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TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 三 巻 三 十 号 

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

April 2010

N T O U C H

平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 0 0 円

iNTOUCH

i

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 十 〇 四 月 一 日 発 行 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

Ambassador of Art

本 体 七 七 七 円

Longtime Club Member and artist Fred Harris reflects on a life of creativity and cultivating cross-cultural appreciation

Issue 541 • April 2010

Flying High

Self-Defense Savvy

Beauty Boom

A modern vision gives flight to the near-extinct airship voyage

Club martial art gives one Member the strength to strike

Cosmetic surgery thrives amid the quest for flawless looks


12

library

Belonging 101

recreation Writer Rebecca Otowa shares her remarkable evolution from a young exchange student in Kyoto to a traditional “Japanese” wife and mother in rural Japan.

women’s group

24

2 Contacts

Keeping Careers on Track Along with friendships and cultural touchstones, three career-minded trailing spouses get a boost to their skill sets and résumés through a rich array of volunteer work in the Women’s Group. out & about

Avant-Garde Isle

Landscape of a Life

4 Events

6 Board of Governors 7 Management 8 Food & Beverage

48

12 Library 16 Video Library

An explosion of modern art has bedecked the quiet fishing islet of Naoshima with a whimsical, world-class compilation of paintings, sculptures and architecture. feature

contents

18 Committees 20 Recreation

24 Women's Group 28 Feature

28

34 Genkan Gallery 36 Talking Heads

With his passion for art and aesthetics, longtime Japan resident and Member Fred Harris has for decades created, educated and supported. At age 77, the former Club president looks back on his enduring devotion to crafting beauty and philanthropy.

38 Redevelopment

40 Member Services 46 Inside Japan 48 Out & About 50 Event Roundup 56 Tokyo Moments

iNTOUCH

Editor Nick Jones

To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara: marketing@tac-club.org 03-4588-0976

Designers Ryan Mundt Jasmine Lai

For Membership information, contact Mari Hori: mari.hori@tac-club.org 03-4588-0687 Tokyo American Club 4–25–46 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108–0074

www.tokyoamericanclub.org Cover photo by Irwin Wong

editor@tac-club.org

Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki Assistant Editor Wendi Hailey Design Assistant Miki Amano Communications Manager Matthew Roberts

Management Michael Bumgardner General Manager gm@tac-club.org

Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director hum_res@tac-club.org

Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager agm@tac-club.org

Linda Joseph Administrative Services Director gmoffice@tac-club.org

Lian Chang Information Technology Director itdir@tac-club.org

Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director finance@tac-club.org

Darryl Dudley Engineering Director eng@tac-club.org

Michael Marlay Food & Beverage Director fboffice@tac-club.org

Alistair Gough Redevelopment Director projdir@tac-club.org

Scott Yahiro Recreation Director recdirector@tac-club.org


Getting in Touch Department/E-mail American Room

Phone 4588-0675

americanroom@tac-club.org

Banquet Sales and Reservations

4588-0977

banquet@tac-club.org

Beauty/Hair Salon

4588-0685

Catering

4588-0307

banquet@tac-club.org

Childcare Center

4588-0701

child-care@tac-club.org

Communications

4588-0262

comms@tac-club.org

Engineering

4588-0699

eng@tac-club.org

Finance

4588-0222

acct@tac-club.org

Fitness Center

4588-0266

fitness@tac-club.org

Food & Beverage Office

4588-0245

fboffice@tac-club.org

Foreign Traders’ Bar

4588-0677

fb_bar@tac-club.org

Garden Café

4588-0705

gardencafe@tac-club.org

General Manager’s Office

4588-0674

gmoffice@tac-club.org

Library

4588-0678

library@tac-club.org

Logan Room

rec@tac-club.org

Membership Office

4588-0687

membership@tac-club.org

Member Services Desk

4588-0670

tac@tac-club.org

Mixed Grille

4588-0676

mixed.grille@tac-club.org

Pool Office

4588-0700

pool@tac-club.org

Recreation Services Desk

4588-0681

recdesk@tac-club.org

Recreation Office

4588-0240

rec@tac-club.org

Redevelopment Office

4588-0223

redevelopment@tac-club.org

Special Events

4588-0204

specialevents@tac-club.org

The Spa

4588-0714

spa@tac-club.org

Video Library

4588-0686

video@tac-club.org

Vineyards

4588-0978

vineyards@tac-club.org

Weddings

4588-0671

banquet@tac-club.org

Women’s Group Office

4588-0691

wg@tac-club.org

Youth Activities ya@tac-club.org

2 April 2010 iNTOUCH

4588-0250


from the

editor

Kieron Williamson appears like any other ordinary English boy. The 7-year-old likes playing soccer and painting. His pictures, however, are far from typical. His breathtaking landscapes have attracted attention—and buyers—from across the world, including Japan. At the end of last year, Kieron’s second exhibition at a gallery in his hometown of Holt in eastern England sold out in just 14 minutes. With hundreds of people, including art lovers and art dealers, on a waiting list for his work, a simple pastel picture starts at upward of ¥100,000. When I related this painting prodigy tale to long-time Club Member Fred Harris at the end of our interview for this month’s cover story, he was horrified. He questioned the motivation of many of the buyers. To what degree were they influenced by the age of the young artist? And how many were speculative purchases? As an accomplished painter himself, Harris has often spoken out against people buying art as an investment. “[Making money] shouldn’t be the purpose of buying art, unless that’s your business, you’re a dealer…or you wanted to create a collection that you were going to give to a museum or something like that,” he says. “But if it’s only for buying art for yourself, you should buy it for its aesthetic value only, not its material value.” I remember asking Harris to write a guide to buying woodblock prints as a preview to the CWAJ Print Show a few years ago. “People should just buy what appeals to them,” he bellowed through the phone. An avid collector of art (his apartment resembles a treasure-filled museum), he says he buys works simply for their beauty or artistic magnificence. “I’m only interested in satisfying my aesthetic needs,” he explains. “I would never buy anything to make money. I sell things because I tire of them or my tastes have changed.” For now, Kieron Williamson is being shielded from the business side of his art by his parents. “Go on holiday to where you really want to go, and be inspired,” he advised wannabe landscape painters in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper last year. Harris probably couldn’t agree more. If you have any comments about anything you read in iNTOUCH, please e-mail them to editor@tac-club.org, putting “Letter to the Editor” in the subject title of the mail.

contributors Rob Goss

Gaby Sheldon

Originally from Dartmoor in southwest England, Rob Goss is a freelance journalist and editor. His work has appeared in more than 40 publications around the world and, more recently, on the Internet. He writes on a range of subjects, but has a special interest in Japanese society and travel. Most recently, he has been working on the latest version of The Rough Guide to Japan, and in this month’s Out & About section, he explores the intriguing contemporary art island of Naoshima in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Goss arrived in Japan in 1999 after a spell in Oslo and now lives in Tokyo with his wife and young son.

When not running after her two small children, teaching English or drinking coffee, Gaby Sheldon likes to write. Having worked as a journalist and editor in London, she moved to Tokyo in March 2007 with her family. She says writing for iNTOUCH and other publications catering to Japan’s expat community allows her to learn more about the country while satisfying her natural curiosity. Sheldon also volunteers as director of communications for the Women’s Group, and in “Keeping Careers on Track,” on pages 24 and 25, she meets other trailing spouses who have put their professional skills to use with the Women’s Group.

www.tokyoamericanclub.org For the latest Club news, schedule of events, class registration and more, check out the Tokyo American Club website. And remember, you can read this month’s iNTOUCH there, as well as previous issues, too. Words from the editor 3


1 What’s happening in

April

2

Friday

Thursday

1–4

Thursday– Sunday

1–11

Thursday– Sunday

Spring Classes Sign-Up A fascinating array of programs and activities designed just for kids is on tap this season at the Club. Flip to page 23 to learn more about what’s on offer.

Spring Sweets A handcrafted Easter Nest Cake and choice of coffee, tea or soft drink at Garden Café is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Get the details on page 11.

Easter Catering The Club cooks up a tasty feast that lets families and friends enjoy quality time together this Easter—without worrying about the cleanup. Call 03-4588-0307 or check the website for more.

3

3

3

Saturday

Saturday

Saturday

Mother-Daughter Tea Party Sign-Up Ahead of Mother’s Day, moms and their little girls enjoy a delightful afternoon of tea and sushi making on Saturday, May 8. See page 23 for details.

Easter Basket Workshop Kids decorate their own baskets to fill with a rainbow of eggs and other Easter goodies. 1:30 p.m. Flip to page 23 for the lowdown.

Joseph Phelps Decadent Dinner Winery president Bill Phelps shares the legacy of his father, vineyard visionary Joseph Phelps, during a wine-punctuated evening at the Club. For more on the acclaimed St Helena winery, turn to page 8.

An Evening with Geisha Explore the veiled world of traditional entertainment with this Culture Committeesponsored outing to an upscale ryotei restaurant.

6

6

6–15

7

Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday– Thursday

Wednesday

Boys’ Day Display An eye-catching display of traditional warrior dolls marks the Japanese festival in the Family Lobby. Through May 5. Sponsored by the Culture Committee. Check out page 19 for details.

Toddler Time The Library hosts a free, weekly session of fun activities for preschoolers. 10:30 a.m. Continues April 13 and 20. Turn to page 14 for more.

Italian Food Fair Flavorsome, made-to-order pasta and antipasto are dished up in Garden Café. Get the scoop on page 11.

Chappellet Dinner Get your hands on the California winery’s stunning Cab, ranked Wine Spectator’s No. 6 wine in 2009, and other crowd pleasers, alongside Chappellet manager Steve Tamburelli. 7 p.m. Read more on page 10.

16

16–30

16–30

20

Friday

Friday

Friday– Friday

Tuesday

A Taste of Cape Mentelle Wine lovers are in for a treat when exceptional Sauvignon Semillon, Shiraz and other varietals from the Margaret River winery in Australia are uncorked in Vineyards. 6 p.m. Details on page 11.

All-You-Can-Taste Cape Mentelle Buffet Stellar wines from the Western Australia winery are spotlighted during this two-week wine extravaganza in Vineyards. For more info, flip to page 11.

London Calling Traders’ Bar offers fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and other tasty English cuisine in honor of St George’s Day. Don’t miss the quiz night on April 23. More on pages 11 and 18.

Spring Menus Launch The creative culinary minds at Mixed Grille, Vineyards and Traders’ Bar whip up bright, seasonal fare for the warmer months.

24

24–25

26

28

Saturday

Annual Carpet Auction The Women’s Group hosts a lively night of carpets and tapestries (with a light buffet) to support one luminous scholar in Japan. 6 p.m. Free. Banquet Rooms. Check the online Club calendar for details.

4 April 2010 iNTOUCH

Saturday– Sunday

Callaway Golf Sale Members can snap up quality golf goods and apparel from the Callaway brand during this exclusive weekend sale. More on page 23.

Monday

Get Acquainted Coffee Meet new people and learn about the Women’s Group at this relaxed gathering. 10 a.m. Banquet Rooms. Contact the Women’s Group Office to arrange for free childcare.

Wednesday

Kawagoe Antiques Market and Toyama Museum Tour Take in the traditional architecture, antiques and handcrafted hina dolls in this historic castle town. Sign up for this Women’s Group jaunt online or at the Member Services Desk.


EVENTS

1–15

Thursday– Thursday

1–30

Thursday– Friday

1–30

Thursday– Friday

1–30

Thursday– Friday

All-You-Can-Taste Green Point Buffet A variety of scintillating wines from Green Point in Australia’s Yarra Valley is served up daily in Vineyards. For more on this new smorgasbord service, check out page 11.

Rice Campaign Help deliver food to struggling people across Japan with the purchase of ¥500 rice coupons through April 30. Turn to page 26 to find out how you can help.

The Perfect Start Treat your taste buds to a sensational medley of flavors and textures with a choice of three decadent caviar appetizers paired with Moët & Chandon Champagne in the American Room.

London Calling Order up Newcastle Brown Ale all month long for just ¥600 in Traders’ Bar. Stop in from April 16 for a tasty selection of traditional English dishes. Details on page 11.

4

4

5

5

Sunday

Sunday

Monday

Monday

Springtime Fun Youngsters celebrate this rite of spring with a traditional egg hunt, chocolaty treats, photos with the Spring Bunny and a petting zoo full of cuddly creatures. Page 18 has more.

Easter Buffet A lip-smacking spread of Easter treats is served up for lunch and dinner. 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Reserve at 03-4588-0977.

Artist’s Reception Ceramicist Kouzo Takeuchi kicks off his exhibition of deconstructed sculptures inspired by the Mayan ruins at an informal soirée in the Adult Lobby. 6:30 p.m. Learn more on page 34.

Arlene Blum Lecture Adventurer and author Arlene Blum revisits the Club for an evening of spectacular stories and photos. 7 p.m. Head to page 27 for more on Blum’s astonishing accomplishments.

8

9

12

14

Thursday

Friday

Monday

Wednesday

New Moms and Babies Get-Together Qualified nurse Ann Tanaka explains the ins and outs of the first years of motherhood at this informative Women’s Group session. 3:45–5:15 p.m. ¥2,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

Library Book Group The Club’s band of literature lovers chats about Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose over coffee. 12 p.m. To learn more, see page 14.

Women’s Group Monthly Luncheon Sake expert John Gauntner shares insight into the deftly refined flavors of Japan’s iconic drink during this unique luncheon. Check out page 26 for more.

Izakaya Cooking Class Learn to make authentic izakaya pub grub during this fun, hands-on session taught by chef Mika Takaki. Flip to page 23 for the rundown.

20

21

23

24

Tuesday

Show & Tell Members and their guests are welcome to attend a casual gathering to learn more about the Club’s unparalleled services and amenities. 6:30 p.m. Page 18 has more.

29

Thursday

Azuma Odori Glimpse a classical performance by some of Tokyo’s finest geisha entertainers at this seasonal spectacle at Shinbashi Enbujo Theater. 3:50 p.m. Learn more on page 19.

Wednesday

ABC (Anything But Chardonnay/Cabernet) Tasting Let your taste buds rejoice during an exploration of fairly obscure grape varietals during this unique tasting from the Wine Committee. 7 p.m. Details on page 9.

Friday

St George’s Day Quiz Night A night of quintessential English fun in Traders’ Bar includes a pub trivia competition, classic cuisine, drinks and a best-dressed contest. 7:30 p.m. Get the lowdown on page 18.

Saturday

Biathlon Challenge Athletes of all levels tune their bodies and push the limits with this exhilarating competition of running and swimming at the Club. For more, turn to page 23.

Coming up in

May

8 Mother-Daughter Tea Party 18 Nearly New Sale 20 Salvation Army Drive

Bad Parking Day

Noteworthy dates for the month 5


BOARD OF GOVERNORS

The Road Ahead by Amane Nakashima

Board of Governors Lance E Lee (2010)—President Amane Nakashima (2011)—Vice President Jerry Rosenberg (2011)—Vice President Rod Nussbaum (2010)—Treasurer Norman J Green (2011)—Secretary

T

he national mood seems to be increasingly gloomy when it comes to contemplating Japan’s future. As somebody who has grown up here, I feel truly sorry about this. Some say that this attitude reflects Japanese pessimism, but others believe it’s a natural reaction to the current state of affairs. Or are we just too unwilling to believe that our mistakes are the result of bad decisions in the past? When I speak to people from other countries, I hear a lot of praise for Japanese manners, culture and honesty, as well as the country’s low crime rate and cleanliness. Even after discounting the obvious polite flattery, I basically agree with these sentiments. What’s more, I think Japan needs to make the most of its strengths and move on from fretting about the country’s stagnant economy. In 1945, Japan lay devastated, but soon began the job of rebuilding. Thanks to the help and protection of the United States and other nations, the country could focus entirely on growing the economy. My parents’ generation worked very hard to build a foundation for the country and establish longlasting business models. The words “holiday” and “sleep” simply don’t exist in my father’s lexicon. He often calls me on weekends and urges me to work longer and harder. While it would be easy to follow his advice, my generation has to figure out how to modify the

William Ireton (2010), Hiroyuki Kamano (2010), Per Knudsen (2010), Jeff McNeill (2011), Brian Nelson (2010), Rod Nussbaum (2010), Mary Saphin (2011), Mark Schwab (2010), Dan Stakoe (2011), Dan Thomas (2010), Deborah Wenig (2011), Ira Wolf (2011), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2010), Barbara Hancock—Women’s Group President

established way of doing things for the future and not just rely on old practices and approaches. Japanese are justifiably proud of their reputation for manufacturing quality, which was forged through the efforts and determination of the large keiretsu groups of companies. Such standards are embedded in our business customs and not easily changed. But I believe that even relatively small tweaks to our systems can provide us with unique opportunities for revitalizing Japanese society. We want to be optimistic as we search for a harmonious way forward. We are also ready to listen to all views—Japanese and non-Japanese—about Japan and its society. I sincerely hope that the country is able to strike a balance between emotional and economic value in society and become a good, responsible member of the international community. Throughout the coming years, the Club is likely to become a haven for those in search of harmony in their lives. I, therefore, urge all Members to come to the Club, speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. o

azabudai

Franck Robichon

update

6 April 2010 iNTOUCH

by Wendi Hailey

Though the design of the gleaming Club complex in Azabudai has been finalized for months, materials, vendors and other minutiae continue to be determined as January 18, the opening date, draws closer. More than 200 changes have been made so far, including alternatives to the textiles and timber chosen by architects Pelli Clarke Pelli that were unavailable in Japan. “In the construction of a building, changes are inevitable,” says Redevelopment Director Alistair Gough, who estimated a final number of 400. Many modifications have resulted in cost savings, and through “tough negotiations” with direct vendors the Club is stretching its budget. “The market is going to provide some very fierce competition,” Gough says. “We don’t go for the lowest price; we go for the best value.” In Azabudai, workers have begun installing the exterior windows and stone walls as spring temperatures envelop the site. Plumbing, electrical wiring and other functional elements steadily advance toward the top building levels as the last of the steel moves into place. o To learn more about the selection process, turn to page 38.


MANAGEMENT

Readying for Our Return by Bob Sexton Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager

W

ith construction of the new Club in Azabudai set to wrap up at the end of the year, questions, naturally, have been raised in various committee meetings and staff discussions about opening events for the facility and the way in which the historic moment should be marked. To ensure a smooth opening of the new premises, a special task force has been established. Made up of members of the various committees and management, it will focus on the many opening events envisioned for our new facilities. This group has been charged with setting a schedule for any desired opening events and coordinating the resources required to support them. One of the objectives of this task force is to ensure that opening events do not preclude the starting up of normal Club operations. Since our primary goal is to get the Club open and operating correctly, we are unsure at the moment exactly what kind of resources will be directed toward multiple, large opening events. The Club takes possession of an empty clubhouse this Christmas Eve. Then, as with our move to Takanawa, staff will work over the holidays to pack up our stock, equipment, furniture and fittings and relocate it all to its new home, which will be twice the size of our current facilities and considerably

more complex. We learned a valuable lesson when the Club moved to Takanawa at the end of 2007. Our attempts to launch all of our services at the same time, without sufficient testing, resulted in a difficult time both for Members and staff. This time, the opening of some services and outlets will be phased over a period of time. This approach should ensure that systems are thoroughly checked and staff properly trained and ready to welcome Members. While the final decisions on what will open and when are yet to be made, the Board has approved a Club opening date of January 18, 2011. Relocating the Club to Takanawa also taught us the value of distributing a facility guide ahead of the move. This handy booklet was well received by Members, as were the large floor guides located around the building. Needless to say, we will be taking a similar approach for the next move. The Azabudai Club will be one of the largest private clubhouses in the world. Getting it open and operating properly is a major focus of the Board, committees and staff. Much like when we came to Takanawa, we greatly appreciate your understanding of the complexities of such an endeavor, and we look forward to embarking on this next phase in the Club’s illustrious history. o

Executive remarks 7


decadent

dinner

Dynamic

Dynasty by Wendi Hailey

I

n the late 1960s, Joseph Phelps began collecting wines from regions around the globe while serving as president of his father’s construction business in Colorado. Before long, his cellar was brimming with great labels and wine played a regular role in the family’s nightly rituals. “He and my mother would open an interesting bottle for dinner almost every evening,” recalls his son, Bill, 55. “They would allow my sisters and me to have a sip occasionally. In this way, I began to be exposed to wonderful wines.” As Joseph’s enthusiasm for wine deepened, the enterprising executive left the family company to establish the Joseph Phelps Winery in 1972 amid the hills and native oak trees of Spring Valley near St Helena, California. The warm, sunny climate and volcanic soils turn out Cabernet Sauvignons, Rhône-style wines and other varietals that are robust and distinctive. Phelps was the first California winery to release a Bordeaux-style blend under a

8 April 2010 iNTOUCH

proprietary label with its lush, expressive Insignia in 1974. Two vintages of the flagship wine—the 1990 and 2005—and a range of palate-pleasers will be sampled at an upcoming dinner hosted by Bill. After practicing law for 20 years, Bill moved to Napa Valley in 1998 and joined the family business, a professional transition that had always been planned. “I am dedicated to carrying on the legacy begun by my father,” says the father of two. “My top priorities are ensuring the company’s success during a difficult economic time, successfully launching our new Freestone wines and working to perpetuate our company as a familyowned enterprise.” Phelps has cultivated estate-owned vineyards in such premier growing regions as Stag’s Leap, Rutherford and the eastern foothills of Napa, using technology and biodynamic farming methods that focus on preserving and enhancing the natural vineyard environment. “The key to our continued

improvement is in the vineyard itself,” says Bill. “As we have acquired additional vineyard property over the decades, we have sharpened our focus on farming to create the finest possible grapes.” In 1999, a grand project was undertaken to plant 100 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in cool, coastal Freestone, an emergent pocket of Sonoma County. “It was Joe Phelps’ restless spirit that inspired us to create the Freestone vineyards and winery,” Bill says. Celebrate this visionary approach to wine during a special spring evening in the American Room. ®

Joseph Phelps Decadent Dinner Saturday, April 3 7 p.m. American Room ¥15,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk


FOOD & BEVERAGE

A

nyone for Aglianico? How about a Gelber Muskateller? A Lagrein? Or perhaps an Oseleta? Believe it or not, these are all grape varietals, which attendees at this month’s enlightening Wine Committee Monthly Tasting will have the opportunity to sample. If your wine journey to date has consisted largely of the “big 10” varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Syrah, we invite you to update your passport with some of the other top 100 varieties that, with the right terroir, climate and winemaking regime, produce delicious and fascinating wines. The downside of popular “varietal worship,” as it is referred to by British wine critic Jancis Robinson, is wine producer consolidation and overly standardized, big-volume winemaking. Vines of lesserknown grape varieties are torn up and replaced by common varieties, leading to the possible extinction of such local grapes as Arinto (Portugal), Barbarossa (Italy), and Alvarelhão (Portugal). But, thankfully, winemakers in different parts of the globe are rekindling a love for the indigenous grapes of their native lands. In Italy, this includes Teroldego, from the foothills of the Dolomites in the northeast of the country, and Taurasi, Fiano and Greco di Tufo farther south. In Austria, we find mouthwatering, tangy white Grüner Veltliner and Traminer, and in Japan, the Koshu grape is gaining prominence. The floral bouquet of Torrontés is well known in Argentina, while

France’s unusual and intriguing Malbec, which is a blending grape in Bordeaux, is used to make wonderful wine in Cahors in the south. Coupled with this interest in less-common grape varieties is an emphasis on traditionalist winemaking. Increasingly, vintners are embracing more natural and labor-intensive methods of wine production. Whether it’s considering the local ecosystem, reducing or avoiding pesticides, shunning cultured yeasts (often used to enhance flavor or anticipate natural fermentation), harvesting by hand or producing lower yields, the aim is to craft wines that exemplify the vines’ intrinsic character and their place of origin. While you might go running back to your familiar varieties after this month’s tasting, it will be with a renewed appreciation for their stellar qualities. However, there’s a chance your wine journey will continue on the road less traveled, taking in Pecorino, Rondinella, Zweigelt and other unfamiliar names along the way. ®

wine

tasting

A Walk on Wine’s

Wild Side by Madeleine Seward and Steve Romaine

Seward and Romaine are members of the Wine Committee.

ABC (Anything But Chardonnay/  Cabernet) Tasting Wednesday, April 21 7 p.m. Banquet Rooms ¥9,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

Wines of the Month Red Cline Ancient Vines Mourvèdre 2007, Contra Costa, California Dark ruby in color, this big, intense red earned 88 points from Wine Spectator magazine. With minty bay leaf scents and luscious plum and wild berry flavors, its tannins are soft with a substantial mouthfeel. Recommended with anything grilled.

White Hugel Gewurztraminer 2007, Alsace, France This signature wine of Alsace has aromas of pungent herbs, white pepper and rose petal that lead to a juicy, rose-scented palate. Fine and elegant, it boasts excellent balance. Pairs well with sushi, soft cheeses, shellfish, scallops, salmon, quiche, pâté, crab or Asian cuisine.

Bottle: ¥4,000 Glass: ¥800

Club wining and dining 


wine

dinner

Mountain Megahit by Wendi Hailey

J

ust three weeks after Chappellet Winery wrapped up its harvest last autumn, a wave of elation broke out on Napa Valley’s Pritchard Hill that had been three years in the making. The family-run winery’s 2006 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon had nabbed the No. 6 spot on Wine Spectator magazine’s coveted list of the world’s 100 most spectacular wines. “Pure ecstasy!” Chappellet’s general manager, Steve Tamburelli, says of the news. “I think our Cabernets are very reflective of where they are grown. All of our wines are extremely well made and great examples of the varietals that they represent.” Members can indulge in the label’s celebrated flagship red and other stunners when Tamburelli hosts a wine-infused evening in Vineyards this month. Diners will also be treated to one of his personal favorites, the 2006 Mountain Cuvée, a spice-laced Bordeaux blend. “It is such an easy-drinking, palate-pleasing wine that I love to come home on a weekday night and just have a glass of wine before dinner that provides immense enjoyment, but without any pretense—that’s Mountain Cuvée,” he says. In 1967, Donn and Molly Chappellet built the winery on a rugged hillside some 365 meters above the Napa Valley floor. With its dramatic slopes, volcanic soils and cool breezes rolling in off the Pacific Ocean, the winery has earned a reputation for world-class varietals while remaining a longtime proponent of environmentally conscious farming and winemaking. In addition to embracing the green movement, Chappellet is finding innovative ways to connect with customers. “We are active on Facebook, Twitter and just starting to blog,” says Tamburelli, 47. “As a mature brand, we see this as a channel to the new generation of wine drinkers that allows us to communicate with them on their terms.” The Wine Spectator ranking marks Chappellet’s third consecutive mention. As the role and sway of wine critics continue to be hotly debated, Tamburelli is quick to acknowledge the challenges that wine drinkers face in discerning widely varying ratings, tasting notes and awards. “Wine ratings are incredibly important to any wine brand—no matter what they say!” he says. “The consumer wants third-party validation that they are making a good purchase; this importance has increased in the current economy. That said, the discrepancy in ratings is inherent in the system—wine is a food product and our individual tastes differ. [Critic] Robert Parker loves big, intense red wines, while [Wine Spectator’s] James Laube likes wines with a little more ‘restraint.’” Whether your predilections run closer to Parker or Laube (or neither), expect nothing but superlatives from this critical darling and Napa crowd pleaser this month. ®

Chappellet Dinner Wednesday, April 7 7 p.m. Vineyards ¥13,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Steve Tamburelli

10 April 2010 iNTOUCH


FOOD & BEVERAGE

Fine Wine Smorgasbord Wine lovers are in for a treat from April as Vineyards launches its all-youcan-taste wine buffets. Over the next three months, Members will be able to sample a variety of scintillating wines from a different New World winery for two-week periods.

The first half of April features the lauded wines of Green Point in Australia’s Yarra Valley, while A Taste of Cape Mentelle on April 16 kicks off two weeks of exceptional Chardonnay and Shiraz, among other varietals, from the Western Australia winery.

All-You-Can-Taste Green Point Buffet April 1–15 6–10 p.m. Two hours: ¥3,000 (additional hour: ¥1,500) A Taste of Cape Mentelle Friday, April 16 6–8 p.m. Vineyards ¥1,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk All-You-Can-Taste Cape Mentelle Buffet April 16–30 6–10 p.m. Two hours: ¥3,000 (additional hour: ¥1,500)

London Calling April 23 is St George’s Day in England, and Members can celebrate the dragon-slaying patron saint all month in Traders’ Bar with a selection of fine English brews like Newcastle Brown Ale and such mouthwatering, local delicacies as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Turn to page 18 for details of a traditional English quiz night on April 23. Beer specials: April 1–30 Food specials: April 16–30 Traders’ Bar

Italian Food Fair Inspired by the country kitchens of Italy, the Club’s family eatery presents a selection of freshly made northern and southern Italian pasta and antipasto, cooked to order at an open chef’s station. Buon appetito! April 6–15 (Tuesday–Thursday) 4–8 p.m. Garden Café Juniors and adults (12 years and over): ¥1,600 Children (7–11 years): ¥1,000 Toddlers (3–6 years): ¥500 Infants (2 years and under): free

Spring Sweets Indulge in a tasty dessert combo, featuring a colorful, handcrafted Easter Nest Cake and choice of coffee, tea or soft drink, this spring at Garden Café. Until April 4 7:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Garden Café ¥650

Club wining and dining 11


Rebecca Otowa with her husband, Toshiro

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his morning, I did my rounds in the neighborhood. My husband is a block captain this year and there were some papers to be delivered to each of the 10 houses in our section. I rang doorbells, called

The Otowa ancestral home

is a small village in the mountains south of Lake Biwa. The streets are narrow, with no sidewalks, and lined with old houses with gnarled pines peeping over garden walls. The papers and conversations are all in

recently published book, At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery. My journey began when I came to Japan from Australia as a student and met my husband in Kyoto in 1978. We married and

Belonging 101 Long-time Japan resident and author of At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery Rebecca Otowa explains how she came to feel at peace with her adopted home. out “Is anybody home?”, exchanged greetings and asked after family members. Between houses, I strolled along the street, enjoying the rare February warmth and sunshine. I guess this scene could be set anywhere in the world, but, in my case, the neighborhood

1 April 2010 iNTOUCH

Japanese, and a very specific version of the Kansai dialect at that. I watch myself and marvel once more that this, of all the places in the world, is where I belong. How did I get to be this person? That is the story I have told in my

moved into his ancestral home, a 350-yearold farmhouse, a few years later, and I have lived here ever since, raising two sons, who attended local schools. There have been many twists and turns along the way, but, in sum, my journey has been one of learning


LIBRARY

how to belong in a place where a Westerner has never belonged before. From the first, my situation was intense, even by Japanese standards: we lived with my mother-in-law—and it was her house. She was an old-fashioned and exacting lady, and her goal was to make me as Japanese as possible, as quickly as possible, so that I would be more easily accepted in the community. This was a dramatic change from my student years in Kyoto, where, as a foreigner, I had been treated as an interesting curiosity. Adapting to a strange environment is always a challenge, and, in Japan, you are always aware that those around you have particular boxes into which they expect you to fit. When I married, I exchanged the box labeled “gaijin” for the much narrower one labeled “Japanese wife and daughter-inlaw.” In the early years of marriage, I was absorbed in shaping my psyche to its new cramped quarters. How did I learn to belong? I think one thing that helped was the conviction that it was necessary. The “Japanese wife” ideal was imposed on me to a degree that would be laughable today, and I swallowed it whole.

What did I know? It was part of my firsthand initiation into Japanese culture, after all. I soldiered on, believing my motherin-law’s decrees that Japanese wives always kept their entranceways in apple-pie order, or never went out in the evening. Also, as time passed, the compensations for this hard life made themselves known. The house itself was always welcoming, never intimidating, and there was an abundance of family and cultural history, always something interesting to be found in the dark corners of the storehouses and huge wooden trunks. There was nature, the glory of the changing seasons, the all-absorbing care of the vegetable garden, which, fortunately, I loved. And, of course, there was Japan itself, the eternal enigma, playfully eluding my efforts at understanding and leading me on, step by step, to deeper involvement. Why did I make such efforts to belong? Of course, my husband and my little boys were living reasons to keep on with this journey toward a true sense of belonging in this place. Plus, they sincerely wanted Mom to be happy. Lastly, though, I would have to say that I

stayed because I promised I would, because I wanted to belong, to take my place in the long line of women who have carefully tended this house and land through 19 generations. I felt that there was genuine worth in that. Of course, my own feelings and experiences were important, but if I had not decided, minute by minute, to stay with this no matter what, I would never have been able to arrive, finally, at the kind of self-knowledge and enlightenment that I chronicle in At Home in Japan. This book began as a simple sketch on a free afternoon. Gradually, it became a beloved project, worked on moment by moment over five years. The original was handwritten and illustrated with watercolors, and, after completion, it was altered to make it more amenable to publishing. I believe that the core motivation has remained: a wish to honor my inward journey of discovery, as well as the unique home situation that has given that journey its own rich and evocative flavor. ® At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery is available at the Library.

Literary gems at the Library 1


off the

shelf

Rack Quiz by Michelle Arnot

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rocery shopping back home is an excuse for a quick browse of magazines while queuing at the checkout. At the Club, there is no rush to flip through the pages. Test your knowledge of the Library facilities and its selection of periodicals with this quick true or false quiz: 1. The Reading Room (behind the glass doors to your left as you enter the Library) welcomes Members ages 16 and over to bring in beverages and browse while perched on the cozy seating. 2. The Library subscribes to more than 100 of the most popular English-language magazines. 3. The Reading Room houses the Sunday editions of The New York Times as well as The Times of London, plus a selection of local newspapers. 4. The collection, displayed by genre, includes titles from Britain.

Bonus question: Name the most popular magazine in the Library. The fifth Member to come to the checkout with the correct answer will receive a back issue of that magazine free of charge. Score 1–5 correct: What are you waiting for? 5–10 correct: You are taking full advantage of the Library.

9. The Library Committee reviews magazine requests from Members at its monthly meetings.

Answers 1. True: Feel free to sip a Vineyards latte or iced tea while perusing the hefty selection of publications. 2. True: The Reading Room stocks many weekly magazines (People, Us, Hello), as well as specialized publications on subjects ranging from interior design to yoga. 3. True: Members can browse all sections of the two Sunday papers. The Financial Times is available upon request from the checkout counter. 4. True: The Library subscribes to The Spectator, Q and a variety of other fashion and home magazines. 5. True: Publications such as the Hiragana Times and Kateigaho are displayed together. 6. True: Back issues, including all cooking and home titles, can be borrowed for up to two weeks at a time. 7. True: Monocle and Game Informer are currently available. 8. True: If there is no waiting list, Members are entitled to renew magazines for an additional two weeks. 9. True: All requests are given serious consideration. 10. True: The teen magazine rack is located by the manga bookshelf; children’s magazines are displayed by the holiday books.

10.The Library stocks magazines for under-16s behind the Video Library.

Arnot is chair of the Library Committee.

5. Publications about Japan are available in English. 6. Members are permitted to borrow up to three magazines per visit. 7. Many new magazines are included among the lineup. 8. Magazines can be renewed by e-mailing library@tac-club.org.

s’ n a i r a r Lib C o rn e r a preview of what’s on for the Club’s inquiring minds

The Library of Congress’ Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room

Picks and Pieces by Dan Cherubin Once you have tackled the quiz above and familiarized yourself with the Library’s impressive hoard of magazines, take a look at these online collections:

This site features an exhaustive list of international newspapers dating back to the 19th century and the available online content. www.loc.gov/rr/news/oltitles.html Google Books Many magazines can now be viewed for free on this popular website. Some fascinating treasures include the entire run of Life magazine and Popular Mechanics. http://books.google.com/books/magazines/ language/en

14 April 2010 iNTOUCH

events

Library Book Group Wallace Stegner’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Angle of Repose, about a retired historian who decides to write about his pioneer grandparents, is the talk of this month’s gathering of the Club’s literature lovers. Friday, April 9 12 p.m. Vineyards Free No sign-up necessary

Toddler Time An engaging, fun-packed weekly session of music, song, storytelling and laughter for preschoolers. Every Tuesday (except April 27) 10:30 a.m. Library Free No sign-up necessary


LIBRARY

new

reads The Ultimate Japanese Phrasebook: 1800 Sentences for Everyday Use by Kit Pancoast Nagamura and Kyoko Tsuchiya Packed with colloquial Japanese phrases, this handy book by two renowned writers and translators covers such topics as student life, business, tourism, home life and romance. The enclosed CD contains all the phrases read aloud. (CM)

A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi Charming and funny, this book is a first-hand account of the author’s experiences moving to England from Iran as a young girl with her family. Through her, we discover her culture and feelings of isolation in London. (CL)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Worst Case by James Patterson

Named the best book of 2006 by Time magazine, as well as landing on many top 10 lists, Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel is an intense, funny and overall engrossing tale of her relationship with her father and the secrets he left after his death. (DC)

The son of a wealthy New York family is snatched off the street, but the kidnapper doesn’t demand money. Instead, the boy is quizzed on the price others pay for his life of luxury. Detective Michael Bennett leads the investigation as another child disappears. This is Patterson at his best. (MC)

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration by Jenny Uglow

From the author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this is his inspiring and honest quest to determine whether or not he should bring up his son as a meat eater. The book explores our relationship with food and animals while shining a light on the food industry. (CL)

A portrait of Charles II that explores the decade from 1660 when he crossed the Channel heading for England and his Restoration. Although the country was wracked by plague, fire and war, this period was also marked by incredible vibrancy and experimentation. (MC)

Reviews compiled by Library Committee members Carine Luis and Melanie Chetley and librarians Charles Morris and Dan Cherubin.

member’s choice Member: Graham Harris Title: The Complaints by Ian Rankin

What’s the book about? Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, Malcolm Fox is a detective in the Complaints Department—the one that investigates fellow police officers. As the story opens, an officer whom Fox is secretly investigating is assigned to the case of the murder of the boyfriend of Fox’s sister.

What did you like about it? The story is fast-paced, with twists and turns as Fox discovers that those he thinks he can trust, he can’t, and vice versa. The characters, from police officers to members of the Edinburgh underworld, are well-developed and believable.

Why did you choose it? I have read about 10 of Rankin’s books and enjoyed them all. This story provokes the reader to think about morality and the idea of when “flexibility” in enforcement of the law crosses the line.

What other books would you recommend? Sword Song and The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell, Engleby by Sebastian Faulks and anything by Natsuo Kirino.

Literary gems at the Library 15


give it a go

Based on the true story of how first-term South African President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) enlisted the help of the national rugby team captain (Matt Damon) to unite the apartheid-torn nation. With Freeman perfectly cast as Mandela, Damon’s performance and Clint Eastwood’s directing, how could this fail?

Directed by Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, The Fisher King), this film is difficult to define. There are some nice special effects and the camerawork gives the film a surreal feel. While a little slow, with a confusing plot, the movie should be credited for its creativity. Look out for the slew of cameo appearances.

A traveling sideshow troupe offers audiences a journey to an imaginary world in this rather odd, confusing and long film. Even the addition of actors like Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell doesn’t make it any better. Heath Ledger’s final performance reminds me of Dark Knight.

With its simple storyline, wonderful acting and artistic cinematography, this Peter Jacksondirected film about a murdered young girl who looks down on her family and killer from heaven is perfect for those who prefer a strong theme over special effects, action or violence.

I don’t quite understand what Peter Jackson is trying to say in this adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, which centers on the story of a 14year-old girl, played by Saoirse Ronan, who is murdered by a neighbor. There is one positive, however: Stanley Tucci’s performance as the killer is superb.

A fantastic performance by Robin Wright Penn, ably supported by Julianne Moore and Alan Arkin, under the fine direction of Rebecca Miller. Keanu Reeves, too, does well in his role as a neighbor’s recently divorced son. Acting aside, the plot is interesting but a little disjointed in parts.

After her much older husband’s (Alan Arkin) health forces a move to a retirement community, Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) begins a period of reflection while slowly unraveling. A wonderful performance from Penn and a great cast, but the story is so depressing.

abort

smokin’ give it a go abort

She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the Video Library.

smokin’

Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela to perfection and Matt Damon, whose accent is brilliant, is great as the captain of the South African rugby team. The movie remains pretty true to historical events and is well worth watching. Rugby fans can also enjoy some exciting on-field action.

SHE SAYS

He is Club President Lance E Lee.

HE SAYS

VIDEO LIBRARY

All the movies reviewed above are either available at the Video Library or on order.

new titles Action

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day The MacManus brothers return to Boston from their tranquil life in Ireland to seek retribution on the mobsters who murdered a dear family friend in this violent, over-the-top sequel to the 2000 cult favorite. Ninja Assassin This gruesome, cartoonish movie stars Korean pop singer Rain as a young assassin looking to exact revenge on the clandestine Ozunu Clan that took him from the streets and trained him to be a lethal fighter—then ruthlessly killed his first love.

Family Where the Wild Things Are Director Spike Jonze crafts a beautiful, haunting version of the classic children’s tale by Maurice Sendak, in which an unruly boy named Max runs away to a forested island inhabited by fearsome creatures who crown him as their king. Ponyo A 5-year-old boy and a happy-go-lucky goldfish, Ponyo, who dreams of becoming human, embark on a sparkling aquatic adventure in Hayao Miyazaki’s latest animated masterpiece.

Drama The Blind Side A destitute black youth blooms into a football sensation and first-round NFL draft pick after being taken in by one compassionate white woman (Sandra Bullock) and her well-to-do Southern family in this dramatized story of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher.

16 April 2010 iNTOUCH

Up in the Air Corporate downsizing specialist Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) finds his way of life—and frequent-flyer miles—threatened in this sharp satire from Juno director Jason Reitman. Precious One illiterate, pregnant teenager in Harlem receives a chance at an exceptional education and a bright new direction in life in this gritty indie gem. An Education Vivacious young Jenny is seduced by a middle-aged playboy with a flashy car and worldly charm in 1960s suburban London in this rapturous, heartbreaking memoir adapted by novelist Nick Hornby.

Comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats A top-notch cast (George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey) propels this quirky film about a reporter in Iraq who may have stumbled upon the scoop of a lifetime: a clairvoyant US Army unit. Did You Hear About the Morgans? Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker team up as an estranged New York City couple forced to relocate to rural Wyoming after beholding a murder and joining the witness protection program.

Horror Sorority Row In this delightfully frothy horror flick, a flock of sorority sisters are stalked by a ruthless killer after they attempt to hide the death of their housemate following a botched prank.


TV and film selections 17


COMMITTEES

Seasonal Celebration

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he Club welcomes spring to Takanawa with an activity-packed day of colorful fun and cuddly creatures. As part of the traditional egg hunt, children will be sent scurrying in search of golden eggs to be exchanged for chocolaty treats. Once again, the Spring Bunny will drop by for photo keepsakes, while a petting zoo of rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and baby chicks is sure to draw an enthusiastic—and curious—crowd. ®

Springtime Fun Sunday, April 4 10:30 a.m.–3:15 p.m. (40-minute sessions) Children (2–12 years): ¥1,000 Infants (1 and under): free Gym and Recreation Room Recommended for ages 6 and under Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

Spreading the Word

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or a chance to introduce friends, colleagues or acquaintances firsthand to the array of lifestyle and networking opportunities and services on offer within the Club’s dynamic community, Members and their guests are invited to attend a casual gathering this month. ®

Show & Tell Tuesday, April 20 6:30–8 p.m. Banquet Rooms Free (childcare provided) Parking not available for guests Sign up online or by contacting the Membership Office at 03-4588-0687 or membership@tac-club.org

Pimm’s, Pints and Posers by Nick Jones

I

n the spirit of the traditional English pub quiz, the Entertainment Committee hosts its own brain-teasing test of general knowledge to celebrate St George’s Day and the English patron saint’s dragonslaying exploits. As part of Traders’ Bar’s month-long celebration of English food and beer, Members are invited to form quiz teams of between three and six people and head to the popular watering hole on April 23 for a chance to win a bottle of bubbly and be crowned cerebral champs. Besides the stellar lineup of English drinks and classic cuisine like fish and chips and bangers and mash, there will

18 April 2010 iNTOUCH

be a prize for the person in the most impressive English garb. So grab your thinking caps and some friends and get set for a few rounds of brain-picking fun. ®

St George’s Day Quiz Night Friday, April 23 Quiz team registration: 7 p.m. Quiz starts: 7:30 p.m. Traders’ Bar Free Adults only Sponsored by the Entertainment Committee


Stage Delight

Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the General Manager’s Office.

by Makoto Sasayama and Rike Wootten

E

ach spring, the geisha of Shinbashi in Tokyo emerge from their rarefied world and take to the stage to perform classical dance and music for the public. The much-anticipated Azuma Odori is a unique opportunity to see these traditional entertainers display their impressive skills in the performing arts. Once again, the Culture Committee has secured a limited number of tickets for Members to enjoy this seasonal spectacle at the Shinbashi Enbujo Theater. In addition, there will be an opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, hosted by geisha, during the intermission. Don’t miss what is sure to be an exceptional cultural experience. ® Sasayama and Wootten are members of the Culture Committee.

Azuma Odori Thursday, April 29 3:50 p.m. Shinbashi Enbujo Theater ¥6,000 (optional tea ceremony: ¥1,000) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Culture Committee

C

elebrated on May 5, Boys’ Day, or Children’s Day as it is now often called, is a national holiday on which families hang out colorful koinobori carp flags and display ornately crafted samurai dolls (musha ningyo)—symbols of strength and bravery—at home. The Club will mark this festival with an eye-catching display of warrior dolls, provided by the 299-year-old Yoshitoku Doll Company, in the Family Lobby. ®

Warrior Parade Boys’ Day Display April 6–May 5 Family Lobby Sponsored by the Culture Committee

Recreation Tim Griffen (Tim Griffen) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Pam Jenkinson Fitness Jerry Rosenberg Golf Steven Thomas Library Michelle Arnot Brown Logan Room Diane Dooley & Susan Higgins Squash Nelson Graves & Alok Rakyan Swim Jesse Green & Stewart Homler Video Lisbeth Pentelius Youth Activities Jane Hunsaker Community Relations Stan Yukevich (Jeff McNeill) Community Relations Subcommittees Distinguished Achievement Award Jeff McNeill Independence Day Dan Stakoe Sportsman of the Year Jeff McNeill Culture Eiji Arai (Per Knudsen) Culture Subcommittee Genkan Gallery Fred Harris Entertainment Per Knudsen (Per Knudsen) Finance Akihiko Mizuno Food & Beverage Craig Saphin (Amane Nakashima) Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter House Mary Saphin (Ira Wolf) House Subcommittee Architectural Peter Jay & Michael Miller Human Resources Victoria Muir (Barbara Hancock) Membership Mark Saft (Mary Saphin) Nominating Nick Masee

Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons.

Cornerstones of the Club 19


I

cringed and squealed as I tried to pierce the surface of the balloon with my nails. When it finally popped, I was told to blow up another balloon and burst that one with my bare hands, too. And so I, along with two other women, repeated the process, over and over, until we did it almost without thinking. “Aha! That’s it!” yelled Boaz Hagay, the instructor. “It’s nothing to break the balloon; now it’s nothing to kick the groin, to break the knee!” There was to be a lot more kicking of groins and breaking of knees in my first KM Imi Self-Defense class at the Club. I had decided to take the class because I wanted to learn how

In search of street smarts and a few self-defense moves, one Member decided to take some classes in the Israeli martial art of krav maga.

Hitting from the Heart by Kimberly Fiorello Photos by Irwin Wong

Boaz Hagay and Kimberly Fiorello

to protect myself and my family should we ever be attacked while on vacation somewhere, for example. Over the 10-week course, I learned a raft of self-defense techniques, including how to kick, punch, disarm attackers and get out of a choke hold. Mainly, though, Hagay, 45, taught me how to trust my instincts and act decisively. “If you have a cup of coffee in your hand, use it; throw it in the attacker’s face,” he said. “Then, kick him in the groin, break his knees and run away as fast as you can.” If it all sounds a little rudimentary, that’s because it is. Hagay teaches krav maga, a system of hand-to-hand combat that was derived from basic but effective street-fighting skills developed by Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s. The young Hungarian Jew and his friends used the techniques to defend their Jewish neighborhood in Bratislava from anti-Semitic attacks.

20 April 2010 iNTOUCH

When Lichtenfeld immigrated to Israel, his fighting prowess was recognized and his methods, which came to be known as krav maga, or “contact combat,” were taught to Israel’s defense forces. Krav maga has now been embraced by various elite military units and law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and the New York Police Department. Celebrity exponents, meanwhile, include actor Matt Damon, whose Jason Bourne character uses krav maga, among other fighting techniques, to dispatch hoodlums and assassins. “Krav maga has no philosophy in the spiritual sense,” Hagay explains over coffee in Vineyards one midweek morning. “If it has a doctrine, then it would be: Don’t use two hands to do what should only take one hand; if it takes three motions to get at the attacker, then it’s no good; if you kick, then do it quickly.” Unlike other


RECREATION martial arts, krav maga has no official rules, governing body, set uniforms or unified hierarchy of skill levels. It is designed to be accessible to both men and women of any age, even children. “I give my students reality. I don’t paint anything nice. I don’t tell them they will become something different,” explains Hagay, who, as a long-haired teenager in his hometown of Tel Aviv in the late

can quickly become weapons. In class, we used gloves, punching pads and face guards when necessary, practicing one on one or sometimes simulating confrontations with gangs of thugs. Hagay encouraged us to be cocky as we repeated after him in unison: “I’m sorry, excuse me, I didn’t know you were so dumb as to try to attack me!” I sweated, picked up a few bumps and bruises, but enjoyed it.

Kimberly Fiorello

1970s, learned krav maga from Yaron Lichtenstein, one of Lichtenfeld’s students. Hagay has since been teaching krav maga himself for 20 years. On occasion, Hagay studied with the founder himself, whom he remembers as a coffee-drinking elderly gentleman. “Most of all, Imi wanted everyone to be themselves,” Hagay says. “You can only be who you are.” I’m a 1.62-meter-tall, 50-something-kilo woman in my mid-30s, but Hagay taught me to be aware of my person and use it to my advantage. High heels and long nails

As for the violence inherent in defending yourself, Hagay says it’s important to react with strength—but also with love—should the situation arise. There is no need for hate, he adds. You are acting out of love for your own life, love for your family, love for the things that you have planned for the day. Strike, he urges, with love. ® Fiorello is a Member of the Club. For more information on KM Imi Self-Defense, contact the Recreation Services Desk or visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website.

Fitness and well-being 21


class focus Iyengar Yoga The therapeutic effects of yoga practice on the body, mind and spirit have long been trumpeted by devoted followers. Yoga relieves stress, enhances flexibility and strength and improves posture, while promoting a sense of balance, serenity and well-being. Iyengar yoga focuses on posture, breath control and the link between body and mind. Blankets, belts and other props are used to move safely into the correct asanas (postures). Poses are held for considerable lengths of time to allow the effects to penetrate deeper, and sequences of postures are powerful and effective. Deep relaxation and breathing are essential elements of every session. Suited for all ages, body types and fitness levels, these weekly classes run Mondays (7:35–9 p.m.) and Thursdays (10:40 a.m.–12:10 p.m.) in the Studio. Ask at the Recreation Services Desk or check out the Health & Recreation section of the Club website for details.

Rajay Mahtani

The Instructor

Rajay Mahtani has dedicated most of her adult life to the discipline of yoga, meditation and healing. In 1983, she met one of the world’s foremost yoga instructors, BKS Iyengar, and took up his method. Mahtani pioneered the Club’s yoga program in 1988 and teaches at other venues in Tokyo. The native of India returns to Pune, the home of Iyengar yoga, each year to further her studies and enrich her own practice and teachings.

Sylvia Latimer

The Student

“Iyengar Yoga is a great way to exercise and improve on posture, tone, breathing and flexibility. The schedule works when I am working and gets me to leave the office on time at least once per week. I always come out of the class content and with more energy every week. I love this class most of all because Rajay is a great and motivating teacher.”

Frequent visits mean luxurious freebies. Ella Baché Treatment Spotlight Eternity Facial: This luxurious, pampering facial firms, repairs and rejuvenates the skin

This spring, discover the ultimate in skincare

to leave it glowing. A unique, multifaceted Ella Baché treatment that uses Chinese qigong balls to tone and massage the skin before smoothing fine lines and softening texture through an enzymatic peel and firming peel-off mask.

with the Spa’s new range of Ella Baché facial treatments designed to enhance and revitalize the natural beauty of all skin types. Bring your loyalty card to collect stamps and earn

“The new Eternity Facial is wonderful. It is the best facial I have ever had! Naoko-san is terrific. The long massage during the facial was the best part. Not only did my skin look much better afterward, but I was so relaxed I nearly fell asleep. This was my first time using Ella Baché products, but I am pleased with the results and really like the scent. I had the facial on Saturday, and on Monday several coworkers commented on how good my skin looked.” Member and Spa patron Robin Stuck

Tel: 03-4588-0714

22 April 2010 iNTOUCH

E-mail: spa@tac-club.org

remarkable skincare products.


RECREATION

what’s on Tasty Tutoring Don’t miss this chance to learn how to rustle up some popular, izakaya-style staples at a special cooking class with instructor Mika Takaki on Wednesday, April 14. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.

Callaway Golf Sale From state-of-the-art drivers to quality windcheaters, this month’s Callaway sale promises to be two days of unbeatable bargains on golf equipment and apparel. April 24–25. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The Studio.

Twice the Fun Get in shape while running and swimming your way to victory in the Club’s Biathlon Challenge. Participants will complete a timed 30-kilometer run on the treadmill in the Fitness Center and a 10-kilometer swim in the Pool. The top two competitors in both the men’s and women’s events will receive prizes. April 24–May 1. Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.

youth spot An Afternoon with Mom Ahead of Mother’s Day, moms and their little girls enjoy a charming afternoon of high tea, sushi making and arts and crafts at the MotherDaughter Tea Party on Saturday, May 8. Session 1: Sushi making (1–1:45 p.m.) and high tea (1:45–2:30 p.m.). Session 2: Sushi making (3:15–4 p.m.) and high tea (4–4:45 p.m.). Banquet Rooms. ¥4,200 per person. Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk from Friday, April 2.

Easter Workshop Design your own Easter basket to hold your painted eggs and other signs of spring at a special, fun-packed session for 3- to 10-year-olds. Saturday, April 3. 1:30–2:45 p.m. ¥3,675. Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.

Spring Sign-Up A mind-boggling range of stimulating and fun Enrichment Classes for kids kicks off this month. Find out more about what’s on offer at the Recreation Services Desk.

Fitness and well-being 23


Keeping Careers on Track by Gaby Sheldon Photo by Irwin Wong

Becoming a trailing spouse doesn’t have to mean putting those professional skills and experience into storage for three years.

following week and joined the Women’s Group’s communications team shortly afterward. Having had a number of articles published in both Women’s Group and Club publications, I am delighted that, despite the work being unpaid, my portfolio and résumé won’t contain holes should I want to look for paid work in the future. And then, of course, there are the social benefits of volunteering for the Women’s Group. In an all-female environment, you don’t have to deal with the sexism that is sometimes found in office environments. There is also plenty of opportunity to forge new friendships, too. One of the women I’ve met through my volunteering efforts is Beth Cohen, the editor and designer of WG Connect, the Women’s

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sk expats why they decided to move abroad and many will cite career opportunity as one of their motivating factors. But what might be professional advancement for one partner can mean leaving behind a job and possible promotion for the trailing spouse. When I moved over here three years ago with my husband and baby son, I was on maternity leave, bar a handful of freelance jobs in my field of journalism. Before moving to Tokyo, I had assumed that after a year or two of diapers and bottles, I would return to work, at least part-time. Then, one day in October 2006, my husband came home from work with a proposal: “What do you think about the idea of moving to Tokyo?” Following a seductive look-see, we were on a plane bound for Narita five months later. A few months after our arrival, I came across a Women’s Group notice calling for writers. I showed up at a meeting the

24 April 2010 iNTOUCH

(l-r) Beth Cohen, Sinduja Raghunathan and Gaby Sheldon

Group’s biannual newsletter. Cohen, who has since become a good friend, left her job as a graphic designer at a marketing and PR company when she moved to Tokyo from Baltimore almost three years ago. “It was hard to leave my colleagues behind, but not my career,” says the 42-year-old, who also produces the Women’s Group’s enewsletter. “I liked the idea of being a full-time mom and exploring a new country and culture.” It was a desire to meet people that finally led the Roppongi resident to make use of her skills in graphic design and media (she is a trained journalist) with the Women’s Group. “I went to a


WOMEN’S GROUP

new Members cocktail party, where I met [former Women’s Group President] Betsy Rogers,” Cohen recalls. “I told her I was a graphic designer and she introduced me to the women who were in charge of the old Women’s Group newsletter.” Returning to the United States in the summer, Cohen hopes to find work in graphic design. “I feel less stressed about going back to work, since I was always afraid of leaving the working world to be a fulltime mom and then returning, but I’ve had the best of both worlds,” she says. “I can say on my résumé that I worked for three years for the Tokyo American Club Women’s Group, and I have four really nice issues of WG Connect to show for it.” When Sinduja Raghunathan lost her job more than a year and a half ago, she knew instinctively that she wouldn’t be sitting idly at home. In fact, in anticipation, she had just agreed to take on the role of director of finance for the Women’s Group. “During busy periods, when the Women’s Group is holding large fundraising events, I’m working 10 to 15 hours a week,” says Raghunathan, 36. “At other times, it’s just a few hours a week.” While not directly related to her previous job as a credit risk specialist, the Women’s Group position requires different numbercrunching skills. “I’ve learned a lot more about budgeting and running sales events,” says the mom of three, who moved to Japan from Singapore three years ago. Raghunathan has also honed her people

skills. “In the Women’s Group, you aren’t working for money, so your authority doesn’t come from your position, but from your competence and ability to get on with colleagues,” she explains. “Other Women’s Group board members put a lot of trust in you, so you always have to keep the best interests of the group in mind. “As a group, we are very close-knit,” she says of the friendships she has made. “There is a sense of belonging and the feeling that we share the same cause.” Like Cohen, Raghunathan feels confident about eventually returning to the world of paid work. “The finance experience at the Women’s Group will definitely enhance my employability,” she says. “Potential employers won’t have the impression that there is a gap in my résumé.” But Cohen is quick to point out that a background in the media or finance isn’t a prerequisite to volunteering for the Women’s Group. “There is something in the Women’s Group for everyone, from event planning to leading tours,” she says. “But if you don’t find what you are looking for, the Women’s Group is open to ways of making the organization mold into something that will benefit you personally and it at the same time.” ® Sheldon is director of communications for the Women’s Group. Those interested in volunteering for the Women’s Group should visit the Women’s Group Office on the third floor, call 03-4588-0691 or e-mail wg@ tac-club.org.

An interactive community 25


monthly

luncheon

The Sake Sensei

Monthly Luncheon: A Taste of Japan with John Gauntner Monday, April 12 Doors open: 11 a.m. Program begins: 11:30 a.m. Banquet Rooms Women’s Group members: ¥3,150 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,200 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk John Gauntner

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ake guru John Gauntner hosts an enlightening luncheon of mouthwatering cuisine and delicately refined sake flavors this month. In an extract from his 2003 Japaneselanguage book, Things About Sake Not Even Japanese People Know, the American describes the beginnings of his love affair with Japan’s national drink: “I had been invited over to the home of a fellow teacher whom I liked and respected. Mr Anzai lived in another part of Yokohama with his wife and twin daughters. We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and an evening meal of sukiyaki. Soon after dinner, he walked back into the room holding five isshobin [sake bottles] and a basket of ochoko [sake cups]. ‘Let’s drink some sake,’ he said. Since I

respected Mr Anzai, I immediately began to wonder if my preconceived notions about sake might not be true. ‘Wow,’ I thought. ‘I might actually learn something interesting here.’ As we began to sip and taste, I began to instinctively realize that new doors were opening in my mind, that all I had presumed about sake was wrong. We tasted all of the sake at room temperature, not hot. This was a first for me. Immediately, a very pure and deep interest began to emerge. In short, I found myself amazed at how different from one another the sake were and also how they differed in their subtlety, complexity and depth of flavor. It was wild. Mr Anzai taught me many, many things that night. I learned of junmaishu, ginjo and daiginjo, and of flavor profiles and aromatics. But, most importantly, he

Feeding the Needy by Nick Jones

26 April 2010 iNTOUCH

taught me just how wonderful sake can be and how deep and fascinating the sake world can be. From that evening on, my interest in sake steadily grew. Mr Anzai had introduced me to five different types that night. I would search for these and enjoy a slow bottle at home. I also began to visit a couple of sake izakaya, with many types of sake, and try something different each time. My Japanese was still fledgling back then, but usually the owner would recognize my curiosity and willingness to learn and offer recommendations. It was at pubs like Tomohiro in Yokohama and Ichinochaya in Kanda where I would ask many, many questions and have them patiently answered (when the place wasn’t too busy). I learned so much, and it all just fueled my interest.” ®

Despite Japan’s image as a wealthy, technologically advanced country, more than 600,000 people struggle to feed themselves each day across the archipelago. Second Harvest Japan, headed by American Charles McJilton, is a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes food to orphanages, soup kitchens, shelters, the elderly and homeless and


WOMEN’S GROUP

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t the end of February, Arlene Blum celebrated her 65th birthday. But she has no intention of slipping into a life of quiet retirement. On the contrary, the groundbreaking mountaineer’s latest goal is to lead a trek around Mount Kailash in Tibet, which stands at more than 6,700 meters. And when she’s not breathing thin air, she campaigns tirelessly to stop manufacturers from using toxic flame retardants in their products. Despite such time-consuming commitments, the biophysical chemistry PhD returns to the Club this month to discuss the ventures—and adventures—that have helped to shape her life. “Delighted” to be back in Takanawa after a sellout lecture two years ago, Blum will talk about leading the first American—and all-female—expedition up Annapurna I, one of the world’s most challenging mountains, in 1978. “[On that climb in the Himalayas, I learned] that with vision, determination and teamwork, we can achieve things we never believed possible. This is true both in mountaineering and in science,” she says.

“Reaching a mountain’s summit, with the clouds at my feet, is always a wonderful moment. I didn’t reach the top of Annapurna [as other team members summited], but the team’s success was my success.” She was also a member of the first allwoman team to ascend Alaska’s Mount McKinley in 1970, became the first American woman to attempt to summit Mount Everest and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter, who is now a senior at Stanford University, strapped to her back. Blum has chronicled her experiences in two books: Annapurna: A Woman’s Place, written 25 years ago, and more recently, Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life, which covers her mountaineering achievements, as well as her co-founding of the Green Science Policy Institute. The work of Blum and her team at the institute has helped to stop the use of many toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products, such as bedding and furniture, and create safer standards for consumer goods. While seemingly very different pursuits,

women’s group

lecture

Lofty Ambitions by Gaby Sheldon

Blum sees a link between strapping on the crampons and donning a lab coat. “Climbing the world’s highest mountains is a powerful metaphor for achieving any demanding objective,” she says. “Reaching the summit requires total physical, intellectual and psychological commitment, and yields the greatest rewards.” ® Sheldon is director of communications for the Women’s Group.

Arlene Blum Lecture Monday, April 5 7 p.m. Women’s Group Classroom 2 Club Members: ¥1,050 Non-Club Members: ¥1,500 Entry includes one drink Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

Arlene Blum

many others in need. Started in 2000, Second Harvest Japan was the first food bank in Japan. It receives provisions from more than 40 companies before distributing them to more than 160 charities in different parts of Japan. Until April 30, the Charities Committee of the Women’s Group

is asking Members to support this worthy cause by contributing to the purchase of rice coupons as part of its annual Rice Campaign. Each coupon costs just ¥500 but can help to make someone’s daily life a little easier. To do your part, simply fill out a form at the Member Services Desk or donate online via the Women’s Group website. ®

An interactive community 27


Fred Harris

April 2010 28February 2007iNTOUCH iNTOUCH


FEATURE

landscape

of a life

American artist and longtime Japan resident Fred Harris reflects on a life devoted to creating beauty and preaching his passion for art and culture. by Nick Jones

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his is me on the ship to Japan,” says Fred Harris, holding out a small, glossy, black-andwhite photograph. A good-looking young man in US Army fatigues buttoned up tight around his neck stares off into the distance, a smile beginning to break out at the corner of his mouth. In his right hand, he holds a pair of round, wire-rimmed glasses. On the yellowing paper on the back of the snapshot is scrawled a note in pencil: “The wind was very strong.” The peak of his field cap is turned up, perhaps blown back by the salty gusts buffeting the open deck. Making his way across the Pacific on a troopship in December 1951, the heaving winter seas would have been whipped up by frigid gales. But it was about to get a great deal colder. Harris, looking older than his 19 years, arrived on the Korean Peninsula as a member of the 329th Communications Reconnaissance Company. His job was to intercept enemy communications traffic. The Korean War, which had started the previous year, was raging on, with thousands already dead. “I was the coldest I had ever been in my life,” he says, sitting in the living room of his Roppongi apartment more than half a century later. “I got there in December [and] it was so cold. It was frightening. I could hear artillery—Boom! Boom! Boom! I was really scared. I was a kid from New York and all of a sudden to be in the open country and mountains, it was very scary.” The crumbling, black photo album, battered by years of animated storytelling and solitary time travel, features more photos from Harris’ 10 or so months in Korea. Among the monochrome shots of a dark-haired Harris casually leaning on tent guy ropes in the country’s barren hinterland, one particular photo, showing him—again in uniform—putting the finishing touches on a life-size sketch of a bare-breasted woman, recalls his life before the war. Ever since he was a child, growing up in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, Harris has drawn. Sitting on the stoop outside his house, he would attract an audience of local kids as he copied the cartoon strips in the newspapers before giving his creations away. But even in those early days, art was more than a hobby to him. “It just comes naturally to me; it’s like breathing,” says the 77-year-old, dressed in a pair of jeans and a navy blue patterned sweater. “I have to draw. I have to paint. Even when I was in the Army in Korea during the war, I had my

Landscape of a Life 29


sketchbooks with me.” His talent for the pencil and brush was recognized early on and he earned a place at the venerated High School of Music and Art in New York City when he was 14. Later winning a scholarship to the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, he cut short his studies to join the Army. “I thought if I joined, I might have a choice of what I would do,” he says. “So, instead of waiting for them to take me, I thought I would go and volunteer and that would allow me the ability to select something that was maybe easier for me to adjust to.” That simple decision to enlist rather than wait to be drafted would eventually lead to a successful life on the other side of the world. Harris, a resident of Japan for almost 50 years, heads his own architectural and interior design company, but is probably better known for his cross-cultural efforts, for which he has received numerous accolades, as well as his decadeslong involvement with the Club. In the early 1950s, Japan and Harris’ hometown of New York were vastly different places. While the Big Apple had become a world center for business and culture, boasting a vibrant arts scene of exciting new painters, bebop jazz musicians and rebel poets, across the Pacific, Japan was in the early stages of its long, painful journey of recovery from defeat and occupation. Although Harris visited the Japanese capital once during his Korean tour of duty, he did so as a high-spirited, hedonistic youth in search of an escape from combat, “because we didn’t know if we were going to be alive when we went back.” His next visit proved to be much more memorable. While visiting an art gallery in Ginza, he was introduced to a young Japanese girl by the gallery’s owner. Harris and his wife, Kazuko, were married in June 1954, a few days before his 22nd birthday. In the early days of their relationship, however, the young couple often found themselves at odds with a nation still bearing the scars of war. “It was tough at first to walk around the streets with a pretty Japanese girl in her 20s, and people would say things and were mean,” he recalls. “It was after the Occupation and I was a GI. I didn’t wear a uniform, but they knew I was a GI, so they would curse her or say terrible things to

April 2010 30February 2007iNTOUCH iNTOUCH

her. I couldn’t fight all of Japan, so I had to absorb it.” When they moved back to the United States in the mid-1950s, they discovered that reconciliation was a long way off there, too. They were refused apartments twice while hunting for a place to live in Los Angeles before Harris started his studies at the Art Center College of Design. “Still in California there was a strong antiJapanese sentiment,” he says. “Once, at a lunch counter, we sat down and somebody who was sitting next to [Kazuko] moved to the end of the counter, and once somebody screamed at her in the middle of the street. But we weathered the storm.” Despite experiencing such intolerance, Harris has devoted much of his life in Japan to educating Japanese and Americans on one another’s culture. Following the 1995 rape of a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl by three US servicemen in Okinawa, Harris, a self-confessed liberal and patriot, felt compelled to help repair America’s tarnished image in Japan. He decided to revitalize the Japan chapter of the Navy League, a civilian organization dedicated to the support of America’s sea services. “I took Japanese people down to the Navy base to show them that there are nice guys there, and I took sailors to Japanese homes and festivals and let them see that there’s more to Japan than just Roppongi,” he says. Frailer nowadays, Harris is unable to do as much with the Navy League as he once did when he would frequently lecture sailors on Japanese art, culture and etiquette, guide them on tours of the city and bring them to the Club for Thanksgiving or a Sunday meal. Returning to Japan in 1963 to open an office for a California-based architectural firm, Harris founded his own company, The Design Studio, four years later. That same year, he joined the Club. “I needed a place to entertain my clients and that was the place,” he says. “Your life focused on the Club. You met people at the Club, you had parties and everything was built around the Club.” Keen to take a leadership role within the Club community, Harris was elected to the Board of Governors for the first time in 1981. Serving as president from 1993 for a year after the previous president stepped down, he ran for the presidency in 1998. He won and served for two terms until 2002.


FEATURE

japanese culture has been a part of what has made me who i am. i m a sort of cultural missionary.

Landscape of a Life 31


“I saw the Club as the central part of the foreign business community, which it should still be,” he says. “I felt that the president of the American Club, next to the American ambassador, was the highest position a person could have, so I felt very proud.” During his tenure, the Club faced one of the most difficult periods of its history. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, Membership numbers declined sharply as many foreign companies recalled staff, while the fear of further attacks against so-called “soft targets” increased. On advice from the US Embassy in Tokyo, the Club ramped up its security measures. “I was responsible for securing the safety of the Membership,” Harris says. “People were frightened that we would be bombed. We didn’t know what other possible terrorist attacks could occur. We were really scared.” Most recently serving as a governor from 2006 to 2008, he has also been active in other areas of the Club, bringing his expertise to the Culture and Genkan Gallery committees and organizing a multitude of edifying cultural lectures and exhibitions over the years. Fellow Culture Committee member Scott Hancock says that Harris has used his extensive knowledge of Japanese culture and art and Western art training to enlighten a broad range of people. “By doing so, he’s brought countless gaijin closer to the inner world of Japan and brought countless Japanese a new connection from their culture to the rest of the world,” he says. It’s such achievements, combined with his prolific writings on art, including a 2003 book of sketches titled Travels with a Brush (a tome on ukiyoe prints is due out in the fall), that earned him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, a decoration awarded by the Japanese government. “It was a great honor to be given a medal from the emperor, to go to the palace,” says Harris, who attributes his success to his wife, who “was instrumental in making this my home.” Fittingly, Harris was asked to paint a picture of Mount Fuji for a pair of stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of US-Japan relations in 2004. Last year, the Club honored him with its Distinguished Achievement Award for his

April 2010 32February 2007iNTOUCH iNTOUCH

contribution to Japanese society and ties between his former and adopted homes. He became the latest in a long line of notable recipients, including former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, Japan’s first astronaut, Mamoru Mohri, and Japanese literature scholar Donald Keene. Accolades aside, one enduring constant over the decades for Harris has been his art. He has continued to create, whether in sumi ink or watercolors (he uses two small rooms as studios for each medium in his apartment), transplanting vistas of Japanese rustic beauty or architectural gems spotted on his travels onto paper. Less involved with his company nowadays, Harris explains that he feels more at ease with his artwork. “My work has grown tenfold in the last year,” he says, standing up to show an example of his more recent watercolor paintings—a stone lantern in the grounds of a temple— hanging in the entranceway. “I’m doing things now that at one time I would have been frightened to do. The paper doesn’t frighten me anymore.” With fewer professional commitments in recent years, Harris has also focused his attention on supporting young artists. Impressed by the quality of the art he saw in Vietnam during a visit to the country in 2000, he decided to establish the Dong Son Today Foundation in 2004 to provide financial assistance to budding talent. “I wanted also somehow to erase the terrible period of American involvement in Vietnam,” he says. “I thought that was a dark period in our history and here was a way that I could create some kind of harmony or peaceful relationship through art and not politics.” After providing hands-on instruction to students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hanoi, where he was once offered a full-time position, and for a period in 1996 at the Ohio University School of Art (to which he donated around 6,000 books on art), Harris says he wishes he had turned to teaching earlier in his life. “It’s like if you were a missionary and preaching the Gospel, and all of a sudden somebody became religious,” he says. “How would you feel?” In the same vein, Japan’s rich history and arts have inspired Harris to spread the word. “Japanese culture has been a part of what has made me who I am,” he says, surrounded by his substantial collection of antiquities, artwork treasures and books. “I’m a sort of cultural missionary.” ® Harris has an exhibition of his work at the Genkan Gallery from May 31 to June 27.


Irwin Wong

FEATURE

Landscape of a Life 33


Kouzo

Takeuchi by Wendi Hailey

Removing a piece of porcelain from his kiln one day, ceramics artist Kouzo Takeuchi discovered that a portion of it had broken off. His mother remarked that the fractured work looked distinctive, and a new style of sculptural art was born. Takeuchi relies on a small hammer and chisel to break away pieces from his works to create an imperfect look that is meant to echo the ancient Mayan ruins, which he first encountered in school. He viewed the archaeological wonders firsthand in 2007. “I was interested in the geometrical design of Mayan ruins and the atmosphere,” says the 32year-old native of Hyogo Prefecture, who will debut his latest batch of ceramic marvels at the Genkan Gallery this month. The stark, modern sculptures are composed of scores of hollow rectangular prisms that evoke an inexplicable emptiness. Beginning with a flawless square, he uses a controlled technique to deconstruct the perfection into an asymmetrical design. The artist graduated from the Osaka University of Arts in 2001 with a degree in ceramics. He continued his studies at the Tajimi Municipal Ceramic Design Institute in Gifu, participating in various group exhibitions around Japan before his first solo show in 2005.

Exhibition April 5–May 2

Wine and Cheese Reception Monday, April 5 6:30–8 p.m. Adult Lobby Open to all Members Free

34 April 2010 iNTOUCH


GENKAN GALLERY All exhibits in the Genkan Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.

Exhibitions of art 35


Changing

Faces

36 April 2010 iNTOUCH


TALKING HEADS

Dr Yoshiyasu Asami

The quest for eternal youth and beauty is alive and well in Japan. Increasing numbers of women—and men—are flocking to cosmetic surgery clinics across the country to be sucked, sutured, injected and implanted. It is all part of a trend that has taken hold across Asia, particularly in China and South Korea, where even late President Roh Moo-hyun underwent the extremely popular double-eyelid blepharoplasty procedure. According to a report in Marie Claire magazine last year, the Japanese spend more than $18.4 million annually on everything from liposuction and rhinoplasty to breast augmentation and Botox treatments. Meanwhile, Korean clinics are targeting Japanese with packages that combine sightseeing with a little surgery. All in all, the Asian plastic surgery market is second only to that of the United States. The industry, though, is not without its horror stories. In 2008, newspapers across the world were filled with pictures of the bloated, disfigured face of Hang Mioku, a Korean woman who had become addicted to cosmetic surgery. After numerous operations both in Korea and Japan, doctors eventually refused Hang further treatment. Eventually injecting cooking oil into her face, she has been left permanently scarred. Dr Yoshiyasu Asami is a cosmetic surgeon and the president of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Asami. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones recently spoke with the Club Member about Japan’s nip-and-tuck boom. Excerpts:

iNTOUCH: What types of cosmetic surgery are popular in Japan?

iNTOUCH: How much of this is influenced by the Western concept of beauty?

Asami: I opened this clinic 20 years ago and the most popular procedures were double-eyelid surgery and liposuction. About 10 years ago, breast enlargement became popular. But now that the Japanese population is getting older, anti-aging therapies are very popular.

Asami: I think Hollywood movies and film stars and Western fashion have influenced the Japanese idea of beauty.

iNTOUCH: What are anti-aging therapies? Asami: Face-lift operations are not so popular in Japan. Rather, “petite,” or non-invasive, cosmetic surgery, using injections or laser therapy, is very popular for women in their 30s and older. Many younger people are choosing nose enhancement [rhinoplasty] using hyaluronic acid to make their noses taller and more defined. Japan now uses the most advanced double-eyelid techniques in the world; there is no cutting, we just use sutures, and it takes about five or 10 minutes. iNTOUCH: When did double-eyelid surgery first become popular? Asami: About 45 or 50 years ago. It was the most popular Mongoloid cosmetic operation. But in the old days, we had to cut the skin, so it was a very invasive operation. But 20 or 30 years ago, a quick, non-invasive technique was developed. Now, many actors and celebrities in Japan you see on television have had doubleeyelid surgery.

iNTOUCH: Why has cosmetic surgery become so popular in Japan in recent years?

Asami: No, because it doesn’t work on Mongoloid features. Instead, Botox causes the muscles in the forehead and brow to sag. But a popular Botox treatment with Japanese is reduction of the cheeks. iNTOUCH: What percentage of your patients are men? Asami: About 10 percent.

Asami: Because of the rise of non-invasive procedures. And Japanese cosmetic surgery is the cheapest in the world, I think, because there are so many clinics. For example, breast enlargement costs around ¥200,000 for both. In America, it’s about two or three times that amount. iNTOUCH: How much has the popularity of cosmetic surgery changed since you started practicing? Asami: There were just 100 clinics at the most in Japan 30 years ago. Now, there are thousands, with many in Shibuya. iNTOUCH: Shibuya is a mecca for young people. What kinds of treatments are women in their 20s receiving? Asami: Double-eyelid surgery, breast enlargement, liposuction, rhinoplasty and underarm apocrine [sweat] gland removal, which is very popular, as well as Botox injections [to disable the sweat glands]. iNTOUCH: Is Botox treatment for wrinkles and lines as popular in Japan as it in the United States?

iNTOUCH: Has that number been growing? Asami: It’s about the same, but recently young men come to my clinic for hair removal, for example from their faces, with laser therapy. iNTOUCH: Why has hair removal become popular? Asami: I think Japanese women like men with hairless, boyish faces. iNTOUCH: How are cosmetic surgery clinics faring in Japan under the current economic conditions? Asami: Japan’s biggest cosmetic surgery clinic, which once had 30 or 40 clinics across the country, closed all of its clinics but one about two or three years ago. iNTOUCH: Is cosmetic surgery likely to grow further in Japan? Asami: Yes, I think so, especially for antiaging therapies, because the population is getting older and people are living longer. o

Member insights on Japan 37


(l–r) Robert Wilson, Redevelopment Director Alistair Gough, Club President Lance E Lee, Dan Thomas, Jerry McAlinn and Jerry Rosenberg

Making History by Wendi Hailey

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queezed into the General Manager’s Meeting Room one midweek evening in late February, suitclad members of the Redevelopment Planning Committee (RPC) maneuver deftly through a sequence of decisions and recommendations. The afterhours gathering spans issues of varying weight, from the relocation strategy to the drapes that will hang in the guestrooms of the new Club. While lighthearted repartee surfaces routinely, the white-walled room is permeated with concentrated faces, astute commentary and no-nonsense stances that conclude in quick-fire motions, seconds and votes.

38 April 2010 iNTOUCH

As construction of the new Club in Azabudai ramps up, so, too, does the work of the committee guiding the entire project.

“It’s gotten fairly smooth now to the point that there’s not much need for long debate,” says committee chair Jerry McAlinn, after the 90-minute conference ends and attendees rush off to dinner appointments. There have been “no challenges in any negative sense. There are always diverse opinions as to what is the best way to proceed, but everyone has the best interests of the Club at heart.” The Board of Governors created the RPC in July 2006 as a special task force charged solely with carrying out the redevelopment of the Club in Azabudai. Along with McAlinn, the 11person group is comprised of numerous

committee chairs, representatives of the Board and the Women’s Group and the Club president. “The committee is made up of members who have been involved with the project for a long time,” says Recreation Committee Chair Jerry Rosenberg. “We know the history and the partners for the project. We are very focused on helping to move the project forward by making the many timely decisions.” Though meeting attendance has slipped over the past year, a majority of the committee members must be present in order to pass a motion. McAlinn notes this before the group adjourns and makes


Irwin Wong

REDEVELOPMENT

a short plea to “maintain the group strength” and “remain focused” in the final nine months. Most committee members have been involved in the project long before it was formed, as part of the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC). The LRPC was resurrected as a House subcommittee in 1997 after a survey of the Membership revealed discontent with numerous aspects of the Club, including an uncomfortable jumble of casual and formal spaces and insufficient family facilities and parking. It gained full committee status 10 years ago due to the enormity of its scope. Over the years, the LRPC waded through a number of redevelopment options, visited dozens of potential new sites, consulted with experts in myriad fields and eventually made its recommendation on how the Club should proceed into the future during a series of town hall meetings. McAlinn became the second and longestserving chair of the committee, but he credits Club management and committee member Dan Thomas with the “lion’s share” of the project’s achievements. “This has been really a committee

that has worked through some very difficult areas,” says the Keio Law School professor. “Literally, thousands of person hours went into the process. It’s just a huge effort.” Following Membership approval of the plan to rebuild in Azabudai while temporarily relocating to Takanawa, the smaller RPC was spun off formally to guide the project through to completion. “The LRPC put together a project to secure the Club’s long-range future and vision,” McAlinn says. “The RPC is there to ensure implementation of the Redevelopment Project. The LRPC will come back to life once the new Club is opened and it will look at long-range issues.” When forming the current constituency, the committee looked for specific skill sets that would prove valuable in the planning and execution stages. In addition, Redevelopment Director Alistair Gough provides thorough research, progress reports and advice along the way. “My job as the chair simply is to orchestrate it all so that we can make the best decisions,” McAlinn explains. That vast expertise has proven especially crucial since the global recession hit. With Membership perceptibly affected by the

recession, tightening the redevelopment budget has become necessary. “The global financial crisis is far worse than anyone could have predicted. The Club will be terrific, but the economy needs to pick up,” McAlinn says. Nine months out from the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, the RPC plans to convene four or five more times to make remaining decisions and resolve whatever obstacles arise in the final phases of the project. After essentially a 13-year journey, the group likely will be dissolved next summer, though its achievements will remain visible for decades to come. “I think this is a legacy,” he says, conjuring up visions of the Club’s future generations. “I think we will have given the present Members the best possible Club and left future generations with all the right options for meeting the needs of the Club over the next 50 years.” ®

Redevelopment Project www.tokyoamericanclubredevelopment.org

The journey back to Azabudai 39


Get more for your Membership

I N T RO

rewards

rewards of the month

Bhanu Tailors Quality custom-made garments. 27 years of experience in the fashion industry. Choose fabrics from Valentino, Boss, Reda and more. Visiting Tokyo every month. E-mail: bhanutailors@gmail.com Reward: Free shirt with every suit

S HO P P I N G

The Rewards program gives Members access to exclusive discounts and great deals. Simply present your Membership card before you receive the service from any of the vendors listed. All offers are valid for the month they appear in iNTOUCH.

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd. Established in 1949, Sumitomo Realty & Development provides superior-quality apartments for lease, including serviced apartments, in central Tokyo. With their hotel-like amenities and services, such as English-speaking concierges, private fitness facilities and sophisticated security systems, Sumitomo’s residences are welcoming havens of style, relaxation and comfort in the heart of the city. Tel: 0120-770-507 www.sumitomo-latour.jp/english Reward: No agent’s fee (zero key money and special rent deals on some apartments)

Keyshots-East West Photography We can bring our studio to your home. Start taking better photos now using your own camera! Private photography lessons available. www.keyshots.com Reward: Free 10 x 8 enlargement

Gom Photography Custom, fine art photography, specializing in children and family portraits. Serving Yokohama and Tokyo areas. Book your session today! Tel: 045-777-4827 E-mail: contact@gom-photography.com www.gom-photography.com Reward: ¥3,000 print credit

40 April 2010 iNTOUCH

PH O T O GR A PH Y

Phoenix Hotel and Chalets, Hakuba The Phoenix Hotel and Chalets, Hakuba, and Mimi's Restaurant are designed to give you the ultimate winter escape. It is all the special things we do at the Phoenix that make the difference. Tel: 0261-72-4060 E-mail: info@phoenixhotel.jp www.phoenixhotel.jp Reward: 10% discount

TRAVEL

The Meat Guy With the barbecue season approaching, get your new gas grill from The Meat Guy. Tel: 052-618-3705 www.TheMeatGuy.jp Reward: Free shipping on any grill

Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro

Audi Japan Sales K.K. Audi has a rich history of producing sophisticated and technologically advanced premium cars that embody the latest in German design and engineering. Through its outlets across Tokyo and Osaka, Audi Japan Sales and its English-speaking staff can guide you through the purchasing process and help you with any additional needs, from trading in your current vehicle to financing, insuring and servicing your new Audi. Tel: 03-6890-0123 (Nobuyuki Kinushi) E-mail: int.sales@audi-sales.co.jp www.audi-sales.co.jp Reward: ¥50,000 Audi accessory voucher with new Audi purchase


MEMBER SERVICES

I N T E RI OR

BODY

yokoso

new member profile

Nobuya & Kanako Ishizaka Japan—Golf Digest Online, Inc.

Why did you decide to join the Club?

A Cut Above Cut, color, perm, etc. for the entire family. English-speaking stylists. Find us in Hiroo, up the hill from Segafredo and National Azabu. Tel: 03-3441-7218 www.above.co.jp Reward: 10% off introductory services

A-Cross Corporation A wide variety of traditional Japanese byobu screens, handcrafted and painted in Kyoto. See our website for details or call us to arrange a viewing. Tel: 03-5449-7621 www.japanesescreens.net Reward: 10% discount

Tokyo Lease Corporation Large collection of Asian, European and American furniture for sale and lease. Tel: 03-3585-5801 www.furniture-rental-tokyo.com Reward: 5% discount on items bought in the shop

“I decided to join as I have many friends who are already Members, and I felt that it would be a great opportunity to enjoy the Club with our son and daughter. We have many high expectations for the Club as a great place for the family, but also for us parents to sometimes enjoy some time off.”

HOME

(l–r) Kanako, Nobuki, Nobuya and Ayano Ishizaka

new member profile

Steve & Teresa Marohn United States—Chartis Far East Holdings K.K.

Why did you decide to join the Club? “We joined the Club to help our family assimilate into life in Tokyo. The opportunity to get involved and utilize the Club for both leisure and work is great. The kids really enjoy renting movies and checking out books from the Library. The amenities have been great and the staff has been ever so helpful. We are really enjoying our experiences at the Club.” (l–r) Connor, Steve, Lizzie, Teresa and Tori Marohn

Chez Vous Serving the domestic needs of discerning foreign and Japanese clients in Tokyo and Yokohama. Services include housekeeping, babysitting, full-time placement, handyman and house-cleaning pro. Tel: 0120-699-100 www.chezvous.co.jp Reward: ¥3,000 off house cleaning-pro and handyman services (until May 31)

Ken Corporation Ltd. Being a resident of a Ken Corporation apartment gives you exclusive membership to the KEN Green Golf Club. Tel: 03-5413-5666 www.kencorp.com Reward: Special packages for Club Members

Oakwood Serviced Apartments Oakwood is the most trusted name in serviced apartments worldwide. We offer three different styles of living to make you feel at home: Premier, Residence and Apartments. Tel: 0120-313113 (toll-free)/03-5412-3131 www.oakwoodasia.com/en/japan/default.aspx Reward: Preferred rental rates with free Internet connection

Services and benefits for Members 41


yokoso

Nakashima Dental Office Cosmetic dentistry, cleaning, whitening, porcelain work, dentures, gum work, root canals and Biolase treatments. US-specialist level. Tel: 03-3479-2726 www.dentist-nakashima.jp Reward: 10% discount on cash payment

DE N T AL

rewards

Michael & Karen Helbock United States—KCI K.K.

Billy & Cheryl Cook United States—Caterpillar Japan Ltd.

Richard Clairmont & Tomomi Suga Canada—State Street Global Advisors

Timothy Millea & Yuri Fukuda United States—Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Kazuhiro Kurihara Japan—Phoenix Associates Co., Ltd.

Robert & Andrea McTamaney United States—Goldman Sachs (Japan) Holdings

United Dental Office Restorative, implant and cosmetic dentistry by US-trained and -licensed dentists. We treat adults and children. Tel: 03-5570-4334 www.uniteddentaloffice.com Reward: 40% discount on home bleaching

Derrick & Kayo Nishimura United States—Lazard Japan Asset Management K.K.

AUTOMOTIVE

BMW Tokyo Takanawa All BMW navigation systems are in English and English-speaking sales consultants are available at BMW Tokyo. Tel: 03-3443-2291 www.bmw-tokyo.co.jp Reward: ¥50,000 travel coupon with every BMW purchase

Akiko & Takashi Morimasa Japan—Akasaka Animal Hospital

Diego & Sandra Donoso Brazil—Dow Chemical Japan Ltd. Kuniaki Tohmatsu Japan—BP Japan K.K. Hiroyuki Tsuruga Japan—Atom Transportation Co., Ltd. Jac & Cindy Price United States—Beckman Coulter K.K.

DAD Narita Parking Heading overseas? DAD Narita Parking will pick up your vehicle at Narita Airport and keep it in a closely monitored, secure lot while you’re away. Tel: 0120-35-1462/0476-32-1955 www.dadparking.com/index-e.html Reward: 20% off basic charge

If you would like to advertise in this space, contact Miyuki Hagiwara at miyuki.hagiwara@tac-club.org.

Hiroshi & Yu Kobayashi Japan—Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd. Naotaka & Yoshiko Obata Japan—Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co., Ltd. Keiko Aoyama-Andrews & Kenneth Andrews Japan—KRH Group David Oh & Sun Mi Kim United States—Toyo Co., Ltd.

EDUCATION

sayonara James Absolom

John & Leslie Maloy

James & Margarita Bamba

Mitchell & Norelei Mason

Elizabeth Chang

Maria & Takaharu Miyake

Matthew & Bindi Codrington

Sanjay Narain & Geeta Sanjay

Jason & Ellen Dacaret

Kazuyuki Nomoto

Julius & Chhaya Dias

Tejash & Nami Patel

Steven & Sandra Hawkins

James & Kelly Rhee

Suzy Heimann

Scott & Laurence Roche

Satoshi & Mari Kato

Jean & Anne Sorasio

Reiko Kojima

Stephen & Kimii Taniguchi

Erica Kondo

Alex & Erika Treharne

Edward Krieger & Yvonne Yang

Mark & Jennifer Warburton

Aroon & Debra Maben

42 April 2010 iNTOUCH

Yasunori & Harumi Yokote Japan—Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Ron Phillips & Kelly Heath United Kingdom—Zurich Insurance Co., Ltd.

C O NT A C T

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) TUJ's Continuing Education offers courses and workshops for personal and professional development, including interior design, communications, IT, law and business. Tel: 03-5441-9864 E-mail: conted@tuj.ac.jp www.tuj.ac.jp/cont-ed Reward: Entrance fee waived and 10% off tuition

Nicholas Stearn & Penny Austin United Kingdom—Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd.


MEMBER SERVICES

employee

of the month

Prachya Tongwattanaporn by Nick Jones

N

ot too many people repeat their studies in another language, but that’s exactly what Prachya Tongwattanaporn did. After graduating from technical college in his hometown of Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a diploma in electrical engineering, he embarked on a similar course about two years later in Australia—this time in English. Yet, despite the hours of study Tongwattanaporn devoted to circuits, generators and transformers, he wound up pursuing a career in cooking. “When I was a kid, I used to watch my grandmother cook,” he says, “so it is quite natural for me. I love it.” Now working in the kitchens of Garden

Café, having joined the Club in October 2008, the 32-year-old, who goes by the nickname “Top” (a contraction of his lengthy surname), started working full-time as a chef while living in Sydney, where he met his Japanese wife. Eventually quitting the Thai restaurant and relocating to Tokyo in 2004, Tongwattanaporn hit the books again. After attending a Japanese language school for a year and a half, he passed level two of the Japanese-language proficiency test. While his linguistic skills led to opportunities in the city’s vibrant restaurant scene, he wasn’t prepared for the severe working conditions. Working up to 370 hours a month, he

would often sleep overnight at the restaurant. “I worked like crazy. My kids would call me and ask me to come home,” recalls the father of two girls. “I was just living to work, not working to live.” Fortunately, those stressful days are over and Tongwattanaporn is free to enjoy his time away from the stoves, whether that’s taking his elder daughter skating at the nearby ice rink in Edogawa Ward, shooting hoops or watching DVDs of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (“He’s brilliant!”). “I’m really happy now,” says the Employee of the Month for February. “I’m thankful to the people who work with me. They make my day and give me a nice place to work.” ®

Some restrictions apply. Ask for details.

• Laser hair removal • Botox • Restylane • Retin-A • Liposuction, Eye, Nose, Breast, Facelift, Tummy Tuck • Laser (Titan, Genesis, Hair Removal, Tattoo, IPL) • Men’s (ED, AGA)

Services and benefits for Members 43


reciprocal

clubs

Being a Member of Tokyo American Club allows you access to a network of more than 200 reciprocal clubs across the globe. For a full listing of reciprocal clubs worldwide, check out www.tokyoamericanclub.org.

Knollwood Country Club Location: West Bloomfield, Michigan Founded: 1924 Members: 400

Keen golfers of all abilities flock to this challenging yet pleasurable 18-hole championship golf course, boasting rolling hills, valleys and natural ponds near the stately Tudor clubhouse. New Zealand architect Art Ham was commissioned to design the course for $500 in 1924. A swimming pool, four tennis courts, fitness center, steam and massage rooms, indoor and outdoor dining and a kids’ playground offer alternative recreation away from the greens, along with year-round social events.

www.knollwoodcountryclub.net

Muthaiga Country Club Location: Nairobi, Kenya Founded: 1913 Members: 5,500

Amid 14 acres of verdant tropical gardens and grounds, this vibrant pink clubhouse features a distinctive blend of modern comfort and traditional charm steeped in East African history. The institution, which is located a short drive from the capital city in the well-heeled suburb of Muthaiga, serves the community’s elite as a premier venue for enjoying private parties, business functions or an overnight stay in one of the 40 guestrooms, suites and family cottages.

www.mcc.co.ke

stacks of services at the Club

JTB Sunrise Tours

Spica

Go Mobile Phone Rental

MyToyota.jp

André Bernard Beauty Salon

Five percent discount on all package tours. Available at the Member Services Desk.

The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 Family Area (1F) Sundays: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Need a rental mobile phone or help with translation? Want to find useful English mobile sites? Go Mobile—more than just a phone. www.gomobile.co.jp

English support for all your Toyota and Lexus needs. Available services: Q&A by e-mail; dealer visit assistance; and translation of estimates, contracts and other related documents. www.mytoyota.jp/english

Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (2F) Tue–Sun: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

44 April 2010 iNTOUCH


U

pon boarding the luxury cruise ship, passengers were whisked off to their private rooms for repose or perched around the bar for a post-departure cocktail. From the panoramic windows, they watched as the land grew small and distant. Over the next 21 days, some of the planet’s most breathtaking vistas and landmarks slipped past as the vessel gently charted its course— from some 300 meters above the ground. A favored mode of transportation in the early 1900s, airship voyages all but faded away following a string of disasters, including the infamous Hindenburg explosion in 1937 that killed 36 passengers and crew members. Now, Tokyo entrepreneur Hiroyuki Watanabe is looking to make globe-crossing dirigible travel a reality once again. “For 70 years, the commercial passenger airship totally disappeared from the air,” says JK Chan, the marketing business coordinator of Watanabe’s Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC). “Our ultimate dream is to go around the world again.” In the meantime, however, Japan’s aviation enthusiasts satiate their appetite for the skies with the company’s briefer jaunts above Tokyo, Saitama and beyond in a modern Zeppelin NT, the largest airship in existence today. Japan’s capital and its environs constitute one of only six locations in the world where it is possible

46 April 2010 iNTOUCH

to ride in an airship. “When you look at it from the ground in the air, you think, ‘These things are big,’” says Club Member Leo Takagi, who experienced lighter-than-air travel

35-year-old Guam native. “I’ve flown in airplanes and helicopters, but this was the first time [in an airship]. In an airplane, you’re speeding over the city, but in the airship, it’s almost like slow motion. You get

Up, Up and Away by Wendi Hailey

in December with his wife after winning tickets for a 30-minute ride over Saitama at the Club’s Fun Family Bingo event. “And then you get closer and you’re like, ‘Oh, these things are huge!’” In spite of its colossal size, the gleaming white vessel accommodates a maximum 10 passengers inside the small gondola, which is located on the underside of the heliumfilled envelope, along with an attendant and two pilots. After boarding the hovering ship one at a time in a corner of Saitama Prefecture’s Honda Airport one Saturday, Takagi and the other passengers buckled their seatbelts and were launched skyward in an elevator-like ascent. “It was a very beautiful flight,” says the

a different perspective of the city.” Floating between 300 and 500 meters in the sky, the sightseers took in vivid views of the Saitama cityscape, felt the fresh air through opened windows and caught glimpses of Mount Fuji as the airship traveled at an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour. The ride was quiet and smooth, except for occasional nudges from the wind. The 75-meter German vessel stretches longer than a jumbo jet and is made of a carbon-fiber frame and synthetic envelope that is buoyed by nonflammable helium. Three engines and four propellers supply propulsion and maneuverability. Using roughly one-seventh the amount


of fuel as a conventional helicopter and producing “negligible” noise levels, NAC’s Chan says the Zeppelin offers a “greener solution” in air travel. But this ecological mode of travel

Leo and Miyuki Takagi

comes at a cost. A half-hour jaunt over Saitama costs ¥50,000 per passenger, while a special, 90-minute cruise above Tokyo’s iconic monuments to mark the New Year morning is priced at ¥200,000 a person. The company is slated to debut a new waterfront launch site in Harumi, Chuo Ward, from early this month, with a perrider fee for 40 minutes of air time starting from ¥63,000. In addition to sightseeing tours, NAC generates income through commercial advertising, environmental surveying, aerial photography and television broadcasting services. Along with worldwide travel, the Tokyo-based company plans to expand into

cargo transport in the coming years. Fifty-year-old Watanabe was a grammar school student when an advertising blimp flew over his school one day. His teacher took the children outside to see it, and as the pilot waved at the crowd gathered on the ground a ripple of titters and cheers spread through the young spectators. The desire to fly an airship someday seized the young boy. After graduating from university, he became a seaman, traversing the globe three times and observing the similarities of operating water and air vessels. He was active in various airship endeavors over the years, and in 2002 he established NAC. Two years later, his Zeppelin set out on its maiden voyage from its German hangar to coincide its arrival with the World Expo in Nagoya. The trip was cut short, however, after violence erupted in Russia and the airship had to be transported to Japan by sea from Italy. The original Graf Zeppelin crossed the world in three weeks in 1929 with 20 passengers and about 40 crew members on board. Following its success, the Hindenburg was constructed in 1936. Almost the length of the Titanic, the vessel

made 56 flights and traveled 340,000 kilometers before bursting into flames upon arrival in New Jersey when a spark on its flammable, painted surface set the hydrogen gas inside the envelope ablaze. The US Navy operated an airship fleet from 1915 to 1962, consisting mostly of Goodyear-manufactured blimps, or non-rigid airships that inflate when filled with gas, to escort merchant convoys and conduct early reconnaissance during wartime. After several blimps were destroyed by turbulent weather and enemy fire, the program was dissolved. Since then, blimps have been employed largely for advertising. But in 1993, airship manufacturer Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik was resurrected and began developing a new type of semi-rigid airship, the Zeppelin NT (New Technology). Commercial passenger flights in August 2001 marked a new chapter in the legacy of airship travel. Blending old-fashioned ideas with cutting-edge technology, this new generation of dirigibles has enchanted imaginations and tapped into the potential of opulent sightseeing and alternative travel for all ages. It is, as Member Takagi says, “a road less traveled by air.” ®

Nippon Airship www.nac-airship.com/english/cruise/

A look at culture and society 47

Nippon Airship Corporation

INSIDE JAPAN


A

s the ferry slowed on its way into port, a giant red pumpkin appeared through the early morning haze clinging to the dockside. Moments later, a harbor full of small fishing boats came into view, followed by a row of old wooden buildings that seemed to merge with the misty, forested hillside. I had arrived at Naoshima, a small island in the Seto Inland Sea that only 20 years ago was little more than an aging

Monet and American artists Walter de Maria and James Turrell. But the Tadao Ando-designed building—a sleek and spacious polished concrete affair built into the hillside—could qualify as an artwork itself. After spending a peaceful hour strolling around the exhibits, I saddled up and pedaled a couple more kilometers to the Benesse House gallery and hotel—the undoubted star of Naoshima’s artistic revival.

well-known, but equally beguiling, artists. Dotted about the beaches and hills surrounding the site are another 19 installations, including Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin”—perhaps the most iconic image of Naoshima—and de Maria’s “Seen/Unseen/Unknown.” The latter piece is centered on two large, polished stone balls, accented by the reflections they catch of Naoshima’s coastline. The imposing outdoor installations, set to a

Avant-Garde Isle Words and photos by Rob Goss

fishing community in decline. Today, thanks to the Benesse Corporation and its ever-growing Art Site Naoshima project, the island has been rejuvenated by contemporary art. Since Naoshima is small enough to cycle around in a day, once I hit dry land I picked up a rental bike from the café at the Miyanoura ferry terminal and set off east along an undulating road that took in several pretty beaches and a small village before climbing steeply into the hills. Fifteen sweaty minutes later, I arrived at the Chichu Museum. Opened in 2004, the museum holds a permanent collection of works by Claude

48 April 2010 iNTOUCH

Freewheeling down the hill toward the beachfront gallery, I was welcomed by a booming operatic voice and jazzy piano riffs, which turned out to be a kind of warped Kabuki performance in the sand. Like most other places I visited on the island, there were only a few people around to catch the seemingly impromptu show. In fact, the only place that was remotely busy—by Naoshima’s uncluttered standards—was the gallery inside Benesse House, where I mingled with a couple dozen visitors taking in an impressive collection that includes works by Hockney, Warhol and Pollock, as well as other less


OUT & ABOUT Eighty minutes by plane from Haneda Airport to Takamatsu Airport or Okayama Airport. Passenger ferries run almost hourly to Naoshima from Takamatsu (60 minutes) and Okayama (20 minutes).

www

Travel Guide Naoshima www.naoshima.net Naoshima City www.town.naoshima.lg.jp (Japanese language only)

Benesse House www.naoshima-is.co.jp Tsutsujiso Lodge www.tsutsujiso.no-blog.jp TOKYO

Benesse Art Site Naoshima www.naoshima-is.co.jp Chichu Museum www.chichu.jp

natural soundtrack of birdsong and waves lapping on the beach, were the highlight of my trip, though there are plenty of other places on the island worthy of a visit. A 20-minute cycle away from the southern shore, Benesse also runs the Art House Project in the port village of Honmura, which, since the late 1990s, has seen a handful of its creosote-scented wooden buildings, as well as a temple and shrine, restored and turned into art

NAOSHIMA

installations that blend effortlessly into their traditional surroundings. And then there is Bond, James Bond— or, rather, the curious museum dedicated to Britain’s most dashing secret agent. The 007 The Man with the Red Tattoo Museum takes its name from the title of a Raymond Benson 007 novel set on Naoshima. Dropping in on my way back to the ferry, I had the one-room place to myself. Crammed with old magazines, posters

and general Bond memorabilia, as well as set designs for the villain’s lair for a Bond movie the owners hope to see filmed on the island, it feels more like visiting an obsessed teenager’s bedroom than a museum. While a far cry from Benesse and Chichu, it provided a decidedly quirky conclusion to a laid-back day on Japan’s “art island.” ® Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.

Explorations beyond the Club 49


For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.

Super Bowl XLIV at the Club February 8

An estimated 160 Members gathered on a bright Monday morning around the bigscreen TVs in the Club to watch Super Bowl XLIV live from Miami, along with a record legion of spectators worldwide. Football fans cheered on their teams in the New York Suite and Traders’ Bar as the New Orleans Saints handed the Indianapolis Colts a shocking 31-17 defeat to claim their first-ever championship title. The lively Club tradition featured tasty game-day dishes, trivia and plenty of prizes, including two roundtrip air tickets to Hawaii. Photos by Irwin Wong

1. Chris Mancini 2. Julie and Jon Kirkwood 3. Michael Alfant 4. Lisa Jardine

2

50 April 2010 iNTOUCH

1


EVENT EVENT ROUNDUP ROUNDUP

3

4

Snapshots from Club occasions 51


For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.

1

2

3

Father-Daughter Dinner Dance February 13

This annual celebration was another sellout as fathers and their dolled-up daughters sat down to a delicious meal before hitting the dance floor. A photo session provided keepsakes of the evening (and a much-appreciated break for short-winded dads), along with special souvenir bags for the girls. An assortment of gifts was handed out to lucky winners at the end of the night, including tickets to KidZania and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream vouchers.

4

Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. Connar, Hayden and Tom Brown 2. Benjamin Fuchs and his daughter, Ariel 3. Craig Nomura and his daughter, Maile 4. Molly, Cathryn and Sean McHugh 5. JP Toppino and his daughter, Emme 6. Gerrit Van Wingerden and his daughter, Anne Marie 7. Steve Brown and his daughter, Andie

5

6

7

52 April 2010 iNTOUCH


EVENT ROUNDUP

3 1

2

Sudoku Fun Day February 6

Sudoku creator Maki Kaji visited the Club to host a friendly competition of numeric puzzle fun. About 40 participants were divided into three categories. Firstprize winners Sosuke Kohda (Junior), Teresa Siovolgyi (Beginner) and Marc Weinstein (Expert) took home vouchers for the Club Pro Shop and brain-teasing goods from Kaji’s company, Nikoli. 4

Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. Rachael and Ariel Fuchs 2. Carine and Emma Luis with Maki Kaji 3. Shino, Sosuke, Shigeru and Shusei Kohda 4. Eugene and Jane Crossland 5. Sosuke Kohda and Maki Kaji 6. Marc, Sydney and Bailey Weinstein 7. Michelle Arnot, Maki Kaji and Club President Lance E Lee 8. Ashley Lin and Maki Kaji 9. Maki Kaji and Kaitlyn Maa 10. Teresa Siovolgyi and Maki Kaji

5

6

7 9

8

10

Snapshots from Club occasions 53


For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.

1

2

Martial Arts Moves February 6

Club martial arts expert Charles Wilson wowed more than a dozen black-belt wannabes with a 45-minute judo demonstration. A handful of youngsters were picked to participate in the exciting presentation, which was a preview of a 10-week judo course offered this spring through the Recreation Department. Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. (l–r) Chris Vogdes with her daughters, Maya and Isabella, and Tania Prochilo with her son, Cole 2. (l–r) Franklin and Mariko Barringer 3. Tania Prochilo with her daughter, Ava, and son, Cole

54 April 2010 iNTOUCH

3


EVENT EVENT ROUNDUP ROUNDUP

Sapporo Snow Festival Tour February 11–13

1

About 75 people enjoyed this popular annual trip to Sapporo, where they took in the sights of the city’s famous Snow Festival and other local attractions. Highlights of the family-friendly excursion to Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, organized by the Women’s Group, included tubing and skiing at Snow World, splashing around a water park and savoring a lively meal at a beer garden. Photos supplied by Beth Cohen

1. Jimmy Modena 2. (l–r) Carolyn Genty, Beth Cohen and her daughter, Meagan 3. Mike Modena and Ron Genty 4. Linda Genty and Karen Modena 5. Matt Cohen 6. (l–r) Jimmy Modena, Katie Genty, Matt Cohen, Carolyn Genty and Meagan Cohen 2

3

4

5

6

Snapshots from Club occasions 55


TOKYO MOMENTS

Subway Slumberland by Karen Pond Illustration by Akiko Saito

S

ee?” I said to the person sitting next to me on the train. “See that guy over there? He fell asleep standing up.” I didn’t wait for my train buddy to answer. “I call that the ‘Statue.’” Ever since moving to Tokyo a few years ago, I have observed hundreds of passengers asleep on the train, not to mention an impressive variety of subway slumbering postures. “See her?” I gently nudged my neighbor. “Hands folded across lap, head tilted way back? She’s definitely a ‘Stargazer.’” “And that guy,” I said, taking in the scene of a snoring young man slouched in his seat, his hat pulled down over his face. “He’s what I call a ‘Cowboy.’” “Do you notice the woman who has

56 April 2010 iNTOUCH

fallen asleep with her head forward and her hands under her chin?” I continued. “She is a ‘Thinker.’ And that guy over there, who has nodded off with his sunglasses on? He’s a ‘Poker Player.’ But, to be honest with you, sometimes I can’t tell. He actually could be a poker pro.” “And check out that man with the head bobbing side to side,” I urged. “He has definitely dozed off in ‘Table Tennis’ mode.” “You, meanwhile,” I said a little louder to my fellow passenger, “you are what I call a ‘Sleeping Lion.’” It was no good, however. I couldn’t wake him with my observations on local hibernation habits. He was well, truly and deeply napping with his head on my shoulder.

“Sumimasen [Excuse me],” I tried even louder. “Um, Sleeping Lion, my stop is coming up soon.” Not even a stir. “Hi, honey,” I said in a concocted conversation on my phone. “Mommy will be late tonight. I am trapped by a lion.” No reaction. It looked like my escape would require some sort of creative calisthenics. Tuck and roll? Back handstand? Cartwheel? I suddenly wished I was better at gymnastics. “Lion, how can you sleep,” I said, yawning, “with all this constant commotion of people coming and going? And all those soothing announcements… and the gentle rocking motion of the train…and…the…hypnotic...hum....” ®


毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 三 巻 三 十 号 

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

April 2010

N T O U C H

平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 0 0 円

iNTOUCH

i

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 十 〇 四 月 一 日 発 行 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

Ambassador of Art

本 体 七 七 七 円

Longtime Club Member and artist Fred Harris reflects on a life of creativity and cultivating cross-cultural appreciation

Issue 541 • April 2010

Flying High

Self-Defense Savvy

Beauty Boom

A modern vision gives flight to the near-extinct airship voyage

Club martial art gives one Member the strength to strike

Cosmetic surgery thrives amid the quest for flawless looks

iNTOUCH April 2010  

Tokyo American Club’s monthly member magazine.

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