Chapter 2 Dallas, the Nerve Center

Bill wasn’t kidding. The first thing they give you when you arrive at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport is a bottle of water. If you wave it off, saying you just had some water on the plane, they’ll politely drop it in your hand luggage or insist that you take it with you. “You’ll need it” sounds more like a warning than friendly advice. Sure enough, the ride into Dallas was scorching even inside the air-conditioned taxi. I’d been to Texas before, but not to Dallas, and certainly not in early summer. The sun seemed determined to burn a hole through the roof of the cab and roast us alive.

Is it always like this? I asked the driver, who told me he had immigrated from Nigeria. “No, sir. In August it gets really hot.” It was not the kind of response I was hoping for.

After Bill Michaelcheck kindly offered to set up a meeting for me at ORIX’s American headquarters, I booked a room just a few doors down from their offices at a boutique hotel called the Joule, which turned out to be a jewel in the middle of this sun-baked desert, giving me my first taste of Texan hospitality in many years. The staff were so unfailingly polite that I had to wonder if I might not be back in Japan again. Riding in the elevator, even the bell captain introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could do to make my stay more enjoyable. I was getting the idea that things in Dallas were a bit different from where I’d just come from.

By this time, of course, I’d done ...

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