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A 2022 living Colombia, breathing Japan

By: Luis Miguel Rosero – Audiovisual Communication and Multimedia Intern CCJCI

Another year is coming to an end. And, with this, those feelings of nostalgia and the desire to take a look at the achievements and great moments of the past, plus the expectations and dreams of the future, reappear. Likewise, certain traditions to which everyone is already accustomed also come back.

That was exactly what happened on November 25 at the last major event of the Colombian-Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCJCI) for this 2022. With the intend of properly closing its activities and recounting everything that happened this year and a bit of what is planned for the future, as always, the CCJCI invited all its affiliates to be part of a networking space and end with a delicious lunch for everyone to enjoy.

The event was held at the Bankers and Entrepreneurs Club, in the penthouse of the same building where the CCJCI offices were previously located. At 11:00 in the morning, the representatives of the members of the Chamber began to meet and, while we waited for everyone to arrive (bearing in mind that the traffic in Bogotá can be tricky), those who were arriving could talk accompanied by sushi portions and a few glasses of wine.

When the vast majority was already present, at 11:30 am the event began as such. First on the agenda was a presentation by Leslie Benítez, the CCJCI International Business Assistant. She began with a brief account of what the Chamber is, its purpose, vision, and history. Let us remember that this entity has been supporting and promoting bilateral relations between Japan and Colombia since 1988.

Then, a visit was made to the multiple events held in 2022, in a post-pandemic period. Among the more than 50 events and activities that the CCJCI carried out this year, the most outstanding were the "Japan-Colombia Professional Practices Fair", held in April; the “Export to Japan” event, held mid-year in July; the conferences and talks with international guests of "Global Trip" together with multiple entities and organizations; and also, the golf tournament held in September. And, at the end of her presentation, Leslie shared with all the affiliates a small glimpse of the events that are already being coordinated by the Chamber for 2023. These will be announced from all the CCJCI social media, so don´t forget to follow us to be aware of these new opportunities that we will bring next year.

Once this initial presentation by Leslie was finished, the main activity of the event began: the networking space. For this, two questions were sent to the air so that the present members could talk and discuss. Although the groups in which the networking dynamics were to take place had been pre-established, at the end of the day, freedom was given at the time so that each one could speak with whomever they were interested in. In this way, several groups were formed and changed throughout the activity in a more organic way.

The two motor questions for the activity were the following:

  1. In which sectors/activities do you think the Colombian-Japanese Chamber can have more presence?

  2. How do you implement the different Japanese philosophies in your daily work and personal life?

Afterwards, a good amount of time was arranged for the different groups to talk about their opinions regarding the two questions. Among the serious discussions on the subject, there were occasional laughs and, of course, a little more sushi and a drink of choice for those who wanted it. To close the activity, all the guests were asked to reunite as one big group and share what they had managed to talk about with the others.

Regarding the first question, some of the answers that the participants shared were aimed at realizing that, the Colombian-Japanese Chamber should promote even more ties between the two nations with events like this. Remarking that, even in that space of discussion time, several bonds had been created or strengthened in their groups. Also, a response given by a group was directed towards the importance of getting involved in the technology sector with Japan from Colombia.

Regarding the second question, there were several answers about how beneficial certain aspects of Japanese culture can be for both work life and personal life. Among these, one comment that drew attention was that of a participant who mentioned the Kakotora. This is a technique or philosophy of Japanese work that highlights the importance of documenting and keeping a correct record of the errors that occur so as not to make them again. Apart from this intervention, another one that was quite special was that of a group in which they inverted the question for the Japanese, to ask them what they recovered from the lifestyle and work ethic in Colombia for their lives. As a result of this, the Japanese highlighted the greater flexibility in work environments in Colombia as a positive aspect, learning that there are times when it is better to take a break from work if conditions require it (for example, if there is a protest and it is better to go home early).

Once the networking space was over, everyone got ready for the last part of the schedule: lunch. With the tables ready and everyone seated, the Ambassador of Japan in Colombia, Takasugi Masahiro, gave a few words in which he celebrated another year of joint work, congratulating the director of the Chamber and recognizing the increase in exports and economic relations between Japan and Colombia, and ending with good wishes and high expectations from the Embassy. Later, Doctor Santiago Pardo, Former Ambassador of Colombia in Japan and, of course, Óscar Romero, the director of the CCJCI, gave a few words.

Everyone was able to enjoy the delicious lunch that the Chamber had prepared and one of two options of national desserts that were offered: feijoa ice cream with sweet tree tomato or merengón. As they ate, the guests chatted a bit more among themselves, and a few laughs were heard here and there. In the end, everyone left satisfied. This is how this marvelous year came to an end in the Colombian-Japanese Chamber, but there is still much to come. Do not miss it!

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