When the airport employee found out she was in the islands alone, he gave her a tongue-in-cheek romantic worksheet to finish before heading home.
With its beautiful scenery, balmy weather, and ample accommodation options, Hawaii is always a popular wedding venue, and when Naoko Tamura (@flaneur_fran on Twitter) had a friend getting married in the islands, she hopped on a plane from Japan to attend the ceremony. But even before she got out of the airport, romance was in the air…or at least the conversation.
Tamura was travelling by herself (Japanese wedding invitations generally don’t include a “plus one”), but her solo status surprised the older man working the counter at the Honolulu airport. “You came by yourself!?” he asked. “All the way to Hawaii!!?? This is a resort! That’s so lonely!!”
Wishing for her to have some companionship, he then handed Tamura a customs form, with some handwritten additions.
フラヌール (FRAN) (@flaneur_fran) August 13, 2018
“Before you leave the country, make three boyfriends, and report back to us,” he said, having written blank lines on the paper where Tamura could inscribe the names of the three beauxs she’d been instructed to meet during her stay.
After passing through immigration, Tamura moved on to the customs checkpoint, where the officials chuckled while asking “Who wrote this?” but also giving her suggestions for fun date spots if she did in fact make a romantic connection while she was in town. “I learned a lesson: Don’t come to Hawaii by yourself,” Tamura tweeted in a follow-up.
Other Twitter users chimed in with their own stories of surprising styles of hospitality they’d encountered in Hawaii.
“I went to Hawaii as part of a group of three girls, and the immigration staff asked if we were going to be wearing bikinis during our trip. When we said no, their next question was ‘Aren’t you going to go to Waikiki Beach?’, and when we said no again, their response was ‘No way! That’s unbelievable.’”
“I was in Hawaii for business, and one of my coworkers left one of his English-learning notes out, with something like ‘Can you recommend a good bar?’ written in broken English. When he got back to his room that night, a hotel employee had neatly written he correct phrase on the paper for him.”
“When I showed my passport at the airport in Hawaii, the immigration officer kept looking back and forth between my photo and my face. ‘I took the picture a long time ago, back when I was young,’ I explained, but the officer just smiled kindly and said ‘What? No, you’re still young.’ Hawaii really is a friendly place.”
Mixed in with appreciative comments about the friendliness of the Hawaiian people were a few detractors who said the immigration worker who’d given Tamura the blank boyfriend form should have minded his own business. Tamura herself, wasn’t bothered by his actions in the slightest. “It was just a silly joke on his part, so it’s nothing to think that deeply about, and think it’s worth laughing about,” she tweeted, and considering she’s now got a successful career as an international business consultant, it doesn’t sound like the experience soured her on international travel.