5 Tips How To Organize A Welcome Party Properly Like A Japanese?
(Skip to the middle if you want to read the tips now)
I just came back to Japan from Taiwan! What a long trip, phew~
Because I had to do my flight to Tokyo, and transfer to Oita 2 days later, I was able to join the Welcome Party for my ex-Japanese language school in Tokyo today, as a surprise!
(p.s I graduated from KCP Intl Japanese Language School 5 years ago. I was the first generation from Malaysia tho.)
Anyway, we did our dinner at a restaurant called “さくら水産” near our school.
I was very happy and touched to see that more than 20 Malaysian seniors attending the dinner to welcome the 10 new students!
Remember 5 years back then, we were the first group, we didn’t have any Malaysian senior that welcome us with a dinner party. (sob…sentimental music played)
But now, 20+ seniors and 10 juniors, wow, which means that…the Malaysian community in KCP is getting bigger and stronger.
It doesn’t only mean that new students can get better help with their Japan life, more importantly, their dreams are supported by a bond of Malaysian community!
Welcome to Japan boys and girls!
Malaysian Party System Does Not Work
Well, the party was good, the people were nice, what the f*ck Shen are you writing this title? How to organize a dinner party like a Japanese?!
Sabar sabar (be patient)…
What I wanna share here is my experience and observation of the 2 countries cultures after years spending in Japan.
I realized the very big difference between Japan dinner & Malaysia dinner is that:
Japan student dinner party is clear with an aim.
Malaysia student dinner party is loose and always has a blur aim.
Every time I attend a dinner or a gathering with my Malaysian friends, they tend to treat me like I’m from the MARS whenever I give speech like a Japanese would in a dinner or something.
“First of all, thank you all for coming to this dinner! I am really happy to…”
“Hey Shen, why you so serious? Sit down!”
I understand a gathering should be happy and fun and casual, but it is only when the party is limited to your old folks.
When a party involves a number of people from different backgrounds, such as new students, seniors, teachers, teachers’ friends, and etc, and you still say “Hey just be random and casual lah”, you are most likely to end up the event with questions like “so what was that party for?”
Interestingly, I realized Japanese style of conducting a dinner party is very organized and it makes sure everybody gets the concept of the event.
Of course I assume when it comes to business dinner, Malaysian will do a good job in organizing party flows but here, I just want to talk about student level.
“Japanese already know how to organize a dinner with a clear objective since student time!”
This is just my observation, no theory, no book reference, take it or leave it. 😉
5 Tips How To Organize A Welcome Dinner Party Properly Like A Japanese
I’m not talking about choosing restaurants and making reservation stuff. What I share here is about the tips in terms of how to make the party “Stick to the purpose”.
1. Make Your Objective Clear
Welcome Party should have a clear objective, which is most likely to be “sharing experience with the new students”, right?
Or maybe you want your party to be “just casual and make friends”. It’s okay, anything is okay, at least u need an objective. Then you have to tell everyone about this objective at the beginning of the party – which means organizer, you’ve gotta give a short speech before everybody cheers!
Without telling everyone the objective of the party, people don’t know what they should do.
Make the objective clear and understood by all participants!
2. Arrange the seats
You may say, “Come on, why so serious? Just sit randomly and have fun!”
Yeah you are right, but as I said, that’s a party for old folks. Grow up guys, you are not in the high school anymore.
Your welcome party involves at least several parties, new students, current students, alumni, teachers, office staff, and maybe some other NGO members such as “Malaysian Students Association”?
Do you think that putting all the NGO members and new students together is a good choice? I don’t know, maybe it is good for your event. But for me, NO!
NGO members need to make their acquantaince with teachers and office staff first!
The art of seat arrangement in Japan is simple yet complicated: Uchi & Soto (Inside & Outside)
Remember one thing, always introduce the outsider to the insider, and the top to the bottom 1st. So arrange people who have similar authorities power sitting together might be a good start.
I know, it is the damn hierarchy society that you hated. But you are living in it and can’t ignore it. Admit it!
3. Do your self-introduction PROPERLY
Okay this point is getting me angry. I had this trouble during the introduction session.
Everybody was introducing themselves
“Hi, my name is xxx. I’m from xxx. Nice to meet you.”
Okay, if you were a new student, that’s okay. Why the hell the alumni students and current students also made their introduction like this?
First of all, the Welcome Party has a purpose, “sharing experience with new students”. Or you can call it “help new students out”!
So what you are expected to do in the party is….f*cking answer the new students their questions!
Just think about it. If a person introduces himself as
“Hi My name is Shen, I’m from Malaysia. I’m 25 years old. Nice to meet you.”
Do you feel like talking to Shen after his self-intro?!
Of course you might want to because Shen is handsome or cute lol. But generally speaking, what should I ask Shen if I only know his hometown and age?!
Introduce yourself including following points will help new students find an interest to ask.
- Name (preferably, a joke to make your name easy to be remembered)
- Hometown, previous school, backgrounds info
- hobby, skills, major, jobs, something you are good at
- 1 comment to the new students
p/s why do we need the age for in first place?
If your hobby is dancing, and there is someone among the new students want to learn dancing in Japan, boom! He / She will definitely come talk to you and ask a lot of questions, right?
Again what is the point if everybody introducing himself/herself from Malaysia? Yes, I’m talking to you, alumni.
4. Make A Good Start, Good Middle, Good Ending
MC you need to do your job. From the moment that you are appointed as the MC of the party, you need to talk (announce) before everyone.
In case of welcome party, we have teachers, office staffs, and NGO members, the first job you need to do after cheers, is to introduce them to everyone!
“Okay guys, thank you for coming to today dinner. This is a welcome party for new students. We hope you guys can make some friends here and don’t hesitate to ask your seniors and teachers anything about Japan. (Clear objective)”
“First of all, let me introduce some important guests to you. Mr. xxx from xxxx…..”
Then we start eating and free chatting. There are a lot of different things you can do in a dinner but, making a good start and a good ending is a MUST!
A party flow can be like this:
- Intro speech and intro guests
- Activities. (games, seat changing, self-intro, performance, anything!)
- Free eating chatting time
- Ending speech!
The middle part can be anything you come up with. But the intro speech and the ending speech are MUST!
It’s like singing a song, writing a thesis, everything needs a start and an ending. Otherwise, people would feel confused about the purpose of the event.
5. Organizer, Do your homework!
You think organizer’s job is just making reservation, shouting “Cheers”, and collecting money from participants?
An organizer needs to make sure everything mentioned above is well conducted! Do your homework, organizer!
When I was introducing myself “In 2009 I graduated from KCP, Currently I’m studying at APU, majoring…”, I was stopped by booing.
“Hey Shen, too long! Sit down!”
All Japanese teachers were upset. They said to me
“Why they stopped you? You are doing the right introduction. New students need to know those info!”
Then I realized one thing – teachers have been bearing with our poor Malaysian style party for years. They had thought of teaching / giving advise to Malaysian students but they thought this was just the way we do party, so they kept silence.
After discussing with them, we came up with 1 conclusion that, Japanese schools should also include Japanese way of organizing things into their curriculum. So that international students can learn a more sophisticated way of communication in Japan society.