Image: Hiroshi Nohara
Henry Romero  /  Reuters file
A tourist takes photographs using his mobile phone of Hiroshi Nohara, 40, from Tokyo, at the international airport in Mexico City on Nov. 27.
updated 12/31/2008 4:59:30 PM ET 2008-12-31T21:59:30

Oh, what a difference a bath can make.

A Japanese man with scraggly hair and a scruffy beard who had been sleeping in Terminal 1 of Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport since Sept. 2 — for no apparent reason — is now living in an apartment and has become a new man.

Reforma newspaper Wednesday published photos of a clean-cut, freshly bathed and shaved Hiroshi Nohara looking through the metal gate of a Mexico City apartment.

It was unclear where exactly the apartment was located, and The Associated Press wasn't able to contact Nohara.

Nohara left the airport Sunday with a woman identified only as Oyuki, who invited him to her home, Reforma said. He has not said why he remained at the airport after flying to Mexico on a tourist visa, nor has he said why he suddenly left the terminal.

Reforma quoted him saying he will not return to the airport. But he refused to reveal his future plans.

Oyuki also declined to give information, other than to say she invited him to stay so he could sleep in a real bed. Reforma says the woman lives alone and her husband works in Japan.

Nohara's three-month residency at the airport made him a local celebrity whose life drew comparisons to that of Viktor Navorski, a character portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2004 movie "The Terminal."

But there was one major distinction: Navorski was forced to stay at a New York City airport after war broke out in his Eastern European country and officials said they could neither allow him into the U.S. nor deport him.

Nohara's visa allows him to stay in Mexico — anywhere in Mexico, not just the airport — until early March. He also reportedly has a ticket home.

He speaks very little Spanish, and has lived largely off donations from strangers.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: No place like home: Man lives in airport

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