So, I'm at my job on Wednesday morning — which happened to be election night in the U.S. — seated at my desk without a care in the world. A world to which, as far as I was concerned, Hillary Clinton was the heir apparent. It was a foregone conclusion.

But the furtive glances of my Japanese co-workers in my direction, and the general disquiet, announced that something — something related to me — was making them uneasy. After years of toiling in a Japanese workplace, I had eventually acquired that fundamental skill of "reading the air." And the air read: uh-oh.

"What?" I asked my co-worker seated beside me.