The Internet at Narita: Give it up …

Joe Posnanski

Editor’s note: This is my favorite baseball writer. Honorable mention for the deliciously sardonic Mike Littwin of the Rocky Mountain News.)
So here’s how I found out about the Hall of Fame honoring Buck O’Neil: I was in the Tokyo Airport desperately trying to figure out how to get to Sapporo for the Japan Series. I was beyond exhausted, of course, jet lagged out of my mind, and a certain airline had screwed up my ticket, and 57 very nice Japanese people were trying (and generally failing) to help me. The world cell phone I had ordered specially for the occasion was not dialing out (well, it was dialing, but I kept getting this recording of a Japanese woman telling me, “Oh no, you may not call out of our country, you silly American” — well, that’s what it SEEMED like she was saying).
And generally, I had this feeling that absolutely nothing was right in the world. People sometimes ask me what the worst part of my job is, and I always tell them that there is no worst part of being a professional sports writer, but that’s a bit disingenuous. Travel sucks. It doesn’t suck once you get to the place, but the actual process — dealing with screwed up airline tickets, canceled flights, last minute arrangements, lost luggage, hotel mix-ups, impossible-to-park situations, etc. — sucks because you are entirely helpless. One person’s incompetence can leave you sweating through your shirt in a Tokyo airport and furiously dialing your phone again and again into the recording of the peppy Japanese woman who is saying something you don’t understand but is definitely not letting you dial out.
So I tried to get on the Internet. You might think that Japan, being Japan, would have the greatest Internet access on earth. You might think that in a country this advanced you don’t even need a computer, you just think real hard and you get on the Internet. Well, it isn’t true. Wireless Internet, apparently, has not been a big priority here, which means that there’s only one wireless provider at the airport in Tokyo and it — let me speak technically here for a moment — doesn’t work. Well, it works for a minute, and then it goes off, and then it works again, then it goes off again. And every time the wireless comes back to life, it charges you several hundred Yen to get back on. So for a good 30 minutes or so, I had managed to spend about 200,000 yen and once almost made to my email account before the wireless died again.
You hear people say it all the time: How did we live before the Internet and cell phones? I’ll tell you how: We screamed a lot.
Click to read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *