My Much-Awaited Visit to the Sony Headquarters in Tokyo

By Nirmesh Shah, Senior Research Scientist at Sony Research India

25th January 2023

Nirmesh Shah, Senior Research Scientist at Sony Research India gives us an insight into his trip to the Sony headquarters in Tokyo, Japan while delving deep into his observations of Japanese culture at the workplace and his experience interacting with researchers from Sony’s global R&D labs.


1. Tell us about your experience at the Sony Headquarters

Sony Headquarters, Tokyo

While applying for the position of Research Scientist at Sony Research India, I distinctively remember one point that stood out for me was the opportunity to travel to Sony R&D labs in Tokyo and the US.
Unfortunately, a week after I accepted the job offer, the pandemic began, and I knew travelling anywhere to would be nearly impossible, so I started taking virtual tours of Sony’s headquarters.
Fortunately, nothing is permanent, and everything gets better with time. With global relaxation in COVID, in June 2022 I had the privilege of visiting the Sony R&D lab at San Jose, USA to present a co-authored research paper by Sony Research India Team and I also attended the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshop. In December 2022 I also visited the Sony Headquarters, Tokyo lab to exhibit our work at the Sony Technology Exchange Fair (STEF), 2022. STEF is an annual technology exchange meeting held within the Sony Group. In fact, this year is the 50th anniversary of the STEF. At Sony’s headquarter in Tokyo, I learnt about the long history of ground-breaking technological innovations created by Sony to continue to be so relevant to their customers. Moreover, STEF has also allowed me to get a glimpse of Sony’s cutting edge research technologies.  All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable experience leaving me inspired!

2. What were your observations of the cultural nuances and work ethic in Japan?

Sony Headquarters, Tokyo

During the time I spent at the Sony headquarters in Tokyo, I made a few observations about the work ethic and culture that intrigued me….

  1. Discipline: The first thing I noticed was how disciplined the Japanese are as they maintain complete silence throughout the office, including the cafeteria. This is quite contrary to Indian offices that will have people interacting in groups and using their time at the cafeteria to socialize with their colleagues.
  2. Professional Attire: Both men and women are mostly dressed in dark, neutral-coloured professional suits to work. On the other hand, I am used to seeing Indians dressed in an array of vibrant colours at the workplace.
  3. Hospitality: Despite the language barrier, Japanese members at Sony were extremely hospitable, and would go out of their way to assist us by using Speech-to-Speech translation devices. It is very common to see the locals going out of their way to help tourists find their way about.
  4. Hard-Working: The Japanese folks are extremely hardworking. I even saw a few of them taking power naps in the cafeteria so they could be charged up to return to work after a short break.
  5. Meticulous Planning: The Sony Tokyo headquarters hosted the STEF 2022 event, which was well planned and run very professionally. There were no last-minute snags that I could detect. Everyone was always incredibly efficient and punctual, which is very characteristic of their culture.
  6. Cleanliness and Hygiene : Be it the Sony headquarters, or the streets of Japan, everything is maintained impeccably with utmost hygiene and cleanliness.

What did you learn from Sony Technology Exchange Fair (STEF) and your interaction with researchers within Sony Research India /global R&D labs?

A dinner party hosted by our Director Dr. C.C. Lee

The main objective of STEF was to exchange ideas and perspectives across Sony R&D labs to generate new values in business and I can say that this was a great learning for me. True to this, I witnessed a wide range of intriguing research concepts and their successful implementation in a range of Sony Businesses.
The members of the worldwide R&D labs and representatives from other Sony Business Groups showed a great deal of interest in my projects. Additionally, my team provided me with constructive criticism and tips on how to best deliver this concept to the visitors.
Moreover, I had lots of opportunities to network with members of other Sony R&D labs which opened doors to potential international collaborations. This was a great opportunity for me to connect with our clients who also attended the event.
Our managers at Sony Research India hosted a couple of dinners for us to interact and spent quality time with them. They also created several opportunities for us to take some time off with our colleagues to explore the beautiful city of Tokyo, together. This helped bring us closer and would make working together a lot easier.
To know more about the Sony Technology Exchange Fair, visit: Sony Technology Exchange Fair(STEF) 2022
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