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The next day, I asked Mr. Hirao to talk in person. No other buildings blocked a ray of sunlight through the windows on the 33rd floor. The bright, white-walled room felt like a void as we sat across from each other in a conference room too big for the two of us.

I told him about my desire to relocate to Europe, and the approval and support I already gained from Mr. N. Mr. Hirao’s reaction were neutral, half expectant, and half dreaded I had got ahead of myself with Mr. N. He had the same concern as Mr. N. He said we needed to act cautiously, as this would agitate the men. Though I gained credibility among a few departments, I would still be considered as a random girl who had won the favor of a powerful man. He asked me to let it up to him for now because a big organizational change was underway, and he was planning to take advantage of it and get out of Japan himself, too.

The organizational change was huge indeed. The company would become a holding company that collected royalty revenue from its subsidiaries. This was the reason Mr. Hirao and I worked on the project. Moreover, the overseas business was to be centralized in the US, and Mr. Hirao was working to persuade the apostles he could lead the way. Mr. N was not ignorant of the move, and he planned to relocate Mr. Yoshida to Europe as well.

Mr. Hirao got himself a ticket to the US with little complication. Not only was he in the right position at the right time, but he was also adept at maneuvering the politics by making the apostles feel they were the most innovative executives while it was, in reality, Mr. Hirao’s idea. Using the same tactics, he persuaded the apostles that sending young people like Mr. Yoshida and I was the best idea in advancing the overseas business.

He got approval from one apostle with no objection, but Mr. Takano, the apostle of our department, was not entirely happy. It never occurred to him that an inexperienced young woman should represent the company overseas. Nevertheless, he eventually agreed because Mr. Hirao gave him no reasons why he shouldn’t. But when we spoke in person, Mr. Takano said, “we will rotate the personel for the position,” meaning he was only allowing this as just a couple of years of the “youth work abroad” program. But I couldn’t care less about Mr. Takano.

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