Incident left impression on her skin, but apparently not on his memory.

Most of the time, I think it’s nice when people visiting Japan from overseas try to adapt to local customs. Sure, the fine points of social nuances aren’t so easy to pick up on during a short visit, but little things like making a little bow of thanks when paying a restaurant bill or standing to one side on the escalator to leave a path for those who wish to walk go a long way towards showing an appreciation for the culture and fostering friendly international relations.

Again, most of the time I think it’s nice. It was decidedly less so, however, when this week an American traveler flying home from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport trotted out the “I don’t remember” excuse that’s sometimes trotted out by criminals in Japan when they’re caught in the act of bizarre crimes.

On the night of January 16, an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight departed Haneda, bound for Seattle. The plane appears to have taken off without incident, but about two hours into the flight, while it was over Pacific waters off Hokkaido, a cabin attendant asked 55-year-old Michael Travis Halyard to take his seat. Halyard then became unruly, and apparently decided the best way for him to plead his case that it was OK for him to stand up at that point in the flight was by biting the cabin attendant’s arm.

The rest of the cabin crew joined forces to subdue Halyard, and the flight was turned around and returned to Haneda, presumably, and understandably, because no one wanted to be stuck on a plane for the next seven hours or so with a dude who bites people. A police welcoming committee was waiting for the plane when it landed, and Halyard was arrested on-site and taken into custody.

▼ Halyard appeared deflated and less cannibalistic as officers escorted him out of the airport.

When questioned about the incident, Halyard said he had taken sleeping medication, and so “[does] not remember” biting the woman. “I don’t remember” is a common statement given by criminal suspects in Japan, and we’ve previously seen it used in such varied cases as investigations into a ring of suspected senior citizen thieves, a man stealing a motor scooter while wearing only a pair of legally purchased underwear, and a crab-cooking-argument-induced shanking.

Halyard’s excuse isn’t likely to hold up, though, as it’s pretty shaky on both ends. First, while pretty much all medicines come with a chance of side effects, the ones for sleeping medications don’t include “may cause biting.”.

▼ For that matter, “may cause an indomitable desire to stand up” isn’t something associated with sleeping medicine either, seeing as how the whole point is that it’s supposed to make you feel sleepy.

Second, while Halyard may claim not to have any clear memories, the incident occurred inside a small, enclosed space he was sharing with a whole bunch of potential witnesses. Tokyo to Seattle is a long flight, with little but open water to see out the window for almost the entire thing, and it’s a pretty sure bet that the other passengers weren’t so engrossed with ANA’s in-flight video options that they didn’t notice when some guy chomped down on another human being.

Source: TBS News Dig, Nitele News, FNN Prime Online
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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