more we fly the more practical and cynical we become, exchanging the views for convenience and an easy way out. With all my flying experience to date, I would say that it sounds way too simple to judge.
Since I moved to Japan, my perception of flying has completely changed. If before, a flight across half a globe seemed like a life time adventure (ok, ok, at least an adventure of the year), now twelve hours on the plane in one shot seems completely normal and I would consider it acceptable even for a long weekend trip (depending on where and why, of course).
Choosing my seat becomes an equation based on flight time, class, and the purpose of the trip. Too practical, you will say? Maybe, but having been stuck for twelve hours behind two people sleeping like dead with ear plugs and eye masks, I would not go for a window seat in an economy flight of over five hours ever again, no matter my desire to dream by the window. Similarly, when on business, isle is preferred to have a quick and easy access and exit, while when on holiday and/or traveling with a company, I do not mind waiting and do not hurry to get out of the plane. Though, if you happen to fly long haul in business class, take a note, window seats are always the first ones to disappear.
Twelve hours is quite a long time whichever way you look, and I realized that even on the plane I learn new things about Japan and its culture. Typically, on the way from Japan, I would watch a foreign (French or other) movies, while on the back to Japan, I would occasionally go for a Japanese one. And here Japan surprised me again.
As much as the country prefers a “no emotion” approach, their movies are surprisingly emotional, always touching something deep inside you so that you suddenly find yourself with a napkin and tears in your eyes, wishing for that meal service to finally end and the lights to be switched off to give you more privacy. This was how I discovered “Your lie in April” (Shigatsu wa kimi no uso). Based on a popular anime series, it has been released as a movie in autumn 2016 and I must say it is really great. If cherry blossom season symbolizes the ephemeral nature of life, this movie has it all: the heartbreaking, fragile, and the temporary. Not surprisingly, the action takes place during cherry blossom season. Simply put, a beautiful story with even more beautiful music.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, I am listening to the “Love’s Sorrow” (a very beautiful piece of music from the movie) again and again, dreaming in my isle seat on the way to Tokyo…
the infinite traveler
longs to be set free.”
(William C. Hannan)