December 2019 INTOUCH Magazine

Page 1

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DECEMBER 2019

INTOUCH

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TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

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TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

Goodwill Season Spreading holiday cheer and charity at the Club DECEMBER 2019

TR AVEL-BUG TALES + EN GARDE + A LIFE WITH LITER ATURE


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Contents 24 HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

KOHJI SHIIKI

FOLLOW US

As the season of giving enters full swing, INTOUCH highlights the work of two charities supported by Club holiday campaigns.

5

LE ADER SHIP

6

DIGE ST

10

AGENDA

19

LITER ATURE

20

T R AV E L

23

FENCING

24

FO CU S

GOING PL ACES

After 52 countries in 26 years, Member and globetrotting photographer Lisa Browne explains why she’s not slowing down now.

LISA BROWNE

KAYO YAMAWAKI

INDEPTH

20

COMMUNITY

23 PISTE PARTNERS

Through footwork and foils, one father-daughter duo uses the Club’s fencing lessons to grow closer with (and without) sabers in hand.

28

WELLNE SS

29

REGISTER

31

VOICE

33

HIGHLIGHT S

40

E S C APE

COVER IMAGE BY KOHJI SHIIKI

DECEMBER  | 1


TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

INTOUCH

Representative Governor Michael Alfant (2019)

Editor Nick Jones

First Vice President Jesse Green (2020)

editor@tac-club.org

Second Vice President Anthony Moore (2020)

Assistant Editor Owen Ziegler

Secretar y Betsy Rogers (2019)

Designer Kohji Shiiki

Treasurer Michael Benner (2020)

Designer Gabriella Finney

Governors Trista Bridges Bivens (2020), John Flanagan (2019), James Mori (2020),

Production Administrator Yuko Shiroki

Tetsutaro Muraki (2020), Kenji Ota (2019), Alok Rakyan (2019), Heidi Regent (2019),

GENERAL MANAGER

Sam Rogan (2019), Christina Siegel (2020),

Anthony L Cala

Statutor y Auditor Koichi Komoda (2020) Parentheses denote term limit.

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERS Business Operations Wayne Hunter

CLUB COMMITTEE CHAIRS

Business Suppor t Lian Chang

Compensation Anthony Moore Culture, Community & Enter tainment Miki Ohyama (John Flanagan)

DIRECTORS

Finance Paul Kuo (Michael Benner)

Acting Food & Beverage Suranga Hettige Don

Food & Beverage Jim Weisser (Betsy Rogers)

Recreation Susanna Yung

House Douglas Hymas (Kenji Ota)

Member Services Jonathan Allen

Human Resources Ray Klein (Sam Rogan)

Membership Mari Hori

Membership Jeffrey Behr (Trista Bridges Bivens)

Finance Naoto Okutsu

Nominating Dieter Haberl

Engineering Darryl Dudley

Recreation Bryan Norton (Christina Siegel)

Human Resources Shuji Hirakawa

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dean Rogers (Jesse Green)

Communications Shane Busato

Parentheses denote Board liaison.

Information Technology Toby Lauer

SUBCOMMITTEES

USA House & Nihonbashi Satellite Club Opening Nori Yamazaki

Community Relations Hideki Endo

CONTRIBUTORS

Frederick Harris Gallery JoAnn Yoneyama Golf Charles Postles

Writers

Squash Richard Kenny

Drew Damron

Swim Nils Plett

Jesse Green

Wine & Beverage Terry White

Anthony Moore Photographers Enrique Balducci Yuuki Ide Kohji Shiiki Kayo Yamawaki Illustrator Tania Vicedo

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JOINING TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

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membership@tac-club.org

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All prices referenced in INTOUCH exclude consumption tax.

2 | INTOUCH


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LEADERSHIP

O An Olympic Legacy WORDS JESSE GREEN IMAGE ENRIQUE BALDUCCI

n July 24, 2020, Tokyo will host the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics, 56 years after it first welcomed athletes from across the world to Asia’s first Olympiad. As the city prepares for an event that could well be viewed by up to half the planet, and with millions of tickets already sold, Tokyo is focused on ensuring that the two-week sports spectacle is the experience of a lifetime. In the meantime, the Club’s own Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee and the Board are working feverishly to bring the excitement of the Games to our own clubhouse, which will play host to USA House for the duration of the Olympics. As the United States Olympic Committee’s hospitality and organizational headquarters during the Games, the Club will serve as a place for athletes, families and sponsors to meet and relax throughout the competition. Of equal importance, USA House will allow Members to experience the XXXII Olympiad in a unique way. Over the course of this year, the Club has welcomed past and present Olympic athletes, notably the American track, climbing, softball, archery and beach volleyball teams. And our one-year-to-go celebration in July featured former Japanese gymnast Shuji Tsurumi, who won gold medals at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, along with Member and former Olympic hammer thrower Koji Murofushi. You can expect many more opportunities to meet Olympians and their coaches as the Games approach. While we will unveil various Olympic-related Member benefits over the coming months, the Member experience will be centered on TAC 2020 House. This Members-only hospitality venue at the Club will broadcast live coverage of the events, offer opportunities for Members to honor Team USA medalists and provide exclusive exposure to the Games. Coupled with special food and beverage offerings during the Games and a transformed Cellar lineup of Team USA merchandise to purchase, the Member Olympics experience promises to be unforgettable. In the meantime, I encourage you to get involved in the associated planning and celebrations. The Olympic Games are like no other occasion and we look forward to sharing in this exciting time with you while building an enduring legacy for our Club community.

“WHILE WE WILL UNVEIL VARIOUS OLYMPIC-RELATED MEMBER BENEFITS OVER THE COMING MONTHS, THE MEMBER EXPERIENCE WILL BE CENTERED ON TAC 2020 HOUSE.”

Jesse Green is a Club governor.

DECEMBER | 5


D I G E ST DINING

E D I TO R

Vista Unveiled

Global Giving

The Club’s newest dining destination opened its doors to Members on October 18 with an evening of bubbly and hors d’oeuvres. Located in the former CHOP Bar on the third floor, Vista is open for morning coffees, snacks and lunch before drawing an evening crowd in search of cocktails and bar food. The space features European-style furnishings and a herringbone-patterned floor and was designed by local interior specialists Scandinavian Modern. Open on weekdays, from 9am to 11:30pm, Vista offers Members a tranquil spot to unwind with a drink during the day while still retaining its appeal as an aperitif rendezvous. NJ AWA R D

Community Care

The Club was recognized for its efforts to promote emergency preparedness in the local community at a ceremony last month. The honor from Azabu Fire Station was for the Club’s annual Disaster Awareness Day event, which it hosts each September in partnership with the station’s first responders. Chief Kougo Sezaki (pictured right), of the Azabu Fire Station, presented the Club’s Ken Nishimura (pictured left) with a certificate of appreciation at the event in Roppongi. Nishimura was also recognized by the Tokyo Fire Department for his work as the Club’s safety manager. Hideki Endo, chair of the Community Relations Committee, also attended the ceremony. NJ

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Which country’s people are the most charitable and caring? Many would suggest a Western nation, instinctively looking to the haves. But that would be a mistake. According to the Charities Aid Foundation’s 2018 World Giving Index, the most benevolent country is Indonesia. Measured on the proportion of citizens who donate money to charity, volunteer and help strangers, the Southeast Asian nation ranked top, with the United States in fourth spot and Japan far behind in 128th place. While the overall number of people in the world donating cash has declined, 88 percent of Myanmar nationals still do, making them the most generous with their money. Anyone involved with a charity in Japan knows exactly how much of a struggle it can be to encourage donations. Whether it’s because of culture, incorrect assumptions about the country’s wealth gap or the tax system (although the law was changed in 2011 to simplify the process of making tax-deductible donations), Japanese are less inclined to support charities than in many other parts of the world. Club Members have bucked this trend for many years, with regular Women’s Group fundraisers helping to keep a number of local nonprofits up and running. This month’s cover story, “Hope for the Holidays,” highlights two Women’s Group campaigns, now in their second year, that aim to improve the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable. The goodwill shown during such campaigns demonstrates what the Charities Aid Foundation’s Sir John Low describes as “our shared human values.”


BOOKS

F I L MS

S PA

American Letters

Dulce et Decorum Est

Winter Unwinder

Foremost literary critic Harold Bloom recently passed after publishing The American Canon, a tome that captures five decades of his contagiously passionate writings on the American literary tradition. Other new Library titles include Grand Union, a collection of short stories by British author Zadie Smith, and Pokko and the Drum, Matthew Forsythe’s beautifully illustrated picture book about the adventures of a drumming frog. DD

Trench warfare. Shell shock. Passchendaele, Verdun and the Somme. The gritty details of World War I may fade but They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson’s full-color remastering of archival footage, revivifies life on the Western Front. Also available from the Library’s DVD collection are the action blockbuster Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and The Kitchen, starring Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss as cutthroat mob wives. OZ

Billed as the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can also be the most stressful. Luckily, The Spa has a treatment that will leave you feeling serene well into January. Its hot stone treatment is designed to relieve muscle tension, reduce anxiety and promote sleep through the combination of heat, essential oils and kneading. Through January 31, enjoy 20 percent off a 60-minute (¥9,600) or 90-minute (¥12,800) treatment. NJ

WINE

C AT E R I N G

Party Popper

Seasonal Spreads

Toast the holidays with a champagne that oozes festive fun. With its intense, complex flavors of fresh fruit and caramel and striking bottle design, Mumm Grand Cordon blends luxury winemaking finesse with avant-garde chutzpah. This nonvintage cuvée from the iconic, 192-year-old champagne house is available this month for ¥4,200 a bottle from The Cellar. NJ

Two years ago, Member Andrew Springthorpe and his business partners decided to bring a little festive spirit to the office. Since Christmas Day landed on a weekday, Springthorpe, who is originally from Britain, arranged for the Club’s caterers to deliver a spread of roast turkey and all the trimmings for his staff to experience a traditional Christmas lunch. He plans to repeat the feast this year. “The Club service is excellent,” he says, “both the quality of the food and the delivery and crockery collection after-service.” Visit the Club’s new events website (events.tokyoamericanclub.org) to organize your next catered feast. NJ

DECEMBER | 7


EURO MERICAN

TAILOR-MADE STYLE Bespoke men’s and ladies’ fashion at Hong Kong prices

suits from $395 blazers from $275 tuxedos from $595 overcoats from $650

trousers from $135 shirts from $69 (minimum of four shirts)

Other superfine quality suits from $550 to $2,900

Prices in US dollars (excluding shipping); delivery in three weeks


D I G E ST R EC I P R O C A L C LU B

SCOUTING

Fort Worth Club

Into the Wild

For a taste of Texas’s frontier past, Fort Worth offers swinging-door saloons and rustic museums on the region’s cattle-driving past. But if you’re in search of a more tranquil setting, the Fort Worth Club has you covered, buckaroo. With 21 boutique guest rooms in turn-of-the-century décor, the club’s dozen stories embody Texas’ “bigger and better” mantra. The eleventh-floor dining room boasts dishes from an internationally acclaimed kitchen, and the twelfth-floor sports lounge, with an authentic Heisman Trophy (awarded to college football’s top player) perched above the bar, invites all-comers to catch some gridiron action during their time in the Lonestar State. OZ  fortworthclub.com AU T H O R

Remembering ’64

A talk by author Roy Tomizawa (pictured) at the Club in October proved to be a particularly nostalgic evening for one Member. The American’s lecture on his recently released book, 1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan, triggered memories for Brian Burns of watching the 1964 Tokyo Olympics on TV with his father at the family home in California. “Dad exclaimed how miraculous it was that Japan recovered so quickly and how impressive the Japanese people were,” Burns recalls. “This childhood experience set me off on a path to learning Japanese and…living in Tokyo today.” Tomizawa’s well-researched account of the transformational sporting event is available at the Library. NJ

Well before Michael Shepard (pictured left) took his first step of the summer trek, he knew he was heading off into unfamiliar terrain. “The longest backpacking trip I’d done was two days with one night at camp,” he says. “Now I was going up to six days with help sometimes four hours away.” As Michael, 15, and his fellow Scouts from the Club-supported Troop 51 hiked through the wilderness of New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch, even encountering a black bear along the way, Michael’s father, Member Brian Shepard (pictured right), ensured this would be no leisurely jaunt through the woods. For every trial presented by the great outdoors, success or failure depended on the Scouts’ own outdoorsmanship. “They selected the itinerary, prepared the meals, hung the bear bags and navigated by map and compass,” says Shepard, 50. “[Michael] remarked after the trip that he never thought that he had it in him to do this. He was amazed at how much he had accomplished.” Though the Philmont trek was a “once-in-a-lifetime event,” according to Shepard, Troop 51’s regular weekend excursions in Japan challenge Scouts to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness on alpine hikes and winter snow-shoeing expeditions. Flip to page 10 for details of this month’s Troop 51 and Pack 51 meetings at the Club. OZ

DECEMBER | 9


AG E N DA

Events in December 1

CHOP Steakhouse Osechi

Welcome 2020 with a feast of signature CHOP flavors, including New York strip loin from Idaho’s Snake River Farms, lobster tail, American caviar, smoked salmon and Japanese abalone.  ¥38,000  Details online

1

Letters to Santa

Santa’s mailbox opens for your Christmas wish lists. Post your letter to the North Pole by December 9 and receive a personalized reply from Saint Nick himself.

1

Coding Boot Camp

 Through December 9  ¥700  Details online

1

Feast from the Deep Take a turkey break with a chilled platter of lobster, snow crab, Hokkaido scallops, shrimp cocktail, seafood rillettes and ceviche. Perfect for two to three people. Available every day in December.  Weekends: brunch & dinner; weekdays: dinner  American Bar & Grill, Traders’ Bar  ¥6,120

1

World Weekend Buffet Rainbow Café’s culinary creatives prepare a selection of seasonal specials and Member favorites.

“For a lot of kids, technology is abstract,” says Michael Brown, an instructor with Saturday Kids Japan. “We’re trying to bridge that gap.” Brown, 35, an ex-Googler born and bred in Silicon Valley, knows the value of peeking under the hood of devices we take for granted. At the Club’s inaugural Coding Boot Camp on December 1, Brown and other instructors demystify what makes tech tick though MIT-developed coding languages and the programmable Bee-Bot toy. Kids may come thinking their smartphones and video games work by magic, but after exploring creative solutions to puzzles with interactive, codable tools, they’ll leave with two priceless lessons: the basics of how the digital world works and a driving curiosity to dig even deeper. “If they can program an everyday object to come to life,” Brown says, “then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, what else can come to life?’” OZ  1–2pm (ages 5–6) & 2–3pm (ages 7–9)  Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms  ¥1,000  Members only  Sign up online

 11am–8:30pm  Rainbow Café  Adults: ¥3,050; juniors (ages 12–17): ¥1,940; big kids (ages 7–11): ¥1,420; little kids (ages 3–6): ¥980; infants (2 & under): free

1

1

Club pro Rico Cheung introduces the basics of squash over four beginnerlevel sessions. Learn more on page 40.

1

 Continues December 8, 15 & 22  5–6:30pm  Squash Court 1  ¥8,000  Ages 8 & above  Sign up online

The Club’s youth swim team, the Mudsharks, wraps up the year with an evening of fun and games at the Bowling Center.

Christmas Storytime

Listen to enchanting holiday tales, help decorate the Children’s Library’s Christmas tree and help the ARK animal shelter with donations for pets in need. Read more about the campaign on page 24.  11:30am–12pm  Children’s Library  Free  Ages 2–6  Details online

10 | INTOUCH

Squash 101

1

Family Christmas Show

Christmas-themed crafts, a lipsmacking spread of festive favorites and enough holiday spirit to see you into the New Year.  12–2pm & 5–7pm  New York Ballroom, Brooklyn rooms  ¥2,000  Sign up online

Mudsharks Year-End Party

 7–9pm  Bowling Center  Mudsharks members: free; family & guests: ¥2,000  Ages 5 & above  Sign up online

1 & 15

Boy Scout Meeting Discover adventure, friendships and lifelong skills through the Clubsponsored Troop 51. More on page 9.  5–7pm  Activity Room  Details online


1–25

1–31

2–30

Four mouthwatering seasonal courses, plus your choice of prime rib, New York strip loin, tenderloin, grilled Iwate chicken or Atlantic lobster.

Bowl two games, submit your score and scoop a fantastic prize to add to your pile of presents under the tree.  Bowling Center  ¥300 (game fee excluded)  Ages 18 & under  Details online

Cheers to the year that was with the Club’s reserve collection of premium Bordeaux, including Château Le Puy, Château Sociando-Mallet and special discounts on Château Palmer’s 1990, 2006 and 2007 vintages.

2

 Lunch & dinner  CHOP Steakhouse (dinner only), Vista  Details online

Festive Flavors

 Dinner only  American Bar & Grill, Traders’ Bar  ¥7,860–¥10,360  Details online

Lucky Break Bowling

Exploring Omotesando

Stroll through Tokyo’s eclectic neighborhood of fashionistas, gourmands and independent artists during this Women’s Group tour that includes lunch at Etruschi, a modern Italian bistro.

Holiday Flavors In this month devoted to turkey and trimmings, CHOP Steakhouse’s kitchen creatives have crafted a tantalizing fivecourse dinner to celebrate the season in epicurean style. Following dishes of roasted beetroot and petite lettuce salad, lobster bisque supreme and roasted foie gras medallion, diners are faced with the seemingly impossible task of choosing between a succulent tenderloin steak from Double R Ranch, Californian lamb chops and crusted turbot with a caramelized Hokkaido scallop. And since it wouldn’t be the holiday season without something on the sweet side, dessert is chocolate gingerbread cheesecake with raspberry sauce and champagne jelly. “We look to offer great value for the holidays,” says Scott Kihara, the Club’s chef de cuisine, “while never compromising on the quality of the ingredients.” And not a drumstick in sight. NJ  Through December 25 (except December 6)  CHOP Steakhouse  ¥14,000  Online reservations recommended  Details online

3

T-Bone Tuesday Marvel at the marbling of your complimentary 5oz (140g) tenderloin when you order any T-bone steak at this weekly CHOP special.

 10am–2pm  ¥3,700 (guests: ¥4,100)  Adults only  Details online

 6–11pm  CHOP Steakhouse  Online reservations recommended

2

3

Women’s Group members share snippets of their own culture at this discussion of seasonal topics.

Make your voice heard on the Club’s USA House plans, recreation events and more. Attendees receive Bowling Center vouchers good for two free games.

Culture Connections

2

Library Reserve: Bordeaux

 10am  CHOP Steakhouse  Free  Women’s Group members only

Recreation Town Hall

 6:30–8pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  Free  Details online

3

Holiday Lights During Japan’s colder months, all that glitters is probably one of the many spectacular illuminations that light up cities and parks each winter. These sparkling wonderlands of LED lights are a magnet for selfie-snapping couples, wide-eyed kids and anyone looking for a twinkling antidote to the darker days. In homage to this spirit-lifting tradition, this year’s Women’s Group holiday luncheon features festive lights with gourmet cuisine and the harmonies of local a cappella quartet jammin’ Zeb (pictured). Before Members head off for family reunions or exotic vacations, this afternoon celebration promises to be a sendoff as exhilarating as any wintry lightshow. NJ  11:30am–1:30pm  Manhattan III  Women’s Group members: ¥6,500 (nonWomen’s Group members & guests: ¥10,000)  Adults only  Sign up online

DECEMBER  | 1 1


AG E N DA

6

Mommy and Toddler Time Mingle with other moms at this welcoming get-together every Friday.  2pm  Childcare Center  Free

6

Game Night

Test your wits or push your luck at this evening of retro tabletop gaming, complemented by pizza, popcorn and drinks for all.  6–9pm  Teen Connection  ¥3,000 (guests: ¥3,600)  Ages 5–12  Sign up online

6–7

Pearl Sale

6

Member Bonenkai Celebration Japan’s oldest professional sake breweries trace their roots back to the Muromachi period, the very same medieval era that gave birth to the year-end bacchanal that is now known as the bonenkai (literally: year-forgetting party). Coincidence? Leave the hair-splitting to the historians and celebrate the year that was at the Club’s perennially popular bonenkai bash. For one last time in 2019, live it up on the New York Ballroom dance floor or head up to CHOP Steakhouse to take in cityscape views while enjoying the buffet of seasonal delights. And be sure to fill (and refill) your cup with your merrymaking drink of choice. Be it beer, wine or, for those bonenkai traditionalists, sake, this party will be the last thing about 2019 you’ll want to forget. OZ  6:30–9:30pm  New York Ballroom, CHOP Steakhouse  ¥2,500 (guests: ¥7,000)  Limit: five guests per membership  Details online

Cross names off that gift list with up to 40 percent off Tahitian black pearl necklaces, golden South Sea pearl rings and more.  December 6: 10am–7pm; December 7: 10am–5pm  Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms  Details online

7

Christmas Crafts

Is your home missing a touch of Christmas spirit? Make your own festive arrangement at this afternoon of crafts.  2:30–5:30pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200)  Ages 6 & above

7–8

Weekend Unwinders

3

4 & 11

Can Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook pull ahead in the MVP race in this rebroadcast of Monday Night Football?

Make new friends and pick up a lifelong love of reading at this inspiring weekly session of top children’s tales.

Tailgate Tuesday

 7pm  Traders’ Bar  Details online

4

Winter Recreation Class Registration Develop old skills or dive into new hobbies in 2020 through the Club’s winter semester of athletic, artistic and academic courses.  Details online

12 | INTOUCH

Wednesday Storytime

 4–4:30pm  Children’s Library  Free  Ages 2–6

4 & 18

Toastmasters Luncheon Polish your public speaking skills and leadership acumen at this regular Club gathering of motivational voices.

 12–1:30pm  CHOP Steakhouse (December 4); Washington & Lincoln rooms (December 18)  ¥2,200 (guests: ¥2,560)  Sign up online

Celebrate the end of the week until the start of the next one with a selection of outstanding wines for just ¥5,000 or ¥10,000 a bottle.  Weekends  American Bar & Grill, Winter Garden  Details online

7–8

Deck the Halls: Gingerbread House

Turn a plain gingerbread house into a magical, edible winter wonderland.  11am–12:30pm & 1:30–3:30pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥4,500 (guests: ¥5,500)  Details online


17

7–8

World Weekend Buffet Rainbow Café celebrates American cuisine with a buffet of comfort food classics, including seafood cocktails, smoked brisket, crab cakes, hot dogs and mac ’n’ cheese.

GALLERY RECEPTION:

Ohnai Ishii

 11am–8:30pm  Rainbow Café  Adults: ¥3,050; juniors (ages 12–17): ¥1,940; big kids (ages 7–11): ¥1,420; little kids (ages 3–6): ¥980; infants (2 & under): free

Cookie Drive

Show your appreciation to Club staff for a job well done by baking homemade treats.

10

Cocktail Connections

Kick back at a fun evening of happyhour drinks and mingling at the Club’s watering hole.  5pm  Traders’ Bar  Women’s Group members only

11

Winter Reading Challenge The Club’s bookworms kick off the next edition of this popular read-athon. Pick your team and read up a storm on your way to victory.

What I would tell my 20-yearold self. Do not give up becoming an artist, at least not because of family opposition. My perfect creative environment. My current life in Karuizawa. Every day, I see once-in-a-lifetime scenery, like the ever-changing color of the sky and the shapes of the clouds.

10

 9:30am–12pm  Beate Sirota Gordon and Haru Reischauer classrooms  Details online

Moment I realized I wanted to become an artist. My grandfather was a born calligrapher and, thus, I was also born as a calligrapher.

Harmony of brush and ink. Firm yet florid strokes. An extension of the artist’s soul. All elements of shodo calligraphy mastered by Ohnai Ishii. At the 1986 Nitten arts exhibition, the Japanese calligrapher’s blending of traditional brush strokes with modern media garnered special distinction from the panel of esteemed judges. Through January 13, Ishii’s intriguing pieces grace the Frederick Harris Gallery. OZ

Artist, living or dead, I’d most like to share a meal with. Katsushika Hokusai. I would like to know more about his unparalleled creativity and unremitting diligence.  6:30–7:30pm  Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby)  Free  Open to adults, invitees and Members only

 Through January 15  Library  Free  Ages 2–12  Details online

12

13

14

Meet fellow Club squash lovers and test yourself against Club pro Peter Amaglio and former national champ Hitoshi Ushiogi.

Elementary school kids explore the world of Scouting through regular meetings of the Club-sponsored Pack 51.

The Club’s squash community welcomes players from the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club for an afternoon of friendly competition and court camaraderie.

 6:30pm  Squash Courts  Free

 7–9pm  Activity Room

12 & 28

13 & 20

 2–5pm  Squash Courts  Free  Ages 16 & under require Squash Committee approval  Details online

Start on the road to wellness with a beginner’s guide to the Fitness Center. And newcomers enjoy 50 percent off a 60-minute session with a personal trainer.

See out the week with the soothing jazz standards and classical melodies of pianist Yusuke Takahashi and cellist Ayumu Kato.

Squash Social Night

Fitness Center Orientation

 December 12: 6:30–7pm; December 28: 10–10:30am  Fitness Center  Free

Cub Scout Meeting

Winter Garden Melodies

 6–9pm  Winter Garden

Squash Challenge

14–15

World Weekend Buffet Feast on the likes of dim sum, Korean barbecued pork, Vietnamese pho noodles, Sichuan chicken salad and sushi rolls at this Asian culinary celebration.  11am–8:30pm  Rainbow Café  Adults: ¥3,050; juniors (ages 12–17): ¥1,940; big kids (ages 7–11): ¥1,420; little kids (ages 3–6): ¥980; infants (2 & under): free

DECEMBER  | 13


AG E N DA

14–25

12 Days of Traders’

A dozen days of specials on drinks, craft pizzas and the Club’s homemade eggnog with bourbon, brandy and dark rum. Lords a-leaping not included.  Traders’ Bar  Details online

15

Art Attack Embrace the spirit of the season as you craft a Christmas wreath at this holiday-inspired workshop.  10:30am–12:30pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200)  Ages 6–12  Sign up online

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21

Making the Call

Want to take your squash game to the next level? Dig into the details of court rules and terminology with Club pro Rico Cheung.  3–4:30pm  Squash Court 1  Free  Members only  Ages 8 & above  Details online

16

Camp Discovery: Winter Edition

When the temperatures drop, Camp Discovery’s days of games, crafts and counselor-led fun are just heating up.

Visit with Santa The case against Santa Claus: reindeer can’t fly; Santa’s sleigh would need a cruising speed 4,000 times faster than modern jetliners to make his global deliveries; Saint Nick would have all but one one-thousandth of a second to shimmy down each chimney, stuff each stocking and nibble on each cookie before Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day. The case in favor: you just gotta believe. On December 21, the Club’s good little boys and girls are offered one last chance to tell the Man in Red their Christmas wishes and snap a holiday keepsake. Bring the whole family to this pop-up grotto, complete with fireplace backdrop, festive decorations and, naturally, the guest of honor himself. Seeing is believing. OZ

 Session 1: December 16–20; Session 2: December 23–27; Session 3: January 6–10  ¥45,000 (guests: ¥60,000)  Ages 3–9  Sign up online

 1–4:30pm  Beate Sirota Gordan & Haru Reischauer classrooms  ¥1,100 (guests: ¥1,200)  Sign up online

21

21–22

25

Before you treat Santa to cookies and milk, dig into an early Christmas feast at this all-ages evening at the Club’s home of American cuts.

Tuck into a spread of holiday favorites at this family-friendly feast.

Celebrate the holiday season southern-hemisphere style with an afternoon of aqua fun for kids.

Family Night at CHOP

World Weekend Buffet

 5pm  CHOP Steakhouse  Reservations recommended

 11am–8:30pm  Rainbow Café  Adults: ¥3,050; juniors (ages 12–17): ¥1,940; big kids (ages 7–11): ¥1,420; little kids (ages 3–6): ¥980; infants (2 & under): free

21–22

24–25

For one night only, kids take over the Club for a parent-free, overnight extravaganza of fun.

Deck the halls with a strike or spare when the colored headpin appears and bowl a game on the house.

 8:30am–11am (December 22)  ¥23,000 (guests: ¥27,600)  Ages 8–12  Details online

 Bowling Center  Adults: ¥620; kids: ¥520  Details online

Sleepover at the Club

14 | INTOUCH

Christmas Bowling

Jolly Christmas Pool Party

 12–2pm & 2:30–4:30pm  Sky Pool  ¥2,000 (guests: ¥2,500)  Ages 5 & above  Details online

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Sky Pool Break

The pool closes for annual maintenance and welcomes back Members for a brand-new year of swimming on January 2.  Details online


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27

31

The Club’s bibliophile brigade digs into Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters and The Lady with the Dog at this monthly series. Read more on page 19.

Clear your calendar for 2019’s final TGIF of happy-hour bites and drinks.

The Club closes at 6pm to prepare for 2020, while CHOP Steakhouse, Vista and 220° [Modern Teppan] start their holiday break and reopen on January 7.

Book Lovers’ Group

Premium Friday

 Every third Thursday  11am–12:30pm & 5:30–7pm  The Cellar  Free  Details online

27

Ladies’ Squash Clinic Learn the fundamentals of squash or refine your game with pointers from Club professional Noriko Kamiyama.  10–11:30am  Squash Courts 2 & 3  Free  Sign up online

 3–7pm  Winter Garden, Traders’ Bar  Details online

29

New Year’s Eve

 Details online

Squash Clinic

Whatever your squash experience, pick up tips or game fundamentals from the Club’s Australian squash pro, Peter Amaglio.  10–11am (adults); 11am–12pm (ages 6–12)  Squash Court 1  Free  Sign up online

Coming up in January 1

New Year’s Day

Closed on the first day of 2020, the Club welcomes back Members on January 2.  Details online

5

Lucky Gods Walking Tour Stroll from old-fashioned Yanaka to retro-chic Ueno while stopping off at a string of temples to garner good luck for the year.

24 & 25

Christmas Grand Buffet The centerpiece of most Christmas meals, the turkey wasn’t always the signature dish of the day. Up until the 1500s in England, people were more likely to gorge on goose, boar’s head or peacock for their yuletide meals. After the Spanish introduced the bird to Europe from the Americas, the turkey quickly became the festive fowl of choice, and a 16th-century English poem describes a Christmas spread of “beefe, mutton, and porke, shred pies of the best, pig, veal, goose and capon, and turkey well drest.” The Club continues this tradition, preparing around 1.5 tons of turkey from North Carolina during the holiday season, with at least 30 roasted for the annual Christmas Day buffet alone. “This is a welcoming Christmas spread of all your American staples,” says Lindsay Gray, the Club’s executive chef. With enough turkey to see you through to next year’s holidays. NJ  December 24: 4:30–8pm; December 25: 11am–2pm & 4:30–8pm  New York Ballroom  Adults (buffet only): ¥6,000; adults (buffet + two-hour all-you-candrink beverage package for 20 years & above): ¥8,000; juniors (ages 12–17): ¥4,000; kids (ages 4–11): ¥2,000; infants (3 & under): free  Sign up online

 10am  ¥500 (ages 12 & under: free)  Details online

11

Art Attack Expand your creative horizons with a blank canvas, strips of tape, some paint and imagination.  1–3pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200)  Ages 6–12

16

Men’s Golf Group Kickoff Party Before fairway weather returns, toast to a new year on the tees with the Club’s links-loving Members.  7pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  Men’s Golf Group members: free (guests: ¥5,000)  Adults only  Sign up online

DECEMBER  | 15


A DV E RTO R I A L

La Maison

Fred

S

ome people’s destinies are sprinkled with stars, but it was diamonds, pearls and multi-colored stones that studded the destiny of Fred Samuel. Born in 1908 in Argentina into a family dealing in such precious stones, he conceived a passion for cultured pearls and won recognition as a leading expert in the field. He worked with the finest specimens, particularly those of a creamypink shade now known as ‘FREDcolored’. From the early 1950s, colorful stones kindled his creativity when the Nepalese king and queen commissioned from him jewelry to match the court saris.

16 | INTOUCH

Drawing inspiration from vivid, shimmering silks, he mirrored their hues with an almost infinite palette of sapphires or diamonds. This passion was joined by a quest for the sunlight that illuminated his childhood in Argentina. Both influences shaped his work, the latter forming a leitmotif, almost becoming his muse. To this source of endless inspiration he added his love of the sea, whose power and splendor gave rise to several celebrated chapters in the Maison’s history. Fred Samuel’s natural aesthetic sensitivity, together with his radical view of jewelry as part of everyday life, especially for women, enabled him to build a brand as timeless as it is distinctive.


Describing himself in 1936 as a ‘Contemporary Creative Jeweler’, he staked a claim for modernity based on striking jewelry pieces with rounded outlines. Today, Maison FRED honors its founder’s unquestioning love of sunlight and color with its sun-infused creations, demonstrating its mastery of personalization and the sheer versatility of its collections.

Know-how Unrivalled creativity allied to virtuosity in setting, cutting and lacquering. These define FRED’s vision of jewelry, blending exquisite craftsmanship with sense of style, as seen in its bold, adaptable tiaras which the wearer can transform with a pendant or earrings.

Demonstrating a command of the jeweler’s traditional skills since its origins, the Maison’s craftsmen are continually adding to their expertise, inventing new techniques and developing ingenious designs that redefine the possible. The Maison FRED believes contemporary relevance lies in cultivating one’s heritage and artistic legacy while looking firmly forward to the future. The jewelry Maison has a history of choosing vibrant, naturally colorful stones, combining diamonds, sapphires, rubies, amethysts or even quartz with the different shades of gold. Hard, fine stones or materials such as lacquer, enamel and mother-of-pearl also adorn the Maison’s many creations.

Other characteristic features of FRED’s pieces include buckles, cables, cords and links, whether flexible or fixed, single or combined. Finally, the Maison’s wish to make jewelry joyful, bringing pleasure and creativity to daily life, finds expression in the ability to mix and match stones and bracelets, such as with the Force 10 and Pain de Sucre collections respectively.

Sign up for the Club’s Member Bonenkai Celebration for a chance to win a stunning Maison FRED FORCE 10 bracelet.  fred.com  facebook.com/FredJewelry  instagram.com/fredjewelry

DECEMBER  | 17


The Finest in Dining

hotel azabu ten’s new restaurant, totanuki, offers exquisite Japanese cuisine with a light Western touch. We invite you to come and enjoy a wide range of tantalizing dishes prepared with an ever-changing selection of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and accompanied by more than 100 wines from our carefully curated global collection. legal affairs bureau

shinichi bridge resona bank

exit 6

natural lawson

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nisshin

azabu-juban station exit 3 police station

azabu-juban shopping street

hotel azabu ten 1F, Higashi-Azabu 2-26-8, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0044 (eight minutes’ walk from Tokyo American Club) 050-3627-5797 | www.hotel-a10.com/totanuki/en

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY SALE December 1–December 26

“Come as our customer, leave as our friend.”

—The Amit Family

Thank you for being part of AMIT’s pearl family for 50 years. We look forward to providing you with service for the next 50! 50% discount on all pearl items & an extra 10% off diamond jewelry. Does not apply to “net priced” items. Mon–Fri, 9:30am–5:30pm | ISO Bldg. 5F, 4-9-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3404-3853 | amittrading@pearls.jp | www.pearls.jp


I N D E P T H | L I T E R AT U R E

Page-Turning Passion After a childhood abroad, one Member shares how the Club’s community of bibliophiles helps her stay connected with her literary past. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

A

fter World War II, the average Japanese citizen couldn’t travel overseas until 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. The restriction, designed to protect Japan’s foreign currency reserves, didn’t apply to Ayako Ishizaka, though. “I remember this longshoreman,” Ishizaka recalls of sailing into San Francisco in 1951. “Very muscular, waving and saying, ‘Konnichiwa, musume [Hello, miss]!’” Daughter of diplomat Baron Shu Tomii, Ishizaka, 89, spent her childhood hopping between the world’s major capitals. The Member learned to walk in Germany, perfected her English in California and fell in love with the great literary works of the Western canon during stints in Britain, Canada and Argentina. (Her memoir of that time, A Japanese Diplomat’s Daughter, is available at the Library.) After Japan formally surrendered in 1945, the family was repatriated to Tokyo. Soon enough, the allure of foreign lands proved too strong for the 21-year-old to resist. When the Allied occupation forces launched a program for select citizens to go abroad for 12-month stints, Ishizaka cajoled an extra year out of the administrators. She studied American literature at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. With help from former Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew and soon-to-be UN diplomat Sadako Ogata, Ishizaka

Ayako Ishizaka

witnessed life in Washington, DC from the protocols desk at the reestablished Japanese Embassy. “Two wonderful years,” says Ishizaka, sitting in her Shibuya home’s English-style parlor. “I would advise anybody to go and see another place. Experiencing it is really quite something.” Following her return to Japan, Ishizaka lectured for years on American and English literature at Tokyo’s University of the Sacred Heart and Tsuda College, as well as at New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University. A bookshelf along one wall, crammed tight with well-worn and dog-eared titles, has all the haphazard charm of an academic’s tireless mind. Ishizaka will celebrate her 90th birthday in March. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, she says. Still, she considers it a necessity to maintain her literary life as perhaps the most prestigious member of the Club’s monthly Book Lovers’ Group. “When you read in a book group, you are introduced to books that you may not have selected by yourself,” says

Ishizaka between sips of tea from her lacquerware cup, “so your viewpoint is widened and you find yourself in a new world.” In October, the group reflected on Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the Man Booker Prize-winning sequel to the landmark 1985 work The Handmaid’s Tale. Describing the books as “very telling observations of present-day America,” Ishizaka sees inevitable comparisons between her time in a peaceful postwar America and the country’s more nuanced and tumultuous period today. After years leading discussions from the lectern, Ishizaka is content now to take a back seat as a member of the Club’s literati while continuing to savor great writing in all its forms. “As an American friend of mine said, ‘Living in a foreign land, you don’t lose the language,’” Ishizaka says “‘You lose the poetry of it.’” BOOK LOVERS’ GROUP  Every third Thursday  11am–12:30pm & 5:30–7pm  The Cellar  Free

DECEMBER  | 19


I N D E P T H | T R AV E L

Going Places Member and photographer Lisa Browne explains the thrill of discovering new lands. WORDS NICK JONES IMAGES LISA BROWNE

Bagan World Heritage site, Myanmar

F

eel it, sniff it, eat it and generally roll about in it” was how British actor, comedian and traveler Michael Palin replied when asked for tips for fledgling adventurers. They’re words to which Member Lisa Browne would likely subscribe. Describing herself as “Canadian by birth, world traveler at heart,” she has lived abroad for more than 26 years, venturing to 52 countries during that time. As a lifestyle and travel photographer, Browne, 54, has documented the people, landscapes and architecture of the places she has visited in hundreds of photographs. How do you decide where to travel? It really depends if I’m alone, traveling with my husband or traveling with our three kids. If it’s me on my own, it’s usually to go visit friends that I’ve made all over the world during

20 | INTOUCH

our expat assignments. If it’s with my husband, it depends if we are going on an arranged motorcycle trip with his mates or if we are adding a destination to one of his work trips. If we are traveling with our kids, it’s a family discussion for the most part. We aren’t a lie-on-the-beach-type family. There is usually some sort of adventure involved, a bit of culture and a bit of relaxation. What do you look for in a place? I’m always up for a new place I’ve never experienced before, but it doesn’t need to be just to tick boxes. Good food is always a plus, although we have traveled to some places where we knew the food wasn’t going to be our No 1 priority. When we were living in China, blue skies, nature and nice weather needed to factor into the equation. Now that we are in Japan and enjoying cleaner air and nicer weather, our priority list will probably change.

Ancient town of Fengjing, China


Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Which places have surprised you the most? One that comes to mind is my first trip to Japan in 2007. I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. I really had no idea up until then. Another pleasant surprise was the amazing food in Myanmar—beautiful tomatoes, avocados and onions. It’s quite like Mexico in that regard, and we actually had a Mexican friend living in Yangon who said that the two palates are very similar.

Child in Bagan, Myanmar

How do you like to get around when you travel? We love to walk, so if it’s a city holiday, we are very happy being on our feet. My husband had a motorcycle and sidecar that we had to leave in China. We’ve done a few trips by motorcycle. If we are with our kids, we usually hire a private car and driver. No form of transportation is off-limits at this point, except a cruise. There’s no talking my husband into one of those.

What have been the highlights? My top f ive highlights have been traveling from Lhasa to Everest base camp by motorcycle and sidecar; trekking for two days in Myanmar, with a stay at a monastery; cycling for six days through Puglia in Italy; our motorcycle ride through British Columbia and the Rockies; and hiking, snorkeling and driving our way through Iceland. Honestly, there are so many more. Honorable mentions go to our RV [recreational vehicle] trip through New Zealand and last summer’s awesome adventures in Norway. What do you want to capture photographically when you travel? What I became known for, without intent, was capturing a moment in time, whether it was a fisherman, a street vendor or a mother and child. As my travels take me to so many different

types of environment, I’ve fallen in love with photographing nature, landscapes, vistas, faces, you name it. What I try to do is to tell a story. I am aware of how lucky I am to be able to travel the world. I know that some family and friends may not have the time or the finances to do so. I hope that my photography lets them escape for a moment and they can pretend that they, too, have spent a bit of time in these faraway places. Which travel photographers do you admire? The obvious answer would be Steve McCurry and Alison Wright. If you are good enough for National Geographic, well, enough said. But now there are so many amazing Instagram photographers who are inspiring us all to take better photos and travel beyond our own backyard. Sherry Ott, Ami Vitale, Drew Hopper, Lauren Bath and Gary Arndt are just a few. What about Japan? If money and time were no object, I’d want to travel to every corner of this country, and then some. I’ve been to the obvious destinations: Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone and Nikko. I’d love to go to the Izu Peninsula, Hiroshima, Fukiware Falls, Akame 48 Falls and the Japan Alps. I could go on and on. How has travel changed you? In every way possible.

DECEMBER | 21


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INDEPTH | FENCING

Piste Partners One Member and his daughter have found companionship through swordsmanship at the Club. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

Claire and Jérôme Finck

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hen her dad’s distracted, Claire Finck can’t help but give him a playful poke with her foil. She may have only flown back from France the day before, but it’s done nothing to dampen the 9-year-old’s energy. “Of course, we’ve [sparred before],” says Member Jérôme Finck. “I beat him,” interrupts Claire. “Because I was faster. And better.” “And maybe because Daddy’s kind,” adds Finck, 41. Skipping between French and English, father and daughter share an infectious repartee. For the last year and change, they’ve perfected their rhythm as classmates in the Club’s Monday evening saber lessons. After a friend introduced her to her first fencing lesson, Claire decided for herself that she wanted to give the sport a try. But it was Dad who jumped at the chance to pick up a new hobby with his daughter, even if that meant rearranging his work schedule. “Claire’s growing up,” says Finck.

“I wanted to do an activity together from scratch.” Once a week in the Gymnasium, former Japan Fencing Federation director Koji Emura coaches the pair in the finer points of saber swordsmanship (Claire also takes foil classes outside the Club). Lessons start with stretching, pushups and sit-ups to keep the body agile for the rigors of the Olympic sport. To Claire’s chagrin, her dad has a knack of arriving from the office just after the warm-up wraps up. On the piste, Claire prefers feints to direct moves. Still, she knows she needs to stay focused and determined for her attacks to land. During matches, Claire taps into a fortitude her dad is always gratified to see. “She really wants to get at it,” he says. “She’s really trying to improve, to beat her opponent. I discovered a face of her I knew existed, but I don’t see very easily or very often.” At a full-day foil competition last year, Finck watched his daughter fall to the losers’ bracket after a tough

morning of bitter defeats. “She was really not good at all,” he says, prompting a wry look from Claire. When matches resumed in the afternoon, Claire defeated one of the top-ranked fencers in the competition to reset the bracket and keep her hopes alive. While she didn’t top the podium, the comeback proved a confidence booster. This month, Claire will step onto the strip at her first saber competition, another opportunity to show her fearlessness and grit. What more could a father want a hobby to instill in his daughter? Claire says her training partner deserves at least some of the credit. “I can be more aggressive with my dad because he will not cry,” says Claire, giving her father a reassuring pat on the arm. “Or if you do cry, Mommy will say, ‘It’s OK.’” YOUTH FENCING  Mondays  5:30–6:30pm (beginner & intermediate); 6:45–8:15pm (advanced)  Details online

DECEMBER | 23


I N D E P T H | FO CU S

Hope for the F Holidays As holiday celebrations kick off around the Club, Members reflect on how giving, not receiving, helps make the Christmas season special for all involved. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGES KOHJI SHIIKI

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rom her Suginami apartment, Cheryl Maynor can see the children come and go from the group home. When she has the time, she stops in for a chat. In her limited Japanese, she asks the boys and girls about their days and they happily respond in their limited English. Most days, these moments help the Salvation Army colonel feel like she is doing enough. A few weeks before Christmas last year, Maynor watched a 7-year-old girl shuffle off to school in nothing more than a light jacket against the biting chill. “She was shivering,” Maynor recalls. “She was freezing, freezing cold.” Those days are harder to bear. “Many of the children in our care have no family, no extended family at all,” says Maynor. “We know they’ll be with us until they’re 18.” Last year, 237 children had nowhere else to call home save for Salvation Army facilities. Some are orphans. Others have been tempo-


YUUKI IDE

“WE NEED THESE KIDS TO KNOW THAT THERE’S PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT THEM.”

GABRIELLA FINNEY

rarily or permanently removed from abusive families. Children with special needs, abandoned by biological kin unwilling or unable to provide the intimate support they require, are also increasingly coming into the Salvation Army’s care. Live-in social workers cook, clean, attend school functions and try to teach skills the children’s parents could or would not. These surrogates work hard to normalize situations and make children feel wanted and loved. “We need these kids to know that there’s people who care about them,” Maynor says. “We need these kids to know that they’re not just put in these homes and forgotten.” Japanese society, though, is not as openly charitable as that ideal. A 2019 study by Tsukuba University found that in 2016 Japanese citizens donated a grand total of ¥770 billion ($7 billion) or just 0.14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. By comparison, Americans donated roughly 40 times more. The World Giving Index ranks Japan, with the world’s third-largest economy, as slightly more generous than Estonia but not quite as open-handed as Croatia. Throughout the year, the Salvation Army does what it can, but as the holidays approach, this takes a particular toll on the children. “We have enough money to provide basic needs,” Maynor says. “[Our kids] go to school and they know what the other children have. They know they don’t have the same things.” For just the second time ever in Japan, the Club is partnering with the Salvation Army for the Be an Angel campaign. The homes’ staff gather Christmas wishes from children who have no one else to ask, and through December

10, Members select an “angel” hung from a tree in the Women’s Group Office. Those who take tags are buying gifts, but they are giving much more. “They said, ‘Two sisters. Matching duffel coats,’” remembers Member Alaine Lee, 58, of the tags she took from the tree last year. She approached fellow Women’s Group member Olivia Smith (“We act like sisters, too”), who jumped at the chance. Lee found the coats, one tan, one navy, and knitted two scarves as added gifts. “Every child deserves to be happy, especially during the holiday season,” says Smith, 56. “If this is going to give them a little happiness, why not do it?” The shivering girl in the jacket came to the Salvation Army two years ago. She and her sister had been removed from an abusive home. The pair, wanting nothing more for Christmas than matching winter coats, will likely grow up in the Salvation Army’s care.

IMAGES Page 24: Olivia Smith and Alaine Lee Page 25 (top): (l–r) Kenneth and Cheryl Maynor and Tomomi Fujita Page 25: (l–r) Library manager Drew Damron, Women’s Group President Heidi Regent and ARK’s Machiko Nakano

DECEMBER | 25


I N D E P T H | FO CU S

Christmas came and went. Lee and Smith celebrated with their families. A few days into the New Year, Maynor saw the sisters again— bundled up in their tan and navy duffel coats. In a thank you note to Lee and Smith, Maynor attached a picture of the coat-clad girls with arms raised in innocent delight. “It was breaking my heart,” Maynor says. “For them to have something that was picked just for them, it’s an opportunity for them to feel normal.” Donors cannot help but prioritize the causes dearest to them, and in a country where charity routinely clocks in below average, this can have ripple effects. “When [Japanese companies] think of charity, first it’s the Red Cross and second would be UNICEF,” says Elizabeth Oliver. “They don’t think further down the line to animal charities.” For nearly three decades, Oliver, 78, has run Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK), a Hyogo Prefecture-based shelter for stray and abandoned animals. Some have been discarded by owners too elderly or ill to care for them anymore. Others are found wandering the countryside. According to Oliver, animals housed together by the dozen in squalid conditions are a com-

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mon occurrence in Japan. When the owners are arrested, their pets come to ARK. In 1991, ARK rehomed one cat and five dogs. After the 1995 Kobe earthquake, many of the 61 cats and 197 dogs ARK rescued and resettled came from disaster-stricken families struggling to care even for themselves. Now with operations in Tokyo, ARK has rehomed a grand total of 1,390 cats and 3,274 dogs, such as Juniper, family pet of Women’s Group President Heidi Regent. “Any [animal] that comes in young, friendly and healthy goes out in a very short time,” Oliver adds. It’s remarkable progress in a country where the average consumer values vogue breeds over the ethics of puppy and kitten mills and unscrupulous corporate pet shops. “You’ve got to check the way [pet shops] are doing stuff,” Member Vikram Shahani says. “Very questionable in many cases.” Shahani, 43, a lifelong dog lover, first encountered ARK as a scholarship student in Tokyo. It was 1999, and during some downtime at a part-time job, he spotted an ARK ad in a copy of The Japan Times. “I was a student with limited means back then, but I sent [ARK] a thousand or two thousand yen,” Shahani says.


Donations like that add up. Starting with a special Christmas storytime in the Club Library on December 1 and continuing throughout the month, Members can do their part by contributing food, treats and toys for the cats and dogs at ARK waiting to find their forever homes. Shahani eventually moved home to India, graduated from university and returned to Japan to begin his career. He met his wife, Chiaki, a Kobe native, and during a 2012 visit back to her hometown, Shahani realized that ARK’s headquarters were only an hour’s drive away in Sasayama. He called Oliver, scheduled a visit and set off on the drive up into the mountains. To this day, Shahani denies any plan of bringing home a dog. “The first cage, the first dog that I saw was Cadbury,” he says. “He stretched up onto the cage and his face was at my level and in my mind—this is weird as hell—I was, like, ‘What are you doing here? Let’s go home.’” Cadbury (Cad for short) had been found wandering the mountains of Hyogo. The chocolate lab, then 2 years old, was brought to a kill shelter, but a nameless administrator called ARK instead.

“You’ve got to think it through,” Shahani says. “But overall the best advice I can give someone [who wants to help ARK] is get a dog.” ARK has weekly adoption fairs in both Tokyo and Osaka, Oliver explains, with calendar sales providing a much-needed boost. She is currently raising funds to finish construction of new wings of the Sasayama kennel, just as Maynor and the Salvation Army are exploring how they can find ¥97 million ($900,000) to build a new children’s home. Unfortunately, not all families can care for a pet, just as no amount of money can buy the innocent wonder of a child at home for the holidays. But there is no telling what joy even the smallest gesture during the season of giving can bring to those who need it most. CHRISTMAS STORYTIME  11:30am–12pm  Children’s Library  Free  Ages 2–6  Donations accepted through December 31  Details online BE AN ANGEL  Through December 10  Women’s Group Office  Details online

IMAGES Page 26: (l–r) Vikram Shahani, Cadbury, Neena Shahani and Chiaki Takesako Shahani Page 27: Heidi Regent and Juniper

DECEMBER | 27


C O M M U N I T Y | W E L L N E SS

Hester Steneker

Transformed through Tennis Member Hester Steneker explains how rediscovering her love of tennis led to benefits beyond the court. IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

I

’ve always been a sporty person. I was 13 years old when my small village in the Netherlands built two tennis courts almost behind my house. I always liked ball sports and used to watch tennis on TV. I just gave it a go and within two years I was club champion. Until I was 18, I played at a high recreational level, and that’s how I met my husband. I think tennis is one of the most

28 | INTOUCH

challenging sports. You have to be fast, you have to be strong and you need to have timing. Most of all, you need creativity. I started pretty late for tennis and had to learn lots of technique. After I had a family, I played now and then but not really. Then in 2013, when we were living in Romania, my husband gave me two new rackets and said, “You’re going to do what you love the most again.”

I started playing with a trainer and a nationally ranked girl who was 13 years old. It was so good. I like being outdoors and it gave me lots of positive energy. I noticed how much I had missed it. To be honest, I felt like I played better than when I was younger. It went so well that when we moved to Belgium, a lady I played against told me that I should play on the International Tennis Federation [ITF] seniors [circuit]. I didn’t know it existed but decided to register in the [age] 45-to50 category. I went to Bucharest for my first tournament, as I thought I could visit friends and it would be low-profile. I was very nervous and wondered if I could handle the level. I remember Simona Halep, the professional player, was playing on the court next to me because she had just lost at Roland-Garros. I was runner-up, which was really motivating. I then played Amsterdam, a strong tournament, and was runner-up again. I played some other tournaments in the Netherlands and by 2015 I was ranked 83 in singles and 72 in mixed doubles. Then we moved to Manila and later Tokyo, where there are no ITF tournaments. So I decided to focus on fitness and health. I’ve been lucky to train with [Club trainer] Taka Komatsu, who is the most versatile, knowledgeable and kind trainer I’ve ever had. It’s been amazing and I’ve learned so much about the importance of mobility exercise and good movement patterns. I also worked with Takeshi Hirata on nutrition. He supported and motivated me and now I am certified as a coach in sports and exercise nutrition. I’m now focusing on being as strong and fit as I can be, so I can pick it up again in Europe next year. It’s nice that I can still be competitive. I’ve seen the men’s 70-to-75 category and it’s amazing what they can still do. You can keep going for a long time if you take good care of your body. Tennis changed my life and gave me a goal. I am always excited to compete in a tournament. It doesn’t matter the result. It feels really nice to do what you like. As told to INTOUCH’s Nick Jones.


C O M M U N I T Y | R EG I ST E R

Arrivals US A

JA PA N

Sean Colglazier & Evelyn Nago

Masahiro & Maki Akaishi

Skymark Airlines

Sankyo Co., Ltd.

Rosen Diankov & Miki Diankova

Kazuhiro Ebina

Mujin

Ernst & Young Tax Co.

Christopher Frey & Jeremy Brooks

Takanobu & Kyoko Hara

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind,

Baring Private Equity Asia K.K.

Wharton & Garrison LLP

Tatsuro Higashi

Jonathan King & Aki Wagai

HGS Co., Ltd.

Homeserve Japan

Naoya Ishida

Paul Neuner & Takako Kanno

N&I Holdings Co., Ltd.

Telcoin K.K.

Hikohiro & Yukari Jinnai

Timothy & Michele Talomie

Medical Corporation Eikai

MSD K.K.

Susumu & Yukari Kanatori C-Lux Co., Ltd.

AUST R A L I A

Toru Koga

Nigel Vellis

MEJ, Inc.

Morgan McKinley

Eisuke & Saori Nakajima FTSE Japan Ltd.

FRANCE

Naoya Orime

Eric & Kyoko Gasqueres

AM Research Co., Ltd.

Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.

Yasuyo & Yuzo Saimaru

Laurent & Celine Jacquemin

SCS Co., Ltd.

AXA Real Estate Investment

Masahiro & Yaeko Sugiyama

Managers Japan K.K.

Sugiyama Certified Public Tax

Up Close

NETHERLANDS |

Adriaan Kooy & Lizet Steenhorst

Novartis Pharma K.K.

“Our family couldn’t wait to become Members of the Club after arriving in Tokyo. We very much look forward to building new friendships and participating in many great events. Our kids are already enjoying the swimming pool and other facilities, while we parents look forward to spending some quality time with other Members, either during our workouts or over a good glass of wine.” (l–r) Mila Kooy, Lizet Steenhorst and Adriaan, Ilene and Dieko Kooy

Accountants’ Corporation

GERMANY

Kyoko & Hiroyuki Takano

Jens Mehlhorn

American School in Japan

Swiss Reinsurance Co., Ltd.

S O U T H KO R E A

Japan Branch

Jinwook Lee & Chie Shibusawa

INDIA

Daeheung Specialty Chemical

Rajkaran Khurana &

Co., Ltd.

Nirmaljit Kaur Metro Cash & Carry Japan K.K.

Departures Matthew & Sarah Carhart Jeffery & Juliet Dove Adam German Trevor & Alexius Miller Nicolas Pillet Anthony Plant & January Geisert Kantaro & Keiko Tomiyama Tetsuro & Mieko Tsuruta Michael Weston & Cecilia Zhang

US A |

William & Kim Shaffer

Boeing Japan K.K.

“During our two-week trial, we found people warm and welcoming and were impressed with the space and services. We have already used the exercise facilities and checked out the many dining options. We plan to take advantage of the connections that the Women’s Group and other social events provide. The facilities offer many opportunities for our family and a place to entertain colleagues.” (l–r) Ryan, Kim, William and Tyler Shaffer

Uncork the holidays. Visit The Cellar or the online Wine Shop.

DECEMBER | 29


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C O M M U N I T Y | VO I C E

Land of the Rising Scrum WORDS ANTHONY MOORE ILLUSTRATION TANIA VICEDO

T

welve matches, five prefectures (six if you include the misadventure into Fukuoka on the wrong train), 78 tickets, guests from five countries, countless celebratory and consoling beers, numerous trains, planes and automobiles, one wheelchair (commandeered rather than required) and a million or so memories, with one or two more that will enter rugby fan folklore. But these are mere numbers and don’t illustrate the breathtaking events we witnessed on the field during the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan, as well as the warm embrace of a nation that—up until September—wasn’t viewed as a force in world rugby (despite the “Brighton miracle” win over South Africa four years ago). I vividly remember waking up in the early hours in 1987 to watch the inaugural Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Four years later, I attended my first World Cup match in Cardiff, still lamented as one of Wales’ most embarrassing defeats.

As we trudged out of the stadium after a narrow defeat to Western Samoa, the mainly partisan crowd started whistling the Monty Python comedy classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” The Welsh comedian Max Boyce opined that at least we didn’t have to play the whole of Samoa. Such highs and lows are symptomatic of the egg-chasing game and they followed me wherever I travelled to watch rugby, be it a British and Irish Lions tour or (another) semifinal defeat for Wales. The positivity and exuberance of the rugby crowd, however, is a constant. With the 20-team tournament done for another four years, rugby followers and esteemed commentators have been unanimous in their praise for Japan’s outstanding hosting of the event. Many called it the most enjoyable and best World Cup ever. Such compliments remind the longtime Japan residents among us of the country’s depth of culture. It’s easy to be glib about Japan’s much-touted omotenashi hospitali-

ty, but for seven weeks it was on full display across the nation. It was embodied in the thousands of volunteers who lined the streets around stations and stadiums (up to a kilometer from Saitama’s Kumagaya Stadium), provided translation and transport support for fans from overseas, posed for photos and high-fived thousands. And their smiles never wavered. It was also manifested in Japanese fans’ unconditional support for the underdog, as they cheered on teams to the final whistle in the hope of a single try or an upset. At Toyota Stadium, I saw nearly as many Georgia shirts as Welsh ones. Japan put on a show like no other. I was happy I could view it all in the company of family and numerous great friends from my school days and the Club, all of whom drove the great maul of rugby fervor ever forwards. Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the magnificent Brave Blossoms. Their accomplishments could fill an evening at Traders’. Anthony Moore is a Club governor.

DECEMBER | 31


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COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS

October 4

First Friday: Oktoberfest

The sounds of clinking steins and oompah music filled the Winter Garden at the Club’s annual wunderbar celebration in honor of Germany’s famous folk festival. IMAGES YUUKI IDE

DECEMBER | 33


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COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS

October 8

Team USA Meet and Greet & Seasonal Wine Taste-Off

At a lively combined event, Members had the chance to mingle with Team USA’s top BMX and mountain bikers and vote for the Club’s next seasonal wine selections. IMAGES YUUKI IDE

DECEMBER | 35


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Learning. Love. Laughter. Small and intimate, in a leafy garden area only five minutes from Tokyo American Club, St. Alban’s Nursery provides each child with opportunities for learning and self-discovery in a safe, structured, loving environment. We welcome English-speaking preschoolers of all nationalities and cultures, and we focus on individuality to offer each child a wide choice of activities based on the Montessori method. Large enclosed outdoor playground Parents welcome at all times

• 5 minutes’ walk from TAC • Some foreign insurance accepted • Checkups and cleaning Dr. Miwako Hayashi New York University Dental School graduate Pedodontist and orthodontic training Licensed in New York, practiced in Manhattan

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COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS

October 26 & 27

Halloween Spooktacular & Sky Pool Spookfest

The Club hosted a weekend of scary good fun for the annual festival of fright, from games, crafts and a creepy-crawly petting zoo to a Halloweenthemed treasure hunt at the Sky Pool. IMAGES KEN KATSURAYAMA & YUUKI IDE

DECEMBER | 37



COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS

November 1

First Friday: Azabudai Autumn Jazz

Members welcomed the season of cooler temperatures with an evening of drinks, mingling and the smooth jazz tunes of Monique Dehaney and the Kevin McHugh trio. IMAGES YUUKI IDE

DECEMBER | 39


COMMUNIT Y | ESCAPE

CLASS

Squash 101

Join the more than 20 million people from over 185 countries who regularly play squash. Whether you’ve never stepped on a court or have only played a handful of times, this comprehensive, four-session introduction to such game fundamentals as shots, rules and strategy will have you booking courts for years to come.

INSTRUCTOR

Rico Cheung (pictured right)

Originally from Hong Kong, Rico Cheung has been coaching squash for more than 20 years. While studying at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he won the squash club championship multiple times. He is a Hong Kong Squash-certified coach and is a general sports theory coach with the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

STUDENT

Alan Rogers

“I was interested in squash from the first day I joined the Club, since it looked like a lot of fun and great exercise, with an especially rich community. Everyone in the class was a complete beginner, which was encouraging. Rico guided us with perfect pacing, and it was an educational and fun introduction to the game.”

SQUASH 101  December 1, 8, 15 & 22  5–6:30pm  Squash Court 1  ¥8,000  Ages 8 & above  Sign up online

40 | INTOUCH

KAYO YAMAWAKI

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