Originally from Tokyo, Qanta Shimizu moved to the United States in 2013 and is a technical director of Bassdrum, the creative company he co-founded in 2018. A tech director, he explains, involves "translating creative and conceptual business into technology and, in the end, programming."

It is midday in New York, where Shimizu is based, and he is sat in front of his computer comfortably talking about his past by video conference call. The bright light from outside streams through a window to illuminate the left side of his face, countering the cool glow from his screen.

His journey to the U.S. wasn't a grand plan he says, explaining that he had dropped out of university and worked as a freelance editorial designer outside the advertising industry for a couple of years in Japan.