Bon-Odori, Takoyaki and more: Snapshots from Colorkrew’s Office in 2023

As the new year begins, I reflect on the last 8 months since my move to Japan; In that time, I have gotten to know my new colleagues better through a myriad of social activities held in Colorkrew’s office in the past year.

One of the most memorable events that I participated in was the Welcome Party, where we welcomed new members to the team through a host of food, drinks and fun activities. One Colorkrewer brought a portable Takoyaki grill and started a makeshift Takoyaki party; Another built a Japanese and English word guessing game, and we enjoyed a few rounds of friendly competition and laughter over the games. Through the event, I was able to catch my first real glimpse of Colorkrew’s informal work culture, where we are able to speak to anyone in the company regardless of their title or designation.

Apart from these formal celebrations, we also had more frequent informal gatherings at the office, affectionately called Joyful Fridays. While these usually take the form of a relaxing round of drinks in the evening after work, they are sometimes held with much more fanfare, incorporating Japanese cultural themes. For instance, in the weeks leading up to the Obon (one of the most iconic summer festivals in Japan), my colleagues dressed up in Yukatas and taught us the moves to the Bon Odori (盆踊り), a folk dance traditionally performed during Obon.

It took a few repetitions for everyone to sort out the choreography, and we were off — a motley crew of coworkers (including Keiji, the CEO) spread around a circle in the office on a regular Friday evening, swaying to the beat as folk music blared through the loudspeakers. It was a strange experience — one that I wouldn’t have imagined myself to be a part of when I first made the decision to join the company — and yet something that perfectly highlights the unique charm of Colorkrew, where the open and flat workplace culture encourages coworkers to interact comfortably and foster strong bonds with one another.

Indeed, it is these very bonds — characterized by one of Colorkrew’s core spirits, Kizuna — that allowed me to quickly find a sense of belonging in a land so far from home, and eased my worries amidst the insecurities involved in moving to a new country alone. I feel incredibly grateful for the close community of people that I have found in Colorkrew, who continue to make me feel welcome and at home each and everyday. And as 2024 begins, I am confident that the ties we have will continue to strengthen and carry us through as we embrace the challenges and opportunities of the new year together.