Last night we had a team dinner in the traditional salaryman style – all you can eat and drink for 2.5 hours for a flat fee. There’s chatting about work and non-work. There’s laughing and new connections made.
These events are especially important for me. These give others a chance to talk with me who may feel their English isn’t good enough or who are just kind of nervous to approach. And I get to do the same with them because my Japanese is still MIA and I have a hard time remembering everyone’s name. My social anxiety hasn’t gone away. I manage it better than I did – not perfectly, but better.
Anyway, two things set this dining experience apart from others I’ve attended.
First, everyone in attendance had to stand up and talk about themselves for a tight-ish two minutes. If you put together a video or some slides, a laptop and projector were provided with a sheet hung at the far end of the restaurant. The audience scored the talks on factors like comedy, presence, and staying on time. Prizes were handed out at the end of the night.
Second, and this is something I was used to in the US and Canada but rarely see here, is that we paid for the dinner on a sliding scale based on each team member’s “band” in the organization. The lowest tier, who are typically fresh out of university, paid nothing. Folks at the top of the org contributed significantly, and all of those fine folks in the middle paid accordingly.
All in all, a fun and informative evening.