Tokyo Business

 
An office building in Tokyo, near Tokyo Station.

An office building in Tokyo, near Tokyo Station.

A lot of people ask me how they can establish their business in Tokyo. Some of those companies already have a good export business to markets like Europe and America, others are just getting started on exports and have identified Japan as their first market. Whether experienced in exports or not, there are always a lot of questions about how to tackle the unique nature of the Japanese business environment.

My company, Advance Partners, which I set up with a friend 5 years ago works in helping to integrate firms to the Tokyo marketplace, showing them “the ropes” in Japan and helping with social web promotion strategies. Although born in England, I moved to Australia with my family when I was 13 and attended High School in Brisbane, Queensland. From there I quickly found my way to Tokyo and now find the place I have lived the longest in my life is actually Japan. It is hard to imagine I have lived more years here than anywhere else, but it really feels like home ^_^.

I had lunch today with 2 staff of the Trade and Investment Office (Japan) for Queensland, Australia. Their job is to provide export advice and assistance to Queensland businesses in Japan. It was interesting to talk with them about introducing Australian clients to Japanese business partners, cross cultural networking opportunities and how they can assist with improving a businesses chance of succeeding in Japan.

There are many restaurants in the building. Even though it is not outside with street frontage they have done a good job of making a nice entrance, even with the window ornaments.

There are many restaurants in the building. Even though it is not outside with street frontage they have done a good job of making a nice entrance, even with the window ornaments.

This is the food display counter. Lots of good food available normally under the 1,000 Yen level.

This is the food display counter. Lots of good food available normally under the 1,000 Yen level.

Like many traditional Japanese restaurants, you take your shoes off before entering the restaurant. You get a small locker to put your shoes in. The wooden peg fits just your locker and is removed once your shoes are inside. The lockers have a numbering system for you to find your shoes later.

Like many traditional Japanese restaurants, you take your shoes off before entering the restaurant. You get a small locker to put your shoes in. The wooden peg fits just your locker and is removed once your shoes are inside. The lockers have a numbering system for you to find your shoes later.

We had lunch in a basement restaurant of the Yurakucho Denki Bldg. Good food, fine company. Just another great day in Japan.

Lunch in the Yurakucho Denki Bldg. Good food, fine company. Just another great day in Japan.

The counter area had a good rustic feel to it. You could probably find a lot of places to eat like this in the countryside as well.

The counter area had a good rustic feel to it. You could probably find a lot of places to eat like this in the countryside as well.

The area of Yurakucho is very close to Ginza, Tokyo Station and the Emperor’s Palace. It is a nice area to walk around on a sunny winter’s day like today. I had more meetings to attend today, but I will come back and take some photos of the area for a Tokyo Photo Walk post another day.

Coming out of the entrance from the JR Station at Yurakucho.

Coming out of the entrance from the JR Station at Yurakucho.

Some people looking for directions outside Yurakucho Station. You can see the big green area on the map here is part of the gardens and start of the Emperor's Palace grounds.

Some people looking for directions outside Yurakucho Station. You can see the big green area on the map here is part of the gardens and start of the Emperor's Palace grounds.

Crossing over from the Yurakucho Station to the Yurakucho Denki Bldg. There are many big firms around in this area, as well as Ginza being a short walk away.

Crossing over from the Yurakucho Station to the Yurakucho Denki Bldg. There are many big firms around in this area, as well as Ginza being a short walk away.

BIC Camera in Yurakucho. This used to be the SOGO Department building. I heard recently that Seibu in Yurakcho may also be shutting down. I wonder what company will look at using that space.

BIC Camera in Yurakucho. This used to be the SOGO Department building. I heard recently that Seibu in Yurakcho may also be shutting down. I wonder what company will look at using that space.

It is great to meet up with different people who are doing business in Japan and also to help firms find their way here as well. There are always many difficulties along the road to success, and to share those difficult times with others makes it all the more enjoyable when you can get together and toast your success.

I am fortunate to live in a city like Tokyo where most companies have an office, if not their head office, all in a relatively small area. It is easy to go from one meeting to another without having to jump on a plane to travel. Time traveling to meetings is short so more can get done ^^.

Do you enjoy the travel to meetings or would you prefer to have all the companies located in one place?

zonjineko says:

Didn’t realise you lived in my hometown for a while – what school did you go to in Brisvegas? ^_^

Shockerz says:

If I have to choose between those 2 options I would go for the ‘travel to meeting’ type as I can stay a bit longer in each city/country to explore the local sites and while at it taking some picture home for memory certainly worth it but if it’s on an uninteresting city/country then an all in one building that houses all the office would be a preferably choice.

HELLOSHEENA says:

Now that you mention I forgot I had my own firm. lol. jk but I can believe that place feels like home. I feel like it’s home and I’m not living there. :D

Andrea Watt says:

I love the rustic look of the restaurant. I would find it a very relaxing place to have lunch. I love the dark wood.

whipcracker says:

RT @tweetmeme Tokyo Business, Japan Marketing http://bit.ly/dz3ZL1 I think i’d rather have all my business in 1 place. I agree w/the 2 of you would be better if the trip was to Tokyo. Airports do tend to be tedious, especially if you’ve never been there, so then you always have to scramble to get your luggage, and the next gate is on the other end of the terminal. Which means your out of breath, and no time to relax. What fun is that?
Those lockers actually look like old time library file card case, file by name ,size, or smell. hehehe….

whipcracker says:

File shoes by size, color or stinky, just like in the library.

Kris says:

I’m still going to university, so no big squishy corporate job for me :p Though, I am not sure if I would enjoy traveling for meetings … my dream profession IS in the travel industry. So I suppose the plane would get boring, but the locations would be interesting everytime :D

AND not quite with the question, but I can’t thank you enough for these pictures. I’m going to Japan this summer (3 weeks in Tokyo) and it makes me happy to see english on some of the signs (for the trains and what not).

shibuya246 says:

There are quite a lot of signs in English, particularly for trains. You can travel in Japan quite safely following the signs around, knowing that if you get lost someone will try to help you. I am sure you will enjoy your trip in the summer. :)

lithiumangel says:

These lockers look very old. Are they actually old, or just made to look old ?

shibuya246 says:

I think it might be a bit of both ;)

lithiumangel says:

I’m an IT manager for one of the many departments in ING (Dutch banking firm) and I have several business units under me ranging in 5 different countries in the EU. Sometimes I have meetings abroad, sometimes I don’t. Traveling within the EU tough is pretty quick and painless, you can easily skip 3 countries here that would normally be a state in the USA. In general I don’t like it tough. As the offices of the business units I support are for most part not in big sprawling city centers (exception of Paris; but I dislike Paris in general :/) despite being in nice countries such as England,Spain,Italy and France. So I personally prefer to stay in cozy Amsterdam, and have them come over here where I have everything :) – Now if those offices were in cool cities like Frankfurt,Berlin,Gothenburg, hell Tokyo etc.; then yes I’d enjoy ‘de-centralised” alot more hahaha !

shibuya246 says:

yes. more Tokyo trips. That is what you need :) I traveled a bit in the EU and in the US for business, but i always found waiting in airports to be tedious.

lithiumangel says:

I already have my next Tokyo trip dated and set, 2-19th of April :-)
Hanami times !

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