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Painting of a demon's face and a bag of beans.
Work Year
  1. Beginning of Work Day
  2. Business Year and Transfer Season
  3. Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties
  4. May Day (May 1)
  5. May Sickness
  6. General Shareholders Meeting
  7. Obon Holidays and Homecoming Rush
  8. Recreational Trips
  9. Year-End Party
  10. End of Work Day
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People standing around a table, eating and drinking
Bonenkai take place in many places, including office buildings and bars.
Photo Courtesy of the Institute for Study of the Earth's Interior.
Year-End Party
Bonen literally means, “forget the year.” This phrase implies that the bad things that one has experienced in the current year should be forgotten at the end of the year. Then having forgotten them, one can start the new year with a fresh mind. Bonenkai is a year-end party where people enjoy dining and drinking together in order to forget bad things. Though it sounds like a New Year’s Eve party for Americans, Japanese bonenkai can be held on any day in December, though it is usually not held on December 31 since the last day of December has a different cultural connotation. For bonenkai, friends or family members may get together and enjoy dining and drinking and perhaps singing karaoke; however, it is probably more common that co-workers take part in bonenkai activities together. In addition, sales people may throw year-end parties with clients, in order to maintain their relationships. In reality bonenkai is more of an opportunity for workplace socialization or strengthening business contacts. Indeed, even though year-end parties are held after hours, some companies may give financial support to workplace or business year-end parties.
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