June 2023 INTOUCH Magazine

Page 31

One swell celebration to mark a Club milestone





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w w w. ns k r e . co. j p/en g l i s h
Kara Blanc in Minami-Azabu
the Club celebrates its 95th year, two longtime Members share their memories of raising families, entertaining clients and forging friendships at the Club over more than five decades. 19 LIFE WORTH LIFTING Ahead of his powerlifting workshop this month, Club trainer Chuck Wilson talks childhood adversity, bench press records and self-worth. 18 POOL PASSION Set to leave Tokyo this summer, young Member Axl Kort reflects on how the Sky Pool helped him unleash his competitive side. LEADERSHIP 5 DIGEST 6 AGENDA 10 FLAVORS 17 INDEPTH AQUATICS 18 FITNESS 19 COMMUNITY 20 HISTORY 22 COMMUNITY WELLNESS 25 REGISTER 27 VOICE 29 HIGHLIGHTS 31 PURSUIT 36 KAYO


Representative Governor Jesse Green (2023)

First Vice President Sam Rogan (2024)

Second Vice President Dean R Rogers (2024)

Secretary Nils Plett (2023)

Treasurer Rune Sølvsteen (2023)

Governors Trista Bridges Bivens (2024), Justin Keyes (2024), Gregory Lyon (2023), Mihoko Manabe (2024), Tetsutaro Muraki (2024), Catherine Ohura (2023), Edward Rogers (2024), Reiko Saito (2023), Vanessa Thomas—Connections president (2023)

Statutory Auditors Koichi Komoda (2024), Paul Kuo (2023)

Parentheses denote term limit.


Compensation Gregory Lyon

Culture, Community & Entertainment Matthew Tappenden (Trista Bridges Bivens)

Finance Patrick McLeod (Rune Sølvsteen)

Food & Beverage Mark Spencer (Sam Rogan)

House Adam Donahue (Dean R Rogers)

Human Resources Ken Cogger (Reiko Saito)

Membership Justin Negron (Tetsutaro Muraki)

Nihonbashi Geoffrey Bowman (Catherine Ohura)

Nominating Joseph Etheridge

Recreation Shinji Yamasaki (Nils Plett)

Risk Control Ren Kuroda (Mihoko Manabe)

Parentheses denote Board liaison.

Custom Media President Robert Heldt

Custom Media Publisher Simon Farrell advertising@tac-club.org 03-4540-7730


Darren Morrish


Business Operations Wayne Hunter

Business Support Lian Chang


Facilities Toby Lauer

Finance Naoto Okutsu

Food & Beverage Suranga Hettige Don

Human Resources Jason Dominici

Marketing & Communications Shane Busato

Member Services Jonathan Allen

Nihonbashi Noriaki Yamazaki

Recreation Susanna Yung


Editor C Bryan Jones


Communications Manager Nick Jones

Designer Kohji Shiiki

Designer Clara Garcia

Production Administrator Yuko Shiroki



Andrew Chin

Samuel Gordon

Tim Hornyak

Mai Otsuka Lauridsen

Edward Rogers


Clara Garcia

Yuuki Ide

John Owens

Kayo Yamawaki


Tania Vicedo

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Future-Proofing the Club

The Club has faced many challenges over the decades. From earthquakes to wars to financial crises, there is always another speed bump ahead. And some pretty big potholes as well. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on the horizon.

Every 10 years or so, the Club has convened a task force or committee to do just that. Long-range planning lets the Club understand its strategic positioning in the market and consider material improvements that might be necessary.

Looking to 2030, the Board set up the Long Range Strategic Planning Task Force this year to better understand Members’ wants, needs and desires and to decipher the best business model to meet these needs.

We have already begun the first part of the discernment process. Working with members of the JMEC (Japan Market Expansion Competition) program, we conducted multiple focus groups to find out how Members feel about the Club and glean their thoughts on everything from restaurant offerings to opportunities to socialize.

Agnes Ouellette, our task force vice chair, and the Board’s Reiko Saito led this effort. We are now reviewing the focus group findings.

The next step will involve understanding the Club’s current business model and our expected running and maintenance costs over the next 10 to 15 years, as well as looking at how we can prepare for any health, financial or weather-related problems we may face.

After that, we want to make sure our management and staff share our vision of how to make the Club a warm and inviting place for all Members and those who work at the Club. It’s also important that the people who work so hard to make the Club a clean and comfortable environment participate in any discussions.

We will ultimately present a summary of the Club’s financial situation, including expected building and maintenance costs, to the membership.

So far, more than 100 Members and staff have approached me to discuss the work of the task force and to share their views on what kind of club they want. I have made many new friends in the process.

I ran for the Board last year with a desire to make the Club experience more fun and enjoyable. For me, serving on this task force has become a new mechanism for greater engagement with our vibrant community, and I am sure there will be much more of that to come.

“We will ultimately present a summary of the Club’s financial situation, including expected building and maintenance costs, to the membership.”
JUNE | 5 leadership
Edward Rogers is a Club governor and chair of the Long Range Strategic Planning Task Force.

Home Comforts

With the support of Connections, the Salvation Army opened its newest children’s home in Tokyo last month.

Acacia House is a group home that provides a comfortable setting for six children between the ages of 3 and 18. Connections’ donation of ¥1 million was used to purchase furniture

and appliances for the home, the second such facility to receive assistance from the group.

Colonel Stephen Morris of the Salvation Army says their aim is to provide the children in their care with a stable, family-like environment.

“It is important to help them enjoy their childhood, all the while preparing them for adulthood,” he says. “Clearly this is not an easy task, but generous gifts like the one from Connections helps us provide the home-style environment that is integral to normalizing their childhood.” NJ

Exercise Upgrade

Member workouts received a boost with the installation of 12 brand-new machines in the Fitness Center last month.

The lineup of four cardio and eight strengthtraining machines from leading fitness brand Matrix includes an S-Force Performance Trainer, designed for high-intensity interval training, a glute trainer and a fully enclosed Magnum Power Rack for safe and efficient lifting.

Shinji Yamasaki, chair of the Recreation Committee, says the new equipment mix reflects the rise in usage of the weight-training area of the Fitness Center.

“The new machines will help address overcrowding issues and create a safer exercise environment,” he says, “all while increasing exercise variety.”

Fitness Center staff are available to explain how to safely use the new equipment. NJ

6 | INTOUCH digest
Image: (l–r) Ken Hanasaki, Connections’ Gabriele Kirschner and Marie Briganti, Colonel Stephen Morris, Colonel Wendy Morris and Connections’ Lina Raffone

From the Shelves

I often found myself giggling out loud and my imagination developed. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, so I devoured the whole book—sometimes more than one—in a single night.

What inspired your love of books? Books were a huge part of my childhood routine. My mom took me and my siblings to the local library weekly, and books were discussed as a family. I have continued the routine of visiting the library throughout my life, and I am so glad my parents instilled this in me.

What genre do you most enjoy?

I love psychological thrillers. The twists and turns keep the adrenalin pumping, and I often find myself not being able to put down the book when plots are snowballing. Agatha Christie is the master of this genre.

What are you reading now?

Encouraged by her parents, Member Jane Baker immersed herself in books from a young age. Thousands of literary journeys later, she continues to find inspiration and delight on bookshelves, including those of the Club Library.

What was your favorite childhood book?

My favorite childhood book belonged to Enid Blyton’s classic Faraway Tree series. I wanted to join Silky the fairy, slide down the “slippery-slip,” explore distant lands and be home in time for tea. I imagined biting into a “hot-cold goodie” or sucking a “toffee shock.”

I wanted to creep past the Angry Pixie and watch Dame Washalot empty her buckets of water over Mr Watzisname. Through this series, I grew to love books.

Rooftop Revelry EVENTS

Forget those bland, cookie-cutter party spaces. Take your next event to the roof.

Whether you’re planning an afternoon birthday bash with friends or an evening shindig with colleagues, the fifth-floor terrace’s outdoor setting and Tokyo Tower views will delight partygoers and fill Instagram feeds.

For Member Takamasa Totsuka, the venue’s “refreshing atmosphere with great food and drinks” are why he returns there each summer to host an event for business clients.

Available between Monday and Thursday (except national holidays), the space’s two party packages feature menus of barbecued favorites, salads and sweet treats, along with free-flow drinks.

Contact 03-4588-0308 or banquet@tac-club.org to book. NJ

I have just finished reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. It is the story of an irrepressible boy nobody wants. It is heartbreaking, hilarious and heroic and largely based on Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield I thought the plot was great and so too the character development.

When were you last unable to put down a book? The last book I read obsessively was Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng. This was a wonderful read, which I did not expect, as I had never read any of Ng’s books. It is about a mother’s unbreakable love for her son in an everchanging world. I found it suspenseful but touching.

JUNE | 7
Image: Jane Baker


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A Bright Ray of Sunshine

Old World Deals

Japan’s weak yen might be sending imported wine prices soaring, but there are still great-value bottles from top European producers to be found at The Cellar.

Soaring through the skies as a flight attendant keeps Member Laura Maeji away from Tokyo much of the time. But whenever she is back, she looks forward to her Zumba class at the Club and, especially, to seeing instructor Tomoe Kaneko.

“We met about 15 years ago. I think it was on my 50th birthday, and it was her first Zumba class,” says Maeji, who joined the Club in 2007. “It was my first class, too, and Tomoe was such a joy. She made sure everyone was doing it correctly and, more than anything, having a good time.”

A native of Fukushima, Kaneko moved to Tokyo to study law at university but became fascinated with aerobic dance. After becoming an Athletic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)-certified instructor in 1987, she found her way to the Club six years later.

In 2007, Kaneko was introduced to the Latin dance-inspired workout of Zumba at a fitness convention in Taiwan. She was hooked immediately and brought it to Japan through the AFAA.

Maeji, who singled out Kaneko for recognition in a recent Tell TAC comment card, says she appreciates how the instructor has evolved her Zumba class over the years.

“You can feel that she really loves it and gets lost in it. There’s no pretension. It’s just raw joy, oozing out of her,” she says.

Naturally, Maeji was delighted to discover that Zumba was among the lineup of free Club fitness classes launched last November.

“With Tomoe teaching it, I knew I had to join,” she says. “She’s a bright ray of sunshine.” CBJ

Starting in Burgundy, the 2019 Domaine Olivier Merlin Mâcon La Roche-Vineuse (¥3,100) is a taut, refreshing wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with fish or poultry in a creamy summer sauce. With fresh notes of citrus and stone fruits and a hint of zest, it’s a fine example of a Mâconnais Chardonnay.

Also from the famous French winemaking region is Domaine de la Monette’s 2021 Terroirs de Mellecey (¥3,440). A vibrant, ready-to-drink Pinot Noir from Côte Chalonnaise, its plum and black cherry flavors pair well with a variety of meats.

Italy’s Luciano Sandrone, who died earlier this year, was a pioneer in Barolo winemaking. His Piedmont estate’s 2020 Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore (¥5,600) features the same grape variety, Nebbiolo, that is used for Barbaresco and Barolo. With floral aromas, red cherry on the palate and a flurry of secondary notes waiting to be discovered, this elegant wine would beautifully complement veal Milanese or Japan’s own tonkatsu pork cutlet.

Mai Otsuka Lauridsen is a member of the Club’s Wine & Beverage Committee.

For the month of June, receive a 10 percent discount on purchases of at least three bottles of any of these recommended Cellar wines.

CLARA GARCIA Image: Tomoe Kaneko and Laura Maeji
JUNE | 9 digest
Members can recognize Club staff by submitting a Tell TAC online or by filling out one of the cards available around the Club.

What’s on in


First Friday: Prohibition

The Club is turning back the clock for a Prohibition-themed evening to celebrate the Club’s 95th anniversary.

When the Club’s founders opened the doors of the American Club in Yurakucho in May 1928, everyday Americans across the Pacific were knocking back drinks in illicit speakeasies. In a nod to that era, the Winter Garden will be transformed into a hideaway of (legal) libations, food and live jazz.

“We are going above and beyond with the decorations to make the Winter Garden feel like a proper speakeasy,” says the Culture, Community & Entertainment Committee’s Bryan Jacop. “With the music, formal dress and decor, it’s sure to be a truly remarkable event that Members will greatly enjoy and talk about long after.”

Members and guests are encouraged to don 1920s or formal attire, with prizes for the best-dressed partygoers and roulette wheel winners.

So long as there’s no raid, the fuzz-free festivities will continue at a Prohibition After-Party in CHOP Lounge from 9pm. Just keep it under your cloche. CBJ

• 7–9pm • Winter Garden, American Bar & Grill • ¥2,750 (walkins: ¥3,850); guests: ¥6,150 (walk-ins: ¥7,250) • Prohibition

After-Party: 9–11pm • CHOP Lounge • ¥3,300 (all-you-can-drink package); ¥1,870 (includes one drink) • Adults only • Limit: five guests per Member • Dress code: formal or 1920s (hats permitted)

• Sign up online

Movie Night

Club kids kick back with pizza and flicks while moms and dads celebrate the Club’s 95th birthday at First Friday.

• 6–9pm • Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms • ¥2,750 (guests & walk-ins: ¥3,300) • Ages 5–12 • Sign up online 2–3

Michel Jodoin Cider Tasting

Dazzle your taste buds with a trio of refreshing ciders from the storied Quebec cidery.

• 3–7:30pm • The Cellar • Details online


All-Comers Swim Meet

The Sky Pool hosts a morning of all-ages swim action, personal bests and awards.

• 9am–12:45pm • Sky Pool • ¥1,650

• Ages 6 & above • Members only • Sign up online


Tie-Dye Blast

Unleash your inner artist and add a splash of color to your summer at this fun and funky workshop.

• 1:30–4pm • Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms • ¥2,200 (walk-ins & guests: ¥2,640) • Ages 4 & above • Sign up online


Summer Reading Treasure Hunt

Young Members set out on a literary expedition to unearth tales from the shelves. The quest continues through August 16.

• Library • Free • Details online


Toastmasters Luncheon

Build podium confidence and leadership skills at monthly meetups of the Club’s Toastmasters cohort. Continues on June 21.

• 12–1:30pm • New York Bridge (June 7); Washington & Lincoln rooms (June 21)

• ¥2,420 (guests: ¥2,900) • Sign up online


Moss Wood Wine Dinner

Winemaker Keith Mugford uncorks a selection of varietals from his family’s Margaret River winery in Western Australia.

• 7–9:30pm • Brooklyn II & III • ¥17,600 (guests: ¥21,120) • Sign up online

10 | INTOUCH agenda


Pearl & Jewelry Sale

Enjoy up to 50 percent off elegant gem and pearl jewelry from Tokyo Pearl.

• 10:30am–7pm (June 9 & 10);

10:30am–5pm (June 11) • Beate Sirota

Gordon & Haru Reischauer classrooms

• Details online


Show & Tell Jamboree

Ages 6 to 9 build confidence through self-esteem-boosting activities.

• 1–2:30pm • Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms • ¥1,000 (guests: ¥1,200)

• Sign up online


Youth Toastmasters Club

Youngsters pick up tips on public speaking, debating and how to engage an audience.

• 3–4pm • Toko Shinoda & Yukiko Maki classrooms • ¥1,000 (guests: ¥1,200)

• Sign up online


Weekend Buffet

Dig into an all-you-can-eat spread of classic dishes from around the world.

• 11am–8pm • Rainbow Café • Adults: ¥3,300; ages 12–17: ¥2,500; ages 7–11: ¥1,050; 4–6: ¥750; ages 3 & under: free

• Details online


Father’s Day Workshop

Creative youngsters design and paint a customized baseball cap for Dad.

• 2–3:30pm • Gymnasium • ¥4,950 (guests: ¥5,940) • Ages 3 & above • Sign up online


Summer Camp Discovery

The Club kicks off weeklong sessions of games, crafts, music, dance and fun.

• 9am–3pm • Big Kids (ages 5–10): ¥55,000; Preschoolers (ages 3–4): ¥49,500

• Sign up online


All-Star Kids

Summer campers keep the fun going with afternoons of sports, magic and tech. Continues through August 25.

• 3:30–5:30pm • Gymnasium, Activity Rooms & The Studio • ¥14,850 per week (guests: ¥19,300) • Ages 5–10

• Sign up online

4 Slimmer in Six

When Club trainer Takeshi Hirata (pictured) returned to Japan after living in the United States, he made an unexpected discovery.

“Japanese clothes didn’t fit,” he says. “By US standards, I was slim, so it was a culture shock. I didn’t like it, so I decided to lose weight.”

Cutting carbs didn’t work for Hirata, so he began to research and develop his own weight-loss program. In 2015, he studied under some of the leading experts in the field.

“I built my foundation there, but my method is constantly evolving,” he says.

Amid the reams of nutrition advice and weight-loss fads available, Hirata learned that a longer diet isn’t necessarily more effective.

“There is no evidence that being on a diet for 12 weeks is better than six,” he says. “Six is just shorter and slightly more intense, like summer school.”

This month, Hirata’s launches his rapid weight-loss program for Members, with six weeks of dietary support and 10 one-on-one training sessions at the Fitness Center. Each participant also receives one session of Cavi-Lipo, The Spa’s new body-sculpting treatment.

“Strike while the iron’s hot,” says Hirata, noting that the program has only six spots. “I am here to unlock your potential.” CBJ

• Through July 15

• Members only

• Fitness Center • ¥110,000

• Sign up online

• Ages 16 & above

JUNE | 11

Exhibition: Osamu Sugiyama & Hiroto Norikane

Osamu Sugiyama and Hiroto Norikane are in a race against time. With Japan’s population in freefall and its rural towns and villages withering away, the two print artists are determined to capture the beauty of the countryside and rustic life while it remains.

Their depictions of bucolic scenes will be on display at the Fredrick Harris Gallery as part of a special joint exhibition. Besides sharing a love of nature, both men honed their craft under masters of the Yoshida family of pioneering printmakers.

While Sugiyama studied with Toshi Yoshida at the Yoshida Hanga Academy, Norikane, born in Hiroshima, was mentored by Toshi’s younger brother, Hodaka.

Their prints will be on display through July 3. CBJ

Moment I realized I wanted to become an artist.

Norikane: It was at the 1977 Nichido Hanga Grand Prix Exhibition.

Sugiyama: I liked to draw pictures and loved hiking. When I was younger, I saw a print by Hiroshi Yoshida and it struck a chord within me. I became obsessed. What I would tell my 20-year-old self.

Norikane: Make sure to learn more about design.

Sugiyama: Back then, I hadn’t gotten into printmaking yet. I was too busy with my daily work. The stress I went through during that time inspired me to create art. Endure the stress and turn it into energy for the future.

My perfect creative environment.

Norikane: The perfect time to create is when listening to music.

Sugiyama: I now have a larger studio and living space. Living alone, I don’t need a big house. That’s enough for me.

Artist, living or dead, I’d most like to share a meal with.

Norikane: I’d like to meet Edvard Munch.

Sugiyama: I’d like to meet Hiroshi Yoshida [father of Toshi and Hodaka Yoshida].

• Through July 3

• Frederick Harris Gallery

• Artworks available for purchase through Member Services • Details online

Top: “Mount Karasawa in Fall Colors” by Osamu Sugiyama Bottom:“Shoji and Dried Persimmons” by Hiroto Norikane
12 | INTOUCH agenda

6 Badminton Night

Whether it’s the highly organized club and league system or the indoor sports-friendly weather, the small Nordic country of Denmark is a badminton powerhouse.

From a population of 5.8 million, thousands regularly play the sport, and the country has won nine Olympic medals in badminton.

“Everyone plays badminton at some level—in the garden, backyard or on a proper court in a sports facility,” says Danish Member Christian Andersen, who first picked up a racket at around 5 years old.

The Club’s Tuesday badminton sessions have been a chance for Andersen, who is also a keen squash player, to introduce his daughters to the sport.

“I like the fact that there are players at all levels, and everyone is so welcoming,” says Andersen (pictured in 2017 with his daughter, Lucia). “And then it is a fine chance for me to do some sports with my teenage daughters, who really enjoy badminton.”

Besides enjoying a weekly workout during friendly games, Members can pick up tips from a pro three times a month. Kanako Hirano, a performance analyst with Japan’s national team, hosts a one-hour skills clinic at the beginning of the evening.

With around 220 million people now playing badminton, there’s never been a better time to pick up the sport sweeping the globe. NJ

• Every Tuesday • 6:30–9pm (6:30–7:30pm: skills clinic) • ¥550

• Contact the Recreation Desk for details


Summer B-Ball Camp

Three-on-three basketball pro Spencer Jennings helps young players supercharge their game with a weeklong camp of hands-on coaching, drills and scrimmage games.

• 4:30–6pm (ages 8–12); 6–7:30pm (ages 13–17) • Gymnasium • ¥23,100 (guests: ¥27,720) • Sign up online


TAC Talk: Paul Hoff

Explore the history of the popular summer destination of Izu with Member Paul Hoff, who shares how he fell in love with the charming region on page 22.

• 7–8pm • Washington & Lincoln rooms

• ¥1,950 (guests: ¥2,340) • Sign up online


Amazake Tasting

Savor the sweetness of Kanagawa-based Amazake Stand’s nonalcoholic pick-me-up.

• 9am–2pm • The Cellar • Details online


Father’s Day Grand Buffet

Let Dad eat and drink to his heart’s content at this lunch spread of man-ofthe-house favorites.

• 11am–2pm • New York Ballroom

• Details online


Sky Pool Splash-A-Round

While Dad sleeps off that Father’s Day feast, the kids clamber, crawl and slide their way through the aquatic hub’s brand-new course of inflatable obstacles.

• 3–4pm • Sky Pool • ¥2,200 (guests: ¥2,750) • Ages 5–12 • Sign up online


Summer Porchetta at Café Med

If you can’t make it to Umbria this summer, at least enjoy the Italian region’s iconic slow-roasted pork dish.

• 5–9pm • Café Med • ¥3,900

• Details online

the Club website for the most up-to-date information on events and programs.
JUNE | 13

Island Living, Redefined

Ālia sets a new standard for luxury real estate in Hawai‘i

Finding a luxurious condominium development in Hawai‘i is not a challenge, but one that allows you to be a part of a welcoming, connected and sustainable community on the islands is entirely different. Ālia at 888 Ala Moana, which is expected to be completed in early 2026, is just such a community.

The project takes its name from the Hawaiian word for salt bed, and the area where it will be built was once a major source of the mineral. The culture of the islands is tied to salt, which has been used for centuries as a flavoring for food, an element of healing ceremonies and a key cultural commodity.

Ālia is being developed by Kobayashi Group, a third-generation, Hawai‘i-based company that dates back to the 1950s. From humble beginnings, it was launched by Albert Kobayashi and the company has expanded over the years to become one of Hawai‘i’s most established developers and real estate investors. However, as a family-owned business, it stays true to its roots and has a unique way of insisting on the quality of its projects, such as their most recent developments: Park Lane, ONE Ala Moana and Hokua. Most of the company’s executives live in its properties, and this gives them firsthand knowledge of how to design and maintain buildings where people can make the most of their lives. All this experience and knowledge will be brought together at Ālia.

14 | INTOUCH advertorial 14 INTOUCH


The architect behind the project is Adam Woltag, partner at WRNS Studio, an award-winning architectural firm that designed Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus and is well known for its elegant approach to sustainable design. As Woltag explains, Ā lia is inspired by the idea of being a building that works with the community—on multiple levels.

One is the developer’s commitment to sustainability, and the project has been designed to be the most sustainable new residential tower developed in Hawai‘i. The entire building will be shifted 65 degrees from true north, which allows it to receive the cooling trade winds while making for incredible views from all residences. The building’s facade also features a characteristic, undulating weave pattern, which serves a pivotal role in reducing energy consumption, providing each residence with enhanced shading and passive ventilation. This means that residents will need to rely far less on air conditioning.

It will also make the most of its resources. Ālia will be the first residential tower on the islands that recycles its gray water, thanks to a cutting-edge treatment system that reduces water use by 8 million gallons—the equivalent of 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools— annually. Meanwhile, photovoltaic panels on the building will harness the sunlight to generate power for the property.

Serving as a center for its residential community, the project will enable its residents to enjoy a luxurious environment to the fullest. It will feature an impressive great lawn, ideal for family gatherings throughout the year, along with secluded garden corners that are perfect for quiet reflection. Other amenities include a gymnasium with a half basketball court, salon and spa, sauna and cold plunge, movie theater, karaoke room, lounge and bowling alley. The concierge will be staffed by multilingual specialists who receive extensive hospitality training, ensuring that every need residents may have will be met.

This sense of community will also be strengthened by Ālia’s artworks—carefully selected by the renowned art curator Kelly Sueda—that will decorate public areas. The building’s collection will include pieces by local and international artists that will help to create an atmosphere of aesthetic discovery and enlightenment.


No better neighborhood than Ala Moana/ Kaka‘ako could have been chosen for Ālia, and it will be a landmark within this diverse and vibrant area that is recognized for its art scene, wide range of restaurants and plentiful shopping opportunities.

The interior design of the development will be shaped by Michelle Jaime, president and creative director of The Vanguard Theory, a local interior design company whose work is firmly rooted in its understanding of what makes life on the islands unique. The interiors of units

and common spaces alike will stand out for their warmth and comfort, making for spaces where residents will be able to enjoy time together and on their own. Residences will be available in a variety of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, with and without lanais. Most floor plans include powder rooms, laundry rooms, pantries and dens. Units feature white oak and Italian porcelain flooring, lofty ceilings that bring in natural light and create an unrivaled feeling of spaciousness and expansive views of the ocean, Diamond Head and the mountains. Kitchens come equipped with a luxury lineup of Gaggenau appliances. Ālia combines luxury with a true sense of community which will set it apart.

Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, Kobayashi Group’s managing partner and executive vice president, explains that the condominium project is setting new standards for the company and for real estate in Hawai‘i. “I’ve lived in and raised my family in our developments, but I’ve never been more excited than I am for Ālia. We’re creating something that’s going to set a tone for future development.”

To learn more about Ālia, visit www.alia888alamoana.com

Email: live@alia888alamoana.com

Phone: +1-808-466-1890

The Ālia sales gallery is located at Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 3860, Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

JUNE | 15 JUNE 15

Hit the Road

Enjoy natural getaways at your own pace with Dream Drive

With the approach of summer, the allure of Japan’s land scapes and picturesque nature beckons, inviting you to indulge in a world beyond the heat and the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s confines. Dream Drive’s campervans provide an effortless way to explore the country’s enchanting beauty, without compromising on convenience, comfort or luxury. And with stunning lakes, beaches, rivers and green mountains all within a two-hour drive of Tokyo, getting away for a weekend escape or longer holiday couldn’t be easier.

Japan is the perfect place for taking full advantage of a recreational vehicle (RV), thanks to the many campsites and roadside stations known as michinoeki that can be found throughout the country. With a Dream Drive campervan, the

freedom to escape the city is yours, any time you desire. Whether it’s a weekend retreat with family and friends, a leisurely getaway with your pets or a holiday to pursue your favorite outdoor hobbies, the possibilities are endless. Japan’s diverse landscapes become your personal playground as you uncover and experience the country’s hidden gems at your own pace.


Dream Drive campervans are meticulously crafted in Tokyo by Japanese artisans, who blend traditional creativity and modern innovation to create campers with every thing you need to vacation in style. Every Dream Drive camper van is built using top-quality materials and comes standard with state-of-the-art sub-battery electrical and water systems, ensuring that your holidays are as

comfortable and convenient as they are memorable. The company is supported by an English-speaking team, who can help walk you through a seamless and personalized experience from start to finish.

Tyson Faa, head of marketing at Dream Drive, says that hitting the road has been transformative for him and his loved ones.

“Campers have opened up a whole new way of life for my family in Japan. An RV gives you the freedom to be able to travel on a whim, go with the flow and adjust your schedule as needed,” he explains. “It’s comfortable and easy to holiday in nature without needing to pre-book or worry about accommodations. You can avoid crowds and focus on spending time with those you love in incredible destinations, while still having most of the comforts of home.”

Learn more about Dream Drive:


A Match Made in Culinary Heaven

“You wanna hear how good bacon is?” American comedian Jim Gaffigan asks the Austin audience. “To improve other food, they wrap it in bacon.”

Unless that food happens to be scallops from the waters around Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. Café Med chefs take the coveted packages of umami-packed plumpness, lock in their tender sweetness with a caramelized crust and then delicately wrap them with bacon.

“We just love the marriage of briny, creamy scallops and smoky bacon with a touch of warmer weather pepper sauce in the coulis,” says Lindsay Gray, the Club’s executive chef, who recommends a glass of white wine to complete the dining experience.

Available for lunch and dinner.

• Bacon-wrapped Hokkaido scallops • ¥1,500

JUNE | 17 flavors


Barely 15 minutes after wrapping up a 90-minute training session with the Club’s swim team at the Sky Pool, 10-year-old Member Axl Kort is back in the water, diligently swimming laps.

Although he’s been swimming since he was a baby, Axl says that it wasn’t until he joined the swim team in 2020 that he truly embraced the sport.

“Joining the team made me more confident, a better swimmer and, most importantly, allowed me to make new friends that I look forward to seeing during practices and races,” he explains.

With three practices a week and regular race sessions against fellow teammates, Axl also represents the Club in swim meets against school teams and clubs.

Under the guidance of head coach Simon Hadlow and instructors Marcin Nowakowski and Farid Stas, Axl has registered a personal best of 35 seconds for the 50-meter freestyle.

“They’ve helped me improve while also having fun,” he says of his coaches.

Back in March, Axl traveled with the team to Bangkok for an international meet. It was a chance for him to test himself in a new environment.

“Axl had an excellent meet, and he came back more motivated,” Hadlow says. “These meets are special and are a great bonding experience for the team. Traveling,

competing, supporting each other and hanging out together creates memories and builds friendships.”

Nowakowski describes Axl as naturally “competitive,” so it wasn’t so surprising that he signed up for the Club’s monthlong Tokyo Bay Challenge in 2021. He was the only youngster to enter and reached his 20-kilometer goal by the end of February. The following year, he upped the distance to 42 kilometers.

“My dad and I would come on the weekends to swim together and to hit our distance goals,” Axl says. “Waking up on Saturday mornings was tough—but always rewarding—with a waffle or two waiting for me afterwards at Café Med!”

Hadlow says the young Member found his niche.

“Axl is definitely a distance swimmer,” he says. “He just keeps on going. The Tokyo Bay Challenge was perfect for him.”

Axl might be relocating to Thailand with his family this summer, but there are plenty more laps to be swum.

“I really hope to see my teammates at meets and competitions in other places,” he says, “and I will return to Japan for races where my new swim team will hopefully be invited.”

Visit the Aquatics page of the Club website for more information on the Sky Pool’s swim programs.
Image: Axl Kort
One young Member shares how joining the Club swim team opened up new lanes of fun.
18 | INTOUCH indepth aquatics


When Chuck Wilson was 5 years old, he was struck down with rheumatic fever. The doctors told him that he probably wouldn’t live for more than another decade.

“From then on, I was told how weak I was. I couldn’t participate in any physical education programs or athletic events. It left me with feelings of diminished worth,” the Boston native says. “Those feelings settle in your subconscious and don’t go away. You have them your whole life, and you’re always trying to verify that you have worth.”

But at 15, Wilson learned that his heart murmur, a side effect of rheumatic fever, was, in fact, a temporary hemic murmur. While he relished the chance to play sports, he became a target for bullies.

“I decided that I wasn’t going to be that person, that I was not going to live in fear,” he says. “Instead, I would become physically very, very strong.”

By the time he was 18, Wilson was bench-pressing 180 kilograms.

He continued training in college, where he also took up judo. During his years in the United States Air Force, he was runner-up in the combined services judo championship twice. When his service ended in 1969, he followed his judo dreams to Japan.

“When I came to Kyoto, I found a city-sponsored place where young people gathered for recreation. They had a weight-training facility and there was no fee,” Wilson says. “But it wasn’t machines, it was free weights. People said, ‘Your bench press is good, but how much can you squat?’ I didn’t know. They convinced me to start doing deadlifts and power cleans. Then I participated in the western Japan weightlifting contest and did well.”

Wilson discovered powerlifting and his arduous training sessions in the sport’s three disciplines (squat, bench press and deadlift) paid off. A four-time Japan powerlifting champion, he held the Japan bench press record of 200 kilograms for nearly a decade in the 1970s.

This month, the Club trainer will share his knowledge during a powerlifting workshop for Members interested in entering the Club’s own powerlifting competition in September.

Wilson turns 77 this year, but the seventh-degree judo black belt’s passion for staying fit and helping others to do the same remains undimmed.

“If you lifted more weight than you did the day before, that’s an enhancement of your own sense of worth,” he says, “and that’s what fitness is really all about.”

Building Strength and Power • June 17 • 2–5:30pm • Activity Rooms, Fitness Center • ¥5,500 • Members only • Ages 15 & above • Sign up online
Club trainer Chuck Wilson shares his remarkable journey from childhood illness to powerlifting dominance.
JUNE | 19 indepth fitness
Image: Chuck Wilson at the 1990 All-Japan National Powerlifting Championship in Sapporo

An American


In the early 1970s, things were looking up in Japan. With the country basking in the success of Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics, the economy was on a tear. In the capital, the city’s governor, Ryokichi Minobe, was starting to tackle the garbage and pollution problems.

But some of the finer things remained out of reach, even for affluent businessmen. That’s one of the reasons why Shizuo Daigoh and Hiroshi Ando joined the Club in 1970 and 1971, respectively. When the two men became Members, the Azabudai facility was about to embark on an ambitious, two-phase construction project to meet growing demand. Since then, they have witnessed further Club redevelopments, a temporary relocation to Takanawa and the opening, in Nihonbashi, of the Club’s first-ever satellite hub.

Ando, now 89, joined the Club at the urging of an American director of the joint venture where he worked. At the time, he was the international marketing manager for a subsidiary of an American manufacturer of pumps, compressors, valves and other factory equipment. Japanese firms needed parts for the refineries they were building, and Ando was the person to know.

“I visited plants located around the world, in places like France, Italy and Spain,” he recalls. “In turn, we invited business associates to the American Club when they visited Japan. Many customers enjoyed having an American-style lunch and dinner. My Japanese customers also appreciated this very much.”

Daigoh remembers that there were no family restaurants in Tokyo at the time and only a few eateries specializing in international cuisine.

With the Club celebrating its 95th birthday at this month’s First Friday, two longtime Members reflect on decades of hamburgers, whiskey and friendships.
“It has been an oasis for me. It’s a comfortable place with wonderful Members, otherwise I would not have remained a Member for more than 50 years.”
20 | INTOUCH indepth community

“The situation was absolutely different,” says Daigoh, who turns 86 this month. “We couldn’t even get a hamburger unless we came to the American Club.”

There was another key draw, according to Ando.

“In the early 1970s, the exchange rate was ¥360 to the dollar, which made whiskey very expensive in places like Ginza,” he says. “But it was very cheap at the Club.”

The Club’s basic gym was a rarity of the era as well. There were few fitness centers in Tokyo, even though the capital had hosted the Summer Olympics just a few years earlier.

Daigoh, who joined the crowds at the National Stadium in 1964 to watch Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila win his second Olympic gold medal in the marathon, worked for a Norwegian shipping company. When he was promoted to assistant general manager, the firm suggested that he become a Member of the Club.

“Many customers enjoyed having an American-style lunch and dinner. My Japanese customers also appreciated this very much.”

The Club’s entrance fee was ¥100,000 at the time, more than double his monthly salary. Daigoh says he used the facilities for entertaining clients and for keeping fit. The Club, he says, was a vibrant social hub for Tokyo’s growing expat community.

“People came to the Club in black cars with chauffeurs, and there was a very nice atmosphere here,” he says, “with monthly ballroom parties with attendees in evening gowns, black tie and suits.”

In the early 1970s, visiting the United States was an impossible dream for most Japanese because they lacked dollars. The Club was an enclave of the customs, food and language of Japan’s strategic ally, which had ended its military occupation of the archipelago only two decades earlier. Ando, who survived the US firebombing of Tokyo during World War II, fondly remembers bringing his family to the Club for Christmas parties, meet and greets with visiting American football stars, monthly buffets and days at the outdoor pool.

Up until his retirement three years ago (he established his own trading firm in 1979), Ando was still entertaining clients at the Club.

“The American Club has been very useful for my business,” he says. “I want to help increase the number of young people who can speak English by inviting them here.”

Daigoh, who also experienced the Tokyo air raids as a child, says his fondest Club memories are of his son and daughter swimming together at the pool and playing with other kids. After they completed their education, the family moved to the seaside town of Zushi in Kanagawa Prefecture.

For Daigoh, who has served on Club committees and as statutory auditor, the Club has been a place to relax, make connections and socialize. He and his wife still drive to Tokyo and meet at the Club’s second-floor Library after finishing their appointments for the day.

“It has been an oasis for me,” Daigoh says. “It’s a comfortable place with wonderful Members, otherwise I would not have remained a Member for more than 50 years.”

First Friday: Prohibition

• June 2 • 7pm-9pm • Winter Garden, American Bar & Grill

• ¥2,750 (walk-ins ¥3,850); guests: ¥6,150 (walk-ins ¥7,250)

• Limit: five guests per Member • Dress code: formal or 1920s (hats permitted) • Sign up online

JUNE | 21
Image: Shizuo Daigoh and Hiroshi Ando

Southern Appeal

Ahead of his TAC Talk on the history of the Izu Peninsula this month, Member Paul Hoff recounts how he fell in love with the alluring region.

Paul Hoff in Izu’s Kawana Hotel Shimoda City, Izu
22 | INTOUCH indepth history

It was in the waning days of 1976 that I made my first pilgrimage to Izu, that picturesque peninsula south of Tokyo that has long been a beloved destination for Japan’s elite. I was living in Osaka at the time, and my Japanese colleagues and I embarked on a golf outing to the famed Fuji Golf Course at the Kawana Hotel, a mecca for golfers from all corners of the world. The journey, which we made on the 12-year-old bullet train, was a jaunty affair that included sightseeing in the Ito region.

In the years that followed, I became a regular visitor to the Shizuoka area, frequenting my employer’s staff house in Atami. The development, perched on a verdant mountain above the sea, had excellent facilities. These included a sparkling outdoor pool, tennis courts and a par-3 golf course. With each visit, I grew more enamored with this charming region I’ve come to call Izuvia, exploring its natural splendor and rich cultural history.

By 1987, my wife and I had decided to build a vacation home outside Tokyo where we could retire in comfort and style. Settling on Izuvia, we selected a reasonably priced plot. The American-style house we built was imported in two 40-foot containers and completed in November 1989. We celebrated with a grand housewarming party with more than 80 colleagues and friends from Tokyo, many from the Club, which we joined in 1984.

I use the term Izuvia to refer to not only the Izu Peninsula, but the archipelago extending southward from Oshima to the island of Hachijo. This geological wonder is situated on the Philippine Sea tectonic plate, which, after grinding against the rest of Japan over millions of years, created Suruga Bay, a seafood lover’s dream with its long-legged crabs and golden eye snapper. The associated volcanic activity, meanwhile, gave us those steep, craggy mountains infested with wild boar and deer, sacred Mount Fuji and the area’s steaming hot springs.

But it wasn’t just the natural beauty and modern amenities of Izuvia that captured my imagination. I became increasingly intrigued by the region’s human history, which, like so much of Japan, is steeped in legend and lore. In particular, I was drawn to the 12th-century story of the Soga brothers’ revenge against the man who killed their father. The tale, which has been immortalized in Kabuki,

Noh and Bunraku puppet theater since the 17th century, led me to explore places related to the incident and, in turn, more of the area’s fascinating history.

What I discovered was a region that has played a pivotal role in many of Japan’s momentous events, from the introduction of Buddhism and Chinese culture to the migrations from Asia that brought so much of Japan’s early history to life. I began to piece together the stories and vignettes that make up Izuvia’s rich past.

There were tales of warlords and shoguns, of gunboat diplomacy and foreign trade, and of intrepid adventurers like Silas Burrows, the Connecticut businessman who became the first American tourist to visit Japan shortly after Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1854 trade agreement with the Tokugawa shogunate.

Purchasing a ship in San Francisco, Burrows outfitted it with a luxurious suite. He even named it the Lady Pierce after the wife of US President Franklin Pierce. Setting sail from San Francisco, he headed for Maui before continuing on to Japan, where he lavished presents on the locals and invited them on board for a leisurely cruise.

But it was his gift of 1,500 gold $1 coins, minted in San Francisco and emblazoned with the word “Liberty,” that caused a stir. The Neo-Confucian government of the shogunate could not allow such a symbol of individual freedom to circulate in Japan and so returned the coins to Burrows. Nevertheless, his visit to Shimoda left its own imprint on a country that was rapidly moving in an entirely new direction.

TAC Talk: Paul Hoff

• June 14 • 7–8pm • Washington & Lincoln rooms • ¥1,950 (guests: ¥2,340) • Sign up online

“What I discovered was a region that has played a pivotal role in many of Japan’s most momentous events.”
JUNE | 23
Izu coastline

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For a recruitment firm that caters to your company’s unique bilingual hiring needs, speak to one of our consultants specialising in your industry sector or visit our webpage at www.robertwalters.co.jp

Power of the Pose

I made it a regular part of my life, going once a week, then twice, then more. My interest grew and grew. I had been into sports since I was a kid—playing on the basketball and tennis teams in high school, running, golfing—but nothing offered me what I was getting from yoga.

As with those sports, there were physical benefits, of course. But yoga is more than just movement, doing poses. It’s about finding peace of mind and calming your nerves. I call it a moving meditation. It helps me focus.

Yoga became such an important part of my life that I decided to do basic teacher training, what we call the 200 hours. I learned about the history, philosophy and different types of yoga. Next, I did the 500-hour advanced teacher training. I teach regularly now, but I wasn’t really thinking to become a teacher then. As I gained more knowledge, I wanted to share it with others, so they could benefit from yoga like I was.

Apart from building strength and flexibility, yoga teaches us life lessons. It helps me manage stress. I’ve become a much calmer and patient person. And I have carried the lessons I’ve learned over to my professional life. Yoga has taught me how to be consistent and persistent, to let go of judgement and to skillfully manage whatever comes my way.

A lot of that comes from the challenge of yoga. Anyone who has been on the mat knows the experience of not being able to do a pose. I have that a lot, too, even after 15 years. But the goal of yoga is not to balance in a pose or stand on

your hands. The goal is the process. When you enjoy the process and accept the challenge of building strength to do the positions, you get the physical benefits as well as a very healthy stimulus to the brain. And when you can do something today that you could not do yesterday, that sense of accomplishment is amazing.

About a year ago, I joined the Nihonbashi Club. It’s near my office and has been great for me. I’ve always had a pretty fast-paced, intense job. Yoga really helps me manage my well-being—physically and emotionally—and the Club allows me to pick a convenient time to practice that fits my busy life.

For anyone considering taking up yoga, I encourage them to let go of any preconceptions of what yoga is. At the end of the day, you just get on the mat and you move, and breathe. That’s it.

As told to INTOUCH’s C Bryan Jones.

When I started doing yoga 15 years ago, I had no idea what it was about. A friend who was practicing took me to my first class. I didn’t know what I was walking into. But when it was over, the one thing I did know was that it felt really great.
Nihonbashi Member
Joey Wu explains how the benefits of yoga extend well beyond the mat.
JUNE | 25 community wellness
Image: Joey Wu

We can help you completely refurbish your residence, office, or showroom, from finding the ideal combination of materials, fabrics, and colors to selecting the best furniture and furnishings.

We also provide design, construction, and renovation services for hotels and retail areas, with the ability to handle all local regulation issues and help with approval processing.

ONE DESIGNS’ English-speaking staff can assist with any inquiries.


ANA InterContinental Appi Kogen Resort, the Tohoku areaʼs first luxury resort, opened in March 2022 and weʼre celebrating our first anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, we are offering two special plans to enjoy the early summer at Appi Kogen resort. The first plan includes a one-night stay in the luxurious 306.9-square-meter Presidential Suite, and the second plan includes a dinner featuring three different types of Iwate Prefectureʼs famous beef. We invite you to enjoy the season with us!



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DESIGNS TOKYO OFFICE Ryoshin Onarimon Bldg. 7F 6-17-15 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
+81 (0)3
6758 3535

New Members


SWEDEN | Linus & Masi Jonsson

EF Education First Japan Ltd.

“The Club is already becoming a second home. We love the diverse community and the plethora of opportunities for the whole family. We are able to expand our network of friendships with like-minded people from all around the world. The Club is truly an oasis in the middle of Tokyo.”



Aimee Berkeley

Walt Disney Attractions Japan Ltd.

Scott & Chieko Burnside Raytheon Systems Support Company

Su Chong Choi & Ji Won Kim

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.

Stephen & Chika Drysdale

Molex Japan Co., Ltd.

Suzanne Alyse Goodwin Walt Disney Attractions Japan Ltd.

Sujiang Li & He Jin Sanden Corporation

Laurel & Darrin Marshall

Intuitive Surgical G.K.

Miles & Nozomi Witherspoon

Google Japan

Allen Yan & Makiko Yamamoto

Nikko Asset Management Co., Ltd.


Shaun Rust & Tin Ming Michael Shiu

Kenja K.K.


Michael Hegde

Cryo Tokyo


Fangyi Liu & Jing Sun Intco Medical Japan Co., Ltd.


Christian & Ayako Schmid

Schmid Group | Gebr. Schmid GmbH


Conor Walsh

GlaxoSmithKline K.K.


Fuminori Hasegawa Chiyoda Corporation

Masatoshi & Noriko Hasegawa

BMW Japan Corporation

Takashi Kanazawa Gartner, Inc.

Masaharu Miyajim

Mitsubishi Estate Residence Co., Ltd.

Genio & Keiko Taira Sailing Co., Ltd.


Andrey Svininnikov & Yasuko Svininnikova

Iceberg K.K.


Hyun Baek Medical Corporation, Kyogakai


JAPAN | Naoki Honjo

Hermanus Co., Ltd.

“When I embarked on starting an international business, joining Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi appealed to me. I thought it seemed the perfect place to interact with Members from various countries and entertain visitors from abroad. I then decided to become a Member.”


Stephan & Beatrice Eigenmann

Alcon Japan Ltd.


Bruce SJ Kirk

Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.

Abdul & Caroline Mary Mullick

Kyowa Kirin International plc



Kenji Kinoto

Maruichi Co., Ltd.

Koji Minato

Itoki Corporation

Hiroaki Nagasawa

Volkswagen Group Japan

Hitoshi Nishimura

Jin Pediatric Clinic

Hiroshi Sasaki

Terry’s & Company Co., Ltd.

Hirofumi Tokunaga

National Australia Bank Ltd.

Image: (l–r) Dunia, Masi, Noah and Linus Jonsson Image: Naoki Honjo
chic retreat with all the comforts of your home away from home. JUNE | 27 community register
Reservations: 03-4588-0381 tac@tac-club.org

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On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced General Order No 3, informing Texans that all enslaved people were free. The day came to be known as Juneteenth and, in 2021, it was recognized as a national holiday—156 years after the day it commemorates. But Juneteenth has always been central to my American experience and instrumental in how I see my ancestry and my version of American self-determination.

In the Presence of My Ancestors

Granger made his announcement in Galveston, in southeast Texas. My family is from this area near the Texas-Louisiana border, and I have fond memories of visiting there during my early childhood summers and then living there during high school.

The early celebrations of Juneteenth that date back to 1866 involved small African American community gatherings in Texas. My ancestors were part of those communities and may have participated in the events. I remember celebrations at an old, white church that was the centerpiece of a small town called Hemphill. The annual picnic was held on a patch of grass in front of the church. The cemetery in the back is where many of my ancestors’ tombstones are inscribed with dates of birth well before—and dates of death after—1865.

That white church and cemetery, together with the oral history my grandparents passed down, sparked my curiosity about my ancestors and Juneteenth. Every year around June 19, I revisit memories and questions that have helped form my identity.

I wondered how long it took for Granger’s life-changing announcement to make it by foot or horse to my ancestors in Hemphill, more than 200 kilometers northeast of Galveston.

Hemphill had only been established in 1855, and my understanding is that the enslaved people there were largely from South Carolina. When legally freed, many of them cleared, claimed and farmed tracts of land in the woods around Hemphill. They struggled and obtained 40 acres and mules.

What would my forebears, who had so many hopes and so few means of surviving when the news of emancipation reached them, make of my life? Just as I am still in the presence of my ancestors in that little cemetery, I believe that they are beside me in my life halfway around the world, and they have always accompanied me on my journey.

Like many people, I have mixed feelings as to what degree emancipation is a defining moment for African Americans. It wasn’t a self-defining juncture. Emancipation was the turning point that allowed my ancestors to begin claiming some measure of self-determination within the American caste system. African history before slavery, African American contributions to the United States during—and in spite of—slavery and our contributions since emancipation are full of self-defining moments. And it is these that underpin the self-determination that has been so important in my life.

I hope that a Juneteenth celebration at a little white church and time in the presence of ancestors sparks the imagination of a young person somewhere this year, just as it did for me many years ago. I hope, too, that you see a part of our shared humanity in this historic day.

Samuel Gordon is a Club Member.
JUNE | 29 community voice

Ready, Jet, Go!

Skip the queues and fly in style with Sky Trek Japan.

While Japan’s iconic bullet trains are well loved for their speed, punctuality and cleanliness, it’s hard to beat a private jet for stylish travel—especially when it comes with a close-up aerial view of Mount Fuji en route to a secluded Japanese inn in the mountains.

Club Member Matthew Tappenden learned this firsthand when he was whisked away to Nagano Prefecture by Sky Trek on a sleek Cessna Citation CJ2+.

Based in Tokyo, the licensed luxury travel company flies individuals, business travelers and beloved family pets on private planes and helicopters to 90 domestic and international destinations. Especially popular are Sky Trek’s tour packages that include a three-day retreat at luxury resort Sankara Spa on Yakushima Island and aboard Guntu, Japan’s first floating ryokan, in the tranquil Seto Inland Sea.

Tappenden opted for an overnight stay at luxury ryokan Tobira Onsen Myojinkan, nestled in the forested mountains just outside Matsumoto City. Comfortable and beautifully outfitted without being ostentatious, Myojinkan exemplifies the quality of Sky Trek’s offerings. Think private hotspring baths in every room, exquisite French cuisine with stellar wine pairings and attentive, English-speaking staff.

The experience was seamless from start to finish. After being driven up to the plane parked on the runway at Haneda Airport, Tappenden settled into his ivory-colored, leather seat. The relatively compact interior of the twinengine jet made the flight feel like a party. Landing in

Nagano 40 minutes later, he was welcomed by a chauffeur-driven vehicle waiting to transport him to Myojinkan.

“I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was,” Tappenden says. “You get into the car, you get taken to the plane and you’re going. None of the rigmarole. No taking your belt or shoes off, no queuing up, no meandering through customs.”

Aritomo Ando, director of sales and marketing at Sky Trek, says that there are no time constraints with a charter flight.

“Additionally, this sort of travel is entirely private,” he says. “Even the green car on a bullet train isn’t completely private.”

Sky Trek has a loyal following among business travelers. Frequent flyer Shigeru Aoi, managing director of a Tokyobased real estate investment company, has been using the company’s services since its inception.

“Using Sky Trek means being able to travel stress-free, as you can choose exactly where and when you go,” he says.

Sky Trek operates six models, from a zippy Cessna Citation M2 to the larger Falcon 2000LXS. Each plane features plush reclining seats, in-flight Evian water and Godiva chocolates and the promise of smooth, luxury travel.

“You ask yourself,” says Tappenden with a smile, “‘Why am I not traveling like this all the time?’”


30 | INTOUCH advertorial

April 9

Spring Splash-A-Round

Club kids celebrated Easter with an afternoon of high-energy fun on the Sky Pool’s brand-new set of inflatables, an aquatic twist on the traditional egg hunt and sweet treats galore.

JUNE | 31 community highlights

April 13

TAC Talk: The Art of Kyogen

The New York Ballroom was transformed into a theater for a dazzling display of the traditional comedic art form of kyogen by three siblings from the famed Izumi clan of kyogen performers.


May 7

Introduction to Pickleball

With millions of people around the world embracing the sport of pickleball, the Club welcomed former pickleball pro Daniel Moore for two introductory sessions to the game in the Gymnasium.

YUUKI IDE 34 | INTOUCH community highlights

May 12

First Friday: Hawaiian Luau

Following the Hawaiian state holiday of Lei Day on May 1, Members enjoyed a laidback evening of aloha refreshments and entertainment care of the dancers of Sandii’s Hula Studio in Tokyo. IMAGES


Making Music

Class Piano

Whether you dream of being the next Lang Lang or you long to experience the sensation of creating music, learning the piano has benefits that extend well beyond the instrument’s 88 keys. It can improve concentration, memory and abstract reasoning and even reduce stress levels. While beginners learn the basics of playing in this class, advanced students develop the ability to express themselves.

Instructor Aiko Takai

After studying piano at Ferris University in Yokohama, soloist and chamber pianist Aiko Takai embarked on a journey to some of the top music schools in Italy and Britain. She has been sharing her mastery of the ivories with students of all ages and ability levels for nearly 20 years.

Student Sara Goho

“I have been studying piano for about five years and really enjoy playing music by various composers. One thing I like about taking piano lessons from Takai-sensei is that she teaches me step-by-step when I make a mistake. This helps me a lot.”


• Every Monday • Music Room 1

• ¥5,500 (30 minutes) • Ages 4 & above • Sign up online

36 | INTOUCH community pursuit
Image: Aiko Takai and Sara Goho

A Modern View On A Timeless Lifestyle

A graceful interpretation of modern architecture surrounded by spectacular natural beauty, Kalae welcomes those in search of a timeless Hawai‘i lifestyle.

素晴らしい自然美に囲まれ、伝統的デザインを優雅に表現した Kalaeはタイムレスなハワイライフをを実現する。

One, Two, and Three Bedroom Residences 1ベッドルーム、2ベッドルーム、3ベッドルームのレジデンス


kalaewardvillagehonolulu.com | +1 808 376 1882

Offered by Ward Village Properties, LLC RB-21701




A new standard for luxurious living

Toranomon Hills Residential Tower Serviced Apartments

Toranomon Hills Residential Tower Serviced Apartments can make you feel at home from day one. Floor plans range in size from studios to two-bedroom units, and each apartment comes equipped with all the necessities for daily life. And the property’s full array of services and amenities put comfort and convenience right at hand.

毎月一回一日発行 第四十七巻六九八号
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
トウキョウアメリカンクラブ インタッチマガジン二〇二三年六月一日発行
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