Cause for Celebration

Cause for Celebration

With the pandemic set to disrupt another season of year-end company parties, Members explain the importance of these traditional get-togethers.

James Bond is well known for his dramatic entrances, but the world’s most famous spy would likely have been upstaged at Vijay Deol’s 2019 year-end company party.

“It was a Casino Royale theme,” says the Canadian Member of the New York Ballroom bash just months before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in Japan.

“We had about 270 people dressed up in tuxedos and evening gowns, and we had kind of mock games of blackjack and things like that with fake money.”

The president of recruiting firm en world Japan still remembers how well received the event was among staff, and it gave him a new appreciation for what traditional, year-end parties can add to an international workplace.

“We’ve tried to do the virtual Christmas parties and things like that, but it’s not the same,” says Deol, 42. “A lot of people are saying, ‘You know, when can we start to do stuff like that again?’ Because people really miss it. I think people realize how much team bonding and culture building happens at those types of events. We’ve been missing that for almost two years now.”

Given the Club’s long history as a cultural nexus, it’s only natural that its event spaces would host a range of functions and celebrations during the festive period.

“Every year, we like to invite our most important clients and partners to a formal affair at the Club,” says Tomosaburo Uno, 71, president of Osaka Sanitary, a manufacturer of equipment for various industries.

Before the pandemic, Uno kicked off each year with a gashikokankai, a formal New Year’s greetings event, with about 300 invitees. Unlike an end-of-year bonenkai, which, Uno explains, is usually a more informal drinking party among colleagues, New Year’s shinnenkai are an opportunity for attendees to renew business ties.

During a typical evening of speeches, drinks and milestone-marking ceremonies like the kagami biraki, where a sake barrel is broken open, it’s not uncommon for a business deal to be sealed, according to Uno.

“In Japanese culture, being able to sit down across from someone and understand their energy is incredibly important,” Uno says. “Sometimes, our gashikokankai is the only time all year we get to meet our clients in that kind of environment. Especially since it’s been so hard to meet face-to-face recently, we very much hope we can hold another gashikokankai at the Club in 2022.”

Deol, too, is exploring dates in the New Year to treat his employees to a belated seasonal get-together. Given the context, it might just be the most important holiday party yet.

“If we can have a big, in-person event,” he says, “people can feel some relief that, you know, we’ve come to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

To book your next party, contact the Club’s event-planning team at 03-4588-0308 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Words: Owen Ziegler