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Stephan Ducoup

Kouala Investment

Hometown: Paris

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 10 (as of July 2019)

Stephan Ducoup
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I arrived in Japan for the first time more than 25 years ago. One of the Japanese friends I had when I was studying in California invited me to stay in his family in Tokyo. I didn’t know anything about the language, the culture, the country. Moreover, there were no internet, no smartphones, I was just lost in translation. However, since then, Japan has been part of my life.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

I like the quote from Saint-Exupery in “The Little Prince,” “… what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
I have always lived and worked by using mainly my instinct and feelings. That always helped me a lot, especially when working in Japan where a lot of codes of social life and communication are hidden.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

After 30 years of professional life organizing events in the food and beverages industry, I founded several companies and restaurants. I made a lot of people happy and helped them connect to each other. Healthy food, organic wine, happy people, what else?

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

I promoted French food and wine in Japan and created many events in restaurants, hotels and clubs in the biggest cities. Over the last five years, I opened Japanese restaurants in Paris and kept consulting for food and beverage companies.
 As I miss living abroad, I am currently working on new projects to reconnect with international life. Any proposals are welcome!

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Take time to learn the culture, the people and of course, a minimum of the language. As a foreigner, don’t try to be Japanese. Respect the Japanese code, but stay yourself with your own identity. Be patient, never be late, don’t talk too much. Then and if Japanese people start to trust you, you will receive much more than you ever expected.

Last updated: Jul 8, 2019