January may be coming to a close, but staff and students at E-QIP aren’t quite ready to let go of the holiday spirit just yet. We’re gearing up for one last New Year’s party: shinnenkai, the Japanese celebration to welcome the start of the year.
Numerous E-QIP staff members (and students!) either hail from Japan or have spent time working and living there, and as such, many Japanese customs and approaches to life and learning are ingrained in E-QIP’s culture.
The weeks surrounding January 1 are busy for many in Japan, with social calendars (and bellies) remaining full for much of the season. The New Year (shogatsu in Japanese) is perhaps the country’s biggest celebration and is observed over the first few days of January. Most people spend that time with their family, and as student Shiho told us last month, avoid doing any work on those days.
Celebrations for friend groups or colleagues are held further into January after some of the bustle has died down; workplace shinnenkai and the year-end equivalent, bonnenkai, are used to foster bonding between colleagues in an informal setting over food and drink. A wonderful way to set the tone for the year, if you ask us, and one that’s a staple of many Japanese workplaces. Any excuse to throw back a few drinks with your colleagues, right?
But unlike bonnenkai—which literally means 'forget-the-year party' and encourages the appropriate level of debauchery to go along with that sentiment—shinnenkai is about more than just letting loose. There’s a focus on goals and looking toward the future with optimism (although there’s still plenty of sake on hand).
E-QIP’s 2019 shinnenkai will be held tomorrow evening (Friday, January 25) from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature food, drink and music. Members of both the E-QIP and local Japanese communities will join us in welcoming the Year of the Boar—and share a drink or two, of course.
How do you welcome the New Year? We’re open to any and all party invitations you want to send our way…