Dec 28, 2012

South Korea Year-End Celebrations

Ringing In 2013 South Korea Style

Written by: Geunjin Kim (from RPA's Seoul, South Korea Office)

How do you spend the last month of 2012? While December is always very busy with appointments, meeting friends and having parties (as we shared in our last RPA blog post about Bonenkai in Japan), in South Korea, we have our own diverse year-end party celebrations.

Enjoying concerts, theatre and musical events is very popular – especially among the women in their 20s here, with many restaurants satisfying both EYE and MOUTH with performances and wonderful meals. Great with me – killing two birds with one stone!

Apart from crowded downtown Seoul, more and more people are leaving the big city to venture countryside. Renting guest houses or cottages (also known as “pensions”) is popular among people who prefer staying with family or friends very quietly, often without alcohol!

And finally, as in many parts of the world now, Apps are often helpful to check what kinds of foods are served – and at what price – before booking a restaurant reservation during this busy celebration period. Below are typical meals for year-end party celebrations in South Korea. If you get the chance to try any, I’m sure you’d love them!

*Kimchi Sam-kyup-sal (Pork Belly with Kimchi) 
Sam-kyup-sal (pork belly) has been rated as the most delicious Korean food among foreigners … followed closely by Kimchi. So, with this dish, the best foods meet each other! Can you imagine how it tastes?

Pork Belly (with Kimchi to support it!)
Korean Pancake and Makgeolli
Makgeolli, known as “Korean rice wine”, is a milky-colored alcoholic beverage with a touch of sweetness. Rainy days this time of year make Korean people recall Makgeolli with Korean pancakes. Easy to prepare, you can cook Korean pancakes yourself (personally, I recommend adding ingredients like seafood, oysters or Kimchi). This dish is really healthy and a good late-night meal option.

Korean Pancake
Jokbal, tender and chewy, is a dish made of pigs’ feet. It tastes very good with soy or spicy sauce – as well as chilled vegetables. Jokbal is a perfect food to share as it tastes different, depending on which part people try. For added convenience, Jokbal is also available by delivery.  

So, while you may not be able to get to the South Korean countryside or take in some theatre in Seoul, you may want to consider some Korean food as options for celebrating your own year-end!

Dec 21, 2012

Musical Holiday Greetings From RPA Philippines

Philippines Office Music Video Shows How RPA Has Fun

Written by: Diane Wagner (from RPA's Los Angeles Regional Headquarters Office)

One of RPA's Core Values is Fun.  Yes, lots of companies say that these days.  But, not every company can SHOW you why.  

This holiday season, our Operations Team in the Philippines did just that ... by creating this musical tribute to one of the most popular Christmas videos in the Philippines, "Star ng Pasko" or "Star of Christmas"!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone from RPA Philippines and the entire global RPA Team.

Dec 20, 2012

Just Forget About It (Year-End Party Culture in Japan)

Bonenkai Wraps Up Old Year, Welcomes New One in Japan 

Written by: Misa Kajikawa

After shots of sake under gorgeous cherry blossom trees in the Spring, chilling out with beer on the beach in the Summer, and trying the latest Beaujolais Nouveau in the Fall, people in Japan still long for one of the biggest party events of the year: Bonenkai

Literally meaning “forget the year party,” Bonenkai is rooted in the spirit of wrapping up the old year (tough periods and all) so that one may have a good memory of the year and be ready to welcome and celebrate a holy new year.

Most often, Bonenkai is a dinner event which some (especially those in the urban areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) enjoy as nonstop parties Monday - Friday. Because public transit is so good in these areas, there’s no need to worry about the effects of “the bottle”. It’s easy to pick up the last train of the night or just wait for the first train in the morning from late open bars, karaoke or internet cafes.  It’s so popular, in fact, that restaurants, bistros and pubs are almost fully booked all December long.

Bonenkai Konpai! (Photo: Misa Kajikawa)
In business, people have year-end parties with their small group or the entire company – sometimes including clients and partners. These events often include overviews of the company’s growth, awards for valuable employees, and very frank discussions to share friendships not just business. It is a kind of the wrap-up before entering the most important holiday in Japan, Oshogatsu (the New Year). 

The Bonenkai atmosphere can vary from casual standing to dining “Tatami Room style” where there’s privacy for fun developments such as someone showing up in a batman costume or guests screaming for the raffle prizes. The menu often includes winter specialties such as hot pots or oysters. Some go with wine, others with Virgin Margaritas, but the most important thing is that everyone is having a great time so that they forget the pain of their daily work for sure.

Bonenkai Oysters (Photo: Misa Kajikawa)
Our local panel in Japan, Research Panel, did a quick poll with our Japan panelists, asking them how much they budget for Bonenkai. Most (76%) think less than $60 (5,000JPY) is ideal since there are so many parties for weeks! There are a few gender gaps, however, with men tending to budget more while women, likely to think they eat and drink less, allocating less.

And, finally, in case you’re concerned about the consequences of the potential drinking, worry not!  “Anti-Hangover Supplements” abound. 

So grab your colleagues or friends, prepare a great meal (with lots of beverages!), and let the things that happened in 2012 go out with a smile. Now, finally, you are ready for the coming 2013.

RPA wishes all a happy and prosperous New Year!

Dec 14, 2012

Company Celebrations Across Borders

Birthdays Are Extra Special When Celebrated Globally

Written by: Diane Wagner (from RPA's Los Angeles Regional Headquarters Office)

Many times, people ask me what it’s like to work for a Japanese-owned company which has offices around the globe.  I have to say that it’s definitely one of the best things about working here for me – every day I learn something new it seems about Japanese and/or other Asian cultures.

Recently, in fact, on my birthday, it was awesome to work here!  Why?  Because birthdays are celebrated both locally – and globally – at RPA.

A Perfect Birthday Card: Animal Print Shoes
How?  Well, first, my colleague, Rie, surprised me with an amazing pie from Clementine’s here in LA next to our Century City office.  Clementine’s can do no wrong in my mind and their banana crème pie did not disappoint.  Then, she had another of my colleagues on Skype to sing “Happy Birthday” while handing me a birthday card which included photos of our team from around the world … can’t say I’ve ever had a global celebration for my birthday before!

From the Japan Team (modeling after my Linked In photo!)
From the Korea Team
From our Operations Team in Manila
Thank you Team RPA! Even though we're oceans apart, it feels like we're all right here together.

Dec 12, 2012

Highlights from the 2012 TMRE Conference

Written by: Diane Wagner

Having recently attended and exhibited at TMRE in Boca Raton, FL (November 12 – 14), we always like to share highlights of our experiences here on the RPA Blog.  

With Rie Nagai at our TMRE Booth
Of course, networking is always key.  In this case, we met lots of cool folks.  For me, just two of them were Katie Clark of Diversified Business Communications (aka @InsightsGal) and running into Kristin Luck, an undisputed MR leader.  

I met Katie by chance in the elevator going down to The Research Club Event held on the Kathleen Windridge Yacht. Then, while mingling, I heard someone explain, “Insights Gal!” at which point I realized that she’s been who I’ve been following for #mrx tweets for several years now.  Kristin, meantime, moderated a Panel Discussion on “Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Tools and Techniques for Getting in the Game.”  Fitting, she talked about how she founded a networking group called Women in Research (WIRe) for just for that purpose – to help women in MR network and find mentors for their careers. I’ve since joined the LA Chapter of Wire and went to my first event on December 3rd at the House of Blues on Sunset (cool venue!).

And while networking is always important, I have to say that one of the presenters really made a lasting impact on me: Guy Kawasaki (former chief evangelist of Apple, co-founder of and best-selling author).  His speech was based on his recent book (his tenth!) called Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.

So how can YOU be enchanting? Smiling throughout, Guy shared many tips – here, my Top 5:
  1. Likability! Think Sir Richard Branson.  Smile like you mean it – crow’s feet and all. 
  2. Trustworthiness.  Trust others first.  Like Amazon does with Kindle books (they give you a week to return any eBook even though, in theory, you could read it in that time), Zappos does with shoes, and, of course, Nordstrom does with returns.  Bake, don’t eat.  Eaters think of life as a zero sum game (life is limited).  Bakers think of it as unlimited (“I can always bake more”).  Bakers are more trusting.
  3. Tell a story!  Stop using “paradigm shifting” stuff and use words that matter.  Calories versus miles (tell people how many miles they have to run to burn off that Snickers and you get their attention versus showing them the calories on the bag).  Sell your dream by telling people what it means – to them.
  4. Want to see the Best. Marketing. Movie. Ever?  Rent Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” … this movie has it all: Marketing, WOMA, Mentoring, Social, and Delighting the Customer.
  5. And maybe, most importantly, for those of us in MR, let’s rein in the PowerPoint, people!  10 slides maximum!!!  In 20 minutes max!!!  Using 30 point font!!!  Hallelujah, Guy.
And, finally, while I can try to share the experience here, I think no one else perhaps can tell the TMRE story better than my fellow Asian sample specialist (and friendly competitor), Nelson Davis, via his photos.  Here, enjoy his 910 photos in 5 links.  Bravo Nelson!