Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Oct. 27, 1959
October 27, 2009 | 2:00 pm
Coates Is Reluctant Stripper of Airways
You want my opinion, I say there's something almost indecent about Japan Air Lines' luxury flight to Tokyo.
We left Los Angeles after midnight -- an hour when self-respecting Occidentals give some thought to retiring. And that was the kind of idea I had in the back of my mind.
But immediately after the no-smoking lights were off, an adorable hostess sidled up to me and, without so much as a by-your-leave, began unbuttoning my jacket.
Well, I knew right then and there what kind of a ride this was going to be.
After a brief, one-sided bout, which she won two falls out of three, the jacket was off and I had been deftly slid into a cotton coat with an ominous bull's eye painted on the back.
"Japan Air R'ines happi coat," she told me. "Very comfta'bra."
Then she knelt down and began undoing my shoes. "Here!" I snapped sharply, because with these Oriental girls you never know where they'll stop. "I'm quite old enough to untie my own shoes."
Anyway, after she and I removed my shoes, she and I helped me into a pair of Japanese style "sleep socks," thanked her profusely and collapsed into the embryonic position, only to be nudged from impending slumber a few moments later. It was her again. This time, wearing a colorful kimono and bearing a magnum of Piper Heidsieck.
"You r'ike champagne?" she asked. Without waiting for an answer, she poured me some, then began plying me with an assortment of hors d'oeuvres including delicate raw fish rice wrapped in egg and tied with strips of seaweed, caviar and smoked salmon.
When that encounter ended, I dozed again and slipped into an intriguing nightmare. For some reason, Norrie Poulson, wearing one of those Russian fur hats and thick-soled boots, was chasing me through rows of unreserved seats at the Hollywood Bowl and shouting: "You won't bury me, I'll bury you." Before I had a chance to reason with him, I was gently shaken awake and, while futilely protesting that I had hardly finished my hors d'oeuvres, I was served a huge breakfast of mandarin oranges, crab meat omelette, bacon, toast and coffee.
In what seemed to be mere minutes later, it was cocktail time. Then we stopped to refuel in Honolulu. I curled up again. And again I was awakened by my personal Cio Cio San who asked: "You r'ike r'unch?"
"I r'ike," I muttered irritably, "to get some s'reep."
Coates Is Not a Cad
Her lovely eyes clouded with confusion, and for a horrible moment I thought she might cry. I felt like a beast. "Okay," I said softly, giving her obi a reassuring pat, "Lunch."
The exquisite features folded into a smile. And, against my better judgment, I had tournedos of beef, mimosa salad, buttered green peas and chocolate pudding with whipped cream.
Then we flew across the International Date Line, and it was the next day. Or, the day before. Or, something. Anyway, she came back in a kimono, carrying a fresh bottle of champagne, and we started the whole thing over again.
When I left L.A. I was a slim and boyish, if balding, foreign correspondent. When we landed in Tokyo I was five pounds over the allowable weight limit, giddy with the effects of wine drunk at high altitudes, and permanently spoiled rotten.