Another weekend in Japan and another experience. This time it was the concept of Family Day at office. This Saturday Toshiba hosted the family day for it’s employees and so I got experience it with my family.
Three days before the event, the preparation began in the office. The management asked us the employees to form teams and clean up the office in terms of both cleanliness as well as to adhere to the confidentiality aspects during the family visit. So all the employees were split into different teams, each team was given an area and we cleaned up the office. While some teams were busy disposing off old hard drives and machines, other teams were busy vacuuming the floors while some other were cleaning the desks and desktop. I was reminded of the time when my team in Chennai used to celebrate Navratri (Golu) and Christmas when we used to clean the desks and decorate and hold the competition for the most decorated desks.
Anyhow after the cleanup, we were preparing for the toughest audit of them all. An audit where the auditors were going to be our family members who may or may not approve of our hardwork. 🙂 On Saturday, we all reached the office at 10:00 A.M. and registered our families and were given a map of all the areas that were eligible to visit. The program started with a nice video showing all that Toshiba Medical System does, along with some photos tracing the origins of Toshiba Medical Systems. Unfortunately, for us the video was in Japanese, so my family could not understand much of it. Had it been in English they would definitely have liked it.
Anyhow moving forward, next up we saw a fire-engine which is the fire-engine in TMSC campus. The kids were given a chance to get the feel of the interior of a fire-engine and the fire-engine kit including helmet and water cannons. It was interesting because it was only when I saw the fire-engine on Saturday, I actually realized we had one on the campus.
After that the families were free to roam around in designated areas in the various buildings of the Toshiba factory. Each group had a small team of volunteers who had setup a machine or system related to their group and the family members could get to see how the system operated and the visuals that come out of it. So there was an actual CT scanners and families could see the scanned images from that. Similarly, there were MR machines, X-ray systems and even the manufacturing plant.
Also, each of these teams had something unique to offer to the families. So one team was giving away balloons of choice to kids, other team was giving away juices and snacks. Yet another team was giving a family photo along with a modality device. All in all it was really a great walkthrough for the family to realize what the company where one member works looks like.
Then there were stalls which were put up selling variety of items from in and around that area. To make things interesting there was a stand up magic show which was arranged. Children could also play the Japanese game of Water Yo-yo. After all this one does get really famished, don’t they. So the canteen is then opened and people can have the food of their choice. Unfortunately, our vegetarian limitations meant that we had to pack our own food, though we did enjoy ice-creams and cup cakes from the office menu.
Compared to the way we do things in India, this was a bit different for me. In India, almost all companies have family days but it is mostly held outside the company campus in some resort or some other place. While from bonding and getting to know people that is much better experience, the Japanese version of family day in the office is great for people to know the company in which the person works. I would have loved a chance to bond a bit more with the family members of other colleagues, but with so much to look around, that aspect did take a beating.
But, I must say it was another great Japanese experience for me to enjoy.