I'm GALIH BHEKTI SULA PRATAMA
KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING
English , Japanese , Other
I'm GALIH BHEKTI SULA PRATAMA
KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING
English , Japanese , Other
About GALIH BHEKTI SULA PRATAMA
Hello! My name is Galih and I’m from Indonesia. Galih is a pretty common name in Indonesia. Also, we do not have a family name like that of Japan. I first arrived in Japan in September 2019 as a master's student at Ehime University, graduating in 2022. Before that, I did a bachelor's in civil engineering at IPB University, which was near Jakarta and one of the top universities in Indonesia. Currently, I am working as an engineering consultant at KKE.
Why Japan? Why Ehime?
I get asked about this a lot. Well, I was initially not going to pursue a master's. I did have a dream to study abroad when I was younger, regardless of country. Hence, being able to study at Ehime University is already like a dream come true.
Reflecting on my journey, the decision to pursue a master's abroad sparked in my final year of university in Indonesia. Thanks to my professor in Indonesia, I got wind of the opportunity to study at Ehime University. I sent in my bachelor's thesis and hopped over to Japan, even without a scholarship. In Indonesia, people care about scholarships a lot. If there was no scholarship, most people would choose not to pursue overseas education. When I had the chance to come to Japan, I just grabbed it without thinking. Really, the period between graduating from university and coming to Japan was so fast that I didn’t even celebrate my graduation. I just submitted my thesis and came straight to Japan as I did not want to lose that opportunity. I did it because I knew the number of hours international students could work so I knew how much I can get to survive financially, as well as because I had huge support and motivation from both my professors at Ehime University and IPB University.
When I first landed in Ehime, I was like, "Wait, is this really Japan?" But you know what? It grew on me, and I ended up loving the city.
Sure, if I did more research, I could’ve chosen another country. However, I was a little lazy. I just wanted to continue with my research straight away at Ehime University. I did have a stay in Korea where I learned architectural and civil engineering before coming to Japan. However, it was pretty short.
What did you do during college?
During my days at university back in Indonesia, I studied civil engineering, with a focus on geotechnical engineering. I carried out numerous research on enhancing soil strength using renewable materials. Maybe not directly renewable materials, but since it was in the field of preventing natural disasters, it had to be renewable. After that, I continued on with my research on soil when I was doing my master's at Ehime University, albeit with a slight shift in focus.
Research in soil? What made you interested in that?
That is a good question (laugh). I also don’t really know why. I had many options; structure design, soil stuff, water stuff, etc. I think it was because soil-related concepts were easy for me to learn. Maybe it is hard to visualize for some people, but it was simple for me. I guess it is because soil is something you don’t literally touch since it is usually under us and invisible.
What did you do outside of academics?
Outside of the classroom, I took on the role of leader of PPI Ehime, an Indonesian organization that was in charge of helping other Indonesian students. However, as it was during COVID, we were not able to organize as many events as we thought. This passion for helping people was carried on from back in my bachelor’s days when I was an active member of an organization focused on student activities (BEM: Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa).
During university, one of my favorite things to do is travel. After I came to Japan, I tried to learn more about Japanese culture through traveling. I spent 2 and a half years traveling around, mainly the western part of Japan. I’ve been to 30 prefectures so far. What makes traveling enjoyable is learning about what makes each prefecture special. It has become my passion to learn more about each and every prefecture. Nevertheless, my favorite place in Japan is still Ehime. I think I just have some connection with Ehime (laugh). Maybe it is because I enjoy the cuisine and the endearing use of Ehime-ben, especially how they end off their sentences with “じゃけん”. I like how Ehime-ben is slightly different from Kansai-ben, but similar to Hiroshima-ben maybe? I also hope to climb Mount Fuji someday. I climbed some mountains in Shikoku recently. Being outdoors interests me. Other than that, I enjoy playing soccer.
What did you wish you did in University?
I think I pretty much did everything I wanted in university (laugh). If I really had to pick something, it would be that I wish I had put more effort into learning Japanese. Initially, I was not sure whether I wanted to work in Indonesia or Japan after graduation. Hence, I did not have much motivation to learn Japanese. I only started properly studying Japanese about 6 months after arriving in Japan. I managed to reach N2 level after joining KKE. So it took me about 2.5 years to get good at Japanese.
Also, I wish I put more effort into using textbooks while studying Japanese. I don’t really like reading textbooks. I prefer communicating with people. I think my Japanese learning process would have been more efficient if I incorporated the use of textbooks in my studies. Communication is really important, but so is learning from the book.
What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?
If your focus is in Japan, get good at speaking Japanese. Regardless of whether the company is foreign or Japanese, you will likely be communicating with people in Japanese most of the time. Don’t think that because you are working in a foreign company, you do not have to use Japanese. Even though mastering Japanese may be daunting, I urge you to get as good as Japanese as you can before you start job hunting. For me, I always saw learning Japanese as not a challenge, but an opportunity to learn something new. Learning Japanese was not too difficult for me, except for kanji (laugh).
Also, you need to be widely adaptable. In Japan, many employers do not look at your major when they are hiring you. Hence, you may be assigned to a job scope that varies largely from what you studied in school. You need to be able to adapt and learn the skills required for the new environment fast.
What are the beneficial skills needed for working in Japan?
In my opinion, a skill that would be very beneficial to have would be programming. I think it future-proofs your skillset. At first, I was put off by it because of how difficult it seemed. However, I later realized how interesting it was. I mean, you can make whatever you want if you have programming skills. Make a program that optimizes your work, etc. No matter what job you do, most employers would see being able to program as a plus.
In general, it is good to have a variety of knowledge in different areas. Many people only specialize in one area, the major that they focus on in school. But if you studied more than one major, or know just even a little bit about other subjects, I believe that would make you a much more interesting person. And these kinds of people survive in Japan better. Both in casual communities and at work.
What does an Engineering Consultant Do?
I'm still a junior engineer working in the wind power design department, specifically focusing on Japan onshore wind energy development. I’ve only been working for 1.5 years. In our team, we assist clients in designing structures to capture wind energy. Unlike some other departments, we put more emphasis on the technical aspects rather than project management. Additionally, we're tackling the challenge of making our structures earthquake-resistant through simulations.
I'm still a junior engineer working in the wind power design department, specifically focusing on on-shore wind energy development. I’ve only been working for 1.5 years. In our team, we assist clients in designing structures to capture wind energy. Additionally, we're tackling the challenge of making our structures earthquake-resistant through simulations.
The engineering consultant's career path varies from person to person. KKE has a multi-track personnel system. The multi-track personnel system provides multiple career paths (guided by rank) in addition to promotions to management positions in order to accommodate the diversity of working styles, professional field and characteristics of the individuals. Each staff member can pursue their own career independently while pursuing themes of interest, goals, and dreams.
My other focus is on introducing European wind power technology to Japan as there is currently no industry standard locally at the moment. We have to adapt the design of the structures to meet Japanese legal standards and requirements, which can be quite a challenge.
Work Environment KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING
Here at KKE, flexibility and adaptability are not just values; they are integrated into our work culture as we constantly embrace change. A perfect example of this is how during some mornings, I had to go for mandatory Japanese lessons to help improve my Japanese. On the other hand, Japanese KKE members are required to sit for classes that enhance their professional skills. This personalized approach to learning reflects KKE's recognition of the diverse needs of its employees.
Additionally, being a Muslim, I appreciate the additional time granted by the company for my prayers during breaks. As a Muslim, I have to do a prayer every Friday. It is very important. Between 12 to 1 pm. During that time, I need to go to the nearest mosque to do my prayer. So in my case, that would be in the Yoyogi area. KKE gives me an extra hour of break during lunch to travel to do my prayer. Of course, I still need to manage my time afterward to ensure that I work the same 8 working hours as everyone else. I was really amazed by KKE's consideration of my religious practices. The reason why I say this is because, from what I heard from a lot of my Muslim friends working in Japan, their companies did not allow them to do that. I think those who are working in the countryside where the mosque is far away from their workplace may not have time to properly do their prayers.
Diversity is a hallmark of our work environment. Although this is rare in the organization, in terms of nationality one-third of my department consists of foreign nationals. Furthermore, 80% of our team consists of young people, making the workplace dynamic and energetic. I really like this environment as it is very easy for me to communicate with others. It is very open to international people like me. And that is what I really love about KKE.
As KKE continues to grow, our vision extends beyond just local boundaries. Collaborating with international and overseas companies is not just a strategy but something that we actively pursue. The efforts to build a large overseas presence is led by our dedicated Business Overseas Development Team, where we are currently exploring opportunities in Indonesia with a group of 6 people, featuring 2 Indonesians. This showcases our commitment to fostering a global mindset within KKE.
I really do not have many negative things to say about the company. If I must insist, it would be the need to get used to Japanese corporate culture, seeing as it is a Japanese company. However, it does not overshadow how the company still provides a wonderful work environment for foreigners.
I would say 60% are Japanese companies, while 40% are European companies. As my company is located in Tokyo, most of our clients speak to us in Japanese, even the European ones. Newer companies who are just beginning to join the industry in Japan on the other hand, communicate with us in English.
Which language do you use more at work?
Japanese. 80% of the time. However, this is because I have been dealing mostly with on-shore projects. For offshore projects, there would be more proposals from oversea companies. In that case, I would use English when I am communicating with them.
Communication in Japanese has always been a great challenge for me. As a consultant, I have to explain our projects to clients in both English and Japanese.
At a Japanese level of only N2, it is rather challenging to properly explain in Japanese as we deal with a lot of technical terms. Given our substantial market standing in the wind power sector, clients place a lot of trust in me, requiring me to be especially meticulous in terms of my choice of words. I cannot afford to make mistakes when explaining technical terms. Also, as the industry of wind power is rather new, the regulatory requirements are constantly evolving and thus we have to continuously learn to keep up with it.
What kind of person is a good fit?
A person who is willing to grow together with the company regardless of your major. At KKE, there was a lot of studying during on-job training that I had to do, which reminded me of my university days.
NOT a good FIT at Your Company?
Maybe people who are unable to readily adapt to changes.
Recommended Job-hunting Resource
JPort. When I was job-hunting, I used JPort a lot. So much so that I introduced JPort to many of my kouhais as I thought it would be really helpful for them when they are doing their job hunting. By using both JPort Journal and JPort Match, it was really easy to connect with and find out more about various companies.
Other than that, I recommend this mobile application called Hellotalk which allows me to practice Japanese. In the app, there is a paid mentor-mentee feature that enables me to practice both my writing and speaking.