An aging, cynical travel retail publisher whose body clock urgently needs a horologist comes to Tokyo to report a major brand story. Jet-lagged but stoical, the publisher spends his nights at the hotel bar mulling the foibles of the universe over a glass of Hibiki 17yo Japanese whisky, the early hours drinking Nespresso in his hotel room and imagining he’s George Clooney (in fact he more resembles the little old man in the Benny Hill show), and his work hours battling exhaustion while meeting sources and filing copy.
At his swanky but soulless international hotel he meets a beautiful, enigmatic newly-wed college graduate, who looks like Scarlett Johansson. The two strangers in a strange land strike up an unlikely though platonic friendship…
All of the above is true. Ok then, except the second paragraph which I made up. Actually, I stole it from the script synopsis for Lost in Translation, the great Sofia Coppola-directed 2003 comedy-drama.
I am, like the hapless hero of the movie (Bob Harris played by Bill Murray), in Tokyo. I am, like him, jet-lagged to hell (well, I was in Miami until a few days ago, after all) and I have now got through all of the Nespresso pods in my room, apart from the decaf ones, which would kind of defeat the purpose. The Hibiki 17yo will have to wait as I’ve got a big story to cover today. But if they serve it onboard my Lufthansa flight back home tomorrow via Frankfurt, I just may have downed a few by the time I fly back over my old haunt of Novosibirsk, which I’ll wave hello again to a couple of days later when I return to Shanghai.
Explaining why I’m in Tokyo will have to wait until my next Blog due to an embargo until later today on the story I’m covering. Let’s just say it’s worth both the long flight, the jet lag and all that Nespresso. Lost in Translation? The story of my life. As Irving Berlin said, “I got lost but look what I found.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.