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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.



at one of the city’s hottest restaurants. On-site gym and


An English-speaking concierge who helps you book a table

毎月一回一日発行 第四十七巻六七八号 トウキョウアメリカンクラブ インタッチマガジン二〇二一年十月一日発行 平成三年十二月二十日第三種郵便物許可定価八00円 本体七二八円

Time for an upgrade Time for MORI LIVING


Rethinking the 9-to-5 OCTOBER 2021

Members ponder the future of work and doing business


Welcome Home Brand New HOMAT SHARON Located in the exclusive neighborhood of Minami-Azabu, HOMAT SHARON offers spacious units that harmoniously blend Western and Japanese aesthetics.

Each unit has been designed with the utmost comfort in mind, and property amenities include a fitness room with state-of-the-art equipment and bilingual concierge service that is available 24 hours a day.

Contents 20


As the pandemic drags on, several Members share how the Club makes it possible to strike the right balance between faceto-face communication and digital flexibility.









Ahead of their Club talk, the authors of a new book on ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn discuss his triumphant successes and stunning demise.










An indelible symbol of enchanting elegance, geisha of today face new challenges when it comes to maintaining their cultural legacy.



















Representative Governor Michael Benner (2022)

Editor Nick Jones

First Vice President Sam Rogan (2022)

Second Vice President Trista Bridges Bivens (2022)

Assistant Editor Owen Ziegler

Secretar y Jeffrey Behr (2021)

Designer Kohji Shiiki

Treasurer Kenji Ota (2021)

Designer Clara Garcia

Governors Michael Alfant (2021), John Flanagan (2021), Anthony Moore (2022),

Production Administrator Yuko Shiroki

Tetsutaro Muraki (2022), Catherine Ohura (2021), Alok Rakyan (2021)


Heidi Regent (2021), Dean R Rogers (2022), Christina Siegel (2022)

Darren Morrish

Statutor y Auditors Koichi Komoda (2022), Paul Kuo (2021) Parentheses denote term limit.

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERS Business Operations Wayne Hunter


Business Suppor t Lian Chang

Compensation Anthony Moore Culture, Community & Enter tainment Miki Ohyama (Jeffrey Behr)


Finance Joe Moscato (Kenji Ota)

Recreation Susanna Yung

Food & Beverage Kristina Wright (Sam Rogan)

Member Services Jonathan Allen

House Douglas Hymas (Catherine Ohura)

Membership Mari Hori

Human Resources John Y Sasaki (Tetsutaro Muraki)

Food & Beverage Suranga Hettige Don

Membership Risa Dimacali (Trista Bridges Bivens)

Finance Naoto Okutsu

Nominating Ray Klein

Facilities Toby Lauer

Recreation Nils Plett (Christina Siegel)

Communications Shane Busato

Risk Control Justin Keyes (John Flanagan)

Nihonbashi Managing Director

TAC Nihonbashi Ginger Griggs (Alok Rakyan)

Noriaki Yamazaki

TAC Sustainability Task Force Trista Bridges Bivens


Tokyo 2020 Olympic David Hackett (Dean R Rogers)


Parentheses denote Board liaison.

Trista Bridges Bivens


Bill DeLorme

Community Relations Hideki Endo

Risa Dimacali

Frederick Harris Gallery JoAnn Yoneyama

Tim Hornyak

Golf Charles Postles

Darren Morrish

Squash Jeremy Markwick Smith

Christina Lopp Schwabecher

Swim Agnes Ouellette


TAC Talk Simon Farrell

Enrique Balducci Yuuki Ide

Wine & Beverage Keith Truelove

Kayo Yamawaki Illustrators Kohji Shiiki Tania Vicedo



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 |

03-4588-0687 |

All prices referenced in INTOUCH include consumption tax.


Harness the Potential of a Third Office

While maintaining an office in the city center is key for any company, having a space in a natural setting where your team can collaborate

creatively offers a unique advantage. Forest Corporation, with its strong background in the Karuizawa area of Nagano Prefecture, can be your partner in developing your company’s third office.

Find out how a third office could work for you and

arrange for a free visit to Forest Corporation’s model Third Office at the Japan Luxury Lifestyle website:

Contact Garreth Stevens: +81-3-4540-7730 | |




s Members, we can engage with our Club in many ways. From playing sport or taking a fitness class to connecting with family and friends over a great meal or at an event, the Club offers myriad ways for us to enhance our lives. There are also many ways for us, if we choose, to take part in the governance of the Club. Over the years, many Members have taken up roles on committees or task forces. The committees are where innumerable proposals around business strategy and Club operations originate before being voted on by the Board of Governors or, where applicable, by the membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Although our management and staff are central to delivering an exceptional Member experience, the Club is ultimately run by Members. In other words, it’s our voices and participation that are key to ensuring the Club’s success. Being an active contributor to this system has been a true honor for me. I’m glad I made the decision to join a committee and to stand as a candidate in the annual Board election. Having the opportunity to make your voice heard is a fundamental pillar of Club governance. At each AGM, Voting Members receive an update on the financial and operational health of the Club and vote on candidates running for the Board, the proposed budget, changes to our General Rules and new initiatives. With the next AGM set for November 16, I encourage all eligible Members to register to vote (information can be found on the Club website). The pandemic has brought about many changes to how our Club operates and this extends to the AGM, which is now a hybrid event. Within this new paradigm, Club management works diligently to ensure that those Members who would like to attend the AGM in person can safely do so. Please look out for details of the AGM and the candidates running in the election over the coming weeks. If you would like to deepen your involvement at the Club, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the committee chairs or governors. It’s critical that different Member perspectives and experiences are represented in our governing bodies. It’s this diversity that ensures a great Club experience for all.


Trista Bridges Bivens is the Club’s second vice president.




Focusing on the Future

Obstacles and Opportunities


Darren Morrish

It’s an honor and a privilege to join such a fantastic and iconic membership club as its new general manager. I have been familiar with Tokyo American Club for many years. While I have never been a Member (previous work commitments and travel demands made joining difficult), I have visited the Club on numerous occasions and I always kept an eye on the Club during my years in Tokyo and elsewhere. With Japan still feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the months ahead will inevitably continue to challenge and test our community. But I am excited at the opportunity to work with Members, management and staff to ensure we emerge from this period stronger. This is a chance to reinforce the Club’s position as a premier destination for both expats and internationally minded Japanese. Originally from Australia’s Gold Coast, I entered the hospitality industry at a young age. Over the last 25 years, I have worked in senior leadership roles in various countries, including Japan. Most recently, I was the general manager of a large resort hotel in Okinawa, where I led the team through what was without doubt the toughest time of our careers. As a leader of hospitality teams, I have always focused on how best to provide guest satisfaction and rewarding experiences. I want to apply this same approach at the Club. Over the coming weeks and months, I very much look forward to reuniting with those Members whom I already know and getting to know many others. I welcome Members’ thoughts and ideas on how we can continue to build community spirit, enhance the already excellent facilities and get back to socializing and seeing more of one another in the near future. Darren Morrish is the new general manager of the Club.


A stubby piece of stationery proved the first indicator that Japan’s telework transition wasn’t going to go as smoothly as many had hoped during Japan’s first Covid-19-triggered state of emergency last year. As commuters continued to fill Tokyo-bound trains each morning, despite pleas from officials to work from home, it became clear that some were heading to the office purely to stamp documents with company hanko seals. By the end of last year, Club Member Taro Kono, Japan’s minister in charge of regulatory reforms, had announced that the age-old practice would be scrapped in nearly 15,000 administrative processes. He then turned his attention to the country’s enduring love affair with the fax machine. But when a cabinet body said it intended to abolish the antiquated device at ministries and agencies, the decision was met with stiff resistance from hundreds of government offices that expressed concern about security with e-mail. The pandemic not only highlighted a reluctance to embrace technology in some parts of Japan’s economy, but also the shortcomings of its office culture. A business environment that prioritized hierarchical group dynamics, face-to-face meetings, long hours and afterwork get-togethers was unprepared for the new normal of work. In this month’s cover story, “Navigating the New Business as Usual,” a number of Members explain how they adapted to a work world flipped on its head. In some cases, that meant using Club facilities and services to motivate teams, hit sales targets and keep the wheels of business turning.


From the Shelves story. I loved the sense of humor and the idea that stories could be funny and entertaining. What inspired your love of books? Our family had lots of books and we were encouraged to read by our parents. I also remember my father reading at night for hours at a time.


What genre do you most enjoy? I suppose the genre I like now is politically oriented writing that provides a deep dive into the personalities and events that have driven the United States to where we find ourselves now.

John Loftus

If there was at least one positive to emerge from pandemic lockdowns, it was the book boom. Amid the resurgence in reading, publishers saw heightened interest in old classics. This nostalgia also helped to further accelerate sales of physical books. “Over the past few years, we have seen print overtake digital delivery, with some readers, in fact, investing in both versions of the books they love,”

wrote publisher Karen McDermott earlier this year. One reader who continues to indulge in the joys of browsing shelves and cracking covers is Club Library regular John Loftus. What was your favorite childhood book? The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. I loved the rhythm and rhyme of the

What are you reading now? I just f inished The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government by David Talbot. When were you last unable to put down a book? My way of dealing with not being able to put a book down is not for everybody. I find it hard to sit and read when there are obligations or chores that need to be addressed. So I generally will read later in the day after I’ve completed these tasks. This way, I can stop reading when I want to stop, as opposed to interrupting a book’s flow.


Toning Treatments


Even the most dedicated health nut might admit that when it comes to melting away that last bit of weight around the upper arms, thighs, hips and even chin, no amount of cardio or dieting seems to work. Rather than starving yourself for that perfect silhouette, remove stubborn cellulite and shape curves with The Spa’s Phytomer slenderizing body wraps and therapies. All month, take 20 percent off 60-minute, full-body Sculpt Zone (¥11,440) tonic treatments and P5 Slimming (¥10,120) algae-infused wraps. For best results, book your discounted three- or five-treatment package today for a toned, healthier you. OZ


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Laying a Foundation for Lifelong Literacy Language is best learned in an environment where children are motivated and stimulated by meaningful topics that they want to engage with. Thatʼs why, at KPIS, teachers construct a supportive setting that inspires young learners to communicate freely and openly about a variety of subjects. KPIS studentsʼ reading and writing skills are nurtured on a daily basis by teachers who tell stories, read books aloud and encourage students to talk about actions, feelings and ideas that are important to them.

Visit or call 03-5707-0979



A Community Worth Sharing

Fall Refreshers





Risa Dimacali

Our friend David probably has no idea how much he’s changed our lives. When my husband, Brian, arrived in Japan to take up his position, David recommended that he join Tokyo American Club. Brian, who’s fluent in Japanese, was concerned about how I would adjust. David knew that his longtime friend could easily navigate Tokyo, but he thought that the Club would help me to feel less isolated. Years later, we credit David for initiating the wonderful experience we’ve had in Japan. I could have muddled along on my own to figure things out. And I probably would have slowly found friends. But the Club’s invaluable services made Tokyo life easier, and I had immediate access to a group of knowledgeable residents and eager newcomers for tips, socializing and exploring. For years now, we’ve enjoyed the Club’s recreation facilities, cultural events and learning opportunities. On many evenings, we settle in for conversations with lifelong friends from the United States, Japan and across the world while Club bartenders or sommeliers, knowing our preferences, appear with recommendations. I have also been able to use my professional skills in volunteering roles at the Club. Brian is happier knowing I’m happier. All thanks to a friend who thoughtfully recommended that we join this extraordinary Tokyo community. Member referrals are the Club’s most reliable source of new Members. When you introduce someone who is seeking an international experience and friendships within this fast-paced city, you give them opportunities to broaden their circle, optimize their time in Japan and contribute their background to the mix. The Club offers a monetary “thank you” for successful referrals, but the true, enriching reward is seeing your friends flourish within our community. Risa Dimacali is chair of the Club’s Membership Committee.  To refer a friend or colleague, contact the Membership Office at 03-4588-0687 or

Japan’s sweltering months might be behind us, but it can be tough to shake off that craving for summer’s favorite sipper: rosé. For those looking for some final summer flavors, I recommend giving Pursued by Bear’s 2019 Blushing Bear Rosé (¥4,730) a try. I’m a huge fan of Hollywood actor Kyle MacLachlan’s Washington winery, and this Bandol-inspired wine’s refreshing crispness and fruitiness will not disappoint. If you’re already searching for something to pair with this year’s holiday feasts, look no further than Brooks’ 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir—another Pacif ic Northwest winner. Wonderfully spicy and full-bodied with toasted cherry flavors and a smooth, mellow f inish. Available for ¥4,290. An absolute Cellar favorite of mine is the Club’s very own Hakkaisan junmai ginjo sake (¥3,300), which was first produced for the Club’s 90th anniversary in 2018. Smooth and crisp with a silky hint of licorice, I recommend serving it chilled. Its versatility means you can enjoy it on its own or paired with cheese, pasta, meat or fish. It also makes a great gift if you’re heading home for the holidays. Bill DeLorme is a member of the Club’s Wine & Beverage Committee. For the month of October, receive a 10 percent discount on purchases of at least three bottles of any of these recommended Cellar libations.



Events in October Since some events may be postponed or cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, please check the Club website for the most up-to-date information.


Gallery Exhibition: Tomoo Hamada & Fujiya Sakuma


The grandsons of two pioneering ceramic artists, who helped put the Tochigi town of Mashiko on the pottery map, display their exquisite works at the Club.  Through October 18  Frederick Harris Gallery  Artworks available for purchase through The Cellar  Details online



Friday Night Live: Oktoberfest At this Bavarian-themed Friday Night Live, pack in all the bier and bratwurst you can handle as a traditional German oompah duo provides the rhythmic soundtrack to the evening’s celebrations.  6–9pm  Winter Garden  ¥2,200 (walk-ins: ¥3,300)  Adult Members only  Details online


Mashiko Market Stock up on much more than ceramics from the world-famous folk art mecca. Shop for fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, jam, coffee, juice, senbei crackers and more for a chance to win a Mashiko hotel stay or sake set.  11am–6pm  Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms  Details online


Youth Toastmasters Club: Self-Empowerment Youngsters pick up tips on public speaking, debating and how to hold an audience’s attention from members of the Club’s own Toastmasters group.  2–4pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  ¥1,100  Ages 10–18  Details online


Gourmet New Year Feast Whether you ring in the New Year with a popping of champagne corks or the bong of a temple bell, the Club’s osechi selection will ensure an exceptional start to 2022. In a contemporary twist on the centuries-old Japanese tradition of feasting on specially prepared dishes for the first meal of the year, Club chefs have crafted a breakfast of gourmands. Presented in stacked jubako boxes, the osechi comprises Club signatures and delicacies, from Snake River Farms American wagyu tenderloin and local soy-glazed duck to Irish blue lobster and smoked Hiroshima oysters.

“Each year, we look at how we can provide a memorable culinary experience for New Year’s Day, and this osechi does just that,” says Lindsay Gray, the Club’s executive chef. “All these ingredients are the best of the best.” This luxury feast—limited to just 100 sets—is complemented by a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal champagne, providing a regal touch to a custom that emerged from Japan’s imperial court. NJ  Order by December 20  ¥48,000  Pickup from The Cellar: December 31 (8am–4pm)  Details online



Up your squash game with 20-minute practice sessions alongside Club pro Rico Cheung. Perfect for beginners and intermediate-level players alike.

Kazuko Morio, Connections’ director of tours, offers tips on the best spots for taking in Japan’s breathtaking autumn colors. Read more about Morio’s passion for sharing Japanese culture on page 19.

Social Squash Partner

 4:30–6:30pm  Squash Court 3  Free  Ages 16 & above  Members only  Sign up online

Culture Connections

 10am  Connections members only  Details online


T-Bone Tuesday Not only is Tuesday the only day you can order a Snake River Farms American wagyu T-bone steak for just ¥16,500, but when you do, American Bar & Grill will add a 5oz (140g) rib eye filet on the house.  American Bar & Grill  Details online


Wednesday Storytime GEORGE NOBECHI

Youngsters pick up a lifelong love of reading at this weekly session of children’s tales from the shelves of the Children’s Library.  4–4:30pm  Children’s Library  Free  Ages 2–6  Details online



Toastmasters Luncheon Pick up public speaking tips while building podium confidence at these regular, peer-supported meetups of the Club’s cohort of Toastmasters.  12–1:30pm  ¥2,420 (online: ¥550)  Sign up online


Board Together Test your wits at the Library’s (tech-free) tabletop game club while learning the finer points of old-school boardgames like Risk, Catan, D&D, chess and more. Continues every second Friday.  5–6:30pm  Teen Connection  ¥1,100  Recommended for ages 12–18  Sign up online


Cub Scout Meeting Elementary school kids explore the world of Scouting through meetings of the Club-sponsored Pack 51.  6:30–8:30pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  Details online


Karuizawa Photography Trip Autumn means Instagram feeds bursting with hastily snapped shots of fall foliage that soon blend into one another. This month, learn how to shoot landscapes of blazing hues from an award-winning photographer. During this inaugural enrichment program from Connections, professional lensman George Nobechi leads a tour of Karuizawa’s off-the-beaten-track gems. Members will have the chance to visit and photograph hidden waterfalls, spectacular volcanic rock formations, a shrine’s millennium-old Linden tree and a charming, centuries-old village. “If we’re lucky, we may also see animals busy preparing for the arrival of winter,” Nobechi says. “Best of all, the cooler temperatures mean that fewer people come from Tokyo at this time of year, making it one of the best times to be in Karuizawa.”

But you don’t necessarily need to know your ISO from your DOF to join this one-day journey to the mountains of Nagano. “With a few pointers and proper feedback on what makes certain photos work, you can start on the path to becoming a good photographer,” says Nobechi, who will also lead a photography tour to Nikko on October 8. “Or perhaps you are already a good photographer hoping to become a great photographer. Regardless of where you are in terms of skill level, there is no doubt that bringing photography into your life and into your travels will change the way you see the world—for good.” NJ  9am–5pm  Meeting point: Karuizawa Station  ¥17,200 (plus admission fees, lunch and local transportation)  Sign up online

Winter Sports Sale Whether you’re in the market for skis, boots or winter wear to turn heads, this sale of top-shelf Salomon equipment has what you need for a season of thrills on Japan’s slopes.  10:30am–7pm  Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms  Details online



Creative kids craft their own comic book with Library manager Drew Damron. The fun and stories continue every second Saturday of the month.

Mask up and mingle with friends over happy-hour drinks during this monthly mixer.

DIY Comic Book Club

 11:30am–1:30pm  Teen Connection  ¥2,200  Ages 6–14  Sign up online

Cocktail Connections

 5–7pm  Connections members only  Details online

O CTOBER  | 1 1



TAC Talk: Justin McCurry The Tokyo correspondent for The Guardian newspaper discusses his recently published book War on Wheels and the intriguing culture of competitive keirin cycling in Japan.  7–8pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Sign up online


Exploring Chinatown Immerse yourself in the culture and flavors of Japan’s largest Chinatown during this half-day tour to the Yokohama quarter of Motomachi.  9am–2pm  Connections members: ¥4,500 (non-Connections members & guests: ¥5,000)  Adults only  Details online


Gaja Wine Dinner Giovanni Gaja, the fifth-generation scion of the famed Italian winemaking dynasty, virtually hosts this dinner of stellar Piedmont wines and Club cuisine.  5–10pm  New York Ballroom  ¥24,200 (guests: ¥29,040)  Limit: two guests per membership  Details online


Boy Scout Meeting Youngsters discover adventure, friendships and lifelong skills through the Club-sponsored Troop 51.  5–7pm  Activity Room  Details online


Book Lovers’ Group Join fellow bibliophiles for moderated discussions on recent reads held on the third Thursday of the month. Contact the Library for more details on works to be discussed.  11am–12:30pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  Free  Details online


Geisha Experience Experience the skill and charm of classical geisha entertainers during this exclusive event. Details on page 15.  3–4:30pm  ¥3,300 (guests: ¥4,400)  Ages 15 & above  Sign up online



Gallery Exhibition: Yoko Otsuki A Kansai native and graduate of the Kyoto City University of Arts, Yoko Otsuki is a distinctly Japanese painter with a decidedly Western eye. Whether it’s her scenes of kimono-clad children playing with summer fireworks, festivalgoers flocking around a portable mikoshi shrine or lantern-illuminated cherry blossom trees, the soft lines and blended hues lend a nostalgic quality to Otsuki’s works. Through November 8, this contemplative exhibition at the Frederick Harris Gallery should please Western and Japanese art lovers alike. OZ Moment I realized I wanted to become an artist. When I was a high school student, I was crazy about rhythmic gymnastics. However, I injured my Achilles tendon and had to stop. Then, one of my paintings won the grand prize at a major local art festival. That led me to believe that I might be able to

paint for a living. What I would tell my 20-year-old self. Having a family may make it difficult to paint, but there’s also a sense of joy and fulfillment that comes with it. Your emotional depth will grow, which will open up many possibilities. My perfect creative environment. A quiet place with enough space, time to myself and an environment free of constraints. Artist, living or dead, I’d most like to share a meal with. Shoen Uemura [Meiji-era nihonga painter]. I would like to ask her about her strength and perseverance in such a severely male-dominated society.  Through November 8  Frederick Harris Gallery  Artworks available for purchase through The Cellar  Details online


Coffee Connections Set yourself up for a fall of new friendships at this monthly gettogether of Connections members.  10am  Connections members only  Details online


Outlet Shopping and Horse Riding Tour Giddyup in the shadow of Mount Fuji or spend the day browsing the bargains of Gotemba Outlet Mall, with an optional trip to a nearby garden and sweets factory.  8am–6pm  Adults only  Details online


The authors of Collision Course detail the stunning twists and turns that took one-time auto titan Carlos Ghosn from Japanese boardrooms to a life in exile. Read more on page 18.  7–8pm  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Copies of Collision Course available for ¥3,600  Sign up online


TAC Talk: Hans Greimel & William Sposato

Halloween at the Club Double, double, toil and trouble! From scary-good family games and crafts to skills-building workshops for adults, there’s some hocus-pocus for everyone to enjoy this Halloween month. OZ



24 & 31

Head to the hills for an invigorating autumn day of trail running with professional ultrarunner Tomo Ihara. Aimed at runners who can comfortably run 5 kilometers.

Skip the candy corn and licorice and stock up on premium gift boxes and trick-or-treat packs from the world-famous Swiss chocolatier.

Craft your own jack-o’-lantern at a family-friendly session guaranteed to put a crooked smile on your face.

Trail Running Clinic

 9–2pm  ¥4,400 (guests: ¥5,280)  Details online

Lindt Chocolate Treats

 The Cellar  Details online


Pumpkin Carving

 10am–5:30pm  Gymnasium  ¥3,300  Ages 6 & above  Members only  Sign up online

Show & Tell Jamboree: Ghoulish Gossip


Young orators wax poetic on their scariest costumes, sweetest treats and more at this public speaking workshop.

Spine-tingling storytelling, creepy arts and crafts, a heebie-jeebie-filled haunted house and much more.

 Details online

 2–3:30pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥1,000 (guests: ¥1,200)  Ages 6–9  Sign up online



 9am–3:45pm  Gymnasium  Ages 2–14: ¥2,750; ages 15 & above: free; walk-ins: ¥3,300  Details online


Men’s Golf Group: Hodogaya Country Club Club players embrace Japan’s best golf season with an early-morning tee time at a century-old course in Yokohama.

Saturday Storytime Kids jump into the weekend with tales of magic and adventure from the shelves of the Children’s Library.  11:30am–12pm  Children’s Library  Free  Details online

Halloween Spooktacular

Toastmasters Luncheon: Halloween Haunt


Share your favorite ghost story or creepy campfire yarn at this meeting of the Club’s public speaking troop.

Bust some sweet tricks off an inflatable trampoline or dive for sunken treats at this aquatic extravaganza.

 12–1:30pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  ¥2,420 (online: ¥550)  Details online

 3–4pm & 4:30–5:30pm  Sky Pool  ¥2,200  Ages 5–12  Details online

Halloween Splash-A-Round

O CTOBER  | 13

It’s Time to

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Custodians of Japanese Culture

Ahead of an exclusive performance for Members this month, three geisha reveal what it takes to become a traditional entertainer. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER


he striking white oshiroi makeup. The flowing sleeves of a silk kimono. The immaculately coiffed hair adorned with golden kanzashi pins and multicolored ribbons. Even if all one catches is a scant glance of wooden geta-clad feet shuffling around a corner, one word is all it takes to describe the sight: geisha. “Ever since I was a young girl, I was captivated whenever I saw a geisha on TV or in the movies,” explains Mayu, who fulfilled a childhood dream to become a geisha in Tokyo’s Akasaka business district. “It always struck me as such a beautiful part of traditional Japanese culture,” adds Maki of the profession that emerged in the 17th century. “I thought I’d be very happy if I could become a geisha one day.”

Akasaka Geisha Association geisha

Both originally from Sendai, Maki, 45, and Mayu, 47 (geisha are identified by their professional names), became acquainted while working together in a local hotel. When they confessed their mutual admiration for geisha over after-work drinks one evening 20 years ago, the pair resolved to leave Sendai and join an okiya geisha house. “I have to reject so many young girls who apply to train with us,” explains Akasaka Geisha Association okiya head and practicing geisha Ikuko, who turns down those who see the profession solely as a money-making venture. “The training is so long and so difficult that I tell the girls and their families that I’m really taking them on as my own daughters in a way.” While there is no set training period, the sheer breadth of skills required for performing professionally typically

requires years of tutelage from a veteran like Ikuko, who still performs at the age of 81. In addition to perfecting the delicate art of conversation (with all of the Japanese language’s notorious complexity), Maki and Mayu were also expected to master several instruments, including the stringed shamisen and the taiko drum. But with such a mountain of talents to hone, where does a would-be geisha begin? “In our okiya, dancing forms the foundation,” says Mayu. “Everything else a geisha must master, such as playing an instrument or entertaining guests, flows from dance.” “Traditional dance forces your mind and body to work in harmony,” says Ikuko. “Once you can do that gracefully, everything else will come much more easily.” Though Mayu and Maki are grateful for Ikuko’s demanding mentorship, they admit that the flagging number of new trainees might be related. The pair are among an estimated few hundred geisha in Japan today, a fraction of the tens of thousands who worked a century ago. “Strict training of course makes for skilled performers,” says Maki, “but most of all we need the next generation to fall in love with geisha like we did.” After all, Mayu adds, perfection isn’t the goal. Dedication is. “I’ve been training for years, but we’re always learning,” she says. “That is the essence of being a geisha.” GEISHA EXPERIENCE  October 23  3–4:30pm  ¥3,300 (guests: ¥4,400)  Ages 15 & above  Sign up online

O CTOBER  | 15


Two Perfect Getaways Club Med’s vacation destinations combine convenience and comfort


lub Med, which operates destinations known around the world for their family-friendly, all-inclusive experiences, is the first of its kind to arrive in Japan. The company was founded in 1950 in Alcúdia, a village on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca. Ever since, Club Med has been the pioneer in all-inclusive resorts, opening 70 award-winning establishments worldwide in some of the most desirable locations. The first destination in Japan was opened in Sahoro, Hokkaido Prefecture, in 1987. In the years that followed, Club Med opened two more locations in the country—one in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, and the other in Tomamu, Hokkaido Prefecture. These two locations are known for cultivating an international atmosphere, drawing guests from around the world, and for being staffed by a global team of G.Os®—Gentle Organizers, the staff who go to all lengths to ensure guests are enjoying themselves thoroughly during their stays.

These resorts include everything you might need—delicious food, open bars, Kids Clubs and a variety of activities and entertainment are included in the packages. As travel begins to start again, these are some of the reasons why Club Med resorts are the best places to stay for a vacation, especially for those looking for family-friendly getaways. NORTHERN WONDERLAND Club Med Tomamu is located in the heart of Hokkaido, nestled amidst the island’s beautiful mountain landscapes.The accommodation’s stylish and contemporary designs, as well as the impressive array of entertainment options, activities, bars and restaurants, make this resort a mustexperience destination. This prime location is an ideal place to enjoy winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding. Unlimited ski passes are included in the all-inclusive premium package deal, and ski lessons are available for all ages and skill levels. Hokkaido’s powder snow is renowned by skiers as

some of the highest-quality snow that can be found anywhere in the world. In addition, Hokkaido gets some of Japan’s heaviest snowfall. To enjoy the winter experience even more, you can also try your hand at activities such as snow trekking and ice sliding. Ice Village, which is operated by Hoshino Resort, is open exclusively during the upcoming winter months. Iceskating, fireworks, an ice restaurant and cocktails served in ice glasses are all part of the magical winter wonderland. In the evenings, illuminated ice sculptures decorate the venue—perfect for a festive winter vacation. COME FOR THE FOOD Another perk of the all-inclusive resort is the main restaurant, Itara. The buffet restaurant provides guests with a variety of international and Japanese dishes. The food all highlights ingredients from Hokkaido, from bread made with local organic flour to freshly caught seafood and Hokkaido soft serve ice cream. In addition to the main dining room and live kitchen, the restaurant features four dif-




ferent dining rooms: Bucolic Valley, Farmhouse, Sea of Clouds and Rays of Sun. The restaurant features cuisines from around the world, and menus change daily. There is also a Baby Corner, which offers special meals and amenities to make dining with a young one more relaxing. The specialty restaurant Haku provides guests with a delicious yakiniku experience featuring premium beef cuts, as well as a diverse range of seafood options. Adults can also enjoy a unique experience at the resort’s concept bar, The Nest. Anything from a glass of premium Japanese whiskey—such as Yamazaki or Hakushu—to local sake tasting can be enjoyed there. The venue offers a tranquil atmosphere where you can relax during the evenings, and bar cover charge is included in all packages. OKINAWAN OASIS The second of Club Med’s resorts is located in the tropical paradise of Ishigaki. Called

Club Med Kabira, it is situated on the coast of the beautiful island, near the award-winning Kabira Bay and in front of Ishigaki’s best beach. It is 30 minutes by car from Ishigaki Airport. This location promotes the Okinawan way of life, incorporating wellness and health in their range of activities, entertainment and food and beverage options. All rooms face the ocean. The healthy local cuisine—along with other international dishes—is served in the stylish Main Restaurant, which boasts panoramic sea vistas. For those looking to quench their thirst, there is the cozy Tingara bar, an open bar that serves a variety of alcoholic beverages, virgin cocktails and other drinks. WINTER FUN Rest assured, Club Med Kabira’s charms are not limited to the summer. There are more than enough activities to enjoy during the winter months.

From November to April, guests can take guided windsurfing lessons at one of the best windsurfing spots in Asia. Those who are more experienced can go at it alone, taking in all of the natural glory. Other activities on offer include kayaking, mountain biking, tennis and sunset yoga sessions. As Okinawa is known for its beautiful tropical waters, diving is a must. Scuba diving and snorkeling are great ways to enjoy the turquoise beauty of Ishigaki’s waters, and to see the multicolored coral and teeming sea life. October and November are the best months to see graceful manta rays up close. For those looking to take home more than just memories, there are exclusive cooking lessons twice a week, where participants can learn to make Okinawan cuisine. And guided lessons on the sanshin—a traditional Okinawan instrument that sounds like the banjo—are also available for guests. KIDS CLUB Both the Tomamu and Kabira resorts offer perfect getaways for family fun with a little help from the Kids Club. Children can be left under the watchful and professional eyes of well-trained staff while enjoying an array of activities. Not only does this allow adults more freedom to kick back and relax, it lets the children meet kids from different countries and have fun with new friends. Club Med doesn’t just offer a hasslefree booking process. They provide families with the freedom and security of a vacation that pleases everyone.

To book a winter vacation at Club Med Kabira or Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido: Activities are subject to change. Additional fees may be charged for excursions, food and beverages at concept bars and restaurants, and the Petite Club (ages 2–3). Please check the Club Med website for more information.




I N D E P T H | B U S I N E SS

Carlos Ghosn

The Rise and Fall of an Auto Icon

In a new book, two Japan-based journalists chronicle the downfall of ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn. WORDS TIM HORNYAK


he arrest of Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on allegations of financial misconduct in November 2018 sent shockwaves far beyond Japan’s shores. The Brazilian-born French and Lebanese executive had arrived in the country two decades before on an impossible mission: to revive the struggling Japanese automaker and turn Renault’s 37 percent stake into a profitable alliance. “Le Cost Cutter” set about hacking, shutting and consolidating. A year later, Nissan was back in the black. Two years after that, its operating margins were more than double the industry average. In 2016, Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan alliance,


making it one of the world’s largest auto conglomerates. But all that was forgotten in the flurry of indictments, detentions and Ghosn’s extraordinary escape to Lebanon in 2019. His deputy, American lawyer Greg Kelly, was also arrested but remained in Japan to face trial. Safe from extradition, Ghosn claimed there was a Nissan conspiracy to put him behind bars. He said he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant and basic human rights are denied.” But what chain of events led to the steely-eyed boss stowing away in a musical equipment crate aboard a private

jet? Collision Course: Carlos Ghosn and the Culture Wars That Upended an Auto Empire, by journalists Hans Greimel and William Sposato, is a breezy, deeply researched account that attempts to explain the 67-year-old’s rise and fall. They take up the prosecutors’ case that Ghosn—already underpaid compared with foreign peers—had a fallback plan when his roughly $20 million salary was halved in 2009 when Japanese companies had to disclose individual executive pay. “It is difficult to assess the question of Ghosn’s guilt,” says Greimel, an Automotive News correspondent who has covered Ghosn since 2007. “He has yet to stand trial, and he likely never will. Prosecutors have yet to publicly produce detailed evidence against Ghosn, arguing they can’t because it’s still an open case. At the same time, there was clearly deep-rooted concern about Ghosn and the direction he was taking the company. But, as we write in the book, the two scenarios are not necessarily mutually exclusive.” Sposato, a Foreign Policy contributor, notes that white-collar crime is a gray area and differs by jurisdiction. “The part of the Ghosn case involving salary issues, now the subject of the Greg Kelly trial, was handled in an administrative filing in the US, while there were more than 60 days of hearings in a criminal trial in Tokyo,” he says. One of the biggest challenges the authors faced was the speed at which the story evolved. “So far, there is no closure to the scandal for any of these parties,” says Greimel, who will discuss the book together with Sposato at the Club this month. Ghosn is reportedly preparing a legal counterattack to clear his name. But how will it all end? “Few would have guessed the various turns in the saga so far,” Sposato says, “and with someone like Carlos Ghosn now sitting and fuming in Lebanon, it’s fair to say we have not heard the last.” TAC TALK: HANS GREIMEL & WILLIAM SPOSATO  October 27  7–8pm  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Copies of Collision Course available for ¥3,600  Sign up online

I N D E P T H | C O N N EC T I O N S

Cultural Calling

A longtime Connections volunteer explains how a chance conversation at the Club led to an entirely new and rewarding career. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER


ith his son set to depart for college in the fall of 1991, American author Harriett Jackson Brown Jr jotted down more than 500 lessons and maxims he’d yet to impart to his boy. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more,” Brown wrote in his bestselling Life’s Little Instruction Book. Kazuko Morio may not have leafed through those pages, but she knows that sentiment well. “Volunteering with Connections changed my life,” she says. “I know it.” Today, Morio, in her volunteer role as director of Connections’ tours, organizes the group’s lineup of annual excursions. She also leads a series of educational garden walks as part of Connections’ enrichment programs. However, when she first joined the Club, her story resembled that of so many other Members. “After living in the United States for six years, I moved back to Japan,” says Morio of resettling in Tokyo in 2008. “But just joining the Club didn’t allow me to get to know many people, so I attended a Coffee Connections [event] to meet people.” Over cups of joe and tea, Morio explained to a Connections (then known as the Women’s Group) board member how she originally worked as a high school teacher in Japan before relocating to Ohio, where she occasionally volunteered in neighborhood schools to introduce children to Japanese history and culture. The board member wondered if Morio would be interested in doing something similar at the Club. “I’ve been a tour guide with Connections for more than 10 years now,” Morio says. “I’ve led maybe about 80 different tours.”


Kazuko Morio

That decade of explaining the finer points of Japanese garden design and introducing hidden cultural gems to her fellow Members has done much more than just deepen Morio’s ties to the Club community. “I began to think that guiding is my calling,” she explains. “To become a professional guide, [I would have to get] a national license, which requires a deep and broad knowledge of everything about Japan, including history, culture, geography, politics and the economy.” After studying for and passing the Japan Tourism Agency-administered exams, Morio became a national guide-interpreter. “I retired from my 25-year teaching career and became a professional tour

guide,” says Morio. “Now, I work in the travel industry.” The ongoing pandemic has drastically reduced the number of foreign tour groups she leads, but her work with Connections continues. Just as she felt as a fresh-faced volunteer, Morio remains more than happy to pay it forward. “Most Members have already visited the most famous sightseeing spots and know a lot about Japanese culture,” she says. “I try to find something new and interesting for them, so it’s always a wonderful time.”  Visit the Tours & Excursions page of the Club website for details on upcoming Morio-led tours.

O CTOBER  | 19




USUAL Spurred by pandemic-induced upheaval, several Members explain how the Club has helped them embrace the new normal of doing business. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGES KAYO YAMAWAKI




hen Cody Kroll was appointed his American recruitment company’s country manager for Japan, his remit was clear: establish and expand a team of motivated salespeople and support staff. For almost two years, the New York State native oversaw everything from employee recruitment and onboarding without a hitch. Then, Covid-19 changed just about everything. “We went fully remote pretty quickly but trying to create and maintain a culture is very difficult when everything is virtual,” Kroll, 33, says of those early days of the pandemic. “We had to rethink everything we wanted to do together as a team.” As much as possible, Kroll went all-in on the “new normal” of remote work. Throughout 2020, weekly meetings pivoted to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other virtual platforms. New hires were assigned experienced mentors so they could always find an answer to their questions. For all that newfound flexibility, Kroll still felt that when it came to nurturing company culture, something was missing. The solution? A two-day training session at the Club for staff. “We wanted to try to figure out an engaging way to do it in person, if possible,” Kroll explains. “We wanted to get away from the laptop and from all the distractions there.” Over two full-day sessions in the Club’s B2 Brooklyn rooms, Kroll and a team of eight salespeople worked through training modules, roleplaying exercises and a host of other skill-building activities that would have fallen flat if conducted purely online. “It was so much more effective doing that training in person,” says Kroll. “We were able to really immerse ourselves in the content. It’s something that the team still talks about.” A report on the future of work by management consultancy McKinsey & Company earlier this year found that while up to 25 percent of workers in advanced economies could work productively from home between three and five days a week, some tasks remain better done in person.


Justin Kerr

“Negotiations, critical business decisions, brainstorming sessions, providing sensitive feedback and onboarding new employees are examples of activities that may lose some effectiveness when done remotely,” the report said. With new Covid-19 variants emerging and talk of booster shots ramping up, the end of the pandemic could be further off than previously thought. But as businesses the world over enter their third year of virus-interrupted operations, many are rethinking their shifts to fully virtual workstyles and, like Kroll, are exploring how a hybrid style might be more advantageous. “Broader discussions around disruption, new business models, thinking about new business lines to explore—those are much better held face-to-face,” says Member Justin Kerr, a senior executive with an American electronic components maker. “And being outside the four walls of an office has yielded good results for us in terms of more open discussions.”


I N D E P T H | FO CU S Unlike Kroll, Kerr had the luxury of managing a fully established team before the pandemic hit Japan. However, he still leverages the benefits of in-person meetings to both maintain a sense of normalcy for his team and provide some respite from endless virtual calls. “There’s a real sense of fatigue that can set in as [the pandemic] wears on, especially with no clear end in sight,” says Kerr, 42, whose decision to hold events at the Club last November and this March was also influenced by the Club’s set of rigorous safety measures in place. “One of my goals in coming to the Club was to give my team something to look forward to. It brought some excitement above and beyond your typical hotel, and I feel strongly that getting together in a safe way outweighs the risks.” One might wonder why companies looking to host in-person meetings don’t just congregate at their own offices, but multiple indus-


tries are already rethinking their office needs. Last July, Japan’s Fujitsu announced that it would be doing away with half of its in-country office space by 2022, which would shift 80,000 employees to virtual workstyles. And the IT solutions firm is no aberration. A June survey of 173 Japanese corporations by the recruitment firm Robert Walters found that 55 percent had plans in place to divest from physical office spaces. “I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the way things were,” says Kroll. “Our long-term strategy is still yet to be determined, but I do think there’s probably a lot of opportunity in a hybrid-type solution.” For firms set in their ways, says longtime remote worker and Member Stefan Nilsson, the industry-wide impetus to embrace these changes might end up coming from individual employees who have little interest in returning to the stress of a daily commute. “The firms that aren’t changing might find that they’re not attracting the quality of people they want anymore,” say Nilsson, 47, who divides his work time between his seaside Zushi retreat and the Club’s own work-friendly venues. “If Japanese companies still want top talent, it will be a demand-driven change.” Of course, changing employee needs are not the only consideration for companies right now.

Sunghwa Lee and Jang Shin Ryang


Stefan Nilsson

“Before [the pandemic,] we used to bring all of our Japanese buyers and American suppliers together in one place here in Tokyo,” says Member Sunghwa Lee, who runs a food import-export consultancy together with her husband Jang Shin Ryang. “But if we did a 100 percent virtual event, it’s very hard for each side to leave satisfied.” Without the chance for their Japanese clients to physically inspect the foodstuffs from their American export partners, sales would be unlikely. But with travel restrictions ongoing, arranging for stateside representatives to visit Japan was even more improbable. The solution, Lee, 60, and Ryang, 65, felt, lay somewhere in between. They organized advanced shipments of product samples from their American suppliers while inviting them and their domestic Japanese customers to a series of virtual meeting rooms designed to simulate the in-person experience. From the Club’s B2 event space last March, Lee and Ryang hosted two days of online discussions between 22 attendees, with the samples sent from America on hand for their Japanese partners’ close inspection. “The sales rate was very high,” says Lee. “Compared to our in-person events where maybe one or two trade leads are produced, the March event [saw] maybe 60 or 70 percent of clients converted, even though it was a hybrid meeting.”


Whereas Lee and Ryang limited themselves in the past to a pool of foreign clients physically able to travel to Tokyo, this new approach lowered the cost of entry for their stateside partners to nothing more than postage for samples and a stable Internet connection. “Our clients on both sides were very, very happy,” says Lee. “We have made up our minds to continue as much as we can to use the Club for these kinds of hybrid activities.” As paradigm shifting as it may seem, this new age of flexible, amalgamated workstyles doesn’t need to do away with every age-old business maxim. In fact, when it comes to companies reverting wholesale to pre-pandemic workstyles, the market seems to be deciding very much in favor of an exciting, new direction. MEETINGS AT THE CLUB  For conferences large and small, book your next hybrid or in-person meeting or event by contacting 03-4588-0308 or


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

Court Ambition

Ranked third in Japan’s national junior tennis standings, 16-year-old Member Hugo Loing discusses his dream of playing the sport he loves professionally.


was around 5 years old when I hit my first tennis ball. We moved to Nashville in the States, where I won a few tournaments and was top five in the state for under 10s at one point. I won the [Tennessee] state championships in doubles and finished third in the singles. Winning was nice, but it wasn’t my main focus. I just enjoyed playing tennis. I learned the American style of play there. In Europe, where clay is the main surface, it’s about consistency and trying to force the error on the other player. Whereas America is mostly hard court and a lot more fast-paced, making it a more aggressive, attacking style. In 2018, I went for a summer camp at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca for a week. I was one of five [juniors] to be offered a place. At first, we were a bit hesitant, but then we thought it would be a shame to miss the opportunity. I started in September of 2018 and spent a year there. There was an American school at the academy. We finished school at around 1 o’clock and then it was tennis

Hugo Loing

and fitness for the afternoon. Saturdays were match practice. All the kids were super competitive. A lot of big tennis players came to the academy. I remember one day I was on the clay courts and Nadal was training on one court and [Naomi] Osaka was training on the next court. That was quite special. Toni Nadal, Rafa’s coach, worked with my group quite a lot. I had oneon-ones with him, which was really good. I enjoyed my time there and it made me a better player. Coming back, I can tell I matured a lot. Now I am training in Yokohama with coach [Toru] Yonezawa, who is [Kei] Nishikori’s former coach and has worked with many successful players. I train there around four hours a day, five days a week. In general, the Japanese style of training is definitely more rigorous. Due to the pandemic, the first ITF [International Tennis Federation junior circuit tournament] I played in was only in late 2020. It was a firstlevel tournament, and I managed to

get through the first-round qualifiers. Over the summer, I played in higherlevel ITF tournaments, and I just felt much better. My first ITF tournament in the summer was in San Marino. I played my second [competition] in Italy, where I lost to an eventual finalist. I then flew to Serbia on a wild card to compete in two of the highest-level ITF tournaments. The tournaments were exceptional for me, but these guys are doing it every other weekend. Tennis is a lot about experience. From now until Christmas, I have three ITF tournaments in Japan. I want to try and win a main draw match and get on the leaderboard. My main goal is to become professional. Obviously, I have to find a balance between tennis and my studies. It does take some sacrifices, but I think I manage the balance. If, for some reason, I don’t become professional, going to an American university and playing tennis there would be amazing. As told to INTOUCH’s Nick Jones.



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Up Close

AZABUDAI US A George Gross Walt Disney Attractions Japan Ltd. Richard Gustafson & Haruna Nishi Gustafson DFS-LVMH

Atsushi & Hiroko Hirose Hirose Eye Clinic Asako Kadota & Simon Liu Accenture Japan Ltd. Takao & Hiroko Kamiya Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC

Mark Hague & Kian Chye Chong Raytheon Intelligence & Space

Kentaro & Ayako Kanai Oasis Management (Japan) Ltd.

Nai-Yao Kao & Yuchi Chang Sunfield Audio

Shinya & Namiko Kaneko Kojima General Law Office

Richard Kincaid & Hikaru Tamura Healios K.K.

Tetsuya Kikuta Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc.

Mark & Jacqueline Militello The Bank of New York Mellon, Tokyo Branch

Takeshi & Ikuko Koseki Tsukuba Memorial Hospital

Evan Soll Wolt Japan K.K.

Hiroaki Mori & Xueyan Liu McCann Erickson Japan, Inc. Kotaro & Tomoko Oshima Hale LLC


Yurika & Naoto Suzuki Nissin Meat Products Co., Ltd.

Alister & Kihi Hosking Peak K.K. Jeremy Raper & Kei Yamaguchi Shinso Research Pte., Ltd.

Masanori & Yuriko Yazawa Kazen Holdings Corporation

(l–r) Rie, Mirei and Renzo Arroba and Cesar Giovanny Arroba III


Cesar Giovanny Arroba III & Rie Arroba

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

“Our first experience living in Japan was over 12 years ago. Since then, our family has grown to four and we have been back since 2018. As we have grown roots here, we have made many cross-cultural friends. Also, our children’s friendships have led to new adult friendships. We are really excited to be able to join our friends at the Club, especially in the swimming pool, and to get to know other Members through the many impressive activities.”


Eric Lee & Mihyun (Michelle) Park Fortress Investment Group Japan G.K.

Hirokazu (Rocky) Tsujio H&K LLC



Benoit Meslet & Eunkyoung Cho Manulife Life Insurance Company

Pavan Siamchai & Lea Oishi BCPG Japan



Yoshihisa & Marina Amano AMG Corporations K.K.

Rajiv Notani & Katherine Ahn Ueda Tradition Securities Ltd. Paul Wei

NIHONBASHI Toyotsugu Arisaka JAM, Inc.

So Shimada Tobu Chemical Co., Ltd.

Tokuhito Hashi Japan Asia Investment Co., Ltd.

Manabu Yajima Yajima Accounting Office

Shin Kusunoki Tokyo Digital Ideas Co., Ltd.

Departures Sanford & Lisa Browne

Iain & Melanie Jamieson

Cullen Darby

Andreas & Angelika Koehler

John Derderian

Jason Lewis

Timothy & Andrea Grabowski

Takashi Notoh

M Campbell Gunn

Peter & Lin Smyth

Tetsuo Hamamoto

James & Erica Tomizawa


Paul Wei

Thermoway Corporation

“It is a delight to become a Member of Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi. Since the Club is walking distance from my office, I enjoy a refreshing workout in the light and spacious gym after work, and I occasionally work on my laptop in the American Room with a cup of freshly brewed coffee while admiring the beautiful interior. I am excited to meet many more Members from various backgrounds at the Club.”

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Creative City In the second installment of our three-part series, In Japan TV is back in the increasingly popular neighborhoods of the East Area of Tokyo Station (EATS). In this episode, we meet Sasha Tchernihovsky, who lives and works in Kiyosumi-shirakawa. Watch our video to find out why this location has been the perfect place for him to pursue his passion for creativity and entrepreneurship.


To be featured on In Japan TV, please contact: Garreth Stevens • 03-4540-7730 •

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



he kids grimaced as we pushed open the peeling door and brushed aside the overgrown plants enveloping the small side yard. Inside, the house was dusty, stale, dark and empty, other than a couple of skittering funamushi sea roaches. But even with the prospect of creatures inside, I was excited. My teenagers less so. Last summer, after spending a few weekends exploring the beautiful Izu Peninsula, my husband scoured the Internet for beachfront property. While he doesn’t speak Japanese, working for a Japanese company means he has incredible research skills. His search turned up a little house on a tiny road next to a rocky beach. We drove down to take a look. It was a funky, late-1960s beach home that had never been upgraded. We slid open the five wooden shutters that covered the paned windows. Light flooded in. The one-storied house had its original windows, floors, roof tiles, walls and kitchen, with a low, metal sink and shelves. Traditional fusuma doors and slid-

ing shoji screens separated the small, tatami-matted rooms. The main bedroom even had a tokonoma alcove, complete with hanging scroll. Driving back to Tokyo that day, my husband talked about how much fun it would be to spend the upcoming summer months demolishing the place. The kids were horrified at the thought of spending a single night there before it was remodeled, while I was dreaming about how to restore its original Japanese charm. New tatami mats and shoji doors. A big, onsen-style bathtub. My imagination ran wild! We have owned the house for more than a year now and have enjoyed many lovely weekends and holidays there. With no hot water and no screens on the windows, it is basically camping. We still use our nabe-style cooking stove to make coffee. And the remodeling project has taken a bit of a turn. We have been hesitant to start the demolition, but that hesitation has led to something new. This spring, as I practiced my art and created more paintings, I became cramped for space in Tokyo. That’s

when I realized that our Izu house would be the perfect place to work bigger and looser. With its fraying tatami mats, leaking roof and crumbling plaster walls, it offered an antidote to Tokyo’s fussy, clean environment. Nowhere in the house felt too precious to create in my own messy way. Armed with my art supplies, I set to work. The walls and sliding doors soon became canvases on which to experiment. I bought some wallpaper glue from the local DIY store and started attaching my art to the sandy walls, collaging shrine sale finds of old Japanese ledgers and dictionary illustrations with my own paintings. There are blue, acrylic abstracts in the bedroom, bright green monoprints of rice stalks in the hallway and ink drawings of bamboo in the kitchen. Walking through the house feels like being inside my own artwork. It’s heavenly. My humble Izu beach house has become an art project in itself, and I couldn’t be happier. Christina Lopp Schwabecher is a Club Member.


Staycation in Style Enjoy a Guest Studio getaway this fall. Through October 31, receive ¥4,000 a night to use while unwinding at the Club.

Res er vati o ns : 03- 45 88- 03 81 | ta c @ ta c - c l u b . o rg to kyo a me r i c a n c l u b . o rg


September 3 Friday Night Live

Classical guitar maestro Isana Akita entertained Members with a mesmerizing display of fretboard mastery during an evening recital in the Winter Garden. IMAGES YUUKI IDE




Traditions in Tea Ceremony

Take part in a ceremony once practiced by poets, samurai warriors and Japan’s courtly elite. Hosted in a private, tatami-floored teahouse, this afternoon of chanoyu tradition will offer participants an insight into the rituals of the ceremony and some respite from the demands of city living.


Sawa Okano (pictured left)

A certified instructor with the Omotesenke tea ceremony school, Sawa Okano has been teaching since 2011. She hosts chanoyu events in English for foreign diplomats, students and corporate executives. Okano formerly studied Japanese tea ceremony at the Urasenke schools in Tokyo and New York.


Rohini Verma

“Japanese tea ceremony is an art, where each gesture and act embodies a deeper meaning. The tranquility of Sawa sensei’s teahouse coupled with her grace and knowledge left me feeling refreshed and calm. This is a must-do experience for anyone who wishes to understand Japan and its values.”

TRADITIONS IN TEA CEREMONY  October 18  2–4pm  Nearest station: Hon Komagome Station  ¥6,600  Sign up online



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