Aviation geeks know Japan as the home of aircraft--like the one above--painted with Pokemon, a distinct Japanese cultural creation. But another uniquely Japanese invention didn't quite make it to an aircraft.
Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was returning in July to America from a holiday in Kyoto and wanted to bring shuriken, or ninja stars, with him in his hand luggage, Bloomberg reports from Japanese magazine SPA!. Security at Osaka Kansai prohibited the items even though Jobs was flying on his private jet. (A Kansai airport spokesman says the airport does not have separate screening facilities for passengers on private jets.)
What happened next depends on which account you take. The Japanese magazine account:
Jobs said it wouldn't make sense for a person to try to hijack his own plane, according to the report. He then told officials he would never visit Japan again, the magazine reported.
The Apple account:
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, disputed the magazine's account.
"Steve did visit Japan this summer for a vacation in Kyoto, but the incidents described at the airport are pure fiction," said Steve Dowling, a spokesman for the company. "Steve had a great time and hopes to visit Japan again soon."
Lesson learned? Put your ninja stars in your checked luggage or FedEx them--they'll be quite useful to Tom Hanks the next time he's stranded on an island.