2021 Year in Review

2021 was a whirlwind of activity, even as pandemic setbacks continue to rock the world around us. Amid the challenges, we've honed our corporate mission: bringing people together through language and technology. This year, we've remodeled 14-54, opened a pizzeria, renovated an onsen, started building our Tokyo Office, and made huge updates to Honyaku Cloud. And I'm pleased to welcome several new partners and members to the Queen & Co. team as we continue to grow.

Honyaku Cloud — Over 1 Million Characters Translated in 2021

We celebrated a huge milestone in 2021: over one million characters translated on the Honyaku Cloud platform, which is almost double the characters from 2020 and more than triple from 2019. We also welcomed many new clients to the platform, from local businesses to leading universities and multinational corporations and organizations both in Japan and abroad. See some examples of our most recent work here.

Honyaku Cloud gained several new features in 2021, including a powerful AI translation memory that significantly reduces costs for many of our clients—the more you translate, the more you save. In 2022, we will continue to work on Honyaku Cloud 4.0, with new features coming in early 2022, including multi-file projects, a vibrant translation marketplace, and more language pairs.

Sign up for Honyaku Cloud

Web Design — Helping Organizations Reach Wider Audiences Online

Redesign of Kaneko Farm's Official Website

We continue to work closely with many clients to build their online presence. Our digital and online projects in 2021 included web redesigns for Kaneko Farm, a leading wagyu beef producer and the largest dairy farm in Tohoku, which recently received accolades for raising the best beef in Japan, and Kitasato University's School of Veterinary Medicine, which is home to almost 2,000 veterinary and animal science students from across Japan. We have also begun the process of translating and developing the Towada Art Center website in Chinese and Korean to help them reach a wider audience of art lovers across East Asia.

See Selected Works

14-54 Pizzeria — Launching a Business in a Pandemic

Christmas at 14-54

We started the year with major renovations at 14-54, first by knocking out the ceiling, which revealed a little bit of history in the form of original wooden beams, which we have left intact. They are now on full display at the entrance for anyone who visits 14-54. We also doubled the size of our kitchen and installed professional-grade ventilation to accommodate an indoor wood-burning pizza oven. After the pandemic brought our 14-54 entrepreneurship program to a grinding halt, we began plans to open a pizzeria at 14-54. And not just any kind of pizza — wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. After months of kneading, fermenting, and firing pizzas, an excellent team now helps run the pizzeria, with our neighbor Kimi-chan at the helm and several Kitasato University students helping out, all under the culinary guidance of local chef Yuji Iida. Italian pizzaiolo Mariano plans to join us from Naples as soon as Japanese entry restrictions lift.

Visit 14-54 Pizzeria

Yakeyama House — Your Private Onsen in the Woods

Oirase Gorge is located just five minutes away, perfect for a day hike

Yakeyama House is slated for completion in Spring 2022 with bookings to commence soon after. Inside is a bath with 100% natural hot spring water that flows straight from Sarukura Onsen, one of the best springs in the Hakkoda Mountains. Our good friend Genki Hattori helped us repurpose wood from 14-54 and local Akita cedar for a beautifully finished cottage look on the first floor and traditional Japanese tatami on the second floor. Located in the secluded village of Yakeyama, it is the perfect spot to get away and relax for a few days, with several beautiful onsen and a ski slope just a short walk away. The Oirase Gorge and Hakkoda Mountains are both within a 5–10-minute drive, and Lake Towada is less than 30 minutes by car. We look forward to welcoming you to our neck of the woods in Aomori very soon.

Visit Yakeyama House

Tokyo Office — A New Urban Presence

View of Sumida River & Tokyo Sky Tree from Kuramae

In addition to opening 14-54 Pizzeria, we are opening a new Tokyo branch in Kuramae in February 2022. Just minutes south of Tokyo's famed Asakusa district, Kuramae is affectionately called the "Brooklyn" of Tokyo and is known for its handicrafts, cafés, and creative community. While the pandemic slowed construction on our building, we are in conversation with architects to design the office to our specifications. We will have a welcome party once the office is complete, so stay tuned for more information.


2022 & Beyond

2021 was difficult in many ways, with a tough market and travel restrictions for most of the year, which presented challenges but also opportunities to adapt and transform the way we work. We're excited to see what else we can do for our clients and partners in 2022 as we roll out Honyaku Cloud 4.0, complete Yakeyama House, open our Tokyo branch, and share plenty of pizza with everyone at 14-54 Pizzeria.

We hope to see you again in the new year, both online and in person. On behalf of everyone here at Queen & Co., I wish you a Happy New Year!

Alex Queen
CEO & Founder, Queen & Co.