Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda My Unique Airport Routine | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda My Unique Airport Routine

Aika Kanda: Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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A few years ago, I started hearing the term “◯◯ routine” a lot. Like the morning routine or the routine before going to bed. I don’t have a morning or night routine that I can tell people about, but I do have one, if only from home to boarding the plane at Haneda Airport.

©Kazuki Shimomura

For nine years, until March of this year, I made a one-day trip to Fukuoka every Friday. I was the MC with Papaya Suzuki for “Saturday Night! (TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co., Ltd.), for which Papaya Suzuki and I served as MCs. Including work and private life, I have flown about 90 times in a year, or about 810 times in nine years.

The first thing I did was take a cab from my home to the airport. I told the driver the shortest route, but one out of four times I got into a bit of trouble. This is because the driver does not know the route, or the route is different from the shortest route I have in mind, but I am not wrong. I have already tested all the possible routes twice, taking a different route back and forth at the same time every week to see which would get me to Haneda Airport the quickest at a given time.

However, there were a number of people who would reply and then take a different route on their own or tilt their head to the side. Whenever I met such drivers, I explained the route from scratch. Most of the time, the driver would give me a hard time, and we would spend several tens of minutes under the same roof in a bad mood before we arrived at the destination. Thanks to this, I no longer minded at all what kind of atmosphere I was in alone with a stranger.

We arrived at the airport about 50 minutes before departure time and checked in immediately. I love JAL and always flew JAL between Haneda and Fukuoka. Therefore, my membership status is Diamond, the highest level. I can use member-only services. I selected my seat at the counter and issued a ticket. Paper tickets are better, as the 2D barcodes on mobile phones can be difficult to read and stop the flow of boarding gates.

Then, head to the baggage check and make a U-turn without going to. I usually stop at UNIQLO or PLAZA in the airport. I procure some daily clothes, cosmetics, and a birthday present for my co-star in Fukuoka. After completing these purchases in about 10 minutes, I went through the baggage check.

In order to pass smoothly through the baggage check, I carry nothing in my pockets from home, a slightly larger jacket that is easy to put on and take off, and a pair of flats as my shoes. Plastic bottles, which are inspected separately, should be held in one’s hand beforehand.

After passing through, we went directly to the ISETAN Haneda Store, which opened right in front of us. This is a paradise for a quick look at the latest clothing, and even if you have trouble buying something, you can come back a week later if you ask for it to be held for you.

Special abilities cultivated through lounge visits

In the meantime, it was about 25 minutes before departure time, and I could have gone to the boarding gate, but I went to the first class lounge at ……. There was a reason I really wanted to go there.

I poured myself an orange juice and secured a seat near the doorway where I could see the whole area. After watching and listening to the users and their conversations here hundreds of times, I have developed an ability to recognize the kind of people who are in this lounge!

A businessman who has traveled on and off like a horse-drawn carriage and has access to the lounge. A company executive who is here because his secretary provided it, even though he didn’t want it. The self-employed CEO who takes the attitude that it’s his company’s expense and he deserves it. A woman who seems to be the mistress of such a person, but who is not riding at her own expense. A career woman who is passionate about her work and enjoys upgrading at her own expense. A classy elderly couple who are retired and enjoying elegant travel.

I am confident that I can guess 80% of the time based on the content of the conversation, the choice and quantity of food in the lounge, the tailoring and wrinkling of the suit, the care and wear of the soles of the shoes, and other factors. To keep that ability from waning, I stop by the lounge, even if it is only for a few minutes. Then, 10 minutes before departure time, I head to the boarding gate. This is my routine.

I wonder if I can make use of this for something. I am asked at program meetings, “Do you have a routine?” It is not a pretty answer to the question, “Do you have a routine? Could it be that this feeling is just going to fade away? At the very least, I would like to write here to prove that there was a time when I had such an ability.

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the May 12 and 19, 2023 issue of “FRIDAY

  • Text/illustration Aika Kanda

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