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On the surface, I am an unremarkable thing: a businessman going on a business trip.

Without ceremony, I take a plane bound from Tokyo to Hokkaido. I line up to get my ticket. I wait patiently to board the plane, my copy of the Nikkei Shimbun in hand. I sit on the plane in my tight coal-black suit, no tie, one button down, with my laptop. My face is the silent, serious face of a man working on yet another project of some importance for his company.

If anyone were to ask me what I was doing, I would dutifully respond that I was being sent to Hokkaido to take one of many steps necessary to earn revenues for company stockholders. If I was to line up the sequence of events in a row—all the events leading up to this flight and my existence there in the third row of the business class section, aisle seat— nobody would give them a second thought.

The plane lifts off, the plane climbs higher, and yet I find myself descending.

Story by:

Daniel Clausen

10 February 2015