The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Humans have always been drawn to the night sky. After all, there are few things as stunning as these celestial events that shine above us.

A few times a year, the Osaka sky emits its own special glow, when the Kansai chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) hosts its Bella Nova Night.

Created in 2013 by the ACCJ Kansai’s Women in Business (WIB) Committee as an alternative to formal networking events, Bella Nova Night provides a casual environment where women can collaborate and feel welcome.

The event was inspired by the belief that women actually network differently to men.

Indeed, it has been said that women create friendships and connections regardless of whether a clear business advantage is in immediate sight.

“How can I help this person?” is a thought that commonly precedes, “What can this person do for me?”—a business perspective that is perhaps influenced by gender.

As a result, the lasting relationships created when women network are likely to lead to partnerships, referred business in the future, or other positive personal outcomes.

What’s more, some professional women in Japan feel alienated from common after-work office gatherings, which tend to take place at izakaya (traditional Japanese taverns) or bars late into the night.

Bella Nova Night, in contrast, provides just the right platform for women to connect and collaborate.

The event is open to ACCJ members as well as guests, and boasts a crowd of 40 to 60 working women from various industries.

You’re likely to meet high-ranking executives, freelancers, or even artists from the Japanese and expat community at the gathering.

Bella Nova Night starts with “The Spotlight,” where a given participant shares a personal story of obstacles and triumphs in her field.

This is followed by an opportunity for attendees to mix and mingle freely. Laughter can be heard over the clinking of glasses and shuffling of cards as women move about the room.

In just a few hours, knowledge is shared, ideas are stimulated, advice is given, and bonds are made. In a word: beautiful.

This is female networking at its best.

And it has been a success. Spots run out quickly, attendance is high, and enthusiasm is tremendous. Past Bella Nova Night guests have gone on to become ACCJ and WIB members.

“It’s really interesting meeting women working in various fields. It’s inspiring to hear that they are breaking barriers in this country. And it’s been a learning experience getting to know them,” says one participant.

Just as neighboring stars become more luminous in each other’s company, participants leave Bella Nova Night full of energy and encouragement from the stories unique to women in the workplace and the daily successes they achieve.

The 10th Bella Nova Night is scheduled for February 2016. If you happen to find yourself in Kansai, come and enjoy a beautiful night among the stars.