I’m rushing to finish this update a little early since tonight we’re having the J-List shinnen-kai, or New Year’s Party. Similar to the bonen-kai or “Forget the Year Party” held in December, a Japanese-style New Year’s Party is an opportunity for companies or other groups to officially mark the start of a new year, and be brought closer in the process. We’ve reserved a private room at a local izakaya pub known for its fresh fish (a rare commodity in our landlocked prefecture of Gunma) where we will imbibe many frosty mugs of beer and bottles of hot sake and re-dedicate ourselves to our sacred mission of covering the Earth with cute and wacky products from Japan. J-List isn’t a very formal company, and we’re all pretty relaxed as we work, but I’m always surprised how ceremonial these company get-togethers automatically become. Once everyone is present, the organizer of the party (Yasu does it every year) will stand up and officially announce that the party has begun. After short speeches from Tomo or myself, we’ll have the kanpai (cheers) and start eating and drinking. When the beer is gone we’ll gather again and Yasu will announce that the party has come to an end, upon which everyone will clap their hands together loudly once (called shime or “closing”), which symbolically ends the event so we can go sing anime karaoke.
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Today is J-List’s official New Year’s Party.