Paper Planes

Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readApr 10, 2016


Illustrations: Cathy Kwan

It all started with a simple, whimsical idea.

Paper planes and high places.

“Adam, are you doing anything this afternoon?”

“Well, I’m at the office right now,” he said.

“Do you still work at that big building in Akasaka?”

“Uh, yeah. Why?”

“You think we could get to the roof? Sneak out for an hour?”

He considered it.

“Yes,” he said. “I think we could do that.”

I bought some A4 paper from a local stationery shop. A calming emerald green. Just beautiful. I hefted it to Adam’s office building in Akasaka.

He met me at reception.

“Delivery,” he said.

The receptionist nodded and gave me a visitor’s pass. We jumped in an elevator.

I looked out at the buildings and the traffic.

“You think there’s a girl out there for me?” I asked.

“Out where?”

“You know, out there.”

I took my time. Folding. Creasing. Getting it just right.

“Maybe. Probably. Statistically? Definitely.”


Adam let a plane go. Watched it a moment. Smiled.

“Man, this feels good,” he said. “We should do this more often.”

So we did.

We wandered the city. Listed potential spots. Drew maps.

We wore suits at some places. Looked like deliverymen at others. Turns out if you look like you’re supposed to be there, and ask for Suzuki — there’s always one — reception will usually let you straight up.

We threw planes from office buildings. Apartment blocks. Old factories. University libraries. Each offered something unique to its location.

Most of the big buildings — the dream spots — we couldn’t get into. Mori Tower, Toranomon Hills, the Metropolitan Government Building. Tokyo Tower. Security was tight. It seemed impossible.

We still tried.

Some days we set off fire alarms.



Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts

Fragments of the everyday in Tokyo, as written by Hengtee Lim.