November 2021 INTOUCH Magazine

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NOVEMBER 2021

Street Support Offering a helping Club hand to Tokyo’s homeless

INTOUCH

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TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

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毎月一回一日発行 第四十七巻六七九号 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十一月一日発行 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

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TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

NOVEMBER 2021

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Contents 22 HELP AND HAND-UP S FOR TOKYO’S HOMELESS

YUUKI IDE

FOLLOW US

Often neglected by society, Tokyo’s destitute and itinerant are offered ways to rebuild their lives by two Club-supported charities.

5

LE ADER SHIP

6

DIGE ST

10

AGENDA

INDEPTH

15

AQ UAT I C S

17

CU LT U R E

18

G OV E R N A N C E

22

FO CU S

17

26

WELLNE SS

STEEPED IN TR ADITION

27

REGISTER

29

VOICE

STROKE BY STROKE

One young Member’s impressive strides in the Sky Pool prove that there’s no such thing as an obstacle too big to overcome.

COMMUNITY

31

HIGHLIGHTS

32

PURSUIT

YUUKI IDE

A Canadian chanoyu tea ceremony master charts his journey from martial artist to converted disciple of the ancient tradition.

15

COVER IMAGE OF BIG ISSUE VENDOR SENSUKE MATSUI BY HARUNA SUZUKI

NOVEMBER  | 1


TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

INTOUCH

Representative Governor Michael Benner (2022)

Editor Nick Jones

First Vice President Sam Rogan (2022)

editor@tac-club.org

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)

GENERAL MANAGER

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

CLUB COMMITTEE CHAIRS

Business Suppor t Lian Chang

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

DIRECTORS

Finance Joe Moscato (Kenji Ota)

Communications Shane Busato

Food & Beverage Kristina Wright (Sam Rogan)

Facilities Toby Lauer

House Douglas Hymas (Catherine Ohura)

Finance Naoto Okutsu

Human Resources John Y Sasaki (Tetsutaro Muraki)

Food & Beverage Suranga Hettige Don

Membership Risa Dimacali (Trista Bridges Bivens)

Member Services Jonathan Allen

Nominating Ray Klein

Membership Mari Hori

Recreation Nils Plett (Christina Siegel)

Nihonbashi Noriaki Yamazaki

Risk Control Justin Keyes (John Flanagan)

Recreation Susanna Yung

TAC Nihonbashi Ginger Griggs (Alok Rakyan)

CONTRIBUTORS

TAC Sustainability Task Force Trista Bridges Bivens

Writers

Parentheses denote Board liaison.

Haruno Akiyama

SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRS

Michael Benner

Community Relations Hideki Endo

Risa Dimacali

Frederick Harris Gallery JoAnn Yoneyama

Tim Hornyak

Golf Charles Postles

Photographers

Squash Jeremy Markwick Smith

Donna Beeman

Swim Agnes Ouellette

Clara Garcia

TAC Talk Simon Farrell

Yuuki Ide

Wine & Beverage Keith Truelove

Ken Katsurayama Haruna Suzuki Kayo Yamawaki Illustrator Tania Vicedo

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To arrange a tour of the facilities,

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adver tising@tac-club.org

membership@tac-club.org

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03-4588-0687 | www.tokyoamericanclub.org

All prices referenced in INTOUCH include consumption tax.

2 | INTOUCH



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www.koyou-onesd.co.jp/en


LEADERSHIP

T

Seizing Our Moment WORDS MICHAEL BENNER IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

he past year has been a challenging one for the Club. But it has also featured a number of impressive firsts, proving the resilience of our community. Despite the restrictive conditions of the states of emergency, the Club continued to provide a safe and welcoming environment in which Members could meet, socialize and stay healthy. In a remarkable effort to help the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, the New York Ballroom transformed into a public vaccination center. Led by Sam Rogan and medical professionals like Naoko Fleming and coordinated by Connections volunteers, the initiative saw more than 25,000 people vaccinated. Our achievements go further. We launched the Club’s first-ever satellite hub, in Nihonbashi, in March. Members addressed the Club’s financial challenges by approving a new dues structure. We have begun acting on the ideas provided by Trista Bridges Bivens and the Sustainability Task Force, and just last month we welcomed Darren Morrish as our new general manager. The volunteer leaders involved in these projects—and so many others—dedicated countless hours and, at times, made hard decisions to ensure their success for the Club as a whole. We have accomplished a lot this year, and we have much for which to be thankful. Nevertheless, we join the Club to be part of a dynamic community. And for our community to flourish, the Club must continually reinvigorate itself. With the effects of the pandemic diminishing, we have an opportunity to reenergize the Club experience. Darren Morrish joins us at precisely the right moment. He will lead new initiatives and fresh approaches to existing services that should harness a long-awaited rebound of the economy. I encourage all Members to support him while embracing this period of positive change. On a personal note, serving as your representative governor this year has been humbling. The experience has allowed me to see the diverse perspectives of our membership and staff much more intimately. With harmonious, open communication at the core of our Club, I welcome everyone’s direct engagement. Feel free to approach me at the Club or contact me through the Management Office. The pandemic has helped us to reflect on what we value, and I believe we all want a Club that is vibrant and thriving. During this Thanksgiving month, please consider how you can help to reenergize our special community.

“WITH THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC DIMINISHING, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REENERGIZE THE CLUB EXPERIENCE.”

Michael Benner is the Club’s representative governor.

NOVEMBER | 5


D I G E ST E D I TO R

Democracy in Action

Urban Aid

YUUKI IDE

GOVERNANCE

On November 16, the governing process underpinning all aspects of Club life moves into high gear at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Alongside a full agenda of resolutions to be voted on is the election of the Board of Governors. Once the new lineup of governors is unveiled, the Board selects the Club’s representative governor. Turn to page 18 to learn more about the election process and the 15 Board candidates in the running. “The cornerstone of our democracy is the opportunity to vote,” says Sam Rogan, the Club’s first vice president. “Read the resolutions, know the candidates and the issues, and speak out and be heard!” OZ COMMUNIT Y

YUUKI IDE

Homegrown Help

In the spirit of the adage “charity begins at home,” Connections has expanded its support of local organizations serving vulnerable communities. Joining the seven longtime beneficiaries are four charities devoted to bringing relief to such areas as food insecurity and mental health. This year, Connections donated ¥7 million to these organizations that have been hit hard by the pandemic. “Because of Covid-19, soup kitchens have closed, and volunteers risk infections when they hand out bento boxes to the homeless,” says Grace Lee, chair of Connections’ charities committee. “Our policy is always to support local organizations that are struggling to receive other kinds of aid.” To read how Connections’ support is impacting Tokyo’s homeless community, turn to page 22. OZ Image (l–r): Kazunori Yui of Sanyukai, Connections’ Lina Tanaka-Raffone and Grace Lee and Sanyukai’s Masaru Goto

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To the outside world, Tokyo was the shining city on the hill. A modern, clean, ultra-efficient metropolis of well-groomed residents, conspicuous wealth and innumerable eateries. But when the bubble-era economy of the 1980s began to stutter and stall, cracks soon appeared in Tokyo’s gleaming façade. By the time Japan was in the clutches of the so-called “lost decades” of economic malaise, makeshift shelters of plyboard and blue tarp were a common feature in Tokyo’s parks and along its rivers. This was a side of society most Japanese associated with cities abroad. By 2003, there were more than 25,000 homeless in Japan, with around 6,000 in Tokyo. They were a mix of former day laborers who had helped to build the city during its feverish transformation in the 1960s and ’70s and salaryman casualties of a prolonged recession. Pushed to the margins of society, the (mainly) male homeless were increasingly supported by small charitable organizations like Sanyukai. Located in the rundown east Tokyo district of what was once known as Sanya, Sanyukai began helping the area’s destitute and homeless in the ’80s. The center still operates today, thanks, in part, to annual donations from the Club’s Connections group. And this year, Connections made its first contribution to the Big Issue, another homelessness-focused organization (turn to page 22 to learn more about both groups’ work). With vulnerable communities suffering the most during the pandemic, it’s clear that the services of both organizations could be in demand for years to come.


L I B R A RY

From the Shelves Saint-Exupéry. My third-grade teacher gave me a copy. The line “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” has stayed with me ever since. What inspired your love of books? Probably being surrounded by books at home, almost like furniture. Growing up, my mother would also take me along to her favorite library at the Kobe Club. It became our weekly routine. What genre do you most enjoy? I like all sorts of books, but currently I’m really into reading about African-American history.

KAYO YAMAWAKI

What are you reading now? White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. It’s an eye-opener. Chuk Besher

As an executive producer of media content and documentaries, including the short Ainu: My Voice that was screened at the Club this year, Member Chuk Besher is no stranger to research. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he can

often be found browsing the nonfiction shelves of the second-floor Library. What was your favorite childhood book? The Little Prince by Antoine de

When were you last unable to put down a book? I read an autobiography over the summer by an 88-year-old Ainu woman named Shizue Ukaji, titled Daichi Yo! (Oh, Motherland!). Four-hundred pages felt like an instant.

S PA

Hot Commodity November is foliage season, but it also brings blustery breezes and downright chilly nights. For some, it’s all they can do to abandon their exercise routines and curl up under the kotatsu until spring. Instead of surrendering yourself to winter, head to The Spa for a Sabai hot stone treatment that boosts circulation and soothes knotted and strained muscles. With chemical structures that retain and radiate heat for extended periods, the warmed stones—combined with traditional Swedish kneading techniques—help loosen muscles and joints stiffened by the sudden cold. All month, take 20 percent off 60(¥10,560) and 90-minute (¥14,080) Sabai hot stone treatments for deep-muscle relief that lasts. OZ

NOVEMBER | 7


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Discover KPIS At KPIS, we are a caring community built around deep and meaningful relationships. We offer students a rich, educational experience that is child-centered and play-based, with a unique combination of exploration and discovery in the outdoors and independent and teacherguided activities in the classroom. In order to learn more about our program and see first-hand how our school environment looks and feels, we encourage prospective families to register for an upcoming Information Session (Virtual Open Day) and Campus Tour. We look forward to welcoming you to KPIS!

Visit kpischool.com or call 03-5707-0979


D I G E ST C AT E R I N G

WINE

Crowd-Pleasing Spreads

Red Gems WORDS HARUNO AKIYAMA IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

After three years of hosting Club-catered Thanksgiving gatherings at her home, Member Jin Montesano has discovered the true star of the show. “Well, the pumpkin and pecan pies are basically the best in Tokyo as far as my guests are concerned,” she says. “I’m not sure if my friends are more excited to see me or have the Club’s pies.” Those two holiday staples are part of the Club’s extensive lineup of celebratory feasts and traditional dishes available for pickup or delivery from November 20 to December 26. Visit the Club website to order your spread. Just be sure to ask your friends for their preferences first. NJ FENCING

CLARA GARCIA

Piste Practice

Kaito Streets realized a lifelong dream this summer. As a member of Team Japan’s fencing corps, the saber specialist competed at the Tokyo Olympics. Then, a few weeks later, the 27-year-old (pictured) shared his passion for the piste with a crop of kids from the Club’s fencing class. “I mainly incorporated games to make it fun and engaging,” says Streets of his September 27 Club visit. “It was wonderful working with the young kids.” Streets also put the Club’s adult fencers through their paces with warm-up exercises, footwork drills, bouts and one-on-one coaching. “I hope I can come visit the Club again in the near future,” the Penn State alumnus says. OZ

With the season of celebrations and holiday get-togethers upon us, I selected three Cellar reds that will pair well with any festive meal or palate. Legendary American winemaker Paul Hobbs is well known for his success with wineries across the world, and the 2019 Viña Cobos Felino Malbec (¥2,640) from Argentina’s Mendoza region is another stellar example of his work. Produced from hand-selected grapes, it oozes beautifully balanced flavors of dark berries, cassis and spice. Just as Malbec is associated with Argentina, Shiraz is the grape that put Australia on the wine map. Mollydooker’s 2019 The Boxer Shiraz (¥3,800) is a South Australian gem. Bold, fruity and voluptuous, this wine merits a place on any dinner table, not least for its work-of-art label. Southern Italy’s Manduria region is regarded as the birthplace of the Primitivo grape (a distant cousin of California’s Zinfandel), and Produttori di Manduria has been perfecting its expressions of the varietal since the early 1930s. Its 2017 Lirica Primitivo di Manduria (¥2,200) garnered an impressive 90 points from Wine Spectator magazine. However you choose to mark the holidays, these three bottles more than deserve an invitation. Happy Thanksgiving. Haruno Akiyama is a member of the Club’s Wine & Beverage Committee. For the month of November, receive a 10 percent discount on purchases of at least three bottles of any of these recommended Cellar wines.

NOVEMBER | 9


AG E N DA

Events in November 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.

1

Culture Connections Mingle with friends and new acquaintances while learning about the culture, cuisine and history of one another’s home countries. DONNA BEEMAN

 10am  Connections members only  Details online

2

T-Bone Tuesday

7–9

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, you’ll receive a rib eye filet on the house.

International Bazaar: Holiday Marketplace

 American Bar & Grill  Details online

2

Mashiko Pottery Tour Travel to the pottery mecca of Mashiko in Tochigi for a day of shopping for exquisite ceramics.  8am–6pm  Connections members: ¥8,500 (non-Connections members & guests: ¥9,350)  Adults only  Details online

3

Family Photos Mark the holiday season with a 20-minute session with professional family portrait photographer Ken Katsurayama.  November 3, 7 & 21: 10am–7:30pm; November 20: 12:30–7:30pm  CHOP Lounge  ¥27,500 (optional album: ¥5,500)  Details online

It’s not just about the opportunity to share her recycled metal jewelry and etched glass bottles with a new audience. After the trials of the last two years, this month’s International Bazaar holds a deeper significance for Melissa Finkenbiner. “Art, whether jewelry or fine art, is meant to be seen in person to get a feel for how the light and space around an object interacts,” she says. “Considering the isolation everyone has endured, finding connections and beauty in the world around us is even more important.” Finkenbiner is one of around 50 vendors, selling everything from interior furnishings and artwork to Japanese

handicrafts and handmade jewelry, who will take part in this Connections-organized shopping extravaganza. Alyson Jenkins of Twin Tree says she is excited at the chance to unveil a unique line of homeware and a selection of contemporary Christmas ornaments. With the sale’s proceeds going to benefit local charities, getting a head start on your holiday shopping also means extending a helping hand during this season of goodwill. NJ  November 7: 5:30–8pm (Members only); November 8: 11am–7pm (10– 11am: Members only); November 9: 10am–2pm  New York Ballroom  Open to the public  Details online

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Pick up public speaking tips while building podium confidence at these regular, peer-supported meetups of the Club’s cohort of Toastmasters.

Youngsters pick up a lifelong love of reading at this weekly session of children’s tales from the shelves of the Children’s Library.

The long-tenured Japan Times and Chunichi Shimbun columnist reflects on a life lived around and beyond her American homeland.

 12–1:30pm  ¥2,420 (online: ¥550)  Sign up online

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

 7–8pm  Washington & Lincoln rooms  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Details online

Toastmasters Luncheon

10 | INTOUCH

Wednesday Storytime

TAC Talk: Karen Hill Anton


5

Friday Night Live Jazz pianist and vocalist Keith Williams hosts an evening of hors d’oeuvres, cold drinks and cool vibes.  6:30–8pm  Winter Garden  ¥2,200; walk-ins (if space): ¥3,300  Details online

6

Be an Angel Give a child the gift of happiness this holiday season by picking a gift tag written by a youngster separated from their family. Organized in partnership with the Salvation Army Japan.  11am–1pm  Rainbow Café  Free  Details online

6

Youth Toastmasters Club: World Children’s Day Youngsters pick up tips on public speaking and how to hold an audience’s attention from members of the Club’s own Toastmasters group.  2–3pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥1,100  Ages 10–18  Details online

8

Letters to Santa Before 12pm on December 12, drop off your wish list in Santa’s mailbox at the Family Lobby (B1) for express shipping to the North Pole and a reply from St Nick himself.  ¥770  Details online

9

Cocktail Connections Mask up and mingle with friends over happy-hour drinks during this monthly mixer.  5–7pm  Connections members only  Details online

10

Orin Swift Wine Dinner Savor the breadth of California wine at a fall dinner of varietals from Orin Swift Cellars alongside a four-course dinner.  6–9pm  Manhattan II & III  ¥18,700 (guests: ¥22,440)  Limit: two guests per Member  Sign up online

9

Gallery Exhibition: Yuki Matsueda As the son of owners of a print shop, Yuki Matsueda grew up in two dimensions. When, like most adolescents, the time came to rebel, Matsueda took what artistic influences he’d inherited from his family and added a simple twist: a third plane. The result is evident in the Saitama native’s works. Not quite sculptures yet certainly not traditional paintings, they capture what Matsueda, 41, calls “impossible moments.” Tubes of paint fly away from the canvas they color. Eggshells jettison their yolks. The running man in Japan’s ubiquitous, green exit sign flees straight toward the viewer instead. Through November 29, Matsueda’s beguiling exhibition pushes the limits of what it means to be truly free of the canvas. OZ Moment I realized I wanted to become an artist. It was April 2010. I had just finished my doctoral course at university and was looking around my unfinished

studio. It wasn’t fully equipped, and I just sat there for a while thinking of all the things that I needed. What I would tell my 20-year-old self. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t burn yourself out, though. My perfect creative environment. I like what I have now, but a larger studio surrounded by a forest with a running stream would be nice. Every now and then, I’d also like to teach painting and crafts to children in the neighborhood. Artist, living or dead, I’d most like to share a meal with. Shigeo Fukuda [20th-century graphic artist and sculptor], MC Escher and Andy Warhol.  Through November 29  Frederick Harris Gallery  Artworks available for purchase through Member Services  Details online

NOVEMBER  | 1 1


AG E N DA

12

13

Board Together Test your wits at the Library’s (tech-free) tabletop game club while learning the finer points of old-school games like Risk and D&D. Continues every second Friday.

Shimazaki Sake Brewery Tour

 5–6:30pm  Teen Connection  ¥1,100  Recommended for ages 12–18  Sign up online

12

Winter Garden Melodies Pull up a seat, order a glass of something and take in the soothing jazz and classical standards of local pianists, flautists and cellists. Continues November 19 and 26.  6–9pm  Winter Garden  Details online

12–14

Cookware Sale Enjoy huge discounts on a range of pots and pans from Meyer and other leading culinary brands.  November 12 & 13: 10:30am–7pm; November 14: 10:30am–5pm  Beate Sirota Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms  Details online

13

Abracadabra Class Budding David Blaines pick up card tricks, sleight-of-hand illusions and more from local performer Martino Ricci.  10:30am–12pm  Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms  ¥2,200  Ages 6–12  Sign up online

13

DIY Comic Book Club Creative kids craft their own comic book with Library manager Drew Damron. The fun continues every second Saturday of the month.  11:30am–1:30pm  Teen Connection  ¥2,200  Ages 6–14  Sign up online

16

Annual General Meeting The Club unveils its new Board of Governors following votes on a number of resolutions, including the Club’s budget for the 2022 financial year.  6:30pm  New York Ballroom & online  Free  Details online

12 | INTOUCH

Shimazaki has been brewing sake for 172 years. But it’s a World War II-era cave in the mountains of Nasu Karasuyama that has elevated its daiginjo to award-winning levels. In 1970, the brewery saw the potential of using a former subterranean military vehicle factory for aging its sake. Kenichi Shimazaki (pictured), the sixth-generation head of his family’s Tochigi brewery, says the cave’s

cool, stable environment helps to develop smooth, full flavors in the sake. During this day trip to the brewery in Nasu Karasuyama, Members will be able to taste that finesse for themselves. Following a tour of the brewing facility, Shimazaki will host a four-course lunch, complete with sake pairings, at a local steak house. Born in 1969, Shimazaki graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture before studying the ins and outs of sake at a brewery in Niigata. He took over the family business in 2012. Despite the decline in sake consumption in Japan, Shimazaki says the industry has responded by producing more sake of exceptional quality. “If we take the right approach,” he says, “I believe there is a bright future for sake, both in Japan and abroad.” NJ  7.45am–7pm  ¥12,100 (guests: ¥14,500)  Price includes lunch, Oya History Museum admission and transportation by chartered bus  Adults only  Limit: two guests per Member  Sign up online

17

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Stroll through the garden of the Hakone Museum of Art, famous for its contrasting bright green moss and fiery red maples, before visiting a hillside farm for mikan orange picking.

Trained in the art of chanoyu tea ceremony in Kyoto, Canadian Randy Channell Soei pulls back the curtain on this enigmatic art. Read more on page 17.

 7:50am–6pm  Connections members: ¥12,500 (non-Connections members & guests: ¥13,750)  Adults only  Details online

 7–8pm  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Copies of The Book of Chanoyu available for ¥1,800  Sign up online

17

17

Ancient Culture, Art and Mikan Picking

Toastmasters Luncheon: Turkey Day Pick up public speaking tips while building podium confidence at this Thanksgiving-themed Toastmasters meetup.  12–1:30pm  ¥2,420 (online: ¥550)  Sign up online

TAC Talk: Randy Channell Soei

Icelandic Whisky Dinner Sample Icelandic spirits produced in the country’s volcanic environment as you dine on pairings of marinated whelk, salmon sliders and more.  7–9:30pm  Manhattan I  ¥9,900 (guests: ¥11,880)  Adults only  Sign up online


18

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

19

Sanyukai Charity Drive KEN KATSURAYAMA

Donate food and household goods to benefit one of the city’s most overlooked communities. Read about Sanyukai’s mission to help the homeless on page 22.  9–11:30am & 2–3:30pm  Parking Lot (B1)  Free  Details online

20

Thanksgiving at the Club

Show & Tell Jamboree: World Children’s Day

Whether it’s ballroom banquets or intimate meals in urban locales, the Club has something for every turkey lover all Thanksgiving week. OZ

Ages 6 to 9 learn how to share ideas while wondering how they might one day change the world.

20

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

20

Dancing in the Rain Prepare to party up a storm at an evening of live music from Rain Saori Matsuo, drinks, eats and prizes.  5:30–8:30pm  Winter Garden, American Bar & Grill  Connections members: ¥11,000 (non-Connections members & guests: ¥12,650)  Adults only  Sign up online

21

Sky Pool Relays Round up your friends and race for glory in freestyle and medley races between teams of four and eight.  9am–12:45pm  Sky Pool  ¥1,650  Ages 6 & above  Sign up online

27

Holiday Feasts Let the Club do all the heavy lifting while you kick back this holiday. Visit the Club website to order your Thanksgiving spread for delivery or pickup.  Details online

22–28

All the Trimmings Kick-start the holiday season with a week of Thanksgiving specials, including herb-roasted turkey (carved whole on Turkey Day itself ), turkey pot pie and spiced pumpkin pie.  Lunch & dinner  American Bar & Grill, Traders’ Bar  Details online

22–28

American Delights From slow-roasted turkey with classic stuffing to roasted pumpkin topped with bacon and berries (plus whole turkey carved to order on November 25), Rainbow Café and

Café Med are brimming with ways to enjoy your fill of holiday eats.  Lunch & dinner  Rainbow Café, Café Med  Details online

24–26

Thanksgiving in the City Don’t ration supplies like they did on the Mayflower. Treat yourself to homemade cornbread, herbed turkey roulade with gravy and citrus-cranberry sauce and a slice of succulent chestnut pie.  Dinner  Nihonbashi Club: American Room, Muromachi Bar & Lounge  ¥9,000  Details online

25

Thanksgiving Grand Buffet It’s a feast to make the Pilgrims proud. Dine on all the turkey, stuffing and sides you can handle at this return of the Club’s renowned ballroom buffets.  11am–2pm & 4:30–8pm  New York Ballroom  Details online

Saturday Storytime Kids jump into the weekend with tales of magic and adventure.

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Grab a cup of joe (or tea) and prepare to make new friends at this monthly get-together.

A collection of traditional and holiday-themed lacquerware.

Two hour-long sessions of aquatic thrills.

 10am  Connections members only  Details online

 11:30am–12pm  Children’s Library  Free  Details online

Sky Pool Splash-A-Round  3–5:30pm  Sky Pool  ¥1,980  Ages 5–12  Members only  Sign up online

Coffee Connections

Gallery Exhibition: Yuko Asanuma  Through January 11  Frederick Harris Gallery  Artworks available for purchase through Member Services  Details online

NOVEMBER  | 13


Nov 5 (Fri) 10am Nov 6 (Sat) 10am

5pm 4pm

Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Trade Center, Hamamatsucho-kan

The only exposition dedicated to Japan’s international residents is back, even bigger and better than before. During the two-day event, which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minato Ward, and several countries’ chambers of commerce, visitors will be able to learn more about businesses and services that can help them make the most of their lives in Japan.

Exhibitors will include organizations working in travel, education, food and beverage, real estate, and much more, and many will be offering hands-on demonstrations. Throughout the event, there will also be cultural performances and workshops that visitors of all ages will enjoy, so don’t miss out!

SUPPORTED BY

MEDIA PARTNERS

WITH COOPERATION FROM

Stay up to date with all the latest details:

SPONSORED BY

expat-expo.jp

Register here for free entry!


I N D E P T H | AQ UAT I C S

Stroke by Stroke

One young Member’s journey from aquaphobe to water bug has seen him progress both in the Sky Pool and on dry land. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGE YUUKI IDE

P

oised on the edge of the Sky Pool, Isaku Takagi has the same thoughts he had before his first swim lesson three years ago. The 13-year-old worries if he’s fast enough, particularly with all the people watching. But when the race starts, Isaku is only focused on swimming as hard as he can. Watching from the pool deck at September’s Summer Endurance Open, Isaku’s father, Leo Takagi, was less concerned with the young Member’s results as he was excited about his participation. The day, he explains, was another milestone for his son, who is diagnosed with autism. “Obviously he’s physically stronger now, but for me I think he’s become more open, friendlier and more confident with the people he’s with [at the Sky Pool],” says Takagi. “We see that positive change.” It all started when Takagi noticed his son falling behind in mandatory swim classes at his local school. Takagi wondered if extra lessons might be the solution. “Just like any child, [Isaku] needs to do things sometimes on his own to build confidence,” Takagi says. The Club’s aquatics program immediately came to mind, but Takagi wasn’t sure if the instructors would be a good fit with Isaku’s particular needs. As it happened, instructor Mack Shibazaki had taught autistic students before.

Isaku Takagi

“We just kept it very simple at first,” Shibazaki recalls of those first lessons. “We focused on [submerging] and kicks and hand movements. Then, maybe three or four months later, he eventually put it all together and started swimming on his own.” While Isaku has progressed to more advanced techniques, he’s still fond of the weekly lessons in the pool alongside his very first Club instructor. “[Mack] is very kind,” says Isaku. “He teaches me all the strokes and swims by my side. He makes me feel comfortable.” “It was amazing to see him become encouraged by [realizing] that he could do these things,” says Isaku’s father. “It was a great turning point for him.” As the months went by, Isaku made strides away from the water as well. He became more talkative with Sky Pool staff and more open to communicat-

ing with fellow swimmers, who helped him with his strokes. Soon enough, Shibazaki recommended that Isaku take the next step and join the Club’s swim team. “The whole Sky Pool was very supportive,” Takagi explains. “It was literally the first time Isaku’s been put in an environment where he has to regularly train and get better as an athlete. I think there are moments when he feels, in his own way, that he’s part of a team.” Today, Isaku is a long way from the days when water confidence was his biggest hurdle. “There are still lots of things [about swimming] that I do not understand,” says Isaku. “But I will continue to do my best. Ganbaru!” For more information on programs for swimmers of all levels, visit the Club website.

NOVEMBER  | 15


A DV E RTO R I A L

Harrow International School Appi Japan Learning without limits in nature

W

hen a school is inspired by a centuries-old tradition of academic excellence; when it offers prospective students world-class education amidst a stunning natural setting; and when it features a cutting-edge campus that will be practically unrivaled in Japan, it’s only natural that it will draw attention. Harrow International School Appi Japan is such a school. PURPOSE-BUILT “DIGITAL CAMPUS” Set to open in August 2022 at a campus in the scenic mountains of Iwate Prefecture, Harrow Appi will allow students to be able to safely enjoy the region’s two distinct seasons—“White” and “Green.” It features one of the largest ski resorts in Japan, a 36-hole golf course as well as running and mountain bike trails, allowing for programs in a variety of outdoor skills. The school’s purpose-built digital campus will boast a Music School and Creative Arts Centre, an indoor swimming pool, an Innovation Hub (STEM) and indoor and outdoor sports courts. 450 YEARS OF EDUCATING LEADERS Catering for students aged 11 to 18, as a full boarding school, Harrow Appi closely mirrors the experience of studying at Harrow School in the United Kingdom, one of the world’s most esteemed educational institutions. It has produced figures who have gone on to influence world history,

including Lord Byron, Winston Churchill and Jawaharlal Nehru. At capacity, Harrow Appi will accommodate more than 900 boarders from a wide range of countries enjoying comfortable boarding houses as their home away from home. CLOSE PERSONAL TUTORING At Harrow Appi, all students receive individualized support for their studies and their personal and social development. The renowned Harrow “House System” ensures each student receives “Close Personal Tutoring” due to the deep ties between each girl or boy and their house master or mistress, house tutors and teachers, building an education focused on four values: courage, honor, humility and fellowship. The school is famed for engendering the qualities young people need to excel at a top university and thrive in adult life. SPRINGBOARD TO TOP UNIVERSITIES Harrow Appi will offer a British curriculum, preparing students for the IGCSE and A Level examinations. AISL Harrow International schools have an extraordinary track record of examination success and university placement. Learning will occur in classrooms and outdoors: science students can observe natural phenomena firsthand, and creative students can capture the essence of the environment in unique visual art forms.

MEETING THE HARROW APPI TEAM Across 20 years, the school’s founding Head, Mick Farley, has led four international schools to success, including the British School in Tokyo (Farley was also a Tokyo American Club member) and Harrow Bangkok. Originally an outdoor pursuits instructor, he’s thrilled to lead a Harrow school in the Japanese mountains. In August 2021, an exclusive group of families became the first to visit the Harrow Appi campus, touring the facilities in hardhats and enjoying a one-on-one online session with Farley. Many families remarked that they had never seen an international school in Japan so well designed to support learning and in such a beautiful setting. Families also saw the school’s surroundings and got a taste of the outdoor learning experiences that will be available. The opportunity for their children to enjoy a British boarding school experience in a beautiful setting, backed by the proven track record of AISL Harrow Schools, was well received. Many families secured places on the school’s pre-testing program. VALUES-BASED EDUCATION It’s evident the school will set a new benchmark for international education in Japan and other parts of Asia, assuring high academic standards and the development of values and leadership attributes through great teaching and outdoor adventures. In November, Harrow Appi will be holding a special event for Tokyo American Club members.

For event details: www.harrowappi.jp/tokyo-american-

club-member-exclusive-event/

16

|

INTOUCH


I N D E P T H | CU LT U R E

Steeped in Tradition

Set to speak at the Club this month, tea master Randy Channell Soei shares his journey in Japan’s world of urns and whisks. WORDS TIM HORNYAK

K

now that chanoyu is simply a matter of boiling water, making tea and drinking it,” wrote Sen no Rikyu, who codified Japan’s tea ceremony into the art form known as chanoyu in the 16th century. It sounds simple enough. Yet Rikyu’s summary belies the many steps involved in serving matcha tea and sweets properly, not to mention the ritual’s Zen Buddhist-based spiritual dimension. Next year marks 500 years since the birth of Rikyu, and chanoyu has grown into an international movement over the centuries. One of its more unusual exponents in Japan is tea master Randy Channell Soei. Bald and bewhiskered, Channell resembles a strongman from a 19th-century circus troupe. It’s perhaps not surprising that what drew him to Asia from his native Canada was a passion for martial arts. After studying kung fu in Hong Kong, he moved to Japan in the early 1980s to train in the country’s budo martial arts in the Nagano city of Matsumoto. Cultivating the spirit of bunburyodo, the samurai ethos of pursuing military and cultural arts, Channell attended a tea serving hosted by his elderly neighbor, who would later become his mentor. It was a revelatory moment. “As soon as I watched my sensei doing her movements, I could see the connection to the martial arts,” says Channell, demonstrating how a water container can be held like a sword

Randy Channell Soei

or bow. “I was immediately quite enthralled with ‘the way of tea’ and thought it could become something more than just a passive hobby.” Channell moved to Kyoto and studied at Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado in the early ’90s. He received his “tea name,” Soei, in 1999, and reached the rank of kyoju, or professor, in the Urasenke school. In addition to running his own café, he lectures across Japan on tea and is a professor at Doshisha University. He also penned The Book of Chanoyu: The Master Key of Japanese Culture. Channell says his foreign students tend to be more interested in the spiritual side of the ceremony than their Japanese classmates, who view it as a form of etiquette. All his students, from children to octogenarians, study the art’s four principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

“Sometimes I give them tough love,” Channell says with a laugh, using the expression “ai no muchi,” the whip of love. While Japan’s tea ceremony boomed during the 1980s, its popularity has waned in recent years. But Channell is confident it will evolve with the times. As proof, he points to a table designed in the 19th century for serving tea from a chair instead of a tatami mat. What about the master’s own journey along the path of tea? “I’m still learning. I’m at the proverbial tip of the iceberg,” Channell says. “Tea is an all-encompassing art form, and each facet of the way of tea is a lifelong study.” TAC TALK: RANDY CHANNELL SOEI  November 17  7–8pm  ¥1,650 (online: ¥550); guests: ¥1,980 (online: ¥660)  Copies of The Book of Chanoyu available for ¥1,800  Sign up online

NOVEMBER  | 17


I N D E P T H | G OV E R N A N C E

Election Season Following another challenging year, Members elect the governors to lead the Club in 2022 this month. WORDS NICK JONES IMAGES KAYO YAMAWAKI

T

he Club heads to the polls this month as Voting Members elect a new Board of Governors. After a second year of pandemic upheaval and states of emergency, the Club’s next crop of leaders will need to steer the Club into what is hoped to be a period a recovery for businesses and organizations in Japan and around the world. Before the election results are announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 16, Voting Members must choose from a slate of 15 candidates (listed below), with up to four Americans, one Japanese, one “other nationality” candidate and one Connections representative to be elected. At the close of the AGM, the new Board will select a representative governor and other officers of the Board’s executive committee. Online voting opens on November 1 and runs until 10pm on November 15. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING  November 16  6:30pm  New York Ballroom

US Citizens

JAMES HAWRYLAK Joined the Club: 2011

GREGORY LYON Joined the Club: 2005

CATHERINE OHURA Joined the Club: 2012

NILS PLETT Joined the Club: 2015

JIM WEISSER Joined the Club: 2012

“I humbly ask for your vote so that I can dedicate myself to improving the Member experience with innovative leadership that will drive increased Member participation, as we aim to thrive in the face of the major challenges of today and tomorrow. Thank you very much!”

“We can make small changes that make a significant difference immediately and we can create a more sustainable operating model for the Club. We are wellpositioned to provide value and enjoyment once again to Members. I appreciate the opportunity to help the Club achieve all three.”

“My family always enjoys being at the Club, and I’d like all Members to feel the same, even during these challenging times of living with Covid-19. If elected, I’d leverage my bicultural upbringing and professional experience to act as a bridge between cultures and bring the Club community closer together.”

“If fortunate to be elected, I would work with stakeholders to develop a clear Club vision and strategy that enables the new management team to succeed; balances Member value and fees under a sustainable model; promotes transparency and open governance; and leverages technology to modernize Club communication and functions.”

“As a governor, I will be fiscally responsible, accessible and focused on developing the best possible community for our entire membership— foreign, Japanese, families and individuals. If elected, I will take the position seriously and give it my wholehearted attention. I would appreciate your vote.”

18 | INTOUCH


US Citizens

JEFFREY BEHR Joined the Club: 2012

JOSEPH BILLI Joined the Club: 2016

JOSEPH BODENHEIMER Joined the Club: 2007

JOHN FLANAGAN Joined the Club: 1995

JESSE GREEN Joined the Club: 1980

“Essentially my family’s second home, the Club is where we exercise, relax or dine with friends almost daily. I feel deeply indebted to those who have built our distinguished organization. If reelected, I will listen carefully to Members’ needs and act conscientiously as a good steward of our Club.”

“The Club needs stewardship that will focus on balancing the long-term fiscal requirements of operating an elite club with the short-term needs of the Members. We must ensure fiscal health while fostering community involvement through opportunities for Members to enjoy the fellowship of one another, despite restrictions.”

“The Club is the foundation for social activity for many families from around the globe, including mine. As Members, we are all committed to adding value, and, as a Board nominee, I am interested in hearing actionable ideas for improving the core strength of the Club and the family experience.”

“If entrusted by the membership for a third—and final—term, I will leverage my corporate experience in creating amazing customer experiences to improve Member and staff satisfaction. The Club has been an important part of my family’s life for 26 years. I want to give back in any way I can.”

“As we emerge from Covid, we have a tremendous opportunity to chart a better course for our Club—under new management, with more transparent leadership and a return to the many values that the Club previously espoused. These are what I will advocate as one of your governors.”

Japanese Citizens

Other Nationalities

Connections

KENJI OTA Joined the Club: 2000

REIKO SAITO Joined the Club: 2006

RUNE SØLVSTEEN Joined the Club: 2013

CHRISTA WALLINGTON Joined the Club: 2010

OLIVIA SMITH Joined the Club: 2007

“If reelected, I will do my best to ensure the Club follows a clear roadmap out of the pandemic that strikes the best balance between Member satisfaction and the Club’s long-term financial health, without compromising the health and well-being of Members and staff.”

“Tokyo American Club is a social club with a rich history in Tokyo. This brand should be maintained through good-quality services and high Member engagement. As a second-generation Japanese Member, I will share my knowledge and experience to work for Japanese participation and engagement and opportunities for younger generation Members.”

“The Club is a centerpiece, both socially and professionally, of my family’s life. My promise as a Board nominee is to listen and drive positive change based on Members’ evolving needs. I will champion a vision of transparency, dining value and quality, financial stewardship and increased engagement for all Members.”

“As a longtime Member and volunteer, I have served on the Connections board and House Committee. I am knowledgeable about Club procedures, policies, budgets and facility management. I am passionate about maintaining the Club’s high standards and its role as a place for Members to connect with one another.”

“Unleash your potential: Explore and experience new possibilities. To increase Club Member engagement, I will encourage collaboration among committees. When we work together, we can harness the full power of the Club and introduce unique events. Members will explore more opportunities, which will drive greater interest in experiencing new things.”

NOVEMBER  | 19


PHOTO GLEN CL AYDON / NISEKO


Honey,

My cure fo r Co vi d blue s.

Let’s bo ok ASAP!

SPECIAL OFFER: 15% OFF FOR CLUB MEMBERS ONLY Book Setsuin for your ski vacation. The 260 m2, three-bedroom chalet is just a three-minute drive from the Hanazono ski resort, arguably the most dynamic area of Niseko today. Free use of a Toyota HiAce van is included. When booking use the code TACMEMB22 to receive your discount. Please go to www.niseko-setsuin.com for reservations and information.


I N D E P T H | FO CU S

HELP AND

HAND-UPS FOR

TOKYO’S HOMELESS Big Issue’s Hideaki Kizu and Miku Sano

Sanyukai and the Big Issue are two Club-supported charities both dedicated to helping Tokyo’s homeless and destitute. WORDS OWEN ZIEGLER IMAGES YUUKI IDE

T

raffic rumbles through the web of streets around Ikebukuro Station. Commuters stream toward the station’s myriad entrances that lead to their early-hour trains. Tatsuo Ozaki stands at the top of one entrance staircase. He holds aloft the newest edition of the Big Issue magazine, a steely-eyed Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous secret agent, 007, on its cover. A copy costs just ¥450, but few in the passing crowd give the magazine, or the man holding it, much notice.

22 | INTOUCH

“I’ve been selling the Big Issue for about 18 years now,” says a masked Ozaki, 69. “Because of the pandemic, it’s never been as hard to sell as it is now.” Originally from Ehime Prefecture, Ozaki worked in restaurants for much of his life, but a string of bad luck in the early 2000s saw him lose his last full-time job as manager of a yakiniku barbecue restaurant. Without an income and with little savings on which to draw, Ozaki started sleeping rough—sometimes in Internet cafés, other times on the street. When the Big Issue launched in Japan in 2003, Ozaki was one of the first to sign up as a vendor. While he still has no permanent place to call home, he does have money to feed and clothe himself. “Doing this so long, I’ve actually met a lot of people,” he says. “I have regular customers who come and chat when they can. It’s nice when they stop by.” Such spontaneous interactions may not be what comes to mind when many people think about support for the homeless, but it’s a core


Big Issue vendor Tatsuo Ozaki

“BUT AT LEAST THERE’S A PATH FORWARD FOR THE VENDORS THAT WE WORK WITH. AT LEAST WE CAN TELL THEM: ‘THINGS CAN GET BETTER.’” —Hideaki Kizu

Sanyukai’s Kazunori Yui and Masaru Goto

tenet of the Big Issue’s mission. It’s even codified in the organization’s slogan: “Help the homeless to help themselves.” “Strictly speaking, we’re not a charity,” says Miku Sano, director of the Big Issue’s Tokyo office. “We want to empower people however we can.” Started in the UK in 1991, the Big Issue operates on a simple model. Homeless vendors are given 10 free copies of the bimonthly magazine to sell, with proceeds from each issue to spend or save as they see fit. After that, Japanese vendors can purchase as many extra copies as they like for ¥220. At that rate, Sano explains, 20 copies sold during the day is enough for a vendor to put a roof over their head for the night. “By turning a profit and saving money where they can, our vendors can gradually stop sleeping on the street, find a place to stay and hopefully rent an apartment and find permanent employment,” says Sano, 51, highlighting the dilemma facing many homeless who often need to provide a permanent address when applying for a job.

NOVEMBER | 23


I N D E P T H | FO CU S

Sanyukai founder Jean Le Beau

“JAPAN NORMALLY HAS PLENTY OF ‘SAFETY NETS’ TO HELP PEOPLE THAT FALL ON HARD TIMES, BUT WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, IT FELT LIKE A GOOD TIME FOR THE CLUB TO GET INVOLVED.” —Lina TanakaRaffone

24 | INTOUCH

Solving homelessness in Tokyo for good first requires grasping the true scale of the issue. A government report from earlier this year put the number of homeless in the whole of Japan at 3,824, while a separate government agency claimed that around 382 were sleeping rough in the capital. Sano isn’t convinced. “One big problem with these reports is that the government performs its counts during the day,” she says. “Many homeless people don’t stay in the same location throughout the day, so they won’t be there when government officials come by. And that doesn’t even begin to include all those who sleep in different Internet cafés every night.” In 2019, the grassroots Advocacy and Research Center for Homelessness (ARCH) performed its own midnight count of homeless in several Tokyo wards. ARCH’s volunteers found nearly three times as many people living on the streets than official figures.

In the runup to Tokyo’s recent Olympic Games, many of the city’s homeless found themselves evicted from areas near sporting venues, while some parks were locked at night to discourage people from sleeping there. “It’s of course a big problem, and there’s no one easy solution,” says Hideaki Kizu, 43, a social worker working out of the Big Issue’s Tokyo office, which has about 40 regular vendors on its register. “But at least there’s a path forward for the vendors that we work with. At least we can tell them: ‘Things can get better.’” That same sentiment initially drove Member Lina Tanaka-Raffone to wonder if the Club could be doing more to help Tokyo’s homeless community. “I used to live in London, so that’s how I got to know about the Big Issue,” says Tanaka-Raffone, a member of Connections’ charities committee. “Japan normally has plenty of ‘safety nets’ to help people that fall on hard times, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, it felt like a good time for the Club to get involved.” Thanks to Tanaka-Raffone and a ¥500,000 donation from Connections, the Big Issue is among eleven local charities supported by the Club this year. “Self-responsibility is such an important concept in Japanese culture,” Tanaka-Raffone explains. “I’m very glad the Club is now supporting an organization that helps the less fortunate regain that sense of themselves.” Sometimes, all it takes is a helping hand to turn a life around. Since 1984, that’s been Sanyukai founder Jean Le Beau’s guiding belief. “The mood around here was pretty dark when we first started,” explains Le Beau, 76, a one-time missionary and transplanted Quebecois, of the transformation he’s witnessed over the years in the northeast Tokyo district once known as Sanya. “Nobody believed things could be better. But bit by bit, we started seeing smiles come back to the neighborhood.” As Le Beau speaks, the dozen men in their 60s and 70s lined up in the alley outside the center trade jokes and share stories with one another. Occasionally, there’s an eruption of laughter. As they wait to be called into the free clinic Sanyukai regularly runs, the men—many of them homeless and all of them either unemployed or struggling to make ends meet—share moments of levity. It may seem unremarkable to some, but it’s exactly that atmosphere of normalcy that Sanyukai has worked to create over decades of supporting those with nowhere left to turn. “We’re always ready to listen to anyone who suddenly can’t pay rent or hasn’t been able to find a job for a while,” says Masaru Goto, 55,


Sanyukai

Tokio Sateyama

a counselor with Sanyukai. “After [Covid-19] shut things down, we even saw a few people in their 20s and 30s turn to us because they were so worried about what to do next.” Sanyukai’s services are made possible by donations like Connections’ ¥500,000 this year. And as part of a long-standing relationship with Sanyukai, Connections collects much-needed food and household items for the nonprofit each November. Kazunori Yui, Sanyukai’s co-director, explains that the center offers help to those who fall through society’s cracks, whether it’s through free medical examinations, weekly lunchboxes for those sleeping rough along the nearby Sumida River, counseling sessions or just a place to hang out and talk with friends.

“These guys are so often misunderstood, I think,” explains Yui, 37, sitting in the center. “It’s never just one thing that drives someone into homelessness. It’s a string of hardships and misfortune that leads them to this kind of lifestyle. Anything we can do to help and break that pattern is a good thing.” Outside, the chatter and laughter continue. “I come here pretty much every day just to chat with everybody,” says Tokio Sateyama, a regular face at Sanyukai. “I don’t have any living relatives, so it’s nice to have the people here.” Originally from Iwate Prefecture, Sateyama, 67, first came to Tokyo in search of work as a day laborer in 1989. Eventually, when Japan’s roaring, bubble-era economy began to stagnate, the work dried up. The years of privation that followed left him weathered and wizened. Today, Sateyama manages to rent an inexpensive apartment nearby. But it’s a sense of belonging that draws him to Sanyukai each day. “[Without Sanyukai,] I’d spend my time just pacing up and down the river,” says Sateyama. “This is an important place to me.”

“IT’S A STRING OF HARDSHIPS AND MISFORTUNE THAT LEADS THEM TO THIS KIND OF LIFESTYLE. ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP AND BREAK THAT PATTERN IS A GOOD THING.” —Kazunori Yui

For more information on Connections’ fundraising events and charitable donations, visit the Club website. SANYUKAI CHARITY DRIVE  November 19  9–11:30am & 2–3:30pm  Parking Lot (B1)  Free  Details online

NOVEMBER | 25


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

Luiz Olimpio and Matt Crabbe

Balancing Mind and Body

A newcomer to yoga, Member Matt Crabbe says a Club class has helped him to find flexibility and relief from nagging shoulder pain. IMAGE KAYO YAMAWAKI

I

think Covid changed everyone’s lives. When you’re sitting at home and you have three restaurants that are closed, you have a lot of time to think. After looking at myself in the mirror, I thought it was time to do something. I stopped drinking for a long time and decided to lose weight. I started taking krav maga classes with Boaz [Hagay] at the Club about eight months ago. At the same time, I was playing a lot of squash and doing gym work. But the more I punched things, the less I could hit things. After a while, I found that my arms and shoulders started to hurt a lot. I knew [Club instructor] Luiz [Olimpio], and he said I should join

26 | INTOUCH

his yoga class. I wasn’t too interested in yoga but decided to pop along. The first class was very difficult. It’s all about flexibility, balance and your core. I was stretching a lot before, but I was surprised at how inflexible I was. I tried the class twice and then kept going back. I find it very accessible, particularly with a guy like Luiz. He makes everyone feel very comfortable. I’m usually the only male in the class, but I don’t feel self-conscious. He reminds you to breathe and switch off from everything outside and to be in the moment. I tried meditating because my wife started, and I found it really interesting. You totally escape. Your mind floats off.

My restaurant business can be quite intense, what with menus and events to think about, but yoga helps you to think clearly and to make rational decisions. I don’t go to the class every week. It depends on my schedule. Even if I don’t do a class, I can do the same stretching at home. It has helped my shoulders a lot. I do krav maga almost every morning and play squash about once a week. Yoga helps balance those things. Squash is a great cardio workout, but you sweat when you do yoga as well. Your body literally shakes when you do some positions for the first time. As you become more flexible, they become more natural for your body. Yoga is very good for flexibility, particularly as you get older. Even if you do just the basic moves, like I do, it really helps in day-to-day life. I have lost about six or seven kilos over the last six months. You get good comments and feel better in yourself. I enjoy the training, which keeps me motivated. Plus, I don’t want to slip back into my old ways. To lose weight and change a lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. Little by little, I could see the progress I was making and kept going. As told to INTOUCH’s Nick Jones.


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

Arrivals

Up Close

AZABUDAI US A

Yuriya Miyako

Jean-Marc Gilson & Akie Ohashi Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation

Citibank Japan

Roy Naquin & Kazuko Nishimura SYNQA Pte. Ltd. Mark Schirmer Walt Disney Imagineering Japan Ltd.

Makoto & Yukako Okada Elof Hansson K.K. Takashi Ouchida Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC Tsutomu & Ai Sato Housing Japan K.K.

AUST R A L I A Chiong Ee Tiong & Olga Mescova Wellmay, Inc.

Tokuya Takizawa Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC Shintaro & Yuma Yamada

CHINA

Suadd, Inc.

Jiani (Vicki) Chen & Hideki Kinuhata Barclays Securities Japan Ltd.

Hiroyuki & Tomoko Yoshimoto

Chao Huang & Xuguang Xu Ritatsu Tsusho Co., Ltd.

American Express International, Inc.

M A L AYS I A

Jiayi Luo HAPR Ltd.

Jack Yan & Natsuko Moriyama

FRANCE

NEW ZEALAND

Emmanuel Ruelland & Bonnie Wu Tapestry Japan LLC

Andy Wei & Jennifer Kayo

Woven Planet

(l–r) Alex, Darcie, Fiona and Hugo Bissett-Powell

AZABUDAI UK |

Alex & Fiona Bissett-Powell

McDonald’s Japan

“Relocating to a new country with two young children during a pandemic was surreal and, at times, difficult. We immediately found the Club a great way to manage the culture shock, and it has become a haven for our family. The kids love the Sky Pool, the Library and restaurants, but it’s the people that make the difference. Thanks to the wonderful staff and the friends that we have made though the Club so far, we already feel at home in Tokyo.”

Rutherford Nabocul

GERMANY Tammo & Ulrike Ellen Nepilly Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation

S O U T H KO R E A Won Jeong & Satoko Miki HelloFresh Japan G.K.

JA PA N

Jung Hoon Shin & Sul Hee Yoon

Kazuya & Yuka Arakawa Akasaka Audit LLC

SYS Partners

Koki Ito Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC

UK

Wakako Lockett & James Lockett Batie Jr KPMG AZSA LLC

Bryan & Chie Kipping

Yugo Minemura Suruga Bank Ltd.

Paul Taylor

Housing Japan K.K.

Crayford Mews Ltd.

Kimitaka and Kazuko Usami

NIHONBASHI JA PA N |

NIHONBASHI JA PA N

Hiroyasu Koike Nomura Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Dominic Ashton Cisco Systems G.K.

Kenzo Shimada Japan Business Lines Corporation

Departures Razmik A & Anush Balian

Kathy Kitayama & Michael Rosenstein

Richard & Tomoko Findlay

Ronald & Hitomi Lenore

Naoyuki Fukuda

Rakesh & Neha Mani

Caleb & Kazuyo Gibbons

Miroslav & Kyoko Mijatovic

Darryl & Mizarai Greene

Yuko Seki

Chikatomo Hodo

Helen & Akihisa Sekiguchi

Honami & Takaaki Ishibashi

Hironori Takahashi

Masanori Itatani

William Youngman & Wei Chia Chang

Kimitaka & Kazuko Usami

K Square, Inc.

“With its gym for training, good food and international atmosphere, the Nihonbashi Club is a very contemporary and modern facility to satisfy our needs. No facility like this exists in the Nihonbashi area. Having lived in several countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and Chile, we appreciate having a top-quality club where we can entertain business clients and socialize. We are looking forward to meeting many other Members very soon.”

A sake for all occasions Tokyo American Club x Hakkaisan ¥3,300 a bottle | The Cellar

NOVEMBER | 27


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

For the Love of Onsen WORDS RISA DIMACALI ILLUSTRATION TANIA VICEDO

I

don’t recall exactly when I lost my inhibition. For someone who didn’t grow up in a bathing culture like Japan’s, the country’s hot-spring onsen were intimidating. The pre-soak washing ritual among complete strangers and wandering in and out of the water with nothing but a small modesty towel required some practice and a bit of immodesty. But at some point, something inexplicable and magical happened. I now adore Japan’s onsen. I perform the cleansing ritual with ease and eagerly anticipate my next steamy dip, no matter whom I’m with. As a Californian, I’ve visited hotspring resorts in Calistoga and Big Sur. But these require long drives and hefty budgets. Imagine my delight when I learned that Japan’s volcanic hot springs were not only ubiquitous but affordable. After many inexpensive and memorable dips, I’ve said, “This is the best money I’ve ever spent!” Some

places, like the century-old bath on the rocky edge of Shiretoko in eastern Hokkaido I visited this summer, cost nothing at all. Onsen memories mark my travel experiences in Japan—sipping sake in a fragrant, cypress wood bath in Yamagata or listening to crashing waves while relaxing in private, clifftop bath in a Noto Peninsula hotel. Mixed-gender bathing, or konyoku, is more common in Kyushu, and it’s there where I bathed by a roaring river and an illuminated waterfall (before making a hasty retreat). My onsen experiences have been about companions as well. Once, after a delightful dinner with friends in Nagano, we spontaneously piled into a car and drove up to a mountain rotenburo outdoor bath, where we soaked and laughed in the moonlight. On another occasion, after witnessing difficult world news, a new friend and I headed to Hakone to distract ourselves. We became “onsen sisters,”

chatting quietly while immersed in soothing, mineral pools surrounded by maple trees and bamboo. Onsen have offered me so many snapshots of ordinary Japanese life. Mothers and their children covering themselves in suds before lovingly scrubbing one another’s backs. Determined-looking women, armed with baskets of products, vigorously cleaning themselves as if competing in a new sport. The elderly, still spry on their feet on the slippery stone floors, eyeing the new, foreign face in their local spot. Alone with my thoughts, I listen to wind-rustled trees, gaze at a silvery mist rolling up a mountainside or watch snowflakes swirl and melt over a steaming pool. I lean back and sink deeper into the water with a sigh. I feel blissful. Wistful. Many more onsen await. Risa Dimacali is chair of the Club’s Membership Committee.

NOVEMBER | 29


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COMMUNIT Y | HIGHLIGHTS

October 1 Friday Night Live: Oktoberfest

The sounds of Bavarian oompah music, cowbells and clinking beer glasses filled the Winter Garden during a lively evening of Germanthemed festivities. IMAGES YUUKI IDE

NOVEMBER | 31


COMMUNIT Y | PURSUIT

CLASS

Baking German Treats

Famous for its Christmas markets and winter wonderland vistas, Germany is also renowned for its holiday season sweet staples. Delight family and friends this year by learning how to bake your own “wunderbar” Christmas cookies and traditional shortcake pastries. Just add mulled wine.

INSTRUCTOR

Gabriele Kirschner (pictured right)

Originally from Germany, Gabriele Kirschner has been baking cakes, biscuits and other pastries since she was young. The Club Member, who is also Connections’ fundraising director, says she hopes to share her passion for baking through simple kitchen tips and easy-to-follow recipes.

STUDENT

Gina Goto

“I love to cook, but I am not a baker. I thought that if I could learn a few techniques from a pro, I might be able to bake more at home. The setting was Gabriele’s lovely home, and it was like a baking party. I was so inspired by her lesson that I threw my own party for two friends.”

BAKING: GERMAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES  November 15  11am–1:30pm  Nearest station: Shinagawa  ¥5,500  Sign up online BAKING: LINZER TORTE & LEBKUCHEN  November 30  11am–1:30pm  Nearest station: Shinagawa  ¥5,500  Sign up online

32 | INTOUCH

KAYO YAMAWAKI

Sugar and Spice


Find financial peace of mind Retirement and education solutions Regular and lump-sum investments Properties in Japan and abroad Life and health insurance US citizen solutions UK pension transfers

Investment advice for expats and Japanese nationals Contact us, fellow Club members, for a free consultation at your place, ours or the Club. tac@argentumwealth.com | 03-5549-9099 www.argentumwealth.com Licensed in Japan and established in 2007


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.

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NOVEMBER 2021

Street Support Offering a helping Club hand to Tokyo’s homeless

INTOUCH

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

TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

An English-speaking concierge who helps you book a table

毎月一回一日発行 第四十七巻六七九号 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十一月一日発行 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

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TOKYO AMERIC AN CLUB

NOVEMBER 2021

TAKING A BRE ATH + P OLL SE A S ON + ART OF THE BRE W


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