Holiday Parties at Hacarus: Our Style of Bonenkai and Shinnenkai
Hacarus Holidays: Office Warming Parties at a Japanese Startup
Hacarus Inc. is an machine learning technology startup that specializes in employing sparse modeling in its products. We are a globalizing Japanese startup with our headquarters located in Kyoto and branch in Tokyo. Hacarus recruits members from all over the world including people located in remote areas such as in the province of Philippines and rural areas of Japan.
Hey, it's me again, Rikka! I'm going to be reflecting and writing in this post about past Hacarus celebratory events that took place at the office, the bonenkai in December and shinnenkai in January. I think the following photos may give better insight on what it can be like to be here at Hacarus.
What are bonenkai and shinnenkai at a Japanese company?
Bonenkai and shinnenkai are new year celebrations with little differences. A bonenkai is an end of the year drinking party held before the new year comes (usually in December) to "forget the year". Traditionally, bonenkai are held at an izakaya (a Japanese pub). A shinnenkai is a new year celebration in the new year.
On December 7th, Hacarus held its first bonenkai for all interns, both current and incoming. Starting at 6pm, right after work, preparations for setting the table with wine, chuhai, sushi, pizza, and other finger foods took place. We had the opportunity to get to know one another through lightning talk and introductory powerpoint, an activity suggested by an intern. Everyone enthusiastically introduced themselves, although majorly in Japanese, some interns had put a lot of thoughtful effort to present their part with their slides in English. The whole event lasted until about 9pm with a whole lot of delicious food and shared laughs throughout the party.
Above: Photo with interns, CHO Tomomi and CTO Kitora on the day of the bonenkai
Interns from Sendai, Miyagi came all the way to attend the event! It was a good time to get to introduce ourselves, since besides the occasional chat, most of the days in the office involves being on your laptop working. Especially for those who haven't had the chance to speak to each other face-to-face, this was a great opportunity.
On January 8th, Hacarus held another party in honor of the new year, shinnenkai. Because it was held during lunch hours (until the end of the day, actually!), attending was convenient for everyone. The table was full of different food for everyone to eat while enjoying time talking to each other. Kenshin-san's wife had brought amazing cakes that everyone absolutely loved along with a bento box of strawberries and blueberries, which the baby of Hacarus seemed to incline towards the most.
Everyone on Hacarus Philippines also attended our shinnenkai on video call as well!
Nice talking with the baby boss, Marcel, and Takashi on Google Hangouts
It was a really great and enjoyable day full of talks and getting to know each other. Everyone was, as usual, really nice, which always makes things more comfortable and easier to integrate.
Here's to a perfect day! (The day of the shinnenkai)
Along with the usual lunch hours at Hacarus, I think company parties are a great way to build company culture with more communication time. This day had lovely weather, snowing a bit at the end of the day. A really wonderful and warm feeling in the atmosphere- these are moments I really appreciate because I feel so much more liberated to ask questions about a person and learn a bit about their background.