Nassim Bougtaia: "Japan taught me patience and the art of embarking on a project when everything is well prepared in advance".
How did you go from Lille, your home town, to Japan?
It all began with Harry Potter. When I was in middle school, I was fully enthralled by the saga, and I was really tired of waiting for the books, that I devoured one after the other, to be translated into French. So I decided to learn English to be able to read them as soon as they came out.
Then everything followed. My passion for foreign languages and for discovering the world led me to Australia on a university exchange programme when I was 21. And whilst over there, having come across a genuine mix of different cultures, I discovered Asia-Oceania. An interest developed which was permanently life-changing.
Upon returning to Lille University, I traded my Master's in "Business and negotiation", a general course, for a Master's in "Commerce and management for Eastern Asia". And again I was lucky enough to go to Japan on an exchange programme at 22. I began learning the language, then I found a placement in a Japanese IT company for which I worked for three years managing export to China, Korea, Malaysia and even Indonesia.
How did you find out about Thuasne®?
I loved my first few years in Japan and I realised that this country was the best hub by which I could continue to explore Asia further.
I then decided to do an internship abroad via Business France, a branch of the French Embassy in Japan. I saw the job offer from Thuasne®among the jobs advertised. I applied and met the export manager in Levallois-Perret when I was back in France and I began working for Thuasne® in 2020.
What job do you do today?
I have been a member of the export team led by Frédéric Bardet for almost 4 years now, within which I manage Japan and Korea while reporting to the Chinese branch of Thuasne®, managed by Benoit Derinck. My job consists on the one hand of coordinating our distribution network in the aim of developing it, and on the other hand of prospecting to find new partners.
The group has huge potential for development in that corner of the world. Through the excellent quality of our products we have become the gold standard, like in Korea where we are the leader in compression with the Mobiderm range for treating lymphoedema. Today I am on wage portage via the French International Chamber of Commerce in Japan and I would like to continue to contribute to our development in Asia.
What does daily life look like in Japan?
I live in Tokyo, a city which definitely never sleeps but which also brings you much serenity. The city is clean, has a great underground and train network and is very safe. I am 30 now and I am beginning to have a good command of Japanese culture and protocols. This country taught me the art of patience and how to get started on a project when everything is well prepared in advance. There is no room for improvisation here.
I make the most of the week-end to go hiking in the mountains as 80% of Japan is covered with mountain ranges.