HSJ Fever and Other Invite Japan News

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Summer is here and half of 2019 has now passed, which gives us the perfect chance to gauge how far you’ve come on your resolutions and goals for the year. Maybe you have yet to put them into practice. Or, you may have started accomplishing your goals but haven’t measured how far you’ve come and where you need to go. Maybe you’ve even accomplished most of your goals and are now drilling down to the details. Whatever point of the process you are in, reflection never hurts. Thankfully the year gives us set times to pause and think.

Hidden Secrets Journey Fever Hits Yokohama

A large focus this year has been updating and expanding our HSJ program. HSJ (Hidden Secrets Journey) is Invite Japan’s scavenger hunt puzzle game. Players search for clues and challenges in a specific area (Asakusa, Yokohama, etc.) on building facades, monuments, and other interesting landmarks.

This trend started last year, even though it only really hit its stride in 2019. HSJ Yokohama was created for our clients at Bosch, which was a completely new version of HSJ and the first one created outside of Tokyo proper.

Asakusa Redux

Next came an updated version of HSJ Asakusa, for our clients at Johnson & Johnson. Their request for a version of HSJ in Asakusa for 80 people (14 teams!) forced us to look back on our previous work. We overhauled some puzzles, revamped others, and tweaked the designs to create an upgraded, overall better product. Which reminded us of an enduring fact that everyone tends to overlook sometimes: the first version can always be improved. Hammering out that first draft or model is important, but reviewing the work, critiquing it, and improving on it is just as important, if not more so. After all, that is what “growth” is all about.

Updating HSJ Asakusa has allowed us to create a more flexible, customizable, and easily manageable program for our clients. Organizations looking for a fun, engaging team-building event for a large group no longer have to notify us months in advance. We now have a quick and easy solution available for them. Smaller teambuilding groups get more options as well. If your team of 15 doesn’t want to stay indoors, or has played all our escape game rooms before, there is now an outdoor option for them.  As always, with our completely bilingual materials and support staff, there is no need to worry about international groups or conferences.

Hidden Secrets Journey Sendai

But an even bigger project was on the horizon. Working in collaboration with Sprout Japan, we took on the task of planning and organizing a team-building event for Abbott, a medical supplies company. Part of the difficulty lay in the fact that Sendai was far away. It wasn’t like Asakusa, which is in our backyard, or even Yokohama which is only a train-ride away. We had to get organized quickly and use our time effectively in order to travel there, do research and take pictures, and plan and develop each puzzle–not to mention working out the logistics for a city many of us had never been to. 

Despite these hurdles, we created a fun event for our clients without any major issue on the day. Aside from the joy that we felt in providing a high quality product for our clients, our team also felt a sense of pride in knowing that we could push our limits and surmount these challenges–in style.

Upcoming Hidden Secrets Journey projects

The result of all this HSJ frenzy is that we have more availabilities and requests than ever before. Organizations seem to really enjoy these outdoor scavenger adventures (even in the middle of winter), and with summer fast approaching, interest should definitely increase. So here are a few projects already on the table are:

HSJ Honda

Creating a scavenger-hunt style game for Honda’s museum and collection hall up in Tochigi prefecture. This will present a slightly different challenge for us, in that the event will be (mostly) inside, and we can’t rely on the diverse combination of buildings, artifacts, and hidden nooks to create exciting content. The focus here will obviously be on cars and bikes, as well as Honda’s founder and the origins of the company. The goal will be to use exciting puzzles to draw attention to the images and information in the hall.

HSJ Kamakura/Nihonbashi/Karuizawa

The requests keep coming in to expand our available locations, and these are just some of the possibilities we may be dealing with soon. There is clearly a demand for these types of large, outdoor puzzle activities, and we at Invite Japan are more than happy to spread our creative wings to fly to the farthest corners in order to provide this high-quality service. Who knows where we will end up next…

Other info/projects

The Suitcase Mystery has continued to be a popular choice with clients. Recently companies such as Adobe and Kaneko and Associates have enjoyed our door-to-door puzzle game, and we have updated our customizable options. Now companies and organizations can add even more of their own unique character to the game contents.

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