Habitat Update — May / Jun 2018

Tugi Guenes
May 30, 2018 · 7 min read

A recap of past events and a guide for upcoming activities in and around Osaka.

Past events in May 2018*

*This is not a comprehensive coverage but a selection of events that took place in May2018 in the Kansai area.

May is a great time to explore the Kansai region. Not just for the very inviting spring weather but also for some internationally acclaimed events taking place around that time:

The most prominent example is Kyotographie: the international photography festival in Kyoto. It is an established annual format by now and once more the event featured interesting work of global artists at exhibition sites all over Kyoto. Some of the locations were very exquisite like the former Kyoto Newspaper printing factory at the heart of the city, or the abandoned ice production plant in the less touristy wholesale market area of Kyoto.

A next gathering of creatives in Kyoto took place at BitSummit Vol. 6celebrating the art of indie games! Independent game developers are driven by passion and often push themselves to their limits when coding their ideas into pixels. The BitSummit festival is a celebration of all those efforts and an important milestone for many of the attending makers. Vol. 6 was nothing short of a spectacle featuring ~100 playable games from Japan and around the world as well as prominent coverage and speakers from the gaming industry and more!

It is amazing to have all these high-profile events in Kansai. But every now and then you just want to be in a smaller group, enjoying some drinks and talking about the daily struggles of entrepreneurship. At least that’s what we thought and then very spontaneously organized the first Habitat Drinks: a casual get together of like-minded without a specific agenda but enjoy the time being.

Habitat Drinks takes place every second Thursday of the month and is supported by Gochisoan Osaka based startup that enables you to donate through dining. Join the next “drinks” is on June 14!

Of course we also continued the monthly Habitat Meetup event, which does come with topic and agenda. This time we were joined by KyotoVR and MARUI-PlugIn — both local startups working with VR/AR technologies.

Max (CEO of MARUI-PlugIn) is currently focused on further building-up and marketing their product: a plugin for the 3D/CAD software Autodesk Maya that enables “hands-on” modeling and animation in VR. Habitat Meetup was a great opportunity for him to refine his presentation before heading to Portugal, where MARUI-PlugIn is going to represent Japan in the Get in the Ring pitch-competition finals in early June.

Atticus (CEO of Kyoto VR), on the other hand, made the decision to pivot and his company is currently going through a shift of scope and business approach. Starting with, “ Why AR is cooler than VR. And why they’re actually the same thing.”, he presented and pitched a case to build an open platform benefiting from both technologies rather than being only a VR content creator.

A lengthy and insightful discussion transitioned then into a demo session, where everyone could experience some of the previous Kyoto VR productions — like watching the famous Gion Matsuri parade close-up and in a 360 degree view.

The next Habitat Meetup is on June 26 (Tue) and will focus on “Pitch Training / Pitch Night” — an opportunity to improve your presentation skills and to get valuable feedback on any projects you are working on.

Having a vision is one thing, convincing others to support your idea is a whole different story: Where to start, what to say, how to test your success? Luckily, others have been there and done that and most importantly they are willing to share their experience. Jeffrey Goldsmith is one of them. He has been helping startups and corporations to build up a working marketing strategy and to come up with catchy advertising campaigns for many years. Jeff came all the way from San Francisco to give a workshop on Startup Marketing at the most recent Monozukuri Hub Meetup. He started with, “It really is not that difficult. The toolset is very limited.”, and explained that it is important to be sure about who your customers are and where you can find them. Once there, it is on testing different messaging approaches, but always with a clear statement and a strong call for action!

Building up on Jeff’s input, Sabrina from Makers Boot Camp and Daigo from SoundMoovz shared how their startups managed to identify the right audience for their services and consequently adjusted their approach to built up a strong customer base. It is not always easy as a startup with limited marketing budget but keep in mind that often times it is the limitations that lead to unusual creative solutions with high impact.

Before heading back to San Francisco, Jeffrey held an additional Advertising Brainstorm at Panasonic Wonder LAB Osaka. Based on cases from the audience he explained how important it is to realize and communicate the added value of your brand/product for the customer. “What’s the benefit!?”, he repeatedly asked while discussing various ideas for slogans and campaigns during the workshop.

If you want to learn more about the art of advertising by Jeff, you should have a look at his book “MAKE YOU FAMOUS” and watch out for next opportunities to talk to him in Kansai later this year!

May has been a very eventful month and we can only cover so much. If you attended any other events in Kansai and want to publish your story on Habitat Update, then drop us a message and become a contributor. It doesn’t have to be lengthy text but can be a photo/photos with appropriate description, a comic, or even a poem — as long as it is related to entrepreneurship and Japan.

Thank you!

Upcoming Events in Jun 2018*

*Order by date. Please click on individual event-link for details.

Did we miss anything?

Let us know and we see that it is included in a next update!


  • Takes place in Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, …)
  • Related to entrepreneurship, innovation, startups, …
  • Is held in English / features content in English

Thank you and have a great day!


Your source for stories, reports and more about startup activities and entrepreneurs in Kansai (Japan). You are welcome to reach out and contribute (habitatupdate@gmail.com). #HabitatUpdate is part of The Habitat: https://kansaihabitat.org

Tugi Guenes

Written by

Very random, often artsy and always hungry. http://guenest.com


Your source for stories, reports and more about startup activities and entrepreneurs in Kansai (Japan). You are welcome to reach out and contribute (habitatupdate@gmail.com). #HabitatUpdate is part of The Habitat: https://kansaihabitat.org

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