Skip to content

News from Japan – A New Season (Apr–May 2021)

There’s a lot of change in the air in April/May in Japan. The Japanese fiscal year runs April to March, as do many other processes, such as the school system.

So on April 1, there is mass entry of new hires in companies all across Japan. While Sansan is progressive and a bit unconventional, this is one convention we’re still a part of. This year was a bit different, given all the masking and distancing, and many being remote.

With vaccination moving slowly in Japan and the slow 4th wave of COVID passing through, a lot things are still unconventional. But we keep moving. This month, we also hear from one of our foreign staff in Tokyo. Read on to see his strangely futuristic neighborhood!

Welcome to our newbie Sansan staff

Japan’s hiring process is quite systematic. While many companies do hire year-round, the start of the new fiscal year typically coincides with the influx of new hires fresh off their university graduation.

On April 1, at the Tokyo head office, Sansan welcomed 34 new graduates joining the Sansan Japan team. Some were in the office while the others joined remotely. Many already displaying their Virtual Card wallpapers.

After about 2 weeks of training, these new hires were assigned to their various posts.

Good luck to all our newbies! Ganbatte kudasai! (Give it your best!)

Creativity in the depths of the Oval Building

Something interesting is going on in the basement of the Aoyama Oval Building, Sansan’s head office in Tokyo’s Omotesando district. In fact, until now, the building’s basement has been home to a tasty selection of restaurants, a McDonald’s, a cheap (but very good!) QB House haircut shop, and assorted other facilities.

As Sansan’s grown year after year, no matter what’s going on in the economy, no matter global pandemics. As we’ve grown, we’ve expanded into more and more of the Oval Building. Now we’re getting into the basement.

Sansan has established its own filming studio, the Sansan Innovation Studio, down near the McD’s and the QB House. Glass-walled for all passersby to gaze in. A fish tank of creativity.

It’s not decorative though; it’s strategic evolution. Owing to the limitations imposed by the pandemic, Sansan will hold more, and better, online seminars and online events to increase online customer contact. The studio will also serve as a venue for offline events when COVID finally settles down.

We hope you’ll stop by someday. You can get a Big Mac and a buzz cut while you’re there.

Sansan’s Belgian designer in Tokyo: an arty view of the soft lockdown

As of April 26, Tokyo was back in a “state of emergency”, which meant some restriction of businesses and hours. In the time before that, we’ve been largely remote, with staff coming to the offices as needed, generally a couple of times a week.

This month, we hear from one of our designers, who’s been with us about 1 year. He still loves Tokyo, but it’s a bit of an altered landscape. Let’s see his perspective on things.

I’m Kilian and work as a designer for Sansan’s Global Strategy team.

I live in Odaiba, giving me a bit of a break from Tokyo’s concrete jungle by being surrounded with parks and beaches, and a bit less concrete.

Living on the 6th floor, I have a near-perfect view of the Gundam statue (above right), which is located in front of DiverCity’s entrance.

Due to the current pandemic, I make my way to work just once a week.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, I work staggered hours, meaning I’m working at home until around 11, after which I go to work, which takes about 40 minutes.  

My first train isn’t your usual underground metro or over-ground carriage.

I take a monorail (Yurikamome Line). This train opened in the 1990s to give Tokyoites sort of futuristic access to this special part of the city.

After arriving at Omotesando Station (above right), where there’s no shortage of commuters, it’s a quick 5 minutes or so to the Sansan office in the Aoyama Oval Building.

Lunch is always an adventure here in Japan.

There’re so many choices available in Japanese convenience stores, such as bentos, sandwiches, onigiri (rice balls, above left), and much more. You really don’t even need to go out. And we have a Family Mart within the building.

Quite convenient on a rainy or lazy day.

But, today was rather healthy! I went out with a couple of colleagues to enjoy one of the many local restaurants around our office in Omotesando. On today’s menu: a healthy chicken and avocado salad!

Today was a special day at work, as we had a workshop with all the creative people that work at Sansan.

We created and discussed portfolios that were set up for the day to get a deeper understanding of what’s important when making a company or personal portfolio.

After the workshop, I had a spare to finish off the week.

Remote native survey underscores rapid shift to online meetings

According to a survey conducted via Sansan’s personal business card app Eight, there’s been a rapid online shift among Japan’s businesspeople newly entering the workforce in April 2020.

Of newly graduated salespeople, 22.4% have never exchanged paper business cards, and 62.2% have conducted sales and business meetings online. Some outside Japan may be think 22.4% is a high number without the pandemic. But this is Japan, where the business card represents the self.

Despite this, the survey results show that building connections online remains a challenge.

The report (in Japanese) is here.

That’s a lot to take in! Things sure are changing. What’s 2021 got up its sleeve next? A business card? A Virtual Card? Winds of change, no doubt. We’ll be making them and riding them.

related news
most popular