OWNDAYS SUMMIT – the largest festival in OWNDAYS, organised in various countries.
OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN, the grand finale to the OWNDAYS SUMMIT season, was held at ageHa@STUDIO COAST on 24 April 2018. This 5th OWNDAYS SUMMIT IN JAPAN took over a year of preparation, from conceptualisation to final planning.
The theme for this year was “Keep Your Faith” ― to continue following your beliefs and guiding principles to your best ability whether the process would bring you smiles or tears, delight or sorrow.
OWNDAYS SUMMIT in the past years had always been filled with heart-warming moments and unexpected turn of things. What would it bring to us this time? OWNDAYS SUMMIT, the biggest entertainment event refreshed every year, had pulled off its 2018 edition!
There were over 600 guests this summit which included staff from Japan and other parts of the world as well as business partners, customers and other stakeholders from around Japan.
When doors opened, the guests entered through a set of gorgeous red curtains and were greeted by a medley of light display which bounced off the glittering mirror ball hung in the middle of the main floor. The adrenaline in the house had amped up as guests began to stream into the hall.
In the backstage, it was a different atmosphere among the 7 final round Area Manager Election candidates. With a change in the presentation format this year, the tension in the air was particularly high as the candidate prepared themselves for the upcoming individual presentation.
Finally, we welcomed the official opening of OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN amid a sea of eager anticipation and varied emotions.
After the opening announcement, while everyone thought the usual opening video would come on just like the past years, a man showed up on stage. It was Okunoya Keisuke from P.I CO., LTD., as known as “Short Pants CEO”.
Short Pants CEO has been actively involved in OWNDAYS events such as SNS trainings and year-end parties. This time, he brought along a large group from his team and lent his support for the opening act as the OWNDAYS CTO (Chief “Tanpan” Officer – Tanpan refers to Short Pants in Japanese).
After the fun, light-hearted opening monologue by Short Pants CEO, lights in the hall dimmed and the opening video played on the giant screens at the front of the hall. First up, it was a series of numbers, each with different significance to OWNDAYS. Next, it was a recap of the past OWNDAYS summits, set against splendid light effects and colourful laser beam display. It was like a trip down memory lane as the staff watched the growth of OWNDAYS in the video.
After a brief silence, a familiar male voice rang in the air.
“I’m Massa, your MC again this year!!!”
Massa Mizoguchi is one who has become indispensable to OWNDAYS SUMMIT; one who has witnessed the history of OWNDAYS on this very stage; one who is eloquent in 3 languages!!
The other MC was none other than Mega Mac Nakano, the man who has been gifted with an attractive mellow voice and the only one with the Group CEO’s permission to remain overweight!
Again, there was a glitch this year! No matter how much MC Massa tried to page for him, MC Mega Mac Nakano was nowhere in sight! Where would he be at a crucial moment like this?
“Hey, Nakano? It’s time to show up! Nakano!”
MC Massa’s call for his MC partner was causing a stir in the hall. Meanwhile, the live camera found sight of the missing man. MC Mega Mac Nakano was eating a burger in the dark in a waiting room backstage. Once again, he just could not control his craving even though it was time for him to go on stage, and in the end causing such a hiccup during the opening.
“I still have half a burger left...”
Not wanting to waste the remaining half of the burger, he gulfed it down and rushed to the stage.
Despite the slight hiccup, he was able to change the mood in the hall as soon as he got onto the stage, looking all serious. MC Mega Mac Nakano was indeed a superb MC with years of experience under his belt.
“I hereby declare the OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN open!”
With his opening declaration, a new chapter in the history of OWNDAYS would finally come to light!
12:40 PRESIDENT'S MANAGEMENT POLICY FOR 2018
MUpon MC Massa’s cue, the song Scary by The Mad Capsule Markets blasted from the speakers and colourful lights danced about in the hall. OWNDAYS Group CEO, Tanaka Shuji, made his appearance on stage.
Tanaka san shared his management policy for 2018 with the excited audience. This would be his 10th year at the helm of OWNDAYS. He first reviewed the company’s growth from the past to the present and then announced his plans in terms of sales and number of stores for the upcoming year.
In addition, Tanaka san announced that a new feature would be added to STAPA, the in-house virtual currency system introduced last summit and very much well-liked by all the staff. The new feature would be a battle function in which staff from the shops could use miles as stakes and compete based on their store sales. This battle function would be an enhancement to the existing three features of STAPA, namely collect, save and exchange. With the new battle feature, we are sure work would be more fun and exciting from now on!
Following which, Tanaka san shared that OWNDAYS had entered Indonesia with the first shop being opened on 19 April 2018. Moreover, three more shops had been confirmed. The force of OWNDAYS is set to grow with our rapid development planned for in Indonesia.
Finally, the most important announcement of all...
“Story of OWNDAYS: The Revival” would be published!
Since last September, Tanaka san had been recounting the events that led to OWNDAYS’ revival from near-bankruptcy in an online journal entitled “Story of OWNDAYS: The Revival”. The journal had attracted a lot of media attention and this August, it would finally be published into a book by NewsPicks Book. Do check it out when the book is launched and let’s make it the best-seller!
We could feel boundless growth potential in OWNDAYS upon hearing Tanaka san’s presentation.
13:15 AREA MANAGER ELECTION 2018 – FINAL STAGE
Lights were dimmed. A Kabuki style prologue echoed in the hall along an enchanting Biwa tune. A man wearing a Japanese kasa hat emerged from the darkness.
He made his way to centre stage, walking in sync with the Shakuhachi music. Tossing off the kasa hat, the mysterious man’s identity was revealed instantly. It was MC Massa!
“The people of OWNDAYS
Eyeing to be at the top of shop operations…
With his declaration and traditional Japanese drum performance, the 8th Area Manager Election had begun!! Re-writing history year after year, what would this Area Manager Election bring before our eyes?
7th place in the qualifying round
Current Shop Manager of Aeon Naha
The supernova from the southern island! Star of Uchinanchu!
6th place in the qualifying round
Current Area Manager of East Japan Area
All prepared and ready! Super Kitten Lover!
5th place in the qualifying round
Current Area Manager of East Japan Area
The Sleeping Lion has awaken! OWNDAYS supplementary plan activated!
4th place in the qualifying round
Current Area Manager of Kyushu Area
Hilarious King of Heisei era! Can he add glory to the first year in his 30s?
3rd place in the qualifying round
Current Supervisor of West Japan “B” Area
Cry no more! Defeated no more! Fighter Queen!
2nd place in the qualifying round
Current Area Manager of Hokkaido/Chubu/Okinawa Area
Continuing on the road to victory! Evolving Uncrowned King!
1st place in the qualifying round
Current Area Manager of West Japan Area
First-ever three-time champion! Heart-ful Cyborg!
Standing tall on the stage were the final 7 candidates out of the 14 in the qualifying round. It was time for the final stage of the 2018 Area Manager Election.
This year, a Q&A format replaced the usual free-style presentation. Candidates would have to answer 5 questions within a time limit of 1 minute for each question.
“What are your thoughts about operations and sales?”
“How do you approach your everyday work?”
Unlike the presentation format in the past, this Q&A segment gave everyone better insight into the principles guiding each candidate.
The tense atmosphere in the hall rose and fell in tune with the turn-up and turn-down of the spotlight. The 7 candidates responded to the questions one by one, trying their best to relay their opinions and beliefs within the short one-minute time frame.
Without a doubt, there were answers that ran over and there were answers that fell short of the one-minute time frame. With the time ticking away every second, the audience were even more attentive in listening to the candidates this year.
After an intense Q&A segment, it was voting time. Based on the votes of the staff in attendance during the summit, the top 5 would be elected area managers, forming OWNDAYS’ engine of growth in 2018.
Which 5 would be the area managers elected by OWNDAYS staff? We would find out shortly.
14:40 OWNDAYS I.R.A.C. WORLD MAX 2018 -SEMIFINAL-
OWNDAYS INTERNATIONAL RIMLESS ASSEMBLING CONTEST, also known as the OWNDAYS I.R.A.C., is a contest of skills among OWNDAYS staff around the world. The one who can make the most perfect pair of rimless glasses will take home the World No.1 title, a pair of golden pliers and the prize money of 1 million yen.
Now in its 4th year running, contestants from 9 countries were vying for the champion title. In fact, over 600 staff had signed up for the contest and the 12 representatives who won the respective national final in each country had come together here on the stage of OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN.
Would Singapore continue the winning streak and make it to the 4th champion title? Or would another country finally defeat Singapore to take the World No. 1 throne? With past winners making way for the new generation of worriers in the Hall of Fame, an impending storm was drawing near!
To ensure upmost fairness, this contest was held under the close supervision of these 5 trusted judges:
Kar Hong, 2017 World Champion
Allen, Executive Manager of OWNDAYS Taiwan
Steven, World Trainer
Osawa Sakae, World Trainer
Nagatsu Kazutaka, head of skills training in OWNDAYS, took on the role of the chief judge.
These 5 judges would be scoring the rimless glasses at the end of the contest.
First was the semi-final. Contestants were separated into the red corner and the blue corner. One winner from each corner would move on to the final to vie for the World No.1 title.
In the red corner:
Fighter of the King of Jack-knives, Jackie (from Singapore)
The Strongest Emperor, Stanley (from Singapore)
Drunk Kung Fu Master of the East China Sea, Ken (from Taiwan)
Rimless Terminator, Jason (from Taiwan)
The Last Magical Girl of Khmer, Deth (from Cambodia)
Catwoman of Lightning Speed, Praew (from Thailand)
In the blue corner:
Pliers Warrior, Dennis (from Vietnam)
The Fateful One Blessed From Above, Lai (from Malaysia)
The Return of the Island Princess, Devi (from Australia)
The 12 contestants stood on the stage, each bearing a different expression... Actually, Deth of Cambodia and Dennis of Vietnam could not come to Japan to attend the contest due to visa issues. Their respective managers, Jay and Nakatani Hinako, joined the contest as their proxies.
All the contestants were very meticulous when it came to checking the frames, tools and equipment that were set on the table. They were organising and re-positioning the tools and adjusting the height of the drilling machine to the level most comfortable to them. Some took deep breaths and some stretched their arms to warm up. When everyone was ready, the countdown timer sounded off and the contest began. The contestants went straight into assembling their rimless glasses without the slightest pause. The time limit was 15 minutes.
Which two contestants could assemble the most perfect pair of rimless glasses in such a short time frame and move on to the final round? Only God would know. We couldn’t wait to see the results!
The AM election candidates and I.R.A.C. contestants could finally took a breather from the tensed state they were in right from the beginning of the summit.
Food and drink were served. The guests had a great time catching up with others while enjoying the delectable spread. We could hear happy chatters all around.
Guests were all toasting to one another, taking photos together and chit-chatting. With staff from over 20 nationalities and people chatting in different languages, the scene right there was a true testament to the global reach of OWNDAYS today.
16:20 NEW STAFF INTRODUCTION AND BEST ROOKIE AWARD PRESENTATION
Spring is the season of fresh beginning. It’s the time when we have the OWNDAYS SUMMIT and also welcome new members joining the OWNDAYS family! This year, we have 53 new members, double than of last year’s. Don’t you agree that such a big jump comes to show the growth momentum of OWNDAYS?
Similar to last year’s format, we welcomed the new members with a fashion show-styled introduction of each of them. One by one, they strode down the runway to the middle of the stage, striking a pose for the camera just like an experienced fashion model brimming with confidence.
This was the stage where the newcomers made their debut in OWNDAYS and perhaps also the segment that got the loudest cheers from the audience so far this summit.
Following which, we had the Best Rookie award announcement. This was when the newcomers had their first try at the voting system, an important culture in OWNDAYS.
The 53 of them had to vote on a person with the greatest potential among them. The criteria taken into consideration included the person’s ability, attitude and effort shown during training.
Lights were dimmed and the sound of drumroll rang from the speakers.
2018 Best Rookie went to...
Kim Doyeong from Korea!!
She received her award from Kim Seul Gi, the 2017 Best Rookie winner. The award also included a company holiday trip to Phuket.
We can’t wait to see newcomers shine in each of their own arenas!
16:40 OVERSEAS STAFF INTRODUCTION
As of April 2018, OWNDAYS has attained a retail presence in 10 countries and is on the road to becoming a global eyewear brand. Representatives from the 10 countries, namely Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, had gathered on the stage of the summit.
Suddenly, the theme song of Star Wars played on the speakers and two Jedi in hooded robes appeared among the country representatives. As they waved their lightsabres, we caught a glimpse of their faces. They two were the forerunners who led OWNDAYS onto the global front!
Mr Koga, Executive Operating Officer of Overseas Business Development
Mr Umiyama, OWNDAYS Group COO
These two key people gave us a recap of 2017 and shared the outlook for the coming year.
Which new countries would be sending their representatives to OWNDAYS SUMMIT next year? Let’s stay tuned!
17:10 OWNDAYS I.R.A.C WORLD MAX 2018 – FINAL ROUND
Scores of the semi-final were tabulated and it was time to announce the results. One winner from the red corner and one winner from the blue corner would head into the final round.
The hall was enveloped by a tense atmosphere.
Moving on to the final were…
From the blue corner
John representing the Philippines!!
From the red corner
Jackie representing Singapore!!
Unfortunately, Japan’s representative, Nagasawa Hidekazu, came in 2nd in the blue corner, thrusting our dream to conquer the world to the following year instead.
On the other hand, this was a life-changing moment for John of the Philippines. 1 million yen would be an even greater sum in the Philippines and John had his mind set on taking it home!
Up against John was the winner from the red corner, Jackie of Singapore. Singapore is indeed the powerhouse in the contest, having won the last three champion titles since the inception of the OWNDAYS I.R.A.C. Could Jackie bring the golden pliers back to Singapore? The pressure of securing the 4th consecutive win for the country weighed on the young man’s shoulders.
The stage was turned into the battle ring with the two finalists eyeing on the campion title as they prepared themselves for the final fight.
The setup on stage was done. It was time to bring on the final battle. Time limit was 10 minutes. With just 10 minutes, it was a real test of the two finalists’ skills.
MC Massa led the countdown to the start of the contest. The flame was lit and the final battle had begun!
Both finalists started working on their rimless glasses immediately.
John was calm and steady, assembling the glasses just like what he would usually do at the shop. In contrast, Jackie was working on the glasses while been driven by the huge responsibility to secure the 4th consecutive win for Singapore.
Time was slipping away quickly and the first to complete his glasses was John from the blue corner. John had maintained a calm disposition throughout the contest and was brimming with confidence.
Jackie had become visibly anxious upon learning that his competitor had completed the glasses. He did everything he could to finish up his glasses while suppressing his shaky hands.
The gong rang, signalling the end of the contest. Stage crew collected the completed glasses and handed them to the judges.
The two finalists stood in the centre of the stage with chief judge Nagatsu between them. He held onto their hand tightly, waiting for the moment to raise the hand of the world champion.
Whose hand would be raised? It was time for the two young warriors to embrace their destinies.
Judge Steven favouring John of the blue corner!
The final verdict was based on the judgement of three judges. There would still be a possibility for a change of tide unless one finalist had secured votes from two judges. The air seemed to freeze at this point in time.
Judge Kar Hong favouring John of the blue corner!
Judge Osawa favouring John of the blue corner!
Winner was John!
John had defeated the domination by the Singapore team to become the 4th world champion in the OWNDAYS I.R.A.C. WORLD MAX 2018! With tears flowing down his cheeks, he hugged the Philippines team on the stage. Meanwhile, the audience congratulated him with applause and cheers.
Besides the OWNDAYS World No. 1 title, John also received a pair of custom-made golden pliers and 1 million yen cash prize. His OWNDAYS dream had finally come true!
Jackie was presented with a trophy and a certificate. Although being World No. 2 was still a commendable feat, he was clearly drown in regret.
Sliver confetti filled the stage as if to celebrate the end of a good fight, marking the end of the OWNDAYS I.R.A.C. WORLD MAX 2018 and the rise of a new champion!
18:40 RESULTS OF AREA MANAGER ELECTION 2018 – FINAL STAGE
From application in February to the final stage at the summit, the long election was finally at its finale. It was time to announce the results of the 2018 Area Manager Election.
The 7 candidates had returned to the stage. Their faces clouded with anxiety, spilling an air of anxiousness over the hall. For the candidates, this was the moment to find out where they would stand in the coming year. For the staff in the audience, this was the moment to find out who their new leaders would be.
The top 5 candidates would be elected as the new area managers. An uneasy silence blanketed the hall as everyone waited for the results.
We started off with the 4th place, in other words, a successful candidate.
In 4th place was...
Upon hearing his name, Hirabayashi threw his fists in the air while tears twinkled in his eyes. He was first elected as area manager in the last OWNDAYS SUMMIT and had since put in a lot of effort as the area manager of the Kyushu area even though he was not familiar with the place. The staff from the Kyushu area were cheering for his win.
Next up was 3rd place. Securing the area manager position was...
It was Kotaki’s first taste of victory. Despite being defeated in the last two elections, she did not give up and continued trying her best. Indeed, third time’s the charm and Kotaki was finally rewarded this time.
She was no match to Hirabayashi Masayuki last year but this time she had overtaken him by a wide margin! Kotaki’s election had put her up as the first area manager coming from recent newcomer batch and as the 2nd female area manager, after Tachibana Asuka, in the history of OWNDAYS.
With a large number of female employees in OWNDAYS, everyone was excited to see how Kotaki could create a more female-friendly working environment moving forward. The hall was ringing with warm applause and loud cheers for Kotaki.
The next was 7th place ― when some win, others lose.
In 7th place was...
It had been quite a roller coaster journey for Kurata, having reclaimed the area manager position last year and losing it yet again this time. It was a result everyone had least expected and an uncomfortable silence lingered among the audience.
“I accept this outcome and I’ll try again,” said Kurata while trying to suppress his disappointment.
Life has its ups and downs. Heartened by Kurata’s fighting spirit, the audience cheered him on, hoping to see his return next year.
The next set of results was one of the climaxes. Coming in 5th signified success whereas 6th meant defeat. Lights were dimmed and drumroll rang from the speakers. The results shown on the screen were...
In 5th place, Nakada Shoya!
In 6th place, Sugawara Tsukasa!
Nakada, the current shop manager of Aeon Naha shop, had bypassed the supervisor position to secure the area manager position directly! Under the lead of Okinawa Area Manager, Hirata Isao, Nakada had managed to shine in this election, leading to the formation of a new wave of leadership.
This election was a huge breakthrough with two staff from the recent batch of newcomers being elected area managers. Tears were streaming down his face and Nakada could barely talk. The staff from Okinawa area were overjoyed, cheering for Nakada at the top of their lungs. We look forward to Nakada bringing progresses to the Okinawa area!
On the other hand, Sugawara had fallen from the area manager position. He was drown in regret, with disappointment written all over his face. We do hope he would continue to challenge himself and return to this stage stronger than before.
Finally, results were in for 1st and 2nd place. Sogihara was eyeing for a 4th consecutive win. Could he achieve this remarkable feat? Or would he be replaced by Hirata who had shown huge leaps forward these 2 years? The fateful showdown between the two was finally put to an end.
Following the drumroll of fate, the light of victory was cast on...
He had won 1st place in the Area Manager Election 4 times in a row, breaking record held by himself! The man who had never shed any tear on this stage was overcome with emotions this time. Moved by Kotaki’s win and his own achievement this election, the man with a heart of steel had eventually broken in tears.
Regrettably, Hirata Isao was in 2nd place again. It was visible that he was torn between disappointment at failing to secure 1st place and relief at having being elected successfully. He vowed to improve himself and to take on the challenge again next year.
With this, we concluded the 2018 Area Manager Election with the 5 new area managers being Sogihara Hiroshi, Hirata Isao, Kotaki Saori, Hirabayashi Masayuki and Nakada Shoya. Let’s look forward to them leading OWNDAYS to greater heights in the upcoming year!
19:10 OWNDAYS BY OWNDAYS
Good times always seem to pass by very quickly and we were nearing the end of OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN. Suddenly, lights were dimmed and the hall became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. As the audience waited eagerly for the next programme to come on, the deep voice of MC Nakano reverberated in the dark.
“Last but not the least, we will have just one more award presentation here today. Among all the OWNDAYS staff in the world, there is one person who has shown the most OWNDAYS traits in the past one year. This person will be awarded OWNDAYS by OWNDAYS from none other than the Group CEO himself.”
The winner of the 2018 OWNDAYS by OWNDAYS was…
Ogita Maho, the current shop manager of the flagship store Kawasaki Dice.
Ogita covered her face in astonishment upon seeing her name on the screen. The staff around her cheered and congratulated her as she made her way to the stage, overwhelmed with emotions.
Tanaka san welcomed her on stage with a big, wide smile and presented her the award certificate.
“When I first met Ogita, I thought she would probably quit soon. However, it has already been 10 years since she joined OWNDAYS. She has worked very hard as the shop manager of the flagship store which has the highest sales in Japan,” Tanaka san shared the reason for awarding the accolade to Ogita.
A sofa was set at the centre of the stage and Ogita sat down to watch a surprise video prepared by the committee. The video showed the scenery of Ogita’s hometown, the place where she grew up and where her family lives. There were also messages from her parents and siblings. The video ended with Ogita’s mother reading out a letter to her. Ogita burst into tears watching the video while the audience gave her their loudest applause.
“I’ve been able to grow in these 10 years thanks to the support from many people. There were hard times after becoming the shop manager at Kawasaki Dice and I wouldn’t be who I am today without the support from the staff in the shop and many others all over Japan. I’ll continue to do my best to contribute to OWNDAYS and I hope to have your continued support this year too!”
The audience clapped warmly to Ogita’s thank you speech.
OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN came to an end after an eventful day filled with excitement, tear-jerking moments and unexpected turn of things.
“I almost cried watching the OWNDAYS SUMMIT this year. Seeing all the heart-warming moments this year has made me want to see them again next year. Let’s keep going so we can organise an even bigger OWNDAYS SUMMIT next year with more people!”
After Tanaka’s closing speech, the finale of the night was our usual event tradition – the OWNDAYS cheer.
“Yeah Yeah OWNDAYS!!!!”
The audience united as one and joined in the OWNDAYS cheer as gold confetti danced in the air.
“Lastly, let me introduce the committee members who have helped to organise this summit. Please give them a big round of applause!”
One after the other, the summit committee members appeared on stage for curtain call. They stood in the middle of the stage and gathered all the audience, including those in Level 2, for a group photo, marking the end of the OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN.
OWNDAYS SUMMIT IN JAPAN 2018!
This was OWNDAYS SUMMIT 2018 IN JAPAN, a happy time and a great memory we shared!