Photo/Illutration Traveling from one place to another at home and abroad with a suitcase and a backpack, Satoru Kubo stands at a train station in Morioka on Oct. 8. (Ryo Ikeda)

MORIOKA--Satoru Kubo is the epitome of "have laptop, will travel." 

It's been more than two years since the 32-year-old started traveling from one place to another at home or abroad.

But he is not a corporate employee on a business trip: he is a digital nomad worker with no fixed address.

"I work in places where I want to go," Kubo said.

Carrying a backpack and a large suitcase, Kubo works with his laptop computer in a hotel room, in a cafe and sometimes even while waiting for a train.

He usually stays in a hotel for about two weeks in one town before moving to the next.

Kubo is mainly in charge of personnel affairs and marketing for several companies based in Tokyo, handling all tasks remotely.

Kubo stayed in Iwate Prefecture between early and mid-October, working in a hotel room on weekdays to participate in online meetings with clients and remotely joining a plenary meeting hosted by one of the companies he works for.

He only has a computer, a smartphone, a minimal amount of clothing and some books in his hotel room.

He uses a pick-up and storage service to replace winter clothing and other pieces with items suitable for each season, while he procures necessary things locally when the need arises.

On weekends, he visits sightseeing spots and has his hair cut at a barbershop.

After graduating from university, Kubo worked at a brokerage and an outplacement assistance firm.

Satoru Kubo works on his laptop computer while waiting for a train in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, on Oct. 8. "I use my suitcase as a table." (Ryo Ikeda)

He quit his job after turning 30 and vacated his home. He transferred his certificate of residence to a municipality in Ehime Prefecture where his parents live and registered their home as his residential address.

Kubo has always been interested in the world beyond his hometown since he was in junior high school.

Wanting to be free from the constraints of a workplace and time, Kubo set a deadline for his retirement during his corporate career. He worked hard and earned many qualifications to prepare to become a digital nomad worker.

He has been working remotely in six countries mainly in Asia and various places across Japan.

He is often asked where he lives when he talks with locals.

"I'm at a loss for an answer," Kubo said with a smile.

He added that his friends are also amazed by how he works like a backpacker.

Satoru Kubo carries only a minimal number of items in a suitcase and a backpack. (Ryo Ikeda)

"It's just that I ended up like this after making choices on how I want to live," Kubo said. "The coronavirus pandemic also provided an opportunity to question how things have been."

His next destination is also a place where he has always wanted to visit.

Although he basically places value on self-help, he also knows there are many people who have no choice but to seek help.

Although he can't help them directly, Kubo continues to donate to a charitable organization. But the charity operator has been thrown into a difficult situation due to the pandemic, he said.

"I hope that those in need can have access to public assistance," Kubo said. "A network of support will expand if there is a plan that can win wide support."

According to a report by the internal affairs ministry, the outflow of residents from Tokyo to other prefectures exceeded the inflow in May 2020 for the first time since the tally began in July 2013. 

That outflow showed changes in the overconcentration of the population in the capital amid the pandemic.

Standing at a platform of a train station in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, on Oct. 8, Satoru Kubo, who has been living a digital nomad life for more than two years, says, "My purpose in life is to live extraordinary days." (Ryo Ikeda)