A great few days in Japan with our new partners Sekisui House
I’ve just returned from a special few days in Japan, meeting our new partners Sekisui House - a pioneering company which has built more homes than any other housing developer in the world - over two and a half million to be precise..!
Jonathan Falkingham and I made a very short trip to Japan, along with colleagues from Homes England. Together we toured Osaka and Tokyo; we got to know our colleagues, a bit of Japanese culture, more about the amazing work Sekisui House do – and their innovations. I hope my many iPhone pictures help capture the experience!
Sekisui House is no different; it’s Japan’s biggest housebuilder, creating 2.5 million homes in the country – 75% of new homes sold now from Sekisui House are zero energy homes. The company builds more houses than the top 4 UK housebuilders combined.
There’s pride in everything the company does; Sekisui House’s HQ makes a strong design statement about its ambitions – looking better than most UK housebuilder HQs in the process!
I even got a chance to head up onto the roof too; that’s the beautiful cityscape of Osaka behind me.
Jonathan and I were amazed on our visit to the Sekisui House R&D facility; 1000 colleagues work here. Sekisui House is also Japan’s biggest employer of architects – employing over 3000!
Sekisui House’s commitment to R&D is plain to see - 1,000 staff work on R&D across the business; cross border research programs run every day – and we were amazed not just by the facility – but also this Sekisui House lab in a shopping centre. Far from a sales facility, this is somewhere from which the company conducts research about how Japanese people actually want to live. True, real time insight which helps Sekisui House adapt its ideas and developments accordingly.
We also learnt a thing or two about local customs; how to bow, present business cards, clink glasses, and we had to take our shoes off to go in every show house – meaning we swapped our usual foot attire for these slippers.
While our colleague, and Sekisui House U.K. MD Kenta took us out into Osaka to immerse us fully into the city’s culture. There were bright lights and vibrancy on every corner – from the buildings...
...right down to consumer packaging in the unmissable vending machines.
It was also great to spend some time (although we did only have two full days there! Quite the commute...) just getting to know Japan and its two biggest cities. This is the Parliament building in Tokyo.
And of course, no visit would be complete without seeing a Japanese temple.
It’s a long way from Manchester to Osaka (via Munich) but worth every single second of travel. We’ve come home inspired, and even more informed about our newest partners and the innovative way they work.
We’re already applying that thinking and expertise across our modular portfolio…
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