TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB APRIL 2020
Contents 22 CLE AN BRE AK
Choked with plastic and littered with rubbish, Japan’s mountains, rivers and beaches have new allies: volunteers and nonprofits taking matters into their own hands.
LE ADER SHIP
SO CIET Y
O LY M P I C S
AU T H O R
FO CU S
26 B O OSTING B ODY AND MIND
The gym might fill some with dread, but it proved to be the antidote to years of debilitating back pain and depression for one Member.
COMMUNITY WELLNE SS
Cleaning Up Our Act
HOLIDAYING IN THE HERMIT KINGD OM
In search of a vacation spot with a difference, Member Simon Farrell discovers mausoleums, minders and The volunteers forgettable meals in North Korea.
36 ridding Japan’s scenic E S C APEspots of trash
COVER DESIGN BY KOHJI SHIIKI
| 1 R AINB OW WARRIOR + ILLUSTR ATING ADVENTURES + SPEC TATOR APRIL THRILLS
Communicating with people, creating the city
Homat Viscount in Akasaka
Kara Blanc in Minami-Azabu
Homat Virginia in Minami-Azabu
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Contents 22 CLE AN BRE AK
Choked with plastic and littered with rubbish, Japan’s mountains, rivers and beaches have new allies: volunteers and nonprofits taking matters into their own hands.
LE ADER SHIP
SO CIET Y
O LY M P I C S
AU T H O R
FO CU S
26 B O OSTING B ODY AND MIND
The gym might fill some with dread, but it proved to be the antidote to years of debilitating back pain and depression for one Member.
HOLIDAYING IN THE HERMIT KINGD OM
In search of a vacation spot with a difference, Member Simon Farrell discovers mausoleums, minders and forgettable meals in North Korea.
E S C APE
COVER DESIGN BY KOHJI SHIIKI
APRIL | 1
TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Representative Governor Michael Alfant (2021)
Editor Nick Jones
First Vice President Jesse Green (2020)
Second Vice President Alok Rakyan (2021)
Assistant Editor Owen Ziegler
Secretar y Kenji Ota (2021)
Designer Kohji Shiiki
Treasurer Michael Benner (2020)
Designer Clara Garcia
Governors Jeffrey Behr (2021), Trista Bridges Bivens (2020), John Flanagan (2021),
Production Administrator Yuko Shiroki
Anthony Moore (2020), James Mori (2020), Tetsutaro Muraki (2020),
Catherine Ohura (2021), Heidi Regent (2021), Christina Siegel (2020)
Anthony L Cala
Statutor y Auditors Koichi Komoda (2020), Paul Kuo (2021) 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)
Finance Joe Moscato (Michael Benner)
Acting Food & Beverage Suranga Hettige Don
Food & Beverage Jim Weisser (James Mori)
Recreation Susanna Yung
House Douglas Hymas (Kenji Ota)
Member Services Jonathan Allen
Human Resources John Sasaki (Tetsutaro Muraki)
Membership Mari Hori
Membership Misuzu Yamada (Trista Bridges Bivens)
Finance Naoto Okutsu
Nominating Ray Klein
Facilities Toby Lauer
Recreation Bryan Norton (Christina Siegel)
Human Resources Shuji Hirakawa
Risk Control Sam Rogan (Catherine Ohura)
Communications Shane Busato
TAC Nihonbashi Task Force Ginger Griggs
USA House & Nihonbashi Satellite Club Opening
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dean Rogers (Jesse Green)
Parentheses denote Board liaison.
Community Relations Hideki Endo
Frederick Harris Gallery JoAnn Yoneyama
Golf Charles Postles
Squash Richard Kenny
Swim Nils Plett
Wine & Beverage Michael Van Zandt
Frank Emmers Yuuki Ide Keyshots.com Valerie Koxonov Kayo Yamawaki Illustrator Tania Vicedo
ADVERTISING IN INTOUCH
JOINING TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
Explore the Club’s range of advertising possibilities by talking to
To arrange a tour of the facilities,
the Club’s exclusive advertising agency, Custom Media.
contact the Membership Office.
Custom Media President Robert Heldt
Tokyo American Club
Custom Media Publisher Simon Farrell
2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649
03-4540-7730 | www.custom-media.com
03-4588-0687 | www.tokyoamericanclub.org
All prices referenced in INTOUCH exclude consumption tax.
2 | INTOUCH
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The Hand of Friendship WORDS JEFFREY BEHR IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI
s a newly elected governor, I would like to thank Members for entrusting me with a position on our Board. While serving on the Membership Committee, I met many new Members during the monthly interview sessions, which I look forward to continuing. My experiences in both positions have reinforced to me how the Club has been an international oasis in Japan for so many Members over our nine-decade history. Today, we have Members from more than 55 countries. They join our Club community for the opportunities to form friendships with likeminded people and to relax in an American environment and, perhaps especially, for the values enshrined in the Club. Just as the world continues to become a more inclusive and equal place for a growing number of people, the Club embraces these principles, too. At the heart of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the noble aim to “leave no one behind.” This target, which includes eradicating discrimination and inequality, is often associated with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), but we can also apply its core message to the way in which we relate to one another as individuals. During the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Club will serve as USA House, the hospitality center of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Our pocket of Azabudai will, no doubt, be in the global spotlight. While we may not be able to use one side of our Club for a period in July and August, this time offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share our special haven with our Team USA guests and to show them the kind of hospitality for which the Club is so renowned in Tokyo and beyond. After all, this welcoming spirit and fellowship, similar to the Japanese concept of omotenashi, was stated clearly as an object of the Club in its original statutes of association: “To promote international relations by providing a place where citizens of different nationalities may meet on a common footing.” Since the end of World War II, the ties between the United States and Japan have grown ever stronger. Sure, there have been disagreements, but that is natural between true friends. During this same period, the Club has been a place where friendships have been established and reinforced, just as the Club’s 51 American founders envisioned. Let us take the opportunity over the coming months to uphold these traditions of companionship and hospitality.
“THE CLUB HAS BEEN A PLACE WHERE FRIENDSHIPS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AND REINFORCED, JUST AS THE CLUB’S 51 AMERICAN FOUNDERS ENVISIONED.”
Jeffrey Behr is a Club governor.
APRIL | 5
D I G E ST E D I TO R
Rolling Back the Wrapping
Members can now do their bit to help reduce plastic waste while at the Club. With durable paper straws recently made available at all Club restaurants, diners can continue to enjoy their favorite refreshing beverage the way they like. The Club-wide introduction of paper straws is the result of requests made by many younger Members over the last few years, according to Nathan Baggs, the Club’s beverage director. “This is a very important move as we are always trying to reduce our environmental footprint,” Baggs says. “Currently, I am searching for proper paper products to replace all plastics used for our takeout items throughout the Club.” NJ SKY POOL
Going the Distance
Proving that not all fitness resolutions are dead and buried by February, 15 Members dove into the Sky Pool’s recent Tokyo Bay Distance Challenge. Six competitors won a well-deserved Spa treatment for taking the shortest amount of time to swim their chosen distance in February. Agnes Ouellette and Wolfgang Bierer triumphed in the 73-kilometer category, Gabriela Lang, Kazuaki Nabeshima and Matthieu Vignaud took top honors in the 42-kilometer division and Mukund Rajan powered his way to 20-kilometer success. Four-time winner Ouellette says the annual event is more of a mental challenge “that you find hard imagining accomplishing.” NJ Photo (l–r): Wolfgang Bierer, Agnes Ouellette, Gabriela Lang and Kazuaki Nabeshima
6 | INTOUCH
Japan has a packaging fetish. The country can’t get enough of the stuff. A whole raft of items in stores are wrapped in Russian doll-like layers of plastic. With cookies and chocolates often individually encased in their own protective piece of packaging, opening a box of snacks can require nimble fingers and resolve. What’s behind the overpackaging? Some experts point to concerns over hygiene, which might be a factor in the way fresh produce is sometimes displayed in supermarkets and convenience stores. But perceived customer expectations by retailers might play a larger role, according to Roy Larke, a marketing and consumer behavior specialist. “There’s also the fact that wrapping, excessive or otherwise, is seen as an additional touch of luxury,” Larke said in a 2014 interview with Vice website. All this packaging eye candy places Japan second—behind the United States—in the world ranking of plastic waste producers. And despite an efficient recycling system and ingrained anti-littering attitudes, it’s inevitable that some of that mountain of plastic ends up in the natural environment each year. In this month’s cover story, “Clean Break,” we look at the efforts of volunteers and activists tackling the problem at both ends, from reducing the production of plastic to cleaning up Japan’s garbage-strewn beaches and countryside. While the government’s ban on free plastic bags at stores from this July is an important symbolic move, retailers and customers are going to have to do their bit to kick the plastic habit.
F I L MS
Forget the gross-out humor and operatic news updates. In Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler delivers a tour de force as a Manhattan jeweler and compulsive gambler looking for his biggest score yet. Also now available on the Library’s DVD shelves are 1917, director Sam Mendes’ Oscar-nominated World War I thriller, and Bombshell, starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie as the women who took on a Fox News kingpin. OZ
The saga of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief counselor, reaches its thrilling conclusion in The Mirror and the Light, the final entry in Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed historical fiction trilogy. Other new Library titles include the nonfiction tell-all American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics and the Birth of American CSI and The Magical Language of Others, EJ Koh’s moving memoir and story of intergenerational trauma. DD
The Italian white wine grape of Arneis might mean “rascal” in the Piedmontese dialect, but there’s nothing coarse about this 2018 example from the family-run winery of Adelina in South Australia’s Clare Valley. Winemakers Colin McBryde and Jennie Gardner have crafted a light, silky and food-friendly wine from vines planted in 1997. Unscrew spring with a bottle of Eternal Return Arneis for ¥3,800 from The Cellar. NJ
Troubled by lower-back pain as a med student in France, Sébastien BailetKojima (pictured) decided to visit an osteopath. He was amazed at the improvement in just two sessions. The experience inspired Bailet-Kojima to study at the Holistéa European School of Osteopathy in Paris, and the osteopathic physician is now helping Members overcome everything from
migraines and muscle tension to digestive disorders and sports injuries. Osteopathy is a holistic manual therapy that uses the manipulation of joints, muscles and the spine to heal disorders in the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems and restore balance. Bailet-Kojima, who speaks French, Japanese and English, is available for consultations at The Spa. NJ
Who says you have to wait until the mercury rises to dig into the joys of ice cream? You can now indulge your sweet tooth at the Club—whatever the season—with a selection of seven (one for each day of the week) Baskin-Robbins flavors, including Very Berry Strawberry, Chopped Chocolate and Caramel Ribbon. Available at Rainbow Café, Café Med and The Cellar for ¥290 a cup. NJ
APRIL | 7
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D I G E ST EVENT
The Tanglin Club
Journey Through Time
Singapore has been defined by global commerce since its founding, but the luxury décor and ample amenities of the 155-year-old Tanglin Club prove that Singaporeans also understand the importance of downtime. Located a stone’s throw from Singapore’s famed Orchard Road shopping district, the Tanglin Club and its six restaurants boast modern Cantonese fare, local classics and sports bar favorites. Members who’d rather unwind through livelier pursuits can gather in the aptly named Jackpot Room for energetic rounds of balut, Singapore’s traditional take on dice. Add in an outdoor swimming pool and 27 guest suites and you have the perfect hub from which to explore the Lion City. OZ
If these walls could talk, what would they say? At a February 26 retrospective evening that traced the Club’s journey from 1928 to today, Members came as close as possible to finding out. Featuring a presentation of archival research compiled by Library manager Drew Damron, the Celebrating Our Club History event introduced Members to a granular reflection on the Club’s origins, including its links to 19th-century Japanese aristocrats, the influences of prewar American politics on membership and the evolution of the facilities, events and institutions that make the Club what it is today. In addition to the presentation and a showcase of booklets and documents from decades past, a panel of longtime Members added their personal insights into the Club’s bygone years. “At the time, membership was ¥100,000,” says panelist Shizuo Daigoh, 82, of joining the Club in 1970, one year before Tokyo’s first McDonald’s opened in Ginza. “Very cheap, but my salary was ¥40,000. Can you imagine? More than two times!” Following the evening’s success, Damron says the plan is to create a comprehensive written chronicle of the Club. Members with documents, artifacts or photographs that could potentially enlighten periods of Club history are invited to visit him in the Library. OZ
R EC I P R O C A L C LU B
Spring Special Member Carolyn Lu and her husband are no sake aficionados, but they were bowled over by the Club’s Hakkaisan-produced junmai ginjo when they served it to guests last year. It inspired Lu to “buy a few bottles again this year to present as souvenirs of Japan to my friends in both Europe and North America.” Member Bill Shin says the “excellent” sake has earned fans among many of his friends, including Yosuke Imada, the owner of the world-famous sushi restaurant Ginza Kyubey. Whether you’re after a gift or a dinner party tipple, you’ll receive 10 percent off purchases of two bottles at The Cellar or a complimentary bottle when you buy five. NJ
APRIL | 9
AG E N DA
Events in April Since some Club events may be postponed or canceled due to coronavirus-related measures, please check their status on the Club website.
Wednesday Storytime Make new friends and pick up a lifelong love of reading at this inspiring weekly session of top children’s tales. 4–4:30pm Children’s Library Free Ages 2–6
Camp Discovery Registration Eleven weeks of camp for one unforgettable summer. Sign up for funpacked, one-week sessions today. From June 15 Preschool Camp (ages 3–5): ¥45,000 (guests: ¥60,000) Big Kids Camp (ages 6–12): ¥50,000 (guests: ¥65,000) All-Star Sports (ages 5–12): ¥15,000 (guests: ¥18,000) Sign up online
1 & 15
Toastmasters Luncheon Learn podium presence and how to engage a room with help from this supportive group. 12–1:30pm Washington & Lincoln rooms (April 1); CHOP Steakhouse (April 15) ¥2,200 (guests: ¥2,560) Sign up online
Gallery Exhibition: Ryotaro Kato From their asymmetric rims to the gently worn glaze on every edge, the pottery of Ryotaro Kato represents a masterclass in the impermanence of things. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby)
Youth Bowling Bonanza Bowl two games to enter this kidsonly tournament and see how far up the leaderboard you can climb. Bowling Center ¥500 (game fee excluded) Details online
10 | INTOUCH
Whenever Workouts The New Year isn’t quite so new anymore and all those promises to regularly hit the gym are starting to look a little overambitious. If only there was a way to make fitness fit into your schedule without bending over backwards. Member and Les Mills fitness instructor Olga Grant understands the struggle. But with the Club’s new Les Mills virtual classes—available for experiencing at this weekend taster—she and Members of all fitness stripes can enjoy highintensity Bodypump workouts or calorie-burning Grit sessions at a time that suits them. “It’s good to get a workout in on your own time,” says Grant, 43. “I am totally loving the fact that I can choose when I am having what workout.” Available for walk-in workouts or at set times throughout the week, Les Mills virtual classes push your limits without busting your schedule. And with the Club’s new, all-digital fitness pass, reaching your fitness goals has never been easier. OZ 2–6pm (April 4); 12–6pm (April 5) The Studio Free Members only Details online
First Friday: Hanami Night Celebrate Japan’s fleeting cherry blossom season at an evening of geisha entertainment, traditional music and a selection of sake. 6–8pm Winter Garden, American Bar & Grill ¥2,000 (guests: ¥5,500) Sign up online
Game Night While parents party at the Club’s annual Hanami Night bash, kids get together for an evening of old-school tabletop excitement. 6–9pm Teen Connection ¥3,000 (guests: ¥3,600) Ages 5–12 Details online
Weekend Surf ’n’ Turf Enjoy the best of both worlds by feasting on a 12-ounce (340-gram) US Choice rib eye steak with a whole lobster tail and today’s seasonal side for just ¥6,450.
Weekend Unwinders Celebrate the end of the week until the start of the next one with a selection of great-value wines for just ¥5,000 or ¥10,000 a bottle. Weekends American Bar & Grill, Winter Garden Details online
Weekend Buffet Feast on the likes of dim sum, Korean barbecued pork, Vietnamese pho noodles and Sichuan chicken salad at this festival of Asian flavors. 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
Winter Garden Melodies
Weekends Dinner American Bar & Grill, Traders’ Bar Details online
Are the works of legendary composers like Beethoven and Mozart sacrosanct or a foundation from which to build? “It is foremost imperative to interiorize a piece as written by the composer,” says concert pianist Gen Tomuro (pictured). “And then starts the real work.” Through years of study at Boston conservatories and under acclaimed performers in Paris concert halls, Tomuro, 31, has honed his ability to express something of himself in the magnum opuses he often plays for audiences. At Friday evening performances in the Winter Garden on April 10 and May 15, the Tokyo native showcases his generational talent through a program of classical and contemporary compositions from Debussy, Listz, Philip Glass and more— complemented by a sommelier-selected menu of musically inspired wines to truly serenade you into the weekend. “As calligraphers trace masterpieces many times to understand the strokes, this is exactly what we as interpreters do at our instruments,” says Tomuro. “We learn from the greats, add our twist and create something new.” OZ 6–9pm Winter Garden Free Details online
5 & 19
Discover adventure, friendships and lifelong skills through the Clubsponsored Troop 51, a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Far East Council.
Connections members offer an insight into their own cultures at this enlightening discussion of seasonal topics.
Enjoy a 5-ounce (140-gram) tenderloin on us when you dig into any T-bone steak at this weekly special at the Club’s home of American cuts.
5–7pm Activity Room Details online
10am CHOP Steakhouse Connections members only
6–11pm CHOP Steakhouse Online reservations recommended
Boy Scout Meeting
APRIL | 1 1
AG E N DA
Yamanashi: Wine and Peach Blossoms Travel by bus to the foothills of Mount Fuji for blossoming peach trees and a lunch of seasonal cuisine at an award-winning winery. 8am Connections members: ¥11,700 (non-Connections members: ¥12,900) Adults only Details online
9 & 25
Fitness Center Orientation
Easter at the Club Celebrate the season of renewal and rebirth with a weekend of family-friendly fun.
Easter Craft Workshop Before you join all the hunts around the Club, make your own Easter basket of colorful eggs at this spring-inspired festival.
Make 2020 your own Olympic year of wellness with a Fitness Center introduction and 50 percent off a 60-minute personal training session. April 9: 6:30–7pm; April 25: 10–10:30am Fitness Center Free
9 & 28
Squash Social Night Share your love of the sport with other Members and test yourself against Club pro Peter Amaglio and former national champ Hitoshi Ushiogi.
10–12pm Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200) Ages 4 & above Details online
6:30pm Squash Courts Free
Meet the Author: Dan Santat
Underwater Easter Splash your way into spring at this aquatic-themed egg hunt. 3–4:30pm Sky Pool ¥1,500 (guests: ¥1,800) Ages 5 & above Details online
Family Spring Festival Welcome spring at this annual jubilee of hidden Easter eggs, petting zoo furry friends, Easter Bunny photo keepsakes and buckets of sweet toothsatisfying treats. 10am–3pm Gymnasium, Teen Connection, O-Zone Adults: free; children: ¥2,500 (walk-ins and guests: ¥3,000) Sign up online
Easter Bowling Think you’ve got what it takes to bag a prize at this seasonal challenge? You’ll need to throw a strike or a spare when the colored headpin appears to win big. 10am–9pm Bowling Center ¥620 (kids: ¥520) Details online
Easter Grand Buffet Round up the whole family for a sumptuous, seasonal feast of lamb chops, wild vegetable tempura, braised pork, sashimi, hot cross buns and enough sweet treats to last you until summer. 11am–2pm & 4:30–7pm New York Ballroom Adults (buffet only): ¥6,000; adults (buffet + two-hour all-you-can-drink 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
12 | INTOUCH
The celebrated author and illustrator reads from his Caldecott Medal-winning picture book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Read an interview with Santat on page 21. 4:30–5:30pm Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms Details online
Cub Scout Meeting Elementary school kids explore the world of Scouting through regular meetings of the Club-sponsored Pack 51. 7–9pm Activity Room
DIY Comic Book Club Kids collaborate to craft their own thrilling tale. No drawing ability required. Continues the second Saturday of each month. 11:30am–1:30pm Teen Connection ¥2,000 (guests: ¥2,400) Ages 6–14 Details online
Family Night at CHOP The Club’s home of American cuts and other US steakhouse favorites throws open its doors to families and diners of all ages. 5–11pm CHOP Steakhouse Online reservations recommended
Weekend Buffet It’s never too early for American cookout fare. Celebrate spring with Uncle Sam’s comfort food classics like smoked brisket, crab cakes and mac ’n’ cheese. PAUL DUNCAN
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
Team USA Meet & Greet
Boys’ Day Display The Club celebrates the May 5 holiday of Boys’ Day, or Children’s Day as it is now called, with a traditional samurai suit of armor display and colorful carp streamers. Through May 7 Family Lobby (1F)
Cocktail Connections Kick back at a fun evening of happyhour drinks and mingling at the Club’s newest dining spot. 5pm Vista Connections members only
Book Lovers’ Group The Club’s brigade of bibliophiles discusses Mo Yan’s 1996 novel Big Breasts and Wide Hips, a frank and forceful portrayal of one family’s struggle to survive in rural China. Every third Thursday 11am–12:30pm Vista Free Details online
Ping Demo Day Whether your irons are due for an upgrade or you’ve been struggling on the tee, give golf ’s best clubs a test-drive at this exclusive fitting. 12–8pm (April 17); 11am–7pm (April 18) 19th Hole Free Details online
There was no way Delaney Schnell was diving off a platform the height of a threestory building. She flat-out refused when her coach told her she was ready to progress from the 7.5-meter platform to the 10-meter one. By the end of the practice session, the 10-year-old American had relented. Schnell (pictured) has since excelled in the Olympic sport that sees athletes perform twists and flips before they hit the water less than 1.5 seconds later. “I already had good air awareness and body awareness, but it was a big change to learn how to land on your head,” says Schnell, 21, of her switch from gymnastics to diving. Following a successful 2019 that saw the University of Arizona junior become the first American female diver in 14 years to podium at a world championships (she won a bronze medal), Schnell is focused on the biggest stage of all. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to go to the Olympics, but the Olympic trials are one of the hardest pressure-filled meets that I will ever experience,” she says. “But I think I have a good shot and I’m really looking forward to it.” Ahead of the Olympic trials in June, Schnell and her teammates visit Tokyo for this month’s Diving World Cup. Before the competition starts, Members will have a chance to offer their support to the athletes and find out what it takes to dive headlong into a pool at 50 kilometers per hour. NJ Winter Garden Free Details online
Meet renowned ceramic artists, shop for unique wares and sample lunch delicacies paired with local sake during this day trip to the charming Tochigi pottery town.
Members of the Men’s Golf Group battle it out on the Jack Nicklaus-designed greens and fairways of the Ishioka Golf Club, which has hosted numerous pro tournaments.
Mashiko: Pottery and Sake Tour
7:45am–7pm ¥14,300 (guests: ¥17,200) Adults only Sign up online
8am ¥24,000 Sign up online
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AG E N DA
Art Attack Club kids expand their creative horizons at this instructorled workshop of crafts, artistic expression and fun. 1–3pm Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200) Ages 6–12 Sign up online
Gallery Reception: Stirling Elmendorf “The real voyage of discovery,” Proust reflected, “consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Exotic locales are not enough for Member Stirling Elmendorf ’s camera. Through May 11, the American photographer’s striking perspectives on familiar subjects offer an entirely fresh take on the world around us. OZ Moment I realized I wanted to become an artist. I was 26 years old, living on the coast of Tokushima Prefecture. I knew that photography was my calling. What I would tell my 20-year-old self. Better to do your best with others
and enjoy life and find inspiration in the everyday. My perfect creative environment. I love to take a walk with my camera on an autumn day. The cool temperatures and beautiful light inspire me to see deeper. Artist, living or dead, I’d most like to share a meal with. Hunter S Thompson with Ralph Steadman would be a pretty hard combo to beat for sheer electricity. 6:30–7:30pm Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to adults, invitees and Members only
Library manager Drew Damron introduces young readers to everything that makes a library tick at this monthly orientation for bookworms-in-training.
Feast on this spread of Asian delights as dim sum, Korean barbecued pork, Vietnamese pho noodles and Sichuan chicken salad.
Exploring the Stacks
Every third Saturday 2–2:30pm Children’s Library Free Ages 6–12 Details online
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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
Pick up tips on protecting the planet and embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle at this afternoon of green ideas, crafts, organic goods and the launch of the Club’s Green Youth Council, whose mission is to make the Club a more environmentally conscious environment. Kiwi urban farmer Jon Walsh will also lead three workshops on how to start working the land—or at least the confines of a Tokyo balcony or small garden— to cultivate your own delicious vegetables and herbs. 1–4pm Gymnasium, Teen Connection ¥1,500 (guests: ¥1,800) Details online
Saturday Storytime Youngsters kick off the weekend with a story-inspired morning of magic, adventure and wonder. 11:30am–12pm Children’s Library Free Details online
25–26 & 29
Weekend Buffet What will the Rainbow Café chefs dream up at this end-of-the-week culinary extravaganza? Bring your appetite to find out. 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
Coffee Connections Meet old pals and forge new friendships during this monthly gettogether for Connections members. 10am CHOP Steakhouse Connections members only
Christina Sawka starts most days with a morning walk along the beach near her home in Miyagi Prefecture. But this is no casual stroll with Sabbath, her 7-year-old black Labrador. This is work. She’s on the lookout for seasmoothened glass and pottery tossed up on the shore. Springtime, with its lower tides, can be particularly fruitful, Sawka says. The Australian has been collecting these “reverse gems,” as the she calls them, since 2015. Members will have a chance to browse her selection of striking, wave-weathered glass and ceramics at this month’s Décor! sale of home furnishings and art. “The pieces have not been shaped, smoothed or drilled. Each piece of art is one of a kind,” she says. “Whether you are a beach lover, want something unique from Japan or appreciate minimalist art, I am sure you will find something that you will cherish.”
While Matthew Shewchuk does shape his woodcrafts, he does so to enhance their natural form and allure. “I try to make the most of the size and shape of the wood that I have,” says the owner of Turning Tokyo. “Most of the time I have a rough idea of the shape I want to make, but I let the wood grain determine the final proportions.” With 20 years of experience in his native United States, New Zealand and Japan, Shewchuk carves furniture,
boxes, vases and kitchenware from locally sourced cherry blossom, zelkova and apple wood. His works will sit alongside the interior wares of more than 20 vendors at this year’s showcase of home makeover ideas. NJ April 22: 6–8:30pm (Members only); April 23: 10am–7:30pm (open to the public) New York Ballroom Ages 12 & above (infants must be in a harness); no strollers Details online
Coming up in May 1–31
Burger Month Just as the humble hot dog can trace its origins back to Germany, so another quintessentially American food, the burger, has its beginnings in that same northern European nation. Ever since restaurants in the German city of Hamburg first started offering patties of local beef blended with garlic, onions, salt and pepper in the 1800s, this most American of sandwiches has been modified and interpreted across the world. In celebration of National Burger Month in the United States next month, the Club is once again offering a limited-time selection of four burgers in all first-floor dining outlets.
At a taste-off in February, a panel of management judges sampled the burger creations of two Club kitchen teams. Members will feast on the winning recipes during the month of May.
Last year’s hugely popular, handformed American Wagyu patty from Nebraska’s Morgan Ranch returns, enhanced with four types of melted cheese, roasted romaine lettuce and maple-caramelized pancetta. “ We a d d e d a l a m b b u r g e r [pictured] this year, which is ground daily from 100 percent, pasture-raised New Zealand lamb shoulder and served with pickled cucumbers, red onions and roasted beets,” says Scott Kihara, the Club’s chef de cuisine. A fried portobello mushroom burger stuffed with Taleggio cheese and a Cajun-spiced Okinawan swordfish burger with fresh pineapple salsa round out this classic quartet. NJ Lunch & dinner American Bar & Grill, Traders’ Bar, Rainbow Café, Café Med Details online
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TAILOR-MADE STYLE Bespoke men’s and ladies’ fashion
suits from $450 blazers from $300 tuxedos from $650 overcoats from $750
trousers from $150 shirts from $69 (minimum of four shirts)
Other superfine quality suits from $650 to $3,900
Prices in US dollars (excluding shipping); delivery in three weeks
INDEPTH | SO CIET Y
Member Tiger Shigetake discusses embracing his identity and fighting to change attitudes toward Japan’s sexual minorities. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGE VALERIA KOXONOV
tanding before a room full of United Nations officials, Tiger Shigetake talked candidly about the bullying, the ostracization and all the other invisible hardships of growing up gay in Japan. During Shigetake’s remarks, Japan’s ambassador to the UN rose from his chair, turned away from the dais and left the room. “The moderator at the event told us not to criticize our countries,” says Shigetake, 22, of his speech at a UN
summit in May 2017. “How do you talk about problems if you can’t criticize?” Even today, the Member and fourth-year political science major at Sophia University is eager to take on the societal attitudes he spent most of his childhood helpless to change. “I had to drop out [of elementary school] because the bullying was too intense,” says Shigetake, who has been openly gay for as long as he can remember. “Punching, kicking, that’s OK, but it’s the words that really hurt the most.”
To the casual observer, Japan may seem ahead of the curve on rights for same-sex and transsexual relationships. Save for a brief period in the late 19th century, Japan has no history of criminalizing homosexual partnerships. In 2015, Shibuya became the first Japanese ward to issue “proof of partnership” certificates to same-sex couples. Several municipalities in Japan have followed suit. With Tokyo’s weeklong Rainbow Pride events set to kick off on April 25, activists like Shigetake aren’t shy about calling the certificates a half-measure toward full rights. “Can we marry?” he asks. “No. So this was just an excuse as we see it.” A compounding issue is the representation of gays, lesbians and transsexuals in the Japanese media. The popular, cross-dressing personality Matsuko Deluxe, Shigetake notes, is primarily featured on talk show panels for comedic effect. “If sexual minorities are portrayed in a comedic way…in school people will say, ‘Well, if my son hangs out with you, my son’s going to become a joke, too,’” Shigetake says. In 2019, Shigetake won the Mr Gay Japan contest but has since disavowed the title. Rather than working on the competition’s advertised aims of promoting LGBT rights and reinforcing a positive image of community figures, Shigetake found the event organizers prioritizing sensationalism over outreach. “I signed up for Mr Gay Japan in agreement of doing activism,” he says, “but it was not at all what I expected.” Time may bring the change Shigetake seeks. While just 39 percent of Japanese citizens over the age 50 view homosexuality positively, that figure jumps to 71 percent for ages 30 to 49 and 83 percent among Japanese under 30 years old, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. If those figures lead to a wider social acceptance of the LGBT community, it’ll be down to Shigetake and others who refuse to compromise on who they are. “I hope more people can be allies,” Shigetake says. “Fighting for rights aside from your own is what really makes a difference.”
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A Delight for All the Senses Just minutes from Tokyo American Club hotel azabu ten, which opened in May 2019, is a destination where guests can enjoy a feeling of solitude and peace in the middle of Tokyo’s bustling metropolis. Each of the nine rooms at this boutique hotel offers an entirely different look, inspired by the color scheme of Japan’s traditional sekki calendar.
hotel azabu ten is proud to offer the following campaign for Tokyo American Club Members: Up to two people can stay for ¥39,000 per night, including breakfast. For this deal, guests can book only two days in advance. To book your reservation: 03-6712-6168
ACCESS: Higashi-Azabu 2-26-8, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0044 (eight minutes’ walk from Tokyo American Club)
Brilliant Prints The Tolman Collection is thrilled to welcome you to an exhibition of Kabuki-inspired Kappazuri prints by the renowned Hiromitsu Takahashi. On sale at the exhibition will be original Takahashi prints and copies of The DyEing Art of Kappazuri, a newly published bilingual book by Lucas Martineau that explores the prints’ complex imagery.
April 1–5, 11am– 7pm The Tolman Collection 2-2-18 Shiba Daimon, Minato-ku, Tokyo (03) 3434 1300 email@example.com tolmantokyo.com
I N D E P T H | O LY M P I C S
Spirit and Spectacle This summer’s Tokyo Olympics promise a oncein-a-lifetime experience—and not just for those with tickets. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER
hroughout the “parade of nations,” sections of spectators in Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium erupted into applause around Member Gabriela Mandrea. First came the cheers for the athletes from Greece, followed by cries of support for the Australian contingent and, soon enough, a roar for the team from Mandrea’s own native Romania. By the time the waving Russian athletes of the host nation made their entrance, the atmosphere in the stadium was at fever pitch. “This is what you miss on TV,” recalls Mandrea of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics. “If you want to feel the Games, you have to be there.”
Gabriela Mandrea at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Though Mandrea has attended nearly every Olympics since the London Summer Games in 2012, she says the appeal of the quadrennial spectacle never wanes. Mandrea hasn’t yet managed to secure a ticket for any of 33 sports on display in Tokyo from July 24, but she knows there’s just as much fun to be had simply being in the host city. “That level of excitement, the joy everywhere and the celebration of sport,” she says. “The Olympic spirit is the reason I go, maybe less than the sports.” Any would-be attendee has realized by now that tickets to this summer’s Games may be the toughest get in Olympic history. In the lottery at the end of last year, 23 million people applied for the chance to buy just 1 million tickets. Member Risa Dimacali was one of the lucky ones. “I was shocked,” says Dimacali of the e-mail she received informing her that her application for the women’s basketball final had been successful. “I’m not usually a sports fan, but then I met Olympic athletes at the Club [Team USA meet and greets], and people asked incredulously, ‘You’re not even going to try to get tickets?’ So I thought I’d better join the lottery.”
Those interactions at the Club last year gave Dimacali the chance to appreciate first-hand the dedication and passion of the athletes who will perform over two weeks this summer. “They’re just in the top shape of their lives,” says Dimacali. “They’re hungry to do this. They’re ready to do this. I don’t think you get that feeling just from watching [the Olympics] on TV.” As the Games draw near, tickets will be in even shorter supply. That’s no excuse to stay home, reminds Mandrea. Between watching events with fellow Members in the “Olympic zone” of TAC 2020 House and soaking up the ambience as the world’s elite athletes descend on Tokyo, experiencing that elusive Olympic spirit should be as easy as stepping out of your door. And if you keep searching, says Mandrea, you might just strike ticket gold. “It was the same in London, the same in Sochi, the same in Rio,” says Mandrea. “The closer we are to the Games, and even during the Olympics, opportunities will come.” TEAM USA MEET & GREET April 17 Winter Garden Free Details on page 13
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I N D E P T H | AU T H O R
The Art of Storytelling
Award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat talks superpowers and Cinderella starts. WORDS NICK JONES
an Santat was a kindergartner when he realized he possessed a superpower. The other children in his class were mesmerized when he used it. “Many kids were in awe that I could draw all sorts of things with ease,” he says, “and as I got older, I kept pushing myself to improve.” Despite his artistic talent, Santat graduated with a degree in microbiology before pursuing his creative passion at the Art Center College of Design in California. Santat, 45, is now a bestselling author and illustrator, whose children’s title The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 2015. Other works include Are We There Yet? and After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again). He also created the Disney animated television series “The Replacements.” Ahead of his appearance at the Club this month, Santat discusses his life in storytelling.
When did you discover you had a talent for art?
I think any person who becomes an artist knows at a very early age. I think it wasn’t until I went to kindergarten when I realized that I was more gifted than others in the ability to interpret what I saw. The motivation for me, at first, was that drawing was like a superpower to the other kids.
lishing was a Cinderella story of sorts. I attended my first children’s book conference hoping to get some feedback on my portfolio. During the exhibition, a man approached me with my dummy book in his hand and introduced himself as Arthur Levine. After a few moments of chatting, I discovered he was the editor of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. He gave me a two-book deal on the spot. What makes a good children’s book?
I wanted to be an animator for the movie industry or television. After taking my first class, I realized that I absolutely hated it. It took months just to make one minute of film and, after many sleepless hours of working with frustrating computer software, I realized that my real passion was in storytelling rather than the craft of making art itself. One of my friends told me about a children’s book illustration course. I signed up and immediately found my calling.
What drew you to children’s books?
When I entered my first year of art school, I was 22 years old and I took a computer animation class thinking
How tough was it to secure your first book deal?
My first opportunity in children’s pub-
Keep the story simple and the communication clear. A truly good story is something that any person can relate to but told with an ease that hides its own complexity. What do you love about your work?
I’ve discovered that most of my best work and inspiration comes from family and experiences from my own life. My work allows me to be a kid again. MEET THE AUTHOR: DAN SANTAT April 10 4:30–5:30pm Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms ¥3,500 (guests: ¥4,200); parents & guardians: free Recommended for ages 2–6 Copies of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend available for ¥2,070 Sign up online
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I N D E P T H | FO CU S
CLEAN BREAK Ahead of the semicentennial anniversary of Earth Day, ecoconscious Members and volunteers explain their motivations for cleaning up Japan.
ILLUSTRATION BY KOHJI SHIIKI
WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER
22 | INTOUCH
short drive from the coast of Kumamoto Prefecture, Michel and Alana Bonzi came face-to-face with the survivors of Japan’s most notorious “pollution disease.” “Of course, there was the official museum [in Minamata City],” recalls Michel, “but when you go a bit further into the mountains, you find the people.” Minamata byo, as the disease became known, was first identified in 1956 when doctors examined a 5-yearold girl with convulsions who also had difficulty speaking and walking. Doctors then discovered several more patients displaying the same spastic, uncontrollable movements. Some were unable to even sit or stand. Two years later, infants were born with congenital neurological diseases, a multigenerational affliction that continues to affect Minamata families today. In 1968, investigators finally named an official cause: untreated methylmercury dumped into coastal rivers and streams by the local Chisso Corporation chemical plant. Shellfish and marine life absorbed the wastewater. As they’d done for centuries, fisherman caught and consumed the tainted food. “[The survivors] were quite sure exactly where the mercury was coming from and exactly who was the cause,” says Alana. “It took a long time for [others] to come to that conclusion.” Both Michel, a native of Nice in southern France, and Alana, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, claim a special bond with their own nearby body of water in Fujisawa. “When you look at the sea, it connects more than it divides,” says Alana. “We are from two different sides of the Atlantic, but here we are in the Pacific.”
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I N D E P T H | FO CU S
Sego Initiative beach cleanup at Fujisawa
“WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE SEA, IT CONNECTS MORE THAN IT DIVIDES.” –Alana Bonzi
Twice a year, the Bonzis take a break from their French language school. They invite their students and neighbors, host corporate groups and welcome anyone willing to spare a few hours to clean the Kanagawa beach they call home. Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Sego Initiative draws hundreds of participants for the unglamorous task of clearing trash from the Shonan coast. A portion of debris (aluminum beer cans, plastic food containers and cigarette butts) is simply dumped by careless beachgoers. A far larger amount of garbage comes from inland, transported downstream to the ocean via the nearby Sagami and Sakai rivers and washed up on beaches. “People have the impression that people just come to the beach and leave things behind,” says Alana. “Almost 80 to 70 percent of all trash, it comes along the rivers and gets to the ocean.” Among the more exposed Okinawan islands, the problem is even worse. “Every island has a windward side,” explains Member John Durkin, 60, who island-hops as part of a solo running tour of the subtropical prefecture, “that gets completely inundated with Chinese plastic. It’s just piled up on the shoreline.” The sparsely populated islands rarely have the resources to clear beaches of the washed-up netting, buoys and ubiquitous plastic bottles. “What happens is the wave action pushes the plastic into the coral,” says the Club’s former representative governor. “I just don’t know how you get it out.” PLASTIC PROBLEM
In terms of annual per capita plastic waste, Japan’s 106 kilograms outweighs all of Asia combined. Despite a growing preponderance of retailers charg-
24 | INTOUCH
Trash on a Tonaki beach in Okinawa
ing for single-use carrier bags, consumers used nearly 30 billion of them in Japan in 2018. Perhaps the country’s recycling industry is the answer? Just 23 percent of all plastic collected is mechanically repurposed, the eco-friendliest option. Four percent is chemically reconstituted. The remaining 73 percent is burned. With many Asian countries now refusing to accept landfill trash from developed countries, including Japan, the likes of Sage Humphrey believe it’s time for collective problem solving. “When I give my presentation about how the environment is being impacted,” says the 13-year-old Member, “I think people will say, ‘Oh, no, we need to take action right now.’” At the Club’s inaugural Green Fair on April 19, Sage intends to do his part by recruiting fellow activists to join the Green Youth Council, a group focused on introducing eco-minded initiatives at the Club.
ades of debris that once prevented it from receiving UNESCO World Heritage recognition. “Keeping Mount Fuji clean is really important, but all of the mountains in Japan should be kept clean,” stresses Hayashi. For that, Japan would need groups like Hayashi’s in every city, and a sense of civic duty alone may not be enough. COMMUNITY ACTION
Members of Kutsukake no Kai hiking group
In addition to workshop sessions with urban farming expert Jon Walsh, green DIY crafts and a poster contest on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the festival— timed with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April—will offer Members plenty of ideas on how to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. “Right now, we have a crisis,” Sage warns, “and everyone doesn’t really take this problem seriously.” ECO-EFFORTS
When Member Ed Rogers volunteered himself and his children for an afternoon clearing trash from the banks of the Arakawa River last year, of course he hoped they’d leave it a little cleaner than they found it. “Are they now committed eco-warriors and signing up for Greenpeace?” says Rogers, 55. “I don’t think so. But they hopefully understand that these are the sorts of things that you should do [out of] a sense of civic duty.” The ideal, he adds, is integrating environmentally friendly imperatives into everyday life. That’s exactly the approach of Member Eri Hayashi and her volunteer group Kutsukake no Kai. “It’s just a regular hiking group,” Hayashi, 59, says of the 15-member band of trash-collecting trekkers. Twice a year for the last 20 years, the Kobe native and her compatriots arrive at the foot of a peak outside Tokyo and ascend with tongs and plastic bags at the ready. They collect primarily beer and coffee cans and plastic food containers discarded on trails until their bags are filled to the brim. A tedious process, but it’s often the only way to keep Japan’s countless hiking trails pristine. In fact, Hayashi’s Kutsukake no Kai differs only in scale from the efforts led by legendary alpinist Ken Noguchi to clear Mount Fuji of the dec-
“The thing about ‘plogging’ is that it’s not just picking up rubbish,” says Robin Lewis. “You’re doing squats. You’re stretching. You’re having a good time with people.” A bilingual portmanteau of “jogging” and the Swedish phrase “plocka upp”, plogging first appeared in Japan two years ago when Lewis, the co-founder of an eco-startup focused on reducing plastic bottle waste, organized a plogging event in Yoyogi Park. Nearly 30 people raced through circuits of runs and exercises all while grabbing whatever discarded trash they could find strewn throughout the park. “It’s not really about the amount of rubbish you collect,” Lewis says of fusing fitness with environmental action. “It’s about the mindset that you see extending from these conversations.” Since then, corporate groups have partnered with Lewis and his Social Innovation Japan initiative, just as they have with the Sego Initiative, to host days of community service. These sponsored events have helped the Bonzis’ beach cleanups grow from modest events between friends and neighbors to half- and full-day affairs with several hundred participants. For Alana, corporate social responsibility is critical. At the very least, it prevents the brand of willful negligence that led to so much suffering in Minamata. At best, companies can empower employees to embrace projects of environmental significance. “You need the companies to go, ‘OK guys, you go out and understand some of the grassroots problems,’” she says. “‘And when you come back, we’re going to give you time so you can figure out ways in which [all this plastic] doesn’t reach the beach.’”
“KEEPING MOUNT FUJI CLEAN IS REALLY IMPORTANT, BUT ALL OF THE MOUNTAINS IN JAPAN SHOULD BE KEPT CLEAN.” –Eri Hayashi
GREEN FAIR April 19 1–4pm Gymnasium, Teen Connection ¥1,500 (guests: ¥1,800) Details online SEGO INITIATIVE segoinitiative.org SOCIAL INNOVATION JAPAN socialinnovationjapan.com
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C O M M U N I T Y | W E L L N E SS
Boosting Body and Mind Dealing with chronic back pain and depression for years, Member Jamie Chie explains how regular exercise changed her life. IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI
ost of us are used to the Club’s international environment. But growing up in difficult family circumstances left me with some mental scars and maybe contributed to the depression I later developed. When I moved to Singapore in 2011, I suddenly felt lonely and isolated because I didn’t have any close family or friends around. On top of that, I had two small children to take care of. Getting myself to wake up or to get motivated to do anything was a chal-
26 | INTOUCH
lenge. I hit rock-bottom and needed a desperate change. Medication never worked. I constantly felt like I had a big cloud over my head. I also had chronic back pain and sciatica from years before, so even sitting and having a proper conversation with friends left me feeling agitated all the time. Singapore had a different lifestyle. Mothers seemed more relaxed delegating their responsibilities and taking care of themselves through exercise like jogging or relaxing by the pool.
I couldn’t get myself to the gym because I was shy and socially uncomfortable, but I stumbled across a DVD by Jillian Michaels, which became a lifesaver. It’s called “Six Week SixPack”—30 minutes a day with a dumbbell and a mat in your home. I thought, “What do I have to lose, right?” I was pretty athletic from a young age and felt like I wanted to pick up from where I left off at school. I started following the workout at home and, as promised, I got a six-pack in six weeks. I loved the feeling I got from exercising, and I still do. My mind was clearer and I felt more alive and motivated. I took further steps and hired a personal trainer, who introduced me to TRX suspension training and resistance training. By the time we moved back to Tokyo, I was addicted to exercising and converted one of our bedrooms into a home gym. Even during holidays, the hotel gym was a must. I slowly started venturing out to the Fitness Center at the Club. I met Taka Komatsu, my trainer now, and began weight training with him. Members noticed and started asking me for advice. But for me, working out has been about feeling good rather than looking good. The Club has opened so many doors for me. I was asked to join the Recreation Committee, which has been rewarding. And just simply coming to the Club almost daily and meeting likeminded Members at the Fitness Center has been comforting and has helped me on my path to recovery. Years of overtraining led to a torn ligament in my wrist and then surgery last November. The experience has taught me the importance of listening to my body and finding balance in my life. It’s all about quality, not quantity. I now have a certificate in nutrition and personal training and TRX instructor certification. The next challenge for me is learning how to share what helped me. Honestly, though, there is no one approach to fitness. The advice I can give people interested in getting back in shape is to find the type of sports or exercise that gives them joy. Exercise is a never-ending journey, not a destination. 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
H O N G KO N G
Mark & Yuko Campbell Zorro K.K.
Chi Ming Jimmy Lai Fusion Bank Ltd.
Noah & Kim Carr Latham & Watkins
Ho (Kenny) Wee & Shuk-Man Chui W Bros. Ltd.
Mark Jung & Jennifer Choon The Peninsula Tokyo
I TA LY
Emily Furuichi Robert Walters Japan K.K.
Osvaldo Perfido & Caterina Guo Tapestry Japan LLC
Michael & Luanne Heideman Accenture Japan Ltd.
JA PA N
Richard & Maki Higa Bandai Mochi LLC
Ryo & Maki Hanyu Medical Corporation Junseikai
Justin & Linda Kerr Molex Japan Co., Ltd.
Jun Karube Toyota Tsusho Corporation
Allen Won Lee Collab Japan K.K.
Hiroki & Yukiko Kiyoto Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd.
Ronald & Hitomi Lenore Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC Patrick McCarthy Goldman Sachs
Takahiro Moriuchi Yajirushi Co., Ltd. Naohito & Momoko Murai IMS Legal Professional Corporation
Hideki Miura Miura Global Partners Ari Moskowitz & Julene Allen Boston Scientific Japan K.K.
AUST R A L I A Daniel & Natalie Berndt Metagenics, Inc. Gavin & Yuka Cranston Beacon Communications K.K.
Akira & Toko Sasaki LifeScan Japan K.K. Tsunetaka & Hiroko Takeda Itochu Corporation Satoshi & Mihoko Takikawa Kemet Japan Co., Ltd. Junji & Yuki Yokokawa McCann Healthcare Worldwide Japan, Inc.
US A |
Justin Hotard & Maureen Ryan
Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd.
“One of the first things our family did when we learned we were relocating from the US to Tokyo this January was to join the Club. We were looking for a community that would offer our family a recreational and social outlet, and the Club is proving to be that and more. We are enjoying meeting other Members and our daughter, Madeleine, has already started swim lessons.” (l–r) Maureen Ryan and Jack, Madeleine and Justin Hotard
CHINA Jin Liu & Ning Han Fortress Investment Group (Japan) G.K.
DENMARK Christian & Mayu Skovhoj Clarksons Platou Japan K.K.
FINLAND Lari Hamalainen & Johanna Penttila McKinsey & Company, Inc.
Matthew & Samantha Growdon ELC Japan K.K.
TA I WA N Angelina YL Liu Golden Management Co., Ltd. Yu-Chi Yang Tesan Capital Co., Ltd.
UK Kawal Preet & Preetee Bhagat Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.
GERMANY Rudolf & Maria Rayle Philip Morris Japan Ltd.
US A |
Jamie & Makenzie McCormick
3M Japan Ltd.
Ken & Mayumi Suzuki
“Our family moved to Tokyo in January from Minnesota. We joined the Club because we had heard great things about it and we were looking for a spot to meet other expats and enjoy activities for both teens and adults. The amazing Sky Pool was a big draw for the swimmers and triathletes in the family. We are looking forward to meeting others and enjoying basketball, burgers and craft beer at the Club.”
(l–r) Keegan, Jamie, Colin, Makenzie and Chloe McCormick
John Hom & Linda Jost-Hom Karthik Mohan & Vanessa Stewart Alexander & Tamsin O’dell Shigeru & Noriko Shiina
Your Great Escape
Book a Guest Studio stay today. tokyoamericanclub.org/guest-studios
APRIL | 27
Growing at ASIJ
In a metropolis like Tokyo, space is a valuable asset. At ASIJ we have the space to play, run, jump, score goals, wrestle and swim. We have the space to grow sweet potatoes, take nature walks, launch rockets, build robots and make our ideas come to life. We have the space to sing and dance, perform comedies and tragedies and make movies and build sets. We have the space to collaborate, share our work with classmates and colleagues, host conferences and welcome speakers. We have space to grow and learn.
The American School in Japan
Early Learning Center (Nâ€“K) 6-16-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032 03-5771-4344 firstname.lastname@example.org Chofu Campus 1-1-1 Nomizu, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-0031 0422-34-5300 email@example.com Fostering a community of inquisitive learners and independent thinkers, inspired to be their best selves, empowered to make a difference.
C O M M U N I T Y | VO I C E
Holidaying in the Hermit Kingdom WORDS SIMON FARRELL ILLUSTRATION TANIA VICEDO
ad enough of long flights, busy resorts and dull itineraries? For something different, I tried a nearby destination with few tourists and the world’s hairiest border. Oh, and no human rights. North Korea beckoned. Having lived in Cuba and traveled behind the Iron Curtain and in Vietnam during the 1980s communist era, I just had to add a Pyongyang sticker to my battered Globe-Trotter. After buying a package tour and visa online, I took a smooth 90-minute flight from Beijing to Pyongyang. I was surprised that I could bring any devices (except GPS), so long as I declared them on arrival. Indeed, I could photograph almost anyone and anywhere, including soldiers and borders—except the most revered or sensitive mausoleums and ministries. And Internet access was cheap for casino patrons. Accommodations varied from a shiny skyscraper on a city center island to a single-story inn enclosed by manned gates, high walls and a dirty moat. Guests cannot leave their hotel without minders, but they are free to wander the property.
North Korea is far from a foodie’s paradise: cold fried eggs, bland kimchi and stodgy okonomiyaki pancakes are staples made bearable by unlimited alcohol. But you will always be better off than about 95 percent of the 25 million population. On the first evening, I was treated to a screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a 2012 British–Belgian–North Korean rom-com, in a spectacular art deco cinema. The next day’s itinerary started with a trip to the ghoulish mausoleums of Kim Il Sung (1912–94) and his son, Kim Jong Il (1942–2011), showcased under blood-red lights along with thousands of their medals, awards and gifts. Security was tight and all visitors bowed before the glass coffins of the embalmed “dear, great and eternal leaders.” Along with the Arirang Mass Games, an epic display of gymnastics and choreography, were visits to World Heritage sites, ubiquitous “war crime” monuments and—strangely for a staunchly atheist nation—well-preserved, 14th-century Buddhist and Confucian tombs and temples. The village of Panmunjom, situated in the 250-kilometer, heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone, is a pleas-
ant three-hour spin from Pyongyang and a top tourist draw, with its patriotic speeches and tacky souvenirs. Astonishingly, I was invited to sit for selfies with the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement in the actual seat where it was signed. On my last day, I was able to wander, minder-free, around the Pyongyang International Trade Fair. Luxury yachts, imported limousines and locally made tractors were on display alongside traditional remedies, imported foodstuffs and Disney knockoffs. At dusk, from the hotel’s 47th-floor revolving restaurant, we enjoyed stunning views of the city and its pastel-hued suburbs over chilled $2 Budweisers, bottles of Italian wine and thick but bland seafood and kimchi pizzas. My home for the lumbering, 23-hour return journey to Beijing was a six-berth train compartment. After bidding warm farewells to our friendly minders, we headed to the restaurant car for fiery Korean liquor and Chinese food. Brief stops at eerily dark stations offered the chance of final souvenirs before we rolled silently across the border into China. Simon Farrell is a Club Member.
APRIL | 29
¡ Property Market Analysis ¡ Property Valuation ¡ Property Sales ¡ Property Leasing ¡ Tenant Screening ¡ Tax Representation & Filing
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Trust, Integrity, and Transparency From due diligence to asset management to property sales, Axios Management offers its clients a full range of customized property management services focusing on maximizing owners’ ROI. +81-3-6447-7701
LIFELONG LEARNING FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW Continuing Education at Temple University, Japan Campus, offers a unique international environment for developing new skills and discovering the latest trends in a wide array of subjects.
PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES ARE AVAILABLE IN: § Business Administration and Management § Localization § Japanese and Western Cultures
§ Advanced Business English Skills § Accounting/Finance/Investment and more!
Inquire about “Friend of TUJ” corporate discounts
Continuing Education 03-5441-9864 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuj.ac.jp/cont-ed
Tsuyoshi Hikichi, Hikichi managing director
COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS
February 7 First Friday: Bollywood Night
At the Club’s first monthly mixer of 2020, Members celebrated India’s version of Tinseltown with an evening of Indian food and the dance moves of local troupe Sahelia. IMAGES YUUKI IDE
APRIL | 31
The only clinic in Japan run by a U.S. board-certified plastic surgeon.
Feel comfortable in your own skin Botox treatments (wrinkle removal,
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• UCLA plastic & reconstructive surgery graduate • American Board of Plastic Surgery certiﬁed • American Society of Plastic Surgeons member
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NEW HITOMI DENTAL OFFICE AKASAKA Akasaka Royal Plaza 2F 2-13-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052
COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS
February 10 Walk of Fame
While Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre hosted the 92nd Academy Awards, CHOP Steakhouse was the setting for a Connections’ watch party of glitz, glamor and prizes. IMAGES YUUKI IDE
APRIL | 33
Your Move. Our World. - Moving Services - Relocation Services - Visa & Immigration - Home Search - School Search - Orientation
(81) 3 6402 2371 www.asiantigersgroup.com
COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS
February 15 Father-Daughter Dinner Dance
Club dads and their daughters enjoyed a 1950s-themed evening of entertainment, dancing, food and a rendition of The Temptations’ “My Girl” by a chorus of fathers. IMAGES KEYSHOTS.COM
APRIL | 35
COMMUNIT Y | ESCAPE
Elements of Jewelry Design
Take a peek behind the display cases and find out what it takes to design and create luxury jewelry. Whether you’re a budding designer or a follower of fashion, learn how jewelers select gemstones and plan settings for new adornments and discover what separates the world’s finest pieces from the rest.
Jane Lunzer (pictured right)
Jane Lunzer is a Gemmological Association of Great Britain-certified gemologist and diamond grader with experience assessing and trading precious gems in London and Hong Kong. The Club Member and founder of Jane Lunzer Jewellery designs read-to-wear jewelry and bespoke pieces for private clients.
“I was interested to see what goes into jewelry design. It was very interesting to hear about the many intricate steps involved in creating a piece of jewelry. Jane taught us that each authentic stone is unique, so one should pick out a stone first then design around the stone. I enjoyed Jane’s passion for her craft.”
ELEMENTS OF JEWELRY DESIGN May 15 2–4:30pm Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms ¥3,000 Sign up online
36 | INTOUCH
Sparklers and Stones
TOKYU RESORT Established in 1978, Tokyu Resort Corporation is one of Japanâ€™s largest real estate agencies specializing in resort development and sales. Our business comprises the following: brokerage, project sales (in association with Tokyu Land Corporation and other developers), and overseas business as well as hotel membership sales.
TOKYU RESORT AT A GLANCE
of real estate experience
Transaction sales for the year ending March 31, 2019
Average webpage views per month in 2018
Tokyu Resort branches
Hotel memberships sold*
KARUIZAWA KYUKARUIZAWA HOUSE | 370,000,000 JPY Land Area: 3,338 sqm Building Floor Area: 209.79 sqm It is attractive, with a well-maintained garden and a good location (about a 15-minute walk/1.2 km to Karuizawa Station). KARUIZAWA (OIWAKENISHIKARUIZAWA) NAGAKURA OHINATA HOUSE | 120,000,000 JPY Land Area: 1,653 sqm Building Floor Area: 149.67 sqm This one-story house built in January 2019 on gently sloping southern land is about a two-minute drive (approx. 1.1 km) from Route 18. It has an L-shaped, wide terrace and a bright, 28-tatami living room. Extra rooms are available for guests. The property is well managed, and it is particularly beautiful by night. NISEKO (HIRAFU) KI NISEKO CONDOMINIUM | 115,000,000 JPY Floor Area: 54.94sqm This is the corner room of Ki Niseko, which is popular as a ski-in/ski-out destination. Outstanding features of the property include the bed that can be stored in the wall and the relaxed, earth tone color scheme.
* Figures based on our business performance between January 1990 and December 2019
HEAD OFFICE SHIBUYA DOUGENZAKA TOKYU BUILDING 1-10-8 Dougenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN 150-0043 NISEKO SALES OFFICE: ALPEN HOTEL, 2F 204 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, JAPAN 044-0081
For latest listings go to: www.tokyu-resort.co.jp/en
To buy/sell property, email us at: email@example.com
Make an appointment with our English-speaking real estate specialist today!
TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB
at one of the city’s hottest restaurants. On-site gym and spa facilities that will help you look and feel your best. If you’re looking for long-term lease properties with a full range of services in convenient locations around Tokyo, it’s time to upgrade to MORI LIVING.
An English-speaking concierge who helps you book a table
Time for an upgrade Time for MORI LIVING
本体七四一円 APRIL 2020
Tokyo American Club's Monthly Member Magazine