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TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 七 巻 五 七 四 号 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行 

February 2013

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

i N T O U C H

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 三 年 二 月 一 日 発 行  平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 0 0 円

Fit for Office Club President John Durkin explains how he set out to get himself and the Club’s finances healthy

Gridiron Extravaganza The Club gears up for Super Bowl XLVII

本 体 七 七 七 円

Electric Dreams

One Member contemplates Japan’s electric car future

Continuing Tradition

Discovering calligraphy through the Club

Issue 574 • February 2013


library

Illustrated Expat Experiences

12

American author and illustrator and former Club Member Betty Reynolds explains how she turned a confounding cultural induction into energizing reads.

recreation

18

Forging a Fitness Fellowship

2 4 6 7 8 12 16 17 18 22 24 30 32 34 38 40 42 48

Ahead of next month’s TAC Triathlon Club launch, two Members share how they came to take up the sport that they had written off as being for supercharged athletes. out & about

Pioneering Port City

40

One of Japan’s first portals to the world, the Kanagawa city of Yokohama thrives as a bustling seaside metropolis of notable sites and international eats. feature

24

The Man with a Plan Known for his pragmatic leadership on the Finance Committee, John Durkin helped to manage the fiscal side of the Club through the global financial crisis and the effects of 3/11. Having recently taken the helm as Club president, Durkin explains his vision for growing the Club and its vibrant, international community.

iNTOUCH To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Rie Hibino: rie.hibino@tac-club.org 03-4588-0976

For membership information, contact Mari Hori:

Editor Nick Jones editor@tac-club.org

Designers Ryan Mundt Anna Ishizuka

mari.hori@tac-club.org 03-4588-0687

Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki

Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649

Assistant Editor Erika Woodward

www.tokyoamericanclub.org Cover photo of John Durkin by Irwin Wong

Management

contents Contacts Events Board of Governors Management Food & Beverage Library DVD Library Committees Recreation Women’s Group Feature Talking Heads Frederick Harris Gallery Member Services Inside Japan Out & About Event Roundup Back Words

Tony Cala General Manager anthony.cala@tac-club.org

Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director hum_res@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

Scott Yahiro Recreation Director recdirector@tac-club.org

Brian Marcus Food & Beverage Director fboffice@tac-club.org


Getting in Touch Department/E-mail Phone American Bar & Grill

(03) 4588-0676

american.bg@tac-club.org

Banquet Sales and Reservations

(03) 4588-0977

banquet@tac-club.org

Beauty Salon

(03) 4588-0685

Bowling Center

(03) 4588-0683

bowling@tac-club.org

Café Med

(03) 4588-0978

cafe.med@tac-club.org

Catering

(03) 4588-0307

banquet@tac-club.org

Childcare Center

(03) 4588-0701

childcare@tac-club.org

Communications

(03) 4588-0262

comms@tac-club.org

Decanter/FLATiRON

(03) 4588-0675

decanter@tac-club.org

DVD Library

(03) 4588-0686

dvd.library@tac-club.org

Engineering

(03) 4588-0699

eng@tac-club.org

Finance

(03) 4588-0222

acct@tac-club.org

Fitness Center

(03) 4588-0266

fitness@tac-club.org

Food & Beverage Office

(03) 4588-0245

fboffice@tac-club.org

Foreign Traders’ Bar

(03) 4588-0677

traders.bar@tac-club.org

Guest Studios

(03) 4588-0734

guest.relations@tac-club.org

Human Resources

(03) 4588-0679

Information Technology

(03) 4588-0690

Library

(03) 4588-0678

library@tac-club.org

Management Office

(03) 4588-0674

gmoffice@tac-club.org

Membership Office

(03) 4588-0687

membership@tac-club.org

Member Services Desk

(03) 4588-0670

tac@tac-club.org

Pool Office

(03) 4588-0700

pool@tac-club.org

Rainbow Café

(03) 4588-0705

rainbow.cafe@tac-club.org

Recreation Desk

(03) 4588-0681

rec@tac-club.org

Redevelopment Office

(03) 4588-0223

redevelopment@tac-club.org

The Cellar

(03) 4588-0744

the.cellar@tac-club.org

The Spa

(03) 4588-0714

spa@tac-club.org

Weddings

(03) 4588-0671

banquet@tac-club.org

Women’s Group Office wg@tac-club.org

2 February 2013 iNTOUCH

(03) 4588-0691


from the

editor

I’m happy when I hear that a Member signs up for a particular event after reading about it in iNTOUCH. I’m happy, too, when I learn that somebody discovered something new about the Club or possibly Japan through a piece in the Club’s monthly publication. But I’m particularly pleased when a Member featured in an article tells me that he or she was stopped by other Members around the Club who wanted to chat about the story or interview. Naturally, it’s reassuring to know that the magazine is being read, but such anecdotes also reaffirm another important role of iNTOUCH: to connect those in the Club community. While the Club’s increasingly popular Facebook page is proving successful at that as well, having somebody “like” your Facebook page is hardly a worthy substitute for a stranger stopping you in Rainbow Café or the Fitness Center to say how much they enjoyed the piece about you. Dave McCaughan, who frequently writes the Back Words column, told me about one particular day last year, not long after he had started writing his iNTOUCH pieces. He had two business meetings with clients and on both occasions fellow Members he had never met before mentioned his column. Such encounters go directly to the core of what the Club is about. The facilities and building are, indeed, impressive. The Club has received plenty of accolades for those. But people also join for the conversations they’ll strike up or the friendships they’ll build while using those same facilities. Therefore, I’m grateful to those Members who, perhaps hesitantly at first, agree to be featured in the magazine and answer our probing questions about their pursuits, jobs, health, histories and lives. Under the cover story microscope this month is the Club’s own president, John Durkin, who talks about setting the Club on the right financial path and growing a vibrant community. 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 Chiara Terzuolo

Erika Woodward

A child of diplomats, Chiara Terzuolo was brought up all across Europe—the catalyst for a lifelong love of travel, good food and adventure. After graduating from Lawrence University, she received a Fulbright fellowship to research koto and shamisen music at Kobe University, which led to a master’s degree in musical performance at the London School of Oriental and African Studies. Since escaping the world of academia, she has been working for a small consulting firm in Tokyo while freelancing as a writer and musician. She can usually be found studying the koto, running with the Hash House Harriers or exploring Tokyo’s endless side streets. For this month’s Out & About section, she explores all that the nearby city of Yokohama has to offer. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Erika Woodward arrived in Japan in early 2011. An assistant editor in the Club’s Communications Department, she graduated from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in Maryland and has written on a variety of subjects, from the life of an overworked professional clown to the birth of a new political faction in Iceland. For this month’s cover story, “The Man with a Plan,” she sits down with the Club’s new president, John Durkin, to talk about his vision for the Club and the secret of his newfound vigor. When Woodward isn’t searching for the next story, the former professional ballerina hits the studio then unravels her perfectly pinned bun for an unconstrained night out with her hubby and friends.

Words from the editor 3


What’s happening in February 1

Friday

1

Friday

1

Friday

1

Friday

Library Book Group The Club’s band of literary lovers meet at Café Med to discuss David Benioff’s City of Thieves. 12 p.m. For details, contact the Library.

Valentine’s Spa Special On page 21, discover what luxurious pampering awaits you at The Spa through this month marked by Valentine’s Day romance.

Academic Improvement Center Opens American tutor Kevin Pope offers Club kids ages 10 through 18 help with everything from math worksheets to term papers. Flip to page 21 to learn more.

Test Prep Program College hopefuls can receive a boost through a special course to prepare for the SAT and ACT entrance exams. Page 21 has the details.

2

2

2–4

4

Saturday

Member Wine Storage Launch Members can now store their wines at the Club or start their own collection with the help of an expert. To learn more, visit the Buy Wine page of the Club website.

9

Saturday

Bench Press Challenge Put those biceps to the test at this ultimate strength challenge. For details about the one-day event, visit the Club website or contact the Fitness Center.

Saturday

Open Mic Night Aspiring musicians and singers are invited to join Club Member Jiro Makino and his band in Traders’ Bar for a fun evening of impromptu tunes. 7:30 p.m. Free.

14

Thursday

16

Saturday

Saturday– Monday

Monday

Sapporo Snow Festival Preview Tour Winter-loving Members head to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido for a sneak peek at the worldfamous festival of ice sculptures, plenty of snow fun and slices of Hokkaido culture and food.

Super Bowl XLVII at the Club Head to the New York Ballroom for an atmosphere just as fun as the one in New Orleans for NFL’s climax event. 7:20 a.m. Flip to page 17 for more.

9

10

Saturday

Sunday

Father-Daughter Dinner Dance Dads and their little princesses enjoy a magical evening of mouthwatering food, dancing, photo keepsakes and more. 5 p.m. Details on this and a Spa makeover beforehand on page 20.

Youth Monster Power Fit Don’t miss the start of this weekly fitness program that is designed by experts to maximize the performance of young athletes of all spheres. Flip to page 20 for more.

17

18

Sunday

Monday

Kings of the Valley Wine Dinner Experience the victorious viticulture of Napa Valley behemoths Cakebread Cellars, Joseph Phelps and Michael Mondavi at a dinner hosted by the famed wineries. 7 p.m. Details on page 8.

Meet the Author: Katie Van Camp Canadian children’s writer Katie Van Camp drops by the Club for a fun-packed morning starring her adventure-seeking creations, Harry and Horsie. 10 a.m. Page 14 has more.

Mudsharks Winter Sprinter Meet 2013 The Club’s swim team hosts an exciting afternoon of friendly competition in the Sky Pool for swimmers of all ages and levels, followed by an awards ceremony. 2:30 p.m. For details, turn to page 21.

Distinguished Achievement Award Presentation Ceremony A determined reformer and exponent of innovation, Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa will be honored with the Club’s prestigious award. 6:30 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. ¥1,500.Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk.

25

25

25

26

Monday

Gallery Reception Artist Mitsuo Kobayashi launches his exhibition of serenity-invoking ink-and-water paintings at the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. More on page 33.

Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or want to meet new people, drop by this relaxed Women’s Group gathering. 10:30 a.m. Haru Reischauer and Beate Sirota Gordon classrooms. Free.

Coming up in March 4 February 2013 iNTOUCH

Monday

Monday

Oscars at the DVD Library From the red carpet glamour to the best picture award winner, catch the Oscars live from Hollywood on the screens at the DVD Library this morning.

6–7 Tokyo: Here & Now 6–7 and 27–28 Brazilian Churrasco Night

Tuesday

KidZania Tokyo Global Otomodachi Night Kids of all nationalities have fun trying out a range of professions at this global career-themed amusement park in Tokyo. 5 p.m. Learn more on page 20.

8 Cabernet and Conversation Cocktail Party 9 Carpet Auction


EVENTS

1

Friday

1–28

Friday– Thursday

1–28

Friday– Thursday

Beyond 3/11 Lecture Professor Shun Kanda talks about the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative project to help rebuild the tsunamidestroyed town of Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. 7 p.m. More on page 17.

Weekdays in Paradise Get away from it all with a subtropical feast of Okinawan treats and awamori cocktails at Rainbow Café and Café Med every weekday.

Tokyo Bay Distance Swim Plunge into the warmer waters of the Sky Pool to take up the challenge of swimming the length of Tokyo Bay. Check out the details on page 21.

4

4

4–17

Monday

Monday

Monday– Sunday

Super Bowl XLVII at Traders’ Bar Those pining for their local sports bar this Super Bowl can catch all the action in Traders’ Bar while imbibing a selection of gridironinspired drinks and feasting on some breakfast favorites. 8 a.m.

Gallery Reception Acclaimed socially conscious artist Peter MacMillan launches his engaging exhibition of dreaminspired works at the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. More on page 32.

New England Eats American Bar & Grill and Traders’ Bar serve up clams, lobster, sea bass and other signature foods from America’s famous northeastern corner.

10

12

12

Sunday

Tuesday

Tuesday

Bridal Fair Whether you’re after a black-tie celebration or quirky affair, craft your picture-perfect wedding day at this event.11 a.m.–7 p.m. New York Ballroom and Brooklyn Suite. Decanter party: 4–6 p.m. Free. Open to the public.

Mardi Gras at the Club With the Super Bowl wrapped, New Orleans merriment continues at the Club with a Big Easy-inspired festival of music and food. Join the party. 6:30 p.m. Flip to page 23.

Adult Pop Dance Kickoff Learn how to move like your favorite pop stars during this music video-inspired dance class. 10 a.m. Take your first step by flipping to page 21.

19

23–24

24

Tuesday

Saturday– Sunday

Sunday

South Australian Reds and Roadkill Wine Tasting Sample some grapey gems from such iconic South Australian winemaking spots as the Barossa Valley and Coonawarra at this Wine Committee-hosted tasting. 7 p.m. Details on page 9.

Okinawan Buffet Show Rainbow Café presents a smorgasbord from Japan’s subtropical paradise alongside a lively performance of traditional island songs and a raffle. 11 a.m.– 4 p.m. and 5–8:30 p.m. Details on the Club website.

Crab and Hokkaido Grand Buffet Feast on an array of mouthwatering crustaceans and other culinary gems from northern Japan. Brunch: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner: 5–8 p.m. Visit the Club website for details.

26

27

28

Tuesday

Wednesday

Squash Social Night The Club's squash players enjoy an evening of casual play and mingling at the Squash Courts. All are welcome. 6:15 p.m.

Show & Tell Introduction Party Members invite their friends and colleagues to discover the Club’s extraordinary range of services and facilities. 6:30 p.m. Brooklyn rooms. Visit the Club website to find out more.

12 Imperial Sounds of Gagaku 16 Yakatabune Dinner Cruise

16–17 Sakura Family Weekend Buffet

Thursday

Gala Yuzawa Ski Tour Don’t miss this playful trip to a top winter resort in Niigata Prefecture for impressive downhill skiing and scenic views. Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk.

Noteworthy dates for the month 5


BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Board of Governors

Community Ties by Jeff McNeill

L

ong before the acronym CSR (corporate social responsibility) became fashionable, the Club was involved with the local community. Reflecting both the energy and commitment of our Members to make a difference, the Club has a long history of contributing to the community outside its walls. I have never ceased to be impressed with the volunteer spirit that motivates our Membership to help in so many ways. For many years, the Women’s Group has taken the lead in organizing fundraising events at the Club while researching and identifying potential nonprofit groups in Japan that might benefit from financial support. To date, the generosity of Members has helped children’s homes (House of Hope for Children, Wakabaryo, Nono Hana no Ie); a homeless-support organization (Sanyukai); charities supporting children with serious illnesses (Family House, A Dream a Day in Tokyo); a women’s shelter (Help Asian Women’s Shelter); drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs (Mac/Darc, Darc Women’s House); and a dormitory for women from public foster homes (Seishuryo). More recently, the Club responded to 2011’s earthquake and tsunami disaster with a series of fundraising activities that provided support for those in Tohoku. This included a food and clothing drive in the days after the calamity, which resulted in 16 truckloads of supplies for shelters throughout the Tohoku region and donations to the Konishiki Kids Foundation to provide hot meals for more than 6,000 people in the three worst-affected prefectures. Additional help was given to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Project, which provided books for school libraries in the Miyagi

6 February 2013 iNTOUCH

John Durkin (2014)—President Gregory Lyon (2014)—Vice President Mary Saphin (2013)—Vice President Deb Wenig (2013)—Secretary Hiroshi Miyamasu (2013)—Treasurer

Brenda Bohn (2014), Norman J Green (2013), Ginger Griggs (2014), Paul Hoff (2013), Per Knudsen (2014), Lance E Lee (2014), Jeff McNeill (2013), Machi Nemoto (2014), Jerry Rosenberg (2014), Mark Saft (2014), Dan Stakoe (2013), Sadashi Suzuki (2014), Ira Wolf (2013), Kazuakira Nakajima—Statutory Auditor (2014)

city of Ishinomaki, and the Tyler Foundation’s projects in Tohoku. Last summer, funds from the Club’s Still Jammin’ for Japan fundraiser and the Women’s Group allowed nearly 80 children from Fukushima to enjoy one-week summer camps. Help has also been given to OGA for Aid for its work with individuals in Tohoku with special needs, who might otherwise fall through the cracks. In many other ways, the Club uses its unique place in Japan’s international community to help organizations whose efforts are for the public good. For example, the Club sponsors a Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack, which have graduated many generations of Scouts. Similarly, the Women’s Group co-sponsors, together with the College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ), a female scholar each year through the proceeds from its Carpet Auction (read more about this scholarship on page 22). This special relationship extends to the annual CWAJ Print Show, for which the Club provides its facilities at a reduced rate. This year, the Women’s Group and Programs and Events Committee will also lend their support to Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) and the YMCA Challenged Children Project—two critically needed services in the community. The various organizations and projects listed here represent just some of the ways in which the Club has helped our community, and Members can be proud of the Club’s contributions to help make Japan a better place for all. o


MANAGEMENT

We’re Listening

Tony Cala

General Manager

by Tony Cala

L

ooking back over my few months at the Club, I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved. I’m also excited about the coming year and the Club’s prospects, particularly after members of the Finance Committee, together with the Finance Department, successfully negotiated a refinancing of the Club’s redevelopment loan at the end of last year. In addition, the Membership Office and Membership Committee have executed two enormously successful membership drives, the second of which wraps up at the end of next month. We welcomed 175 new foreign Members in November from the first phase of the campaign and we are targeting 200 new Members during this second phase. What’s more, through a partnership with Diners Club, all Members are now invited to apply for a Diners Club credit card when they join the Club. With the annual card fees waived for the first year, this offer, which is open to existing Members as well, will make settling your monthly Club bill much simpler. In fact, this service has been requested by Members many times over the years. Again, in response to Member requests, we have injected a little more “American sports bar” into Traders’ Bar, with a brand-new menu of classic dishes from some of the best sports bars in the United States, American craft beers and more live US sports on the screens. And remember, if you don’t fancy the New York Ballroom, you can catch live coverage of this year’s Super Bowl there on February 4. Other significant dining changes include American Bar &

Grill’s weekend gourmet brunch menu, which was introduced in December, the overhaul of Decanter’s menu to meet Members’ wishes and the launch of FLATiRON, the Club’s exciting molecular dining experience, in October. With a focus on value, we lowered food prices across the board in our family dining operations and launched happy hours in both Traders’ Bar and the Winter Garden last year. The Club’s fitness and recreation facilities have also experienced an eventful past few months. To meet the No. 1 request from our fitness buffs, plans for a restroom in the Fitness Center have been finalized, while golfers can now enjoy a round at the US military’s Tama Hills Golf Course, thanks to a user agreement with the facility. Meanwhile, The Cellar (where the DVD Library is housed) has been reorganized to stock more Club-related merchandise like polo shirts, golf bags and stationery, and at the top of the Club, our instructor-certified Sky Pool professionals offered an American Red Cross lifeguarding course for the first time. In November, we implemented a pay-per-visit parking scheme for guests and Members without multiple parking stickers, which has been extremely well received by visitors and Members alike. These examples are just a few of the many new initiatives, programs and facility improvements that have been implemented since October. This year, we are committed to delivering yet more improvements, exceeding your expectations and delivering quality and value, because that is what you, as Members, demand. o

Executive remarks 7


wine

dinner

Growing Wine Online by Wendi Onuki

S

leek YouTube videos introduce viewers to Joseph Phelps’ new releases, broadcasting visual tasting notes from the California winery head Bill Phelps or winemaker Ashley Hepworth. Meanwhile, the winery’s Pinterest photo-sharing boards yield tantalizing food recipes to pair with its wines and the Joseph Phelps Facebook and Flickr pages offer behind-the-scenes access to the most recent grape harvest. “Many customers have never been fortunate enough to travel to the winery, but with photos and updates from the winery’s website and social media pages, customers can see what goes on yearround,” says Robert Baxter, Joseph Phelps’ international sales manager. “We really feel this creates a stronger bond between us and our customers.” American wineries appear to have embraced modern technology, doling out online tidbits about their wines and operations to consumers, erasing oncecumbersome borders and drumming up business through a stream of social media posts. “The Internet and social media have really given customers and businesses the ability to connect more deeply and more frequently with one another,” says Baxter. But, he adds, today’s “savvy customers want information and answers to their questions quickly.” Baxter, together with Cakebread Cellars’

8 February 2013 iNTOUCH

Bruce Cakebread and Geoff Whitman of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, will skip the cyber camaraderie and host a dinner at the Club this month to showcase some stunning offerings from their Napa Valley homes. Famed for its culinary pairings, Cakebread has taken advantage of the Internet’s visual appeal by offering online cooking tutorials designed to send taste buds into overdrive and perfectly complement a chosen wine. The winery also interacts with almost 9,000 Twitter followers and more than 18,000 Facebook fans. “It allows customers to learn about and order our wines on their timetable, not ours,” says Cakebread. “I think the more dialogue between the customer and the winery the better for both the customer, learning more about the wines, and the winery, learning more about what is important to [its] customers.” While social media is effective at reaching a broad swath of current and potential customers, one drawback is the lack of face-to-face contact, says Michael Mondavi’s Whitman. “Wine is a very personal thing, I believe, and everyone’s chemistry is different; not all people will like the same wine in the same way,” he explains. “But if there is an actual person there to explain the wine and answer questions...I believe the impression

is much stronger than touching that customer virtually.” Alongside the social media behemoths, newfangled tech avenues that have not yet hit the mainstream are being eagerly explored. And some wineries are even developing their own mobile apps. The Michael Mondavi Family Estate, for example, recently teamed up with Hyatt Hotels to launch the Canvas Art of Living Postcard app, which lets users snap photos and create personalized postcards. Whitman says that other innovative ways to reach out to wine lovers may be on the way, too. “Each platform has its positives, and our goal is to engage,” says Joseph Phelps’ Baxter. “It is truly gratifying to see a regular stream of tweets and photos from those who have visited us or shared a bottle of our wine with friends and family.” Get set to share your own experiences online after what is sure to be an enlightening evening at the Club. o Onuki is a Chicago-based freelance journalist.

Kings of the Valley Wine Dinner Thursday, February 14 7 p.m. Brooklyn III ¥15,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk


FOOD & BEVERAGE

wine

tasting

A

round one and a half times the size of Texas, South Australia produces more than half of the wine made in Australia. Winemaking started in the region more than 175 years ago, when Lutheran pioneers settled in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. Located mainly in the southeastern part of the state, today’s wineries produce everything from irrigated to elite and cult wines. Some interesting top-end red wines from South Australia, paired with some notable dishes, will take center stage at this month’s Wine Committee tasting. At this intimate evening (seating is limited to just three tables of six), attendees will enjoy a selection of world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz—for which this part of the world is renowned—as well as a few surprises, including a luscious Mourvèdre and a well-structured Nebbiolo. The Barossa Valley is well known for its big, bold Shiraz wines. In recent times, it has also achieved acclaim for such Rhône varietals as Grenache and Mourvèdre. While irrigation was once widely used in the area, water scarcity led to the practice of dryland farming and the rise of the intense wines that so many people have grown to love. The most famous Barossa brands are Peter Lehmann, Yalumba and Wolf Blass. Almost 400 kilometers southeast of Adelaide, Coonawarra (an aboriginal word for honeysuckle) is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon and home to producers like Wynns and Penfolds, which makes wines across the state. Although part of the Limestone Coast region, Coonawarra is a long, narrow strip of red, volcanic soils. The area’s maritime climate is not dissimilar to that of Bordeaux. The tasting will start with a red sparkling wine: a result of Australia’s long, hot summers. Then, in recognition of South Australian winemakers’ exciting experimentation with classic European grape varieties, the first flight of three reds will feature the best examples we could find of nontraditional reds being produced in the state. The second flight of four wines will be made up of examples of what makes this region famous: two benchmark Cabernets and two Shiraz. A surprising dessert-paired red will then conclude this enlightening evening from Down Under. o

The Best of Barossa and Beyond by Craig Saphin and Jon Sparks

South Australian Reds and Roadkill Wine Tasting Tuesday, February 19 7 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms ¥12,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

Saphin and Sparks are members of the Wine Committee.

Club wining and dining 9


FOOD & BEVERAGE

bottle

talk

Quaffing with the Queen of Pop by Kelley Michael Schaefer

M

adonna sat across from me and her then husband, the British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, was to my right. Hoping to make an immediate impression, I offered them a glass of Taittinger Champagne. The chef and I had prepared what we expected would be an unforgettable wine and food experience for the famous couple. The tasting in the Maldivian resort’s underground wine cellar, however, didn’t get off to the best of starts. “M” (as I was instructed to refer to Madonna) didn’t like the Champagne, telling me that she preferred Krug. I introduced the second wine: a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, paired with some local Wahoo sashimi and citrus. Again, the queen of pop wasn’t impressed, although Ritchie’s glass was swiftly emptied. After such a lackluster start, the Cervaro della Sala, an Umbrian Chardonnay-Grechetto blend from Antinori in Italy, proved to be the game changer. Served with vanilla-scented salmon, the bottle was promptly finished. With such swift consumption came intoxication, relaxation and some candid conversation. Madonna waxed poetic about the Maldives and the beauty of the people, while Guy Ritchie spoke of his admiration for American rock musician Ted Nugent: “I admire any man who will hide out in a tree for three days with a bow and arrow to feed his family.” At this time, M had started talking with Anne-Sophie, a Swiss intern at the resort. “How many languages do you speak?” Madonna asked. When Anne-Sophie informed her that she could speak five

languages, M offered her a job as a nanny for her children. “I want my kids to speak many languages,” M declared. Anne-Sophie politely declined, and Ritchie suggested that a nanny’s salary might be too low. “You don’t know what we pay our nannies!” M retorted. By now, the alcohol was working its magic on all of us. More great wine and food pairings followed, with the 1999 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco and shaved truffle risotto proving a clear favorite. The evening unfolded with laughter, the occasional f-bomb from M and Ritchie, in his pork pie hat, swilling like a true British bloke. The couple were gracious, entertaining and sincerely appreciative of the hospitality. At around 10:30 p.m., we left the wine cellar and cycled off down the island’s sandy paths, wobbling and laughing all the way. Out on their bicycles the next morning, M and her daughter Lourdes stopped by to say hi. “Hey, Kelley, thanks for getting me so drunk last night!” Madonna said. “No problem, M,” I replied. And with a high five, off she cycled. A couple of nights later, my cell phone rang. “This is Liz, M’s assistant.” “Yes, Liz, at your service. What does M need this evening?” “Actually, M and Guy were just wondering if you would like to join them to watch a movie tonight, around 11 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso. There will be Champagne, and M will bring the movie.” “Please tell M and Guy I would be delighted to join them.” o Schaefer is the Club’s wine program manager.

Kelley’s Cellar Selection 2003 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley, California (1.5 liter magnum) Nothing says wow like a magnum. Joseph Phelps’ legendary flagship wine, Insignia, is a Napa Valley essential, offering a complex range of rich currant, berry, cherry fruit and cedary oak flavors, hints of anise and sage and a lingering finish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot, this wine, after nearly a decade, has entered its prime. Dress to impress with a big bottle of Napa’s best. ¥54,600 a magnum at Decanter.

10 February 2013 iNTOUCH


Illustrated Expat Experiences

American author and illustrator and former Club Member Betty Reynolds explains how she turned a bewildering culture into books.

D

uring my career, first as a creative director in advertising and now as an author and artist, I have experienced creative highs and lows. When I’m on a creative high, I’m unstoppable, but when I’m on a low, I’m inconsolable. Typically, the creative process starts when I’m strongly stimulated by images and things happening around me. Those images unconsciously swirl around my brain like a hurricane until ideas seem to pour out of me. At that point, I can barely put down the ideas on paper fast enough. At the end of it all, my studio is piled high with sketches. I then have to make an understandable product by selecting and organizing the sketches before fitting words to them. The last step is producing the finished art work and layout. During the seven great years my husband and I lived in Tokyo, I repeated that process a number of times. When we arrived in Japan, in 1993, sushi wasn’t yet popular worldwide and smartphones, Wikipedia and English translations

12 February 2013 iNTOUCH


LIBRARY

on toilet control panels and in the subway didn’t exist. Every day was an adventure. Confronted with a language I couldn’t read, customs I didn’t understand and foods I had never seen, let alone tasted, I felt impelled to record every new thing in a sketchbook or as a photograph. Japanese people noticed my interest and took me under their wing. I joined a wonderful cross-cultural group called Nadeshikokai, studied Japanese and ikebana flower arrangement and took classes in Japanese ink painting and calligraphy at TAC, where I also joined numerous Women’s Group tours. I spent hours researching in the Club Library, too. I swallowed the culture in big gulps and, naturally, what went in, had to come out. Clueless in Tokyo (1996) sprang from the confusion my husband and I faced whenever we explored our new home. Inexplicable statues and customs in temples and shrines had us constantly asking questions. The rituals of sumo and tea ceremony, inventive vending machines, fantastical architecture and unusual foods held us in thrall (don’t even get me started on the toilets!). Deciding to write a book—or believing you are qualified to write one—isn’t easy. I had the idea to write Clueless at least a year or two before I actually sat down to let the chaos start. A year after putting together a few sample pages, I felt brave enough to show them to Amy Katoh, the owner of the Blue and White store in Azabu Juban and a talented author. Amy took some of my pages to a publisher. They responded positively and my second career was born. Tokyo Friends (1999) is a reflection of the children I saw in my neighborhood. We lived near an international school in Meguro, and I would watch children of different nationalities playing with local children in the park at the end of my street. I was amazed that young Japanese students could navigate the complicated subway system that left me confounded. I spent time at a local Japanese school with my neighbors’ children, as well as a few days at the American School in Japan, which included a harrowing ride home on the school bus with unbridled, spirited children. It became important for me to

show both Japanese and Western children the differences and similarities of the two cultures. I also wanted to give expat kids a memento of their time in Japan. The following year, I published Squeamish about Sushi. I know it’s a terrible title, but that’s how it was in those days. Westerners were squeamish about sushi and raw fish. My husband and I had spent years living and traveling in Southeast Asia, but we were ignorant about Japanese cuisine. We couldn’t tell if a restaurant was open or not, what they were serving or if we’d be welcome. If the place didn’t have pictures or plastic food out front, we wouldn’t enter. We missed out on a lot of good Japanese food in our first year, but once we learned how to read hiragana and katakana and speak a little Japanese, we ventured out into a new world. I then wanted to share the knowledge we had gained to encourage others to strike out and experience the pleasures of Japanese food. The inside front and back covers of the book are filled with sketches of my favorite restaurants. Unfortunately, many of them are gone now. Still Clueless in Tokyo (2003) and Japanese Celebrations (2006) were written after our return to the United States. They proved a good way to stay in touch with a country I dearly missed and were a readymade reason to return every year. More recently, I wrote a book about Balinese culture, which I’d been interested in for years, and now I’ve moved on to vegetables and the fresh produce available in America from organic farmers and farmers’ markets. Once again, there’s a hurricane in my head. o An author and illustrator, Reynolds divides her time between Philadelphia and a small island off the Washington coast. Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!, Still Clueless in Tokyo, Squeamish about Sushi and Tokyo Friends: Tokyo no Tomodachi are available at the Library. Betty Reynolds www.bettyreynolds.net

Literary gems at the Library 13


off the

shelf

A Global Soul by Susan Millington

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hroughout his early life, Pico Iyer was constantly crossing borders, adapting to wherever fate chose to lead him. Born in Britain to Indian parents, he moved to the United States as a boy after his father’s academic career took him to California. Later educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard, Iyer’s early writings for the Let’s Go series of student travel guides developed into a career as a successful essayist, novelist and travel writer. His most recent book, The Man Within My Head, is an examination of the British author Graham Greene, whose first novel, in 1929, was titled The Man Within. Through a detailed consideration of Greene’s writings and life, Iyer ponders his obsession with the writer while delving deeper into his own life and how he came to be the man he is today. Iyer says that while Greene’s books may be public and political on the surface, what drives them is human contradiction. In a book that is both a personal memoir and meditation, Iyer confesses that writing about Greene has allowed him to write in a more open and vulnerable way than ever before. A Japan resident for almost 25 years, the 55-year-old lives in Kyoto with his Japanese wife and her two children. “I never will be a true citizen here, and will always be an outsider, however

long I live here and however well I speak the language,” he said in a 2007 interview with Wild River Review, an online arts and literary magazine. “And the society around me is as comfortable with that as I am…I am not rooted in a place, I think, so much as in certain values and affiliations and friendships that I carry everywhere I go.” o Millington is a member of the Library Committee. Iyer’s The Man Within My Head (2012), Abandon (2004), The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home (2001), Cuba and the Night (1996), Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World (1994), The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto (1992) and Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East (1989), as well as 10 novels by Graham Greene, are available at the Library.

Meet the Author: Katie Van Camp

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anadian children’s writer Katie Van Camp drops by the Club for a fun-packed morning starring her adventureseeking creations, Harry and Horsie. Besides reading her two books, Harry and Horsie and CookieBot!, Tokyo resident Van Camp will host a chat with the books’ illustrator, Lincoln Agnew, via Skype and lead a creative crafts session. o Harry and Horsie www.harryandhorsie.com Meet the Author: Katie Van Camp Saturday, February 16 10–11:30 a.m. Children's Library ¥1,050 Sign up online or at the Library

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LIBRARY

new

reads Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story by Tim Holt Why is there something rather than nothing? The witty Holt tackles such philosophical conundrums through trips to Paris, Oxford and even Austin, Texas, and the words of eminent philosophers and scientists. The result should be the chance to arrive at your own conclusion.

Mr Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal Full of period detail and historical characters, this mystery describes the struggles and dangers of life in England during World War II as the novel’s engaging protagonist, Maggie Hope, commits herself to outwitting the enemy. A follow-up mystery was published last October.

This Generation: Dispatches from China’s Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver) by Han Han In this collection of essays and blog entries from 2006 to the present, this controversial singer, sports star, writer and blogger paints a refreshing and, at times, amusing portrait of modern China through such topics as relationships, the Beijing Olympics and patriotism.

Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick Sheldrick’s family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, and this uplifting book chronicles Sheldrick’s pioneering work with a range of orphaned animals (she is the first person to have successfully handreared newborn elephants) and the heartbreaking story of her relationship with her fellow Tsavo Park warden David Sheldrick.

Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith Looted palaces, imprisonment, exile and execution were all common elements in the lives of Russia’s elite after 1917. Many of them, however, survived and accommodated to the new reality. This period is chronicled through the lives of two of Russia’s most powerful aristocratic families: the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns.

Black Dahlia and White Rose by Joyce Carol Oates Oates’ mordant humor and trenchant observation are on full display in these short stories, including one about two doomed young women in 1940s LA: Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the Black Dahlia, who was to become the victim of an unsolved murder, and Norma Jeane Baker, known to the world as Marilyn Monroe.

Reviews compiled by Library Committee member Susan Millington.

Library & Children’s Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. tel: 03-4588-0678 e-mail: library@tac-club.org

member’s choice Member: Dan Kraslavsky Title: The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman

What’s the book about? It’s a very funny book about a sex-starved young German in the Weimar Republic, and his problems have nothing to do with the Nazis who are taking over the country. Working in Berlin as a stage designer, Egon Loeser falls in love with Adele Hitler (no relation) and follows her to Paris and eventually Los Angeles.

What did you like about it? Bauman has an enormous talent for simile and metaphor and juxtaposes time and place with events: “It’s as if they’ve decided to incorporate the eventual hangover directly into the flavor as a sort of omen.”

Why did you choose it? The publisher has crafted an attractive cover and the greatest blurb ever for a brilliant novel that is a seamless blend of many genres.

What other books would you recommend? Ian McEwan’s latest book, Sweet Tooth: a story about a young girl recruited by MI5 for a Cold War operation to subvert writers, and Vulture Peak, John Burdett’s fifth novel starring Bangkok police detective Sonchai Jitplecheep.

Literary gems at the Library 15


DVD LIBRARY

T

flick

pick

Presidential Cinema by Erika Woodward

he year is 1770, and a respected American prosecutor is traversing through a panicked mob that has just been fired on by British soldiers. In the aftermath, John Adams agrees to defend the redcoats charged with murdering five Americans in the Boston Massacre. The award-winning HBO TV series “John Adams” chronicles the American Revolution and the messy rise to prominence of George Washington’s resolute presidential successor. Starring Paul Giamatti, this thrilling historical drama is available at the DVD Library, along with an enthralling collection of other presidentialthemed TV series and movies. Celebrated on February18, Presidents Day in the United States marks the perfect holiday for commemorating presidential sagas on film. The DVD Library is inviting Members to pick up such classics as Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men (1976) and Oliver Stone’s two White House epics, JFK (1991) and Nixon (1995). Kicking off the list of entertaining political fiction is Air Force One (1997). Starring Harrison Ford as President James Marshall, this action-packed film features a harrowing battle between the commander in chief and terrorists who hijack the famous airplane. Then there’s The American President (1995), a fun-loving dramedy about a pragmatic president (Michael Douglas) and an impassioned environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening), who carry on a salacious Oval Office romance—that doesn’t end in impeachment. As for depictions of the dirtier side of American politics, 2011’s The Ides of March follows the presidential campaign of idealist governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), who is blindsided when his opponent’s savvy campaign manager uncovers a damaging secret. o Check out these presidential picks and more at the DVD Library.

new

movies AC T I O N Skyfall This may be the 23rd James Bond film produced by London’s Eon Productions, but this action-packed thrill ride, starring British heartthrob Daniel Craig as 007, is anything but predictable. Also starring Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Awkward high school freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) is struggling to fit in during a transformative year of emotional milestones. A modern-day comingof-age story based on the eponymously named book by Stephen Chbosky.

D OC U ME N TA RY

CO MEDY

Undefeated Going up against well-financed suburban high school football teams, the Manassas Tigers from inner-city Memphis, Tennessee, are fighting to win the first playoff game in their school’s 110-year history in this affecting documentary.

Here Comes the Boom In this wildly entertaining romp, “King of Queens” TV sitcom star Kevin James plays an unorthodox biology teacher, Scott Voss, who takes up mixed martial arts in an attempt to raise money to prevent extracurriculars from being cut at his hard-up high school.

D RAMA

HO RR O R

Lincoln Not to be confused with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this award-winning historical drama follows the extraordinary president’s fight to pass a revolutionary constitutional amendment that forever bans slavery in America. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Sinister From the writer-director of Paranormal Activity, Scott Derrickson, comes a new terrifyingly good horror flick about a crime novelist who, while researching a serial killer from the past, discovers a stash of recently shot snuff flicks. Starring Ethan Hawke and Juliet Rylance.

DVD Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. tel: 03-4588-0686 e-mail: dvd.library@tac-club.org

16 February 2013 iNTOUCH

Reviews compiled by Erika Woodward.


COMMITTEES

Monday Morning Recovery Football Efforts

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hile the New York Ballroom isn’t quite the Superdome, the Club’s annual Super Bowl party promises an atmosphere just as fun as the one in New Orleans for NFL’s climax event. As lucky ticket holders descend on the Big Easy, Club football fans will enjoy all the live action of Super Bowl XLVII on multiple screens, together with a lively morning of great prizes, betting pools and a delicious breakfast spread. Be sure to book your tickets for the best bash in Tokyo. o Super Bowl XLVII at the Club Monday, February 4 Doors open: 7:20 a.m. (kickoff: 8:30 a.m.) New York Ballroom ¥5,000 (includes breakfast buffet) Reserved seat: ¥8,000 (includes breakfast buffet) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

Ancient Refrain

J

T

ust three months after a massive earthquake triggered tsunami waves that brought destruction to large swaths of the Tohoku coastline, members of the newly formed MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, together with officials, residents and nongovernmental organizations, began to put together a fiveyear recovery plan for the region. Led by architect and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Shun Kanda, the project first focused its efforts on one of the hardest-hit towns, Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. During this lecture, Kanda, who has been at MIT since 1979, will explain the project’s vision and its recovery achievements so far. o

he Club hosts a musical evening fit for royalty next month, when three musicians from the Imperial Orchestra stage an exclusive performance of the ancient Japanese court music of gagaku. Hideaki Bunno, a former headmaster of the Imperial Orchestra, returns to the Club, together with the current headmaster, Shogo Anzai, and the orchestra’s chief, Nagao Okubo, to offer Members a rare insight into this fascinating musical form and the job of an imperial gagaku musician. After playing a number of traditional pieces, the trio’s Bunno will explain the history and evolution of gagaku before answering Members’ questions. o

MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative http://japan3-11.mit.edu

Imperial Sounds of Gagaku Tuesday, March 12 7–8:15 p.m. Lincoln and Washington rooms Members: ¥3,000 Non-Members: ¥3,500 Performance and dinner: ¥9,500 Recommended for 14 years and above Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

Beyond 3/11: MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative with Professor Shun Kanda Friday, February 1 7–8:30 p.m. Lincoln and Washington rooms ¥1,500 (includes one drink) Recommended for 14 years and above Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the Management Office. Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons. Compensation Brian Nelson Finance Gregory Davis (John Durkin) Food & Beverage Joe Purcell (Mary Saphin)

Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Steve Romaine House Jesse Green (Gregory Lyon) House Subcommittee Facilities Management Group Elaine Williams Human Resources Jon Sparks (Steve Romaine)

Membership Craig Saphin (Deb Wenig) Membership Subcommittee Branding TBD Nominating Roger Marshall Programs & Events Barbara Hancock Programs & Events Subcommittee Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai

Recreation Tim Griffen (Ira Wolf) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh DVD Abby Radmilovich Fitness Sam Rogan Golf Steven Thomas Library Melanie Chetley Logan Room Diane Dooley Squash Martin Fluck Swim Jesse Green & Alexander Jampel Youth Activities Narissara March

Cornerstone of the Club 17


O

ne year ago, Becky Oberhellman knew almost nothing about the sport of triathlon. In fact, prior to joining the Club two years ago, she had never even swum a lap in a pool. But last summer, the 41-year-old mother of two competed in her first short-distance triathlon and, with the help of the soon-to-be launched TAC Triathlon Club, she plans on taking part in a longer, Olympic-distance triathlon in the spring. “I was never a swimmer. All I had done before was float in the water. Essentially, I learned how to swim at TAC,” says Oberhellman, who joined the Club with her family eight years ago. “I never had muscles in my whole life. I could never do a push-up. Now, I like it.” Keeping fit through a healthy diet and yoga, Mongolia native Oberhellman began looking for new interests when her two young sons started school fulltime. She discovered the Club’s fitness programs, which also proved to be a way to make friends with other Members. It was at a Swim Fit class at the

she says. Then, during a dinner of regular Swim Fit participants, one of the group announced that she had signed up for a team triathlon. Together with a third friend, Fukushima and Oberhellman decided to sign up as a team for the sprint category of the Gamagori Triathlon, held near Nagoya last June. Half the distance of an Olympic triathlon, a sprint triathlon consists of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run. Each member of the team would take a different leg of the race. Three months before the triathlon, however, Fukushima and Oberhellman’s friend moved. It looked like their race was over before it had even begun. But through their training at the Club, Fukushima and Oberhellman had grown more confident of their abilities. “We decided, ‘Why not? Why don’t we train for the whole thing,’” Oberhellman says. Conceiving their own training program after gleaning advice from experienced triathletes, the pair began swimming three days a week at the Club,

Forging a Fitness Fellowship Ahead of the launch of the TAC Triathlon Club next month, two Members explain how they got started in the sport. by Nick Narigon

Club that she met Julia Fukushima. The 38-year-old San Francisco native moved to Tokyo eight years ago, but it wasn’t until the Club moved to its present Azabudai home that she began taking an interest in the fitness facilities and the various classes on offer. Although Fukushima has enjoyed different sports, including kickboxing for six months, she says she never imagined running a marathon or competing in a triathlon. “I have friends who participate in triathlons and I actually said to myself, ‘I will never in my life do a triathlon,’”

18 February 2013 iNTOUCH

running around the Imperial Palace and going for long rides around Yoyogi Park on new bikes. “We just kind of did what we thought would prepare us for the triathlon,” Fukushima says. That’s how they found themselves clad in wetsuits and staring at the jet-black waves of Mikawa Bay last summer. “The conditions were horrendous,” Fukushima says. “I was quite scared of the openwater swim—actually, terrified. We were literally the last two people in the water.” In the heaving, disorientating seas, Fukushima says she nearly panicked.

Then she saw Oberhellman ahead of her. “I thought, ‘If she can do it, so can I,’” Fukushima says. “Without Becky, I never would have finished. In fact, I know I would have quit at some point.” In the new TAC Triathlon Club, Fukushima says she hopes to establish the kind of camaraderie that she witnessed among racers last summer. “TAC has so many great athletes that there is already a sense of a mini community,” she says. “The triathlon offers options for athletes of every skill level. It isn’t nearly as daunting as it appears.”


Kayo Yamawaki

RECREATION

Becky Oberhellman and Julia Fukushima

Oberhellman says that triathlon training works different parts of the body but without increasing the chance of injury. So, for example, cycling builds the muscles around the knees, which, in turn, protect the joints from the stresses of running. “It is a great combination of all three sports,” she says. “And I love training with my girlfriends. It is a great way to socialize and share our experiences. I am very excited for the Club.” Sky Pool manager Haldane Henry says that members of the TAC Triathlon Club, which kicks off next month, will

receive via e-mail self-training regimens to be completed at the Club. Outdoor running and cycling sessions will be held twice a week, while an open-water swim practice will take place one Sunday each month. “The basic goals of the club are to enhance experience and improve performance by drawing upon the collective knowledge of each [member of the club], which consists of newbies and experienced triathletes,” Henry says. Well and truly bitten by the triathlon bug, Fukushima plans on competing

in three sprint triathlons this year and Oberhellman has signed up for an Olympic-distance triathlon in Okinawa in April. “I want to be a good role model for my kids,” Oberhellman says. “It is very important to me as a mother to show my kids I can accomplish this even in my 40s.” o Narigon is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. To find out more about the TAC Triathlon Club, contact the Sky Pool Office at 03-4588-0700 or pool@tac-club.org.

Fitness and well-being 19


YO UTH E VE N TS

Princesses’ Ball Dads and their little princesses, ages 5 to 13, enjoy a magical evening of mouthwatering food, music, dancing, gifts and photo keepsakes. Father-Daughter Dinner Dance Saturday, February 9 5–9 p.m. New York Ballroom ¥8,925 Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Daddy’s Little Girl Makeover Ahead of the fun, all girls are invited to The Spa for a professional manicure, hair styling and more for an additional cost.

Training for Champs Youth Monster Power Fit From February 10 (free trial session) Every Sunday Session one: 2–3 p.m. Session two: 3–4 p.m. ¥10,500 Ages 14–18 Sign up at the Recreation Desk

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ant to become an even better athlete? Led by two of the Club’s fitness experts, this new program is designed to develop young athletes’ speed, endurance and strength through circuit and agility training and explosive plyometric exercises. o

Saturday, February 9 1–5 p.m. (four sessions) Annex I and II Hair styling, makeup and manicure: ¥3,675 Hair styling and makeup: ¥3,150 Makeup and manicure: ¥2,520 Manicure: ¥1,470 Sign up at The Spa

Work Rehearsal Kids try out being grown-ups at this miniature world of adult jobs and professions in Tokyo. Budding firefighters, doctors and flight attendants won’t want to miss this fun-packed evening of games and career dry runs. KidZania Tokyo Global Otomodachi Night Tuesday, February 26 5–8 p.m. Children: ¥3,990 Adults: ¥2,990 Transportation provided Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk


RECREATION

YO U T H E V E N TS

F IT N E SS

Disco Kings and Queens Learn how to work the dance floor like a pro at this fun, pop video-inspired class. The Club’s “movemaster” Takeshi Hirata will offer expert choreographic instruction on dancing to popular hits or favorite tunes. Adult Pop Dance February 12–March 19 Every Tuesday 10–11 a.m. ¥11,340 (six classes) Ages 16 and above Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Academic Tutoring Tips

Swim Showdown

For those students with SATs and ACTs looming, the Club can offer some tutoring guidance through its new Academic Improvement Center. From this month, Yale graduate and academic tutor Kevin Pope will run an eight-week course to prepare students for their college entrance tests.

After the success of the 2012 inaugural event, the Club’s swim team, the Mudsharks, hosts another exciting afternoon of swimming action and friendly competition for all swimmers, regardless of age or ability.

Students ages 10 to 18 will also be able to drop in after school for help with homework or questions on any subject or to connect with other center members. Academic Improvement Center Monday–Thursday | 4:30–7:30 p.m. Tutor Q&A: Saturday, February 2 (2–4 p.m.) Free trial: February 18 and 19 Introductory monthly fee (February 25–March 21): ¥21,000 Regular monthly fee (based on four weeks): ¥29,400 (family discounts available) Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Medals and ribbons will be awarded at a special ceremony afterwards, so grab those goggles and get set for some race fun! Mudsharks Winter Sprinter Meet 2013 Sunday, February 17 2:30 p.m. (warm-up from 2 p.m.) Medal presentation: 4 p.m. Sky Pool and Washington Room ¥1,260 per swimmer Sign up at the Sky Pool Office by February 10

Battle of the Bay Take up the challenge of swimming the length of Tokyo Bay—from the comfort of the Sky Pool. Without having to battle freezing waters, currents and oil tankers, participants have four weeks to complete 73 kilometers—the equivalent of swimming from Kenzaki Lighthouse, at the tip of the Miura Peninsula, to Tsukiji. Swimmers can also aim for closer targets like Yokosuka (20 kilometers) or Yokohama (42 kilometers). All participants will receive a T-shirt, while the winners in the men’s and women’s categories will be awarded a 60-minute luxurious treatment at The Spa. Tokyo Bay Distance Swim February 1–28 ¥1,785 Sign up at the Sky Pool Office

Test Prep Program February 24–April 28 | Every Sunday Beate Sirota Gordon Classroom ¥105,000 Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Valentine’s Special In celebration of Saint Valentine and this month of amour, The Spa is offering three cupid-inspired packages for all of February. Couples Massage 90-minute Swedish or Deep-Tissue Massage (treatment enjoyed together) ¥25,200 For Him 60-minute Deep-Tissue Massage + 30-minute Facial +

45-minute Sportsman’s Manicure ¥19,320 For Her 60-minute Swedish Massage + 30-minute Deep-Pore Cleansing Facial + 60- or 75-minute Classic Spa Manicure ¥19,320 The Spa proudly uses products by

To book your next pampering session, contact The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or spa@tac-club.org.

Fitness and well-being 21


An Auction for Education

annual

fundraiser

The annual Carpet Auction, featuring Eastern Carpets of Singapore, helps a Women’s Group-supported scholar continue her studies in Japan.

Kayo Yamawaki

by Ginger Griggs

Jisun Park

Carpet Auction Saturday, March 9 5–11 p.m. Carpet preview and registration: 5 p.m. Carpet appreciation class: 5:30 p.m. Light buffet and complimentary glass of wine: 6 p.m. Live auction: 7–11 p.m. Manhattan I and II and Brooklyn Suite Free Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

All Aboard!

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T

he Club’s annual Carpet Auction, sponsored by the Women’s Group, is well known for both its stunning collection of exquisite, handcrafted carpets and rugs from Asia and the Middle East and its outstanding bargains. It is also a popular evening of entertainment, complete with a complimentary buffet and an optional carpet appreciation class. But the Carpet Auction is perhaps best known as an important charity event, whose proceeds are donated each year to the College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) for a scholarship, granted in the name of the Women’s Group, to a non-Japanese female graduate student

studying in Japan. Both the CWAJ and the Women’s Group are international in nature and both are dedicated to encouraging educational and cultural exchange between Japanese- and English-speaking people of all nationalities, so it comes as no surprise that their close working relationship goes back many years and is firmly rooted in the mission statements of both organizations. In fact, it was in 1989 that the Women’s Group first donated funds to the CWAJ for a full scholarship for a non-Japanese woman to study in Japan. Since that time, the Women’s Group has been the strongest supporter of the CWAJ.

Enjoy an evening dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay aboard a yakatabune, one of Japan’s best-kept entertainment secrets and once the luxurious domain of partying Japanese feudal lords. Take in stunning night views of the city on one of these low-slung, lantern-lined boats while enjoying bottomless drinks and a set menu featuring tempura and sashimi. Then top off the night by showing off your karaoke singing talent. This two-and-a-half-hour cruise for couples

is an excellent opportunity to mix and mingle with other Club Members and experience a traditional Japanese pastime. o Yakatabune Dinner Cruise Saturday, March 16 6:45–9 p.m. Women’s Group members: ¥12,200 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥13,500 Adults only Sign up at the Member Services Desk


Ne Long

Over the years, 23 young women from all corners of the world and from numerous fields of study have been able to further their education through this scholarship. Among those outstanding scholars is 2009 recipient Ne Long, a medical student from China who majored in tumor biology. She says the scholarship allowed her to concentrate on her research, free of funding concerns. “Moreover, CWAJ taught me to think big and try your best. I am a PhD student of Nagoya City University, the second best medical school in Nagoya, but not famous outside of the Tokai area,” Long says. “Many people told me that applying for a nationwide scholarship would only be a

Mardi Gras Madness

Andy Boone

WOMEN’S GROUP

waste of time. However, CWAJ gave me a fair chance to go to interview, where my work and passion finally got recognized. This experience confirmed that if you have a dream, go and fight for it. Someday it may come true.” In 2012, the CWAJ helped nine students continue their education through scholarships. Three Japanese women were able to study at the Fukushima Medical University School of Nursing as part of a special Fukushima relief program; two visually impaired Japanese students could continue their graduate studies in special support education and biological information systems; and four graduate Having just cleaned up after hosting football’s showcase event, the Super Bowl, New Orleans puts on its annual festival of color and revelry, Mardi Gras, on February 12. The same day, the Club will throw its own version of the Big Easy carnival, complete with Bourbon Street tunes, Cajun cuisine and merrymaking. Talented Mississippi musician Steve Gardner and his band will entertain hurricane cocktail-sipping Members with tunes in the tradition of the vibrant Louisiana city and its famous pre-Lent party of eye-popping parades and wild parties on Canal Street.

students from Kenya, the United States, China and South Korea could keep studying in Japan in the areas of hygienic chemistry, Japanese language and East Asian studies, psychiatry, and legal and political studies. Last year’s Women’s Group-supported scholar, Korean Jisun Park, has been studying the comparative politics of Japan and South Korea at the University of Tokyo and writing her doctoral dissertation on partisan government in the two countries. As a member of both the Women’s Group and CWAJ, I felt particularly honored last May to have been asked, in my capacity as Women’s Group president, to present the scholarship to Ms Jisun. This outstanding young scholar talked to me about the many misconceptions that Koreans have about the Japanese and how important education is to overcome these. She also told me how she had learned the importance of focusing not only on the differences between cultures and countries, but on the similarities as well, since it is only through understanding how much we are alike that we can reach out to each other in a way that transcends politics and historical differences. Finally, she spoke of her plans to continue her work back home as a political scientist and college professor, sharing her knowledge and experience with future generations and empowering young Korean women to become leaders. The 2013 CWAJ-Women’s Group nonJapanese graduate scholarship recipient will be selected this month. Attend the Carpet Auction and help to empower deserving young women through education and enable them to contribute to their own communities, as well as to the world community. o Griggs is president of the Women’s Group.

Don’t miss this Women’s Group-organized evening of Mardi Gras exuberance. o

Mardi Gras at the Club

Tuesday, February 12 6:30–10 p.m. Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥6,000 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥6,500 Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

An interactive community 23


Club President John Durkin

24 February 2013 iNTOUCH


FEATURE

THE MAN WITH A PLAN The Club’s new president, John Durkin, talks about his vision for the Club and how he hopes to achieve it. by Erika Woodward

Irwin Wong

A

s the effects of the 2008 collapse of the US banking giant Lehman Brothers were rippling across the Pacific, a pragmatic, new chief financial officer at Nikko Cordial Financial Group in Tokyo found himself navigating the uncharted waters of a global financial crisis. Having been an executive at the Japanese financial firm for less than a year that September, John Durkin relished in what he calls his “scary and fascinating front-row seat.” “Things were happening that we didn’t really understand, nobody really understood in the industry, and it was happening very fast, in real time, and you had to react,” he says. “Things that you thought were never going to happen happened.” In a highly stressful environment, the former US Navy lieutenant turned financial expert tried to tackle the challenge with a level head. “We had to manage the crisis,” he says. “We had a lot of investments

around the world and we had to make it work. In the case of Nikko, I think, actually, we came out relatively well.” Sitting in the Club more than four years later, Durkin, as the Club’s new president (or representative governor as the role is known under the Club’s new nonprofit status), says he plans to lead with a similar, straightforward approach. “Going forward, I think one of the things I want to do is establish what we’re calling a sustainable business plan for the Club,” says the 52-year-old. Having hosted a casual bonenkai party in the Winter Garden in December for Members to mingle with their recently elected governors and committee members (turn to page 44 for photos from the evening), Durkin says he wants the Club to hold more accessible events. “The way I look at it, the American Club’s all about family, friends, food, fitness and fun,” he says. “That’s what we’re all about here, continually going through

The Man with a Plan 25


“John is smart, knowledgeable about the economic and financial challenges we are facing, dedicated and focused.”

those items and improving them, making it a more family-oriented Club, making it more social for friends, making the food options cheaper, better and increasing fun through wine events, fitness and sports and activities.” But first, the 10-year veteran of the Finance Committee says, the Club needs to have a solid financial foundation on which to build and flourish. He says he supports initiatives like the recently launched limited-time, reduced entrance fees campaign as a way of helping the Club reach the membership targets that underpinned the Club’s ¥27 billion redevelopment. By “running the numbers” of Members’ usage of the Club and new Member

26 February 2013 iNTOUCH

growth, Durkin says a clearer picture of what’s possible will emerge. “We can see how to sustain the Club going forward in a way that pays down our debt quicker, and the quicker that we can pay down our debt, I think, the more relaxed people feel,” he says. “Then we can begin to give even more benefits back to Members.” Cultivating an energetic, engaged Membership is the key to achieving that goal, he says. “I don’t think we necessarily have to grow the Membership to pay the debt. I think we can pay the debt with the Membership we have now, but I think it just comes down to whether you want to be a growing organization or a declining organization,” he says. “And over the past few years, we’ve probably

been a declining organization, particularly after the Lehman Shock. We lost a lot of Members in this Club, mostly in the financial services industry, and these are Members that are not coming back.” When the financial fallout from a diminished Membership continued for years after the initial crisis, Durkin, as a member of the Finance Committee, began helping the Club plan a refinancing of the loan that paid for its redeveloped facilities. “We went out and we asked 14 separate financial institutions to give us an offer and we were turned down 14 times,” he says, “so it looked a little bit hopeless.” That was before the Club was hit by the second part of a double whammy. When, in March 2011, a devastating earthquake


FEATURE

and tsunami touched off a crisis at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, many Club Members sought refuge abroad. Not one for backing down from a challenge, Durkin, who joined the Club in 1998, assisted the committee in continuing its search for a deal. “I think managing [through the financial crisis] actually gave me a lot of experience to help work on the American Club’s financial problems. Because nothing could compare to what I’d seen during the Lehman crisis. So it all seems kind of minor in comparison,” he says. This past December, his resolve paid off. Durkin helped the Club secure what he calls “a blockbuster deal” with the Japanese bank SMBC. Under the new

arrangement, the Club is paying less than 2 percent in interest and using the savings to pay the principal of the debt faster. “I think at the end of the day it just turned out to be shoe leather,” he says. “You know, just persistently going after financial institutions.” It’s that kind of determination that has earned Durkin the respect of his fellow committee member Rod Nussbaum. “As you know, the Club’s financing arrangements were a lightning rod of divergent and sometimes divisive Member opinion,” Nussbaum says. “A refinancing under the current general and Club-specific economic environment was difficult, yet John was instrumental and key in achieving the plan. All Members should be appreciative of

John and his efforts.” Nussbaum says Durkin has contributed more to the Club than any other volunteer governor that he can recall. “He truly deserves the privilege of serving the Membership as representative director,” he says. “John is smart, knowledgeable about the economic and financial challenges we are facing, dedicated and focused. He has high ethical standards. His leadership will be fact-based and team-oriented.” A graduate of the Robert Andersen School of Management at the University of New Mexico, Durkin says he learned leadership in the military, while serving with the US Navy’s 7th Fleet in Japan. “It was an intense period of time, three years on a ship,” he says. “You’re 22 years old and

The Man with a Plan 27


Irwin Wong

you’ve got 40 guys working for you right out of college. You’ve got 40 guys with all kinds of problems, so you learn pretty quickly about what it means to be a leader. You learn maturity and work skills.” Winding up his Navy service in 1989, Durkin kicked off his financial career

which was pretty exciting,” he says. As president, Durkin says he’s looking forward to working closely with Club management and the committees. “The committees are where many Members are able to express their opinions about what’s happening at the Club, what kind of club

“We lost a lot of Members in this Club, mostly in the financial services industry, and these are Members that are not coming back.” as an auditor for a Japanese-American joint venture. Since then, he’s served as a finance executive at the likes of Nike Japan, Japan Telecom and Vodafone, where he worked on one of the largest acquisitions in Japan’s history: the ¥2 trillion sale of Vodafone’s Japan business to telecommunications rival Softbank in 2006. “I got to work with [Softbank founder] Masayoshi Son for a few months,

28 February 2013 iNTOUCH

that they want,” he says. “And I think the committees really mold that into what the American Club is today.” He also delights in his role as a facilitator of the ongoing dialogue between Members and management. “The Board of Governors has to work timely with management to make sure that the goals and objectives and the vision of the Board is understood by management and that

management is able to implement that,” he explains. Sitting tall in a navy blue suit and purple tie, Durkin looks every bit the self-confident, experienced leader. But when it comes to his physical appearance, he wasn’t always so self-assured. Having thrown himself into his work through the years, the longtime Tokyo resident says he lost sight of his personal well-being and soon began gaining weight. “I think a lot of people gain the famous pound a year until, all the sudden, you wake up one day and you find that you’re 30 pounds overweight, which is exactly what happened to me,” he says. “Actually, for me it was more. When I was 50, I was 115 kilos. Funny thing is, I go for a physical every year and the doctor never said anything to me.” Then the American-Canadian had a physical in Singapore on his 50th birthday. “The doctor said, ‘You got to lose weight or you’re going to take meds for the rest of your life and you’re going to die young,’” Durkin recalls. “You know, it was a pretty


FEATURE

THE CLUB’S ELECTED LEADERS At the Club’s first Annual General Meeting under its new ippan shadan hojin nonprofit organization status in November, a new Board of Governors was elected. As part of the Club’s newly adopted rules, the Board members selected the president, or representative governor. John Durkin was chosen to serve a two-year term as president. Front row (l–r): Hiyoshi Miyamasu, Machi Nemoto, Mary Saphin, Club President John Durkin, Deb Wenig and Brenda Bohn; back row (l–r): Paul Hoff, Gregory Lyon, Jerry Rosenberg, Ira Wolf, Norman J Green, Mark Saft, Kazuakira Nakajima and Lance E Lee (not pictured: Ginger Griggs)

Durkin reached his desired weight in less than two years, he bought all new suits and clothes and donated his old duds to the Salvation Army. For the first time in his life, he can shop for slim-fit trousers. “That had never happened to me before,” he says. “I used to go into a store and they’d look at me and say, ‘Forget it.’” Ever the financier, he finds the humor in the cost of his transformation. “Right now, somewhere in the US, there’s a kid at a local high school wearing a nice suit that I can’t; it’s like 10 sizes too big for me. He’s probably looking pretty good at the prom.” Considering the odds of rebounding after such a dramatic weight loss, Durkin says he’s determined to keep off the kilos. His characteristic pragmatism lends itself to his personal success. “Still, every day, I record every single thing that goes in my mouth. I use an app. Fitness can get pretty geeky,” he says with a laugh. As in his previous accomplishments, his diligence has paid off beyond his expectations. A longtime runner,

Durkin runs more marathons than ever and finishes in less time than he ever thought possible. Last year alone, he ran 15 marathons around the world, including four in five weeks and clocked his personal best marathon time of 3 hours, 44 minutes. “You know, I’m not a natural athlete, so that’s a miracle for me and it was fun on top of that. The really cool thing about it, aside from the fitness part, is that I’ve made many friends doing that,” he says, adding that he now lives for the next marathon, not the next meal. Looking for ways in which to share his newfound passion with Members while fulfilling his mission to foster a vibrant Club community, Durkin says he’d like to start a running club. “We don’t have one,” he says. “We should do that. I want to do that. A whole bunch of runners hanging out around here in running shorts and looking really sweaty,” he says, before breaking into another laugh. “That would be fun.” o

Irwin Wong

tough message, so I decided I had to transform my life, and with my wife’s help, I lost about 35 kilos.” Having traded his typical calorierich meals, including bacon- and fried egg-laden breakfasts, for healthier ones like seasonal fruit, Durkin maintains his trim 78-kilogram form on 2,000 calories a day. He also runs at least 300 kilometers a month. “Well, it’s completely changed my life,” he says. “I’m completely healthy. No meds. Blood pressure is low; heart beat is low; cholesterol is perfect. I’m really energetic. I am more confident today. I think, now, probably, I added a decade to my life, at least that’s what my doctor told me.” Searching for “before” pictures on his tablet, Durkin lands on a snapshot that his wife took of him just prior to his lifestyle change. “Look at my hand, look at the hand compared to now,” he says, pointing to his hands peeking out from the sleeves of the oversized navy blue sweatshirt he’s wearing in the photo. “I can’t even believe it.” Gone are the baggy sweats, too. When

The Man with a Plan 29


Charging the Electric Car Market A

t the end of last year, researchers at Toyohashi University of Technology in Aichi Prefecture offered the world their vision of how the roads of tomorrow could look. They successfully demonstrated a system of powering an electric car through its tires from the road. While some critics have questioned the infrastructure costs of implementing such a system, the research reflects the kind of electric vehicle (EV)-related ideas being generated by institutions and vehicle and component manufacturers. Following the disaster of March

2011 and the resulting gasoline shortages in the Tohoku region, Japan’s EV manufacturers began exploring the potential of EVs as a source of energy to power electrical appliances and even homes. Worldwide sales of EVs, however, remain relatively low compared with gas-powered cars. Kevin Yu is the Asia Pacific director at Tesla Motors, an American manufacturer of electric cars. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to chat about the popularity of the electric car in Japan. Excerpts:

iNTOUCH: How would you describe the electric car market in Japan?

they love hearing the roar of the engine is really overplayed. I think those people number probably about the same as the people who will buy a car just because it’s electric. The problem comes when people have no choice and just to do basic daily things they have to burn gas.

Yu: Early, but growing. If you look at any market, a product starts out very slowly, then, at some point, everyone has to have one or there is no other choice and they’re forced to buy one. So I think electric cars are in that very early stage, where early adopters are buying them because they’re curious, they want to try something new or they’re motivated by ideology. But the mainstream public hasn’t had the chance to try them. The market in Japan right now is not that different from the US. iNTOUCH: How much of that adoption is influenced by environmental awareness? Yu: A significant number of early adopters are buying them for ideological reasons; they want to save the earth or do the right thing. I think this notion that people are wedded to gasoline and they love burning gas and

30 January 2013 iNTOUCH

iNTOUCH: With most of Japan’s nuclear power plants offline and the country importing more fossil fuels, how does this affect the electric car’s green image that is being pushed here by EV manufacturers? Yu: If you burn a barrel of oil in a car, you release a lot more carbon emissions and you get a lot less useable energy out of it than if you burn it in a power plant. You get nearly 100 percent capture in terms of thermal energy release from a barrel of oil in a power plant. So even with transmission losses, even with the inefficiencies of plug to battery, you still end up with far more useable energy if you burn the fossil fuel in a power plant and put it in a car than filling your tank with gas.

iNTOUCH: What is the charging infrastructure for EVs like in Japan? Yu: It’s pretty good [and] a lot better than California. There are 1,600 high-speed DC [direct current] chargers in Japan. So no matter what mall or building you go to, there’s a pretty good chance there’s an EV charger in there. iNTOUCH: Is this charging infrastructure a reflection of the level of EV ownership in Japan? Yu: No, it’s a reflection of the fact that a lot of the EVs are made in Japan, a lot of the charging system manufacturers are in Japan and a lot of buildings in Japan have green initiatives, which means they’re actively trying to install charging stations. iNTOUCH: Has this come about through government subsidies or private enterprise?


TALKING HEADS

Kevin Yu

Yu: In Japan, you don’t need to have overt government support. There are subsidies for charging unit installations, but it’s not the same level as, say, Hong Kong, where the government set a policy of installing 1,000 charging units by the end of [2012]. The government [here] hasn’t gone out and said, “We need 1,600 chargers in Japan,” but I’m sure it’s part of the policy to encourage this. iNTOUCH: Do you believe there should be more subsidies and incentives in Japan? Yu: No, I believe there should be more cars people want to buy. We think incentives are a great tool to grease the market, but manufacturers really have to step up to the plate and build products people want because at some point incentives and subsidies run out. iNTOUCH: Isn’t the biggest stumbling block to a greater adoption of EVs the cost?

Yu: Not if you start in a niche or market segment where you have a cost advantage, which is what we’re doing. iNTOUCH: Are you inferring that the Japanese EV manufacturers have started the wrong way? Yu: I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong if you have other lines of business that can subsidize your product while you’re developing it. Where I think you go wrong, though, is if you release a product that is 50 percent or 100 percent more expensive than the exact same product with a gasoline engine, and you expect people to embrace that in a big way. The number of people willing to pay a premium for the cars is limited. People don’t dislike EVs; they dislike paying more for less. iNTOUCH: One of the biggest concerns for would-be EV owners is the cars’ range between charges. How quickly is battery capacity developing in Japan?

Yu: We’ve seen a long-term trend where every year [batteries] drop between 5 and 7 percent in cost for a given amount of capacity. Take it another way, every year the same battery for the same cost goes up in capacity by about 5 to 7 percent. The whole point about range is to cover distance, and distances you’re driving aren’t growing as fast as battery capacity is growing. So long as that trend holds, you will come to a certain point where, for an affordable amount of money, you will be able to drive on one charge farther than you could possibly physically drive. iNTOUCH: How will the EV landscape in Japan look 10 years from now? Yu: I think it will look like hybrids do today. I mean, 10 years ago, nobody had a hybrid and people didn’t think they’d take off. I think the performance of EVs will get better and the cost will come down. o

Member insights on Japan 31


All exhibits in the Frederick Harris 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.

Peter MacMillan

by Erika Woodward Inspired by the curious images that court him in dreams, Peter MacMillan is a self-confessed “perpetual nap taker.” But there’s more to his craft than transforming his lively siestas into desirable prints. The acclaimed socially conscious artist is calling for action when, for instance, he presents a pedestrian Coke can as Mount Fuji. “My prints allow me to pose questions related to sustainability, consumerism, waste, global warming and environmental destruction, etcetera,” he says. “But, hopefully, the questions are nonjudgmental and occasionally humorous, inviting the viewer to participate with me in the discussion.” Born in the Irish countryside to a family of art dealers, MacMillan decided to study the printmaking arts of silkscreen, woodblock, etching and lithography while working in the family business. Continuing to pursue art as he went on to earn a doctorate in English literature, MacMillan came to Japan more than 20 years ago for a year-long teaching stint at the University of Maryland overseas campus. Calling Japan home ever since, his art is deeply influenced by Japanese culture, literature and the “highly decorative qualities” of traditional art, such as gold leaf. “I try to infuse that sense of decorative beauty with a questioning edge—one that simultaneously and sometimes ironically allows us to enjoy the decoration,” he says. “I also love the sense of play—asobi—in Japanese art and often infuse the images with a splash of humor.”

Exhibition February 4–24

Gallery Reception

Monday, February 4 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to invitees and Members only

32 February 2013 iNTOUCH


FREDERICK HARRIS GALLERY

Mitsuo Kobayashi

by Erika Woodward Dipping his brush in black ink, Mitsuo Kobayashi draws it precisely across a naked canvas to create an intricate painting that contrasts sharply with the bareness of the remaining white space. An artist for nearly 30 years, Kobayashi discovered his passion for painting with ink and water about two decades ago, when his career as the director of a long-running anime television series ended. Having dedicated years to creating animated Japanese folklore character drawings, Kobayashi began painting for himself. “I drew my first hubokuga, depicting the wind,” he says. Unlike traditional wash paintings, known as suibokuga, Kobayashi’s works take not water as their theme but wind, and are drawn “boldly yet simply in [a] contemporary way using black ink.” What he enjoys most about his current method of painting, he says, is the artistic freedom it offers. “Parts that are not drawn are left to the viewers’ imagination,” he says. “Furthermore, hubokuga do not pursue reality.” Ultimately, Kobayashi hopes that his black-andwhite paintings bring a feeling of serenity to people. “Emphasizing the inner feelings, I continue to draw, hoping all living creatures—human beings, animals and trees and flowers—will live on feeling the wind,” he says. Having exhibited at top galleries from Paris to Tokyo, he brings his pieces to the Club this month.

Exhibition

February 25–March 17

Gallery Reception

Monday, February 25 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to invitees and Members only

Exhibitions of Art 33


yokoso Matthew Johnson United States—East West Consulting K.K. David Shin & Kaoru Shimizu United States—Fox International Channels Japan William & Hitomi Saito United States—Intecur K.K. Alexander Treves & Eun Ju Baek United Kingdom—FIL Investments (Japan) Ltd. Glen Shimizu Canada—Smoke Free Systems K.K. Collin & Yuka Benson United States—ADM Japan Ltd. Jeffrey & Chikako Schnack United States—3Rock K.K. Carmel & Mihoko Rosenthal Israel—Creative Tec, Inc. Noelle & Shingo Nishioka United States—Regus Japan K.K. Michael Steinberg & Tomoko Nimura United States—Bloomberg L.P. Peter Wilson Australia—GPlus Media K.K. Steven & Chiharu Hughes United Kingdom—Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., Ltd.

Sergio & Hiromi Inclan Mexico—Gendai Advanced Studies Research Organization Robert & Kyoko Melson United States—K&L Gates Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise Basil & Emily leRoux United Kingdom—Michael Page International (Japan) K.K.

Melissa Snyder & Jeff Studebaker United States—Air Japan Co., Ltd.

Juan Rabanal Paraguay—Moda Tecnica Japan K.K.

Yu-Tsung Chang & Shoko Yamato Taiwan—Standard & Poor’s

Randy & Izumi Laxer United States—Morrison & Foerster LLP

Darshaun Nadeau United States—WIXI, Inc.

Henning & Stephanie Behre Germany—Citigroup Global Markets Japan, Inc.

Louisa Benedicto United Kingdom—Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan K.K.

Akito & Kaoru Odagiri United States—Taiko Corporation David & Chanyn Kirtman United States—Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd. Ryan & Akiko Dwyer United States—K&L Gates Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise Victoria Morehouse & Jun Takahara United States—Verizon Business Japan

Stuart Beraha & Fumie Suzuki United States—Morrison & Foerster LLP

An Li Tan & Asami Seo Malaysia—Eton House International Pre-School

Keith & Machiko Truelove United States—UBS Securities Japan Ltd.

Brad Walters & Mizuho Kumagai Canada—Broadview International

Steven Georgelis & Naoko Kazama United States—Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd.

Gary Smith & Amy Jeng United States—Morrison & Foerster LLP

Lida Yan & Zheng Wan China—Huawei Technologies Japan K.K.

Donna Burke & William Benfield Australia—Dagmusic

Raul & Karen Gumagay United States—Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Ross & Mari Rowbury Australia—Edelman Japan K.K.

Pelham & Makiko Higgins Australia—Goodman Japan Ltd.

Wolfgang & Ute Bierer Germany—Endeavor SBC Co., Ltd.

Ross & Michiyo Antoci Australia—Highgrove Partners Ltd.

Brian Emch & Michiyo Sato United States—The Toro Company

Jean-Bernard & Tomoko Dumerc France—CEGEDIM K.K.

Ray Pedersen Canada—Bulbous Cell. Media Group

Shunsaku & Keiko Sato United States—Sato Rating Strategy Institute LLC Glen Sugimoto United States—K&L Gates Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise

Nigel Chinnock Australia—The Ingenium Group, Inc. Michael & Rose Lukasch Germany—PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata Davide Miyakawa Italy—Trussardi Japan Co., Ltd. Donald Nordeng & Elok Halimah United States—Ecocert Japan Ltd. David & Mayumi Leibowitz United States—DML Venture Enterprises, Inc. Louise Stoupe & Steffen David New Zealand—Morrison & Foerster LLP Salvatore Salvino United States—Positivi Co., Ltd. Elliott & Susan Leschen United States—Asurion Japan K.K. Michael Butler & Poppy Calvert United Kingdom—Nittan Capital Asia Ltd. Betsy & Yasuyuki Matsunaga United States—Dow Jones & Company Jim Weisser & Koh Sakamoto United States—PBXL K.K.

Hugh & Miki Kojima United States—Indus Capital Advisors, Inc.

Woo Hee Lee & Taro Matsuo South Korea—Denen Tatemono

Michael & Kumiko Sautner United States—Bloomberg L.P.

Christopher Mitchell & Saori Horikawa United States—Karabiner Software LLC

Alec & Shizuko Menikoff United States—KK Halifax Asset Management

Grant Stillman Australia—Asian Development Bank Institute

Kevin McAuliffe & Kana Yamashita United States—Newport Ltd.

Taeyong Cho & Akemi Miyamoto South Korea—Cho & Company Co., Ltd.

Laurent Depus Belgium—Société Générale Group

Ray & Atsuko Klein United States—Tekinvest K.K.

Guy & Tair Mordoch Israel—Amdocs Japan Ltd.

Mehrdad Mehrabi Jirandeh Iran—Persian & Abrisham Co., Ltd.

Eve & Tadahisa Kagimoto United Kingdom—Retina Institute Tze Yee Ko & Yoke Hing Lee Singapore—JP Morgan Asset Management (Japan) Ltd.

34 February 2013 iNTOUCH


MEMBER SERVICES

Luke & Tamako Caffey United States—Prudential Mortgage Capital Company LLC Karim Hakam United States—Morgan McKinley Dominic Carter Australia—Carter JMRN K.K. Fabrice & Ryona Schindler France—Passort K.K. Keith & Shioko Richardson United Kingdom—Nikko Asset Management Co., Ltd. Julius & Momo Goldsmith United States—GE Capital Asia Pacific Andrew & Setsuko MacKinlay United Kingdom—TIG Japan K.K. Robert Snodgrass United States—K&L Gates Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise Samuel & Fumi Chamovitz United States—Fidelity Management & Research (Japan), Inc.

Jason Hoffe & Yoko Omori United States—Novartis Pharma K.K.

Peter & Lin Smyth Canada—I&S BBDO, Inc.

Michael Bobrove United States—HealthyIM K.K.

Eugene Lien & Toshiko Iwase United States—Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd.

Chad & Rumi Iverson United States—Capital International K.K. Joshua Olsan United States—Unified Industrial Emil & Sawako Lai United Kingdom—ABN Amro Bank Amit Sud & Masami Katayama United States—General Electric International, Inc. Patrick Hochster France—PE Corporation Christopher Massie & Akiko Dezawa Australia—Société Générale Carlo Gariglio & Monica Nuccitelli Italy—Richemont Japan Ltd. - Alfred Dunhill Dean Rogers & Noriko Yamakoshi United States—Dean Morgan K.K.

Larry & Keiko Greenberg United States—Urban Connections

Laurent Bernut & Jo Tateishi France—FIL Investments (Japan) Ltd.

Nicholas & Akemi Price United Kingdom—Fidelity Investments (Japan) Ltd.

Eric & Ayako Golden United States—Fortress Real Estate (Asia) GK

Taeko & Kaoru Kobayashi South Korea—nico film Co., Ltd.

Kevin Naylor United States—en world Japan K.K.

Jason Lewis Canada—en world Japan K.K.

Jaeik Oh & Christine Jung United States—Royal Bank of Scotland Securities Japan, Inc.

Angus & Chevorne Brooks Australia—Goodman Japan Ltd.

Peter Williams Canada—Orbitune, Inc.

Clark Griffith United States—GE Japan Corporation

Philippe Dalpayrat France—Dalpayrat Foreign Law Office, Tokyo

James Tomizawa United States—Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.

Christopher & Jen Hartz United States—Ikaria Japan

Emily & Joi Okada Australia—Juniper

Hans-Joachim Rohe & Kyoko Morii Germany—Catalent Japan K.K.

Liam McGrath Australia—Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd.

Oleg & Airi Zuravljov Estonia—Shared Research, Inc.

Soo Chuan Ong & Yvonne Ow Singapore—Philip Morris Japan K.K. Mihailo & Breda Petrović Austria—Urawa Reds Douglas Schafer United States—Toyo Beverage K.K. Mark Buffett Canada—FIL Investments (Japan) Ltd.

Thomas Silecchia & Saori Tate United States—Merchant Capital K.K. Brendan Delahunty Australia—Pearson Kirihara K.K. Barry & Sachiko Hogg United Kingdom—BGC Capital Markets (Japan) LLC Claudette Byers United States—MetLife Alico Insurance K.K. Stefan & Shima Pendert Germany—Morgan Stanley MUFJ Securities Co., Ltd. James Muir & Miwa Kanai United Kingdom—Jefferies Japan Ltd. Danesh & Laura Raza United States—MetLife Alico Life Insurance K.K. Matthew & Sae Tappenden United Kingdom—EMP Japan Ltd. Dave Thomas & Tiffany Thorp Australia—adidas Japan K.K. Charles Stewart United States—HP David Sancho Shimizu & Risako Shima Spain—Barclays Securities Japan Ltd. Chris Kimber & Yurie Kobayashi United Kingdom—Totan Icap Co., Ltd. Matthew Kyle & Elizabeth Manlulu United States—Tricor K.K. Eric Hamilton & Yoriko Matsuda Hamilton United States—Pacific Portals, Inc. John & Hiromi Ito Canada—Toshiba Logistics Consulting Corporation Ivan Cheung & Megumi Cheung-Naito Hong Kong—Eisai Co., Ltd.

Steven Sneddon United Kingdom—Europacific Japan Ltd.

Oliver & Junko Cox United Kingdom—JP Morgan Asset Management

David & Mayumi Best United Kingdom—UBS Securities Japan Ltd.

Markus Luczynski Germany—BET Co., Ltd.

Michael & Linh Halama United States—adidas Japan K.K.

Thomas & Takako Lomax United Kingdom—Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic

Mark Spencer & Yuri Maeda United Kingdom—Hobgoblin Japan K.K.

Steven & Janice Weinreb United States—MetLife Alico Insurance K.K.

Services and benefits for Members 35


yokoso

sayonara

Paul McGarry & Meredith Byrne Australia—Goodman Japan Ltd.

Andreas Kaiser Germany—Atsumi & Sakai

Fiona Ko & Takahiko Hirata Australia—UBS Securities Japan Co., Ltd.

Paul Gerard & Mihoko Christie United Kingdom—Walk Japan Ltd.

Mark & Rie Chadwick United Kingdom—Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.

Bryan & Hideko Norton United States—T-Mark Kabushiki Gaisha

Andrew Barf United Kingdom—Totan Icap Co., Ltd.

Mario & Kumi Frittoli Italy—Mario I Sentieri

Ben & Naomi Runnacles United Kingdom—Goldman Sachs Japan Holdings Ltd.

Jeffrey & Noriko Behr United States—Center for Environmental Diplomacy

Alexander & Hitomi Manse United States—Crédit Agricole Securities Asia

Abhinav Thapliyal India—Accenture Japan Ltd.

David & Mariko Williams United Kingdom—Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.

David Evan & Kanae Case United States—White & Case LLP Gary Hutcherson United States—Apple, Inc.

Chul Kyu Hwang & Junko Hwang South Korea—Kot Company Moon Sam Chu & Michiko Ozawa South Korea—Kaotsubo Cosmetics Co., Ltd. Arthur & Adrienne Hirt United States—MSD K.K.

James Paul McCormick Australia—Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. Anthony Drennan United Kingdom—Tokyo Clinic Dental Office Tetsuji & Futaba Inoue United States—T. Rowe Price International Ltd.

Samarjit & Masumi Duarah India—Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Nadine & Peter Edge Anthony & Julie Ennis Keith & Lisa Glovins Michael & Yuki Green Colin Anthony & Michelle Greene Andrew & Ann Marie Gregory Robert Gumley & Miwako Kurosawa Joseph & Ichi Hah Shigeru & Michiko Hasegawa Holden & Julia Hodgson David & Susan Horner Alexander & Mayra Johnson Makoto & Setsuko Kihara Hyogo Konagaya Mitio & Kimiko Kumagai Gerard & Jackye Lawless David & Saw Choo Lee Sean Evers & Diane McGee Timothy & Maya McIntosh Masatoshi Nozaki Scott & Victoria Patterson Masahiko & Moto Shimazaki Matthew Sutherland & Mary Kathleen Go-Lee Tomo & Kuniko Takahashi Hideaki Tsukuda John & Kimberly Valade

Stacks of Services at the Club JTB Sunrise Tours

Enjoy a 5 percent discount on all package tours and start making unforgettable memories. Tel: 03-5796-5454 (9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.) E-mail: sunrisetours@web.jtb.jp www.jtb-sunrisetours.jp

36 February 2013 iNTOUCH

Spica

The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 The Cellar (B1) Sat: 1–4:30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Weekday drop-off: Member Services Desk

FedEx

To find out more about the range of services and Member discounts, visit the FedEx counter. The Cellar (B1) Mon–Fri: 1–5 p.m. (closed Sun and national holidays) Sat: 12 p.m. (pickup only)

André Bernard Beauty Salon Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (B1) Tue–Sun 9 a.m.–6 p.m.


MEMBER SERVICES

employee

of the month

Arnold Baysa by Nick Jones

T

ourists from across the world travel thousands of kilometers to explore the Philippine island of Palawan and its dense mangrove swamps, mountains and coral reefs, teeming with an extraordinary variety of wildlife. For Arnold Baysa, it was once his office of sorts. As a civil engineer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, he would spend up to one month at a time monitoring erosion-control and siltation-prevention projects along the winding rivers of the lush island, more than 500 kilometers southwest of Manila. “Of course, I love nature,” he says. “It was

a challenging job, but I really enjoyed this kind of work.” But after six years of flitting between field studies and the office in the Philippine capital, the University of the East engineering graduate decided to move on. Since he was supporting his siblings, as well as a wife and child, he began looking for better-paid work. Arriving in Japan in 1991, Baysa’s initial six months of training with a dry-cleaning company extended into a full-time position in Tokyo after the firm shelved its initial plan to open a factory in the Philippines. And after joining the Club two years ago, the 49-year-old has frequently run into

former customers. “I was happy just to see Members again,” he says. As a member of the parking team, the Isabela Province native works either in the underground parking area, helping Members drop off or collect their cars, or at the entrance, guiding those arriving at the Club. “I love working here. I get along so easily with people here,” says Baysa, who was named Employee of the Month for December. “The environment here is different and exuberant.” Compared with his previous work surroundings on tropical islands in the South China Sea, that observation seems an understatement. o

New Member Profile

New Member Profile

Why did you decide to join the Club?

Why did you decide to join the Club?

Timothy & Miho Neely United States—Foresight Group Japan K.K.

“We are delighted to be a new addition to the Club family, and we are looking forward to meeting many new friends. We have lived in Japan for many years, and we have been pleasantly surprised to see how many of our friends from the international school community are also Members. We have very much enjoyed using the outstanding recreational facilities and services at the Club. The close proximity of my office to TAC results in many opportunities to use the Club for a variety of business-related activities.”

Simon & Annabelle Goodman United Kingdom—British American Tobacco Japan Ltd.

“Having arrived from Singapore, where we were members of a similar club, we were looking for somewhere that would meet the whole family’s social and sporting needs. The facilities, particularly the gym, pool and restaurants, are first class and as it is just a convenient 10-minute walk from the office and home, joining seemed like an obvious move. It is already becoming a central part of our lives in Tokyo.” (l–r) Finn, Annabelle, Isabelle, Simon and Lily Goodman

(l–r) Miho, Julia, Joshua and Tim Neely

Services and benefits for Members 37


A Brush with the Past M

ihoshi Smith gingerly cups her grandfather’s antique inkstone. Crafted in the Edo era, the charcoal-colored, well-worn stone was used countless times by her grandfather to mix his dry ink with water before he drew his ink-dipped calligraphy brush across the paper in a series of fluid movements to produce aesthetically composed characters. Even though Akira Izumi, a professor of physics at Kanazawa University, passed away when Smith was only 3, his love of art— and calligraphy, in particular—has continued in his family. Raised on Awaji Island, sandwiched between Osaka and Shikoku, Smith’s mother trained her in the art of Japanese tea ceremony. During these sessions, Smith watched her mother hang shodo scrolls, featuring intricately written Zen phrases, specifically for the ceremony. Smith, however, never learned to write calligraphy before she left for college in Tokyo. “My mother wrote all of her letters to me in calligraphy, and even though her handwriting was so beautiful, I couldn’t read them,” she says. “I thought someday, I wish I could read what she wrote, so I decided I wanted to learn more about calligraphy.” About five years ago, when Smith’s children began to leave for

38 February 2013 iNTOUCH

college, she decided it was time to learn the art form. She enrolled in the Women’s Group’s calligraphy class, taught by renowned calligrapher Yuriko Nakamura. “Nakamura-sensei is very nice and, I guess, carefree, but also powerful,” says Smith. “Usually, when you take those Japanese traditional art classes, it is very formal; the teachers are quite strict. But Nakamura-sensei’s class is quite fun and, even if you can’t read Japanese or write Japanese, all of the students can do the artwork, and you feel like you are making art.” Tokyo native Nakamura, who has been teaching at the Club for more than 30 years, trained under some of the most revered calligraphy artists in Japan, including the late Hisako Uga, who taught members of the imperial family. Nakamura is a six-time winner of the Japan Art Exhibition. “My students are from various backgrounds, different ages and oftentimes different countries, but calligraphy is a universal language. You are not only teaching writing, but it is an art,” Nakamura says. “Each student is different. Even if they are not very experienced, it doesn’t take much time to find something


INSIDE JAPAN

One Club Member and calligraphy enthusiast explains her passion for the artistically written word. by Nick Narigon Photos by Lukasz Palka

Mihoshi Smith

nice to write. Like all forms of art, calligraphy is very personal and you are able to share a part of yourself through your art.” One of the first tasks Nakamura sets her students is to create their own signature: a calligraphy stamp that encapsulates their personal motto. Nakamura says that it is a chance for students to express themselves as artists. “They practice their signature over and over, to be able to make their name beautifully. The first time they are able to do it by themselves, it is so joyful,” she says. “That is what keeps me going for all of these years.” For her motif, Smith chose the first kanji character of her mother’s name, Teruko, which means to shine, and the character for “heart.” Together, she says, they represent her motto: let your heart and mind shine. Smith equates her two-hour class with Nakamura each Thursday afternoon to a breathing lesson. Inhaling deeply, she says, she puts her brush to the paper and writes an entire phrase in one graceful stroke. “When I start to do calligraphy, when I make the ink, it makes me calm and peaceful. While I am doing this, I just gradually focus on the motion and I can forget about the little things in [my]

daily life,” she says. “It is like doing yoga and meditation together. It is nice just to put yourself in that peaceful mindset.” The first large calligraphy piece Smith created was about the first sunrise of the year. Another work, about autumn leaves, she made for the Women’s Group as an introduction to Nakamura’s class. In 2011, she presented a piece, complete with the kanji for “a leaping dragon,” to her husband, who was born in the Chinese year of the mythical beast. For her next project, Smith says she plans to produce a piece based on the character for the word “dream” to commemorate her mother, who passed away in December. “We Japanese don’t use traditional handwriting anymore, so this is a great opportunity to just write and remember the past,” she says. “All you need is ink and a brush. You just draw a line, and that, too, is art. One line can be powerful.” A sentiment her grandfather, no doubt, would have shared. o Narigon is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. To learn about studying calligraphy or a range of other pursuits at the Club, visit the Women’s Group section of the Club website.

A look at culture and society 39


Pioneering Port City One of Japan’s first gateways to the world, Yokohama abounds with fascinating sights and mouthwatering eateries. by Chiara Terzuolo

O

n October 14, 1872, at a colorful ceremony in Shimbashi, Japan’s first railway line was officially opened. The passengers, including the Meiji emperor, boarded the train and traveled to, perhaps fittingly, Yokohama. The journey took 35 minutes. The seaside settlement in Kanagawa Prefecture underwent a huge transformation after the country’s self-imposed isolation of the Edo period came to an end. It became a thriving, international hub of merchants, businessmen and diplomats from across the world. One of Japan’s first Western-style hotels was built here, and it was the first place ice cream was made and sold. Much of that Victorian period remains in evidence even today, particularly in the Yamate area, right above Motomachi Chukagai Station. Among lovely parks, you will find a plethora of homes of the quarter’s former foreign residents. Dating from the late Meiji era, these ijinkan, which are kept in pristine condition, are open to visitors, and some have been converted into teahouses, so you can relax in style while taking in the antique interiors. Enokitei is particularly famous for its rose-scented tea, but there are also cafés in both the Diplomat’s House and Ehrismann House. It’s also worth wandering around the final resting place of some of Japan’s first expats at the nearby Foreign General Cemetery, which is open between noon and 4 p.m. on weekends. Back by the station, the Motomachi shopping street retains some of its past glamour and is home to several famous Japanese brands of jewelry and leather goods (check out Star Jewelry and Kitamura, respectively). There are also retro coffee shops and purveyors of English tweed and stunning handmade lace. Keep your eye out for a bright red, oversized chair in the street—a popular photo spot for kids and adults alike. After exploring the hills of Yamate, lunch is definitely in order. A short walk away is Chukagai, Yokohama’s Chinatown. This is where

40 February 2013 iNTOUCH

the first Chinese traders settled after Japan opened its doors to foreign trade in the 1800s, and it’s now one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. After passing through the brightly colored gateway, visitors should drop by Kanteibyo, a temple dedicated to the god of business and prosperity that was founded in 1862. While every imaginable style of Chinese cuisine is available here, Cantonese restaurants are prevalent. For an unusual experience, try the Taiwanese faux meat dishes at Banwarou. Gourmands in search of something slightly different will be spoiled for choice in Yokohama. Thanks to the city’s eclectic past, there are plenty of examples of food fusion and variations on Western cuisine. The Hof Brau, for instance, is well known for its “spa pizza,” an odd, if delicious, cheese-topped pasta dish that does, indeed, resemble a pizza. The dark-wood, Bavarian décor of this 62-year-old establishment makes for a cozy atmosphere. The retro feel continues at the Hotel New Grand’s Le Normandie. This restaurant preserves the taste of the first Westernized dishes served in Japan, and the apple pie is particularly popular. Returning to the present day, the Minato Mirai 21 development boasts attractions for everyone. The almost 300-meter-high Landmark Tower, which presides over the port area, has two viewing decks and is chock-full of shops and eateries. Nearby is an amusement park, a permanently docked, four-masted sailing ship and a huge Ferris wheel, which, together with Rainbow Bridge, are especially worth admiring after dark. A short walk away is Akarenga, two Meiji-era redbrick storehouses that have been converted into a complex for small shops and cafés. Different events take place at this waterside spot each season, with the ice-skating rink during the winter drawing crowds of people. But if the weather isn’t so cooperative, children and lovers of


OUT & ABOUT

The Toyoko, Tokaido, Yokosuka, Shonan Shinjuku, Keihin Tohoku and Keihin Kyuko lines all connect Tokyo and Yokohama. Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery www.yfgc-japan.com Motomachi www.motomachi.or.jp (Japanese only) Chinatown www.chinatown.or.jp Minato Mirai 21 www.minatomirai21.com Akarenga www.yokohama-akarenga.jp (Japanese only) Cup Noodles Museum www.cupnoodles-museum.jp

Spa EAS www.spa-eas.com (Japanese only) Enokitei www.rosegarden-yokohama.jp (Japanese only) The Hof Brau Tel: 045-662-1106 Le Normandie www.lenormandie-w.net Hotel New Grand www.hotel-newgrand.co.jp Yokohama Convention and Visitors Bureau www.welcomeyokohama.com Yokohama Visitors’ Guide www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp

TOKYO YOKOHAMA

Manyo Club www.manyo.co.jp/mm21/ (Japanese only)

ramen noodles will be sure to get a kick out of the nearby Cup Noodles Museum, which features interactive exhibits for kids to clamber over, and an Asian Noodle Bazaar. The best part, though, is the chance to create your own cup of noodles, complete with a suitably cool bag in which to carry it. Those looking to relax after a hectic day of sightseeing or gorging should head to the Manyo Club or Spa EAS, which offer thermal

pools and Turkish baths. But if you’re a little uncomfortable about going au naturel, you can don one of the provided robes and take in a hot-stone bed, sauna or aromatherapy room. At the end of that, you should feel sufficiently refreshed for dinner. o

Terzuolo is a Tokyo-based freelance writer.

Explorations beyond the Club 41


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

Visit with Santa December 1 and 8

Taking time out from his packed schedule, Santa dropped by the Club on two occasions before Christmas to hear some final whispered wishes and pose for seasonal photo keepsakes with excited children. Photos by Ken Katsurayama

42 February 2013 iNTOUCH


EVENT ROUNDUP

Gingerbread House Factory December 1–2 and 8–9

The Club hosted sessions of its hugely popular Gingerbread House Factory, allowing youngsters and parents to get creative and deliciously messy in equal measure. Photos by Ken Katsurayama

5

Snapshots from Club occasions 43


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

Club End-of-Year Bonenkai December 12

In the tradition of the Japanese year-end party, the Board of Governors and Club committees hosted a casual bonenkai in the Winter Garden. Fueled by drinks and mouthwatering snacks, Members enjoyed an evening of easy conversation and laughter. Photos by Yuuki Ide

44 February 2013 iNTOUCH


EVENT ROUNDUP

Snapshots from Club occasions 45


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

Mudsharks End-of-Year Party and Awards Ceremony December 9

A week after a small band of swimmers from the Club’s swim team returned from a successful weekend at the Tigersharks Invitational Swim Meet in Taipei, the Mudsharks held their annual year-end party. This year’s event included an array of games and entertainment before the dinner and awards ceremony. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki

1. (l–r) Cory Nguyen, Maika Kushner, Noah Ouellet, Thomas Whan and Anika Whan 2. Diya Asrani 3. Kai-Thomas Schinaman and Mudsharks coach Simon Hadlow 4. Anika Whan 5. Takumi Ito 6. Matthew Moyer and Jack Brady 7. Hugh McGuire 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

46 February 2013 iNTOUCH


EVENT ROUNDUP

Christmas at the Club December 25

Those Members who didn’t head home for the holidays sat down to an impressive spread of festive food, including traditional turkey and stuffing, in the New York Ballroom. Photos by Ken Katsurayama

Snapshots from Club occasions 47


BACK WORDS

Whatever the story, anecdote, fictitious tale, rant, cultural observation or Club commentary, now’s your chance to take it to the world…well, Membership, anyway. E-mail your submission (no more than 700 words) to editor@tac-club.org.

W

hat is the scariest thing you know? That was the theme of a presentation a client asked me to give to managers at the start of the year. I assumed they wanted me to talk about Japan, but not on the usual population/economy/ China issues. If you’ve lived in Japan over the last two decades, or for the last nine years as I have, there are always “things to fear,” particularly since March 2011. But how scary or promising these things actually might be depends on how you look at them. One subject that does worry me, though, is Japan’s lack of confidence. And I don’t mean a lack of confidence in the economy.

Talking Up Japan by Dave McCaughan

I can understand that. A national survey we have carried out 11 times in the last eight years consistently reveals that Japanese people have little faith in the economy or in the government’s ability to fix it. Across age groups and both sexes, “economy” and “recession” are the two most common words used by people when describing Japan. And therein lies part of the problem. Regardless of whether the country is actually in recession or not, or the state of their own lives, people seem convinced that the country and economy are in a constant tailspin. Of course, it would be stupid to refute the obvious challenges that Japan faces, but there are many reasons for believing in the potential of the

48 February 2013 iNTOUCH

country. The rest of the world certainly seems to think so. Well, not the economists. Nor, it would seem, many journalists. There are many businesses, though, that see Japan as a source of inspiration. In just three weeks in December alone, I saw many examples of this belief in Japan. Two major Western companies asked us to help them launch their brands in Japan because they said they believed that Japanese consumers remained the most demanding and the most likely to buy quality in the world. Three different organizations asked me to help them organize tours here for groups of senior executives to “get some inspiration on what will happen next.” I was also asked to speak at numerous conferences on everything from business opportunities in Japan to Japan as a leader in the fields of technology and beauty care. Meanwhile, at a three-day seminar in Brazil, hosted by a major telecommunications company, the organizers requested me to talk about why Japan remains the leading innovation market. And that was a typical month. One of the first lessons I learned when I moved to Tokyo nearly a decade ago was that this is a nation of perfectionists. In our surveys, people consistently tell us that they think Japan is good at “tradition and technology.” And while they might acknowledge that the country produces a lot of innovation, they feel it is better not to brag about it until it has been proven. Hardly a good mix in the modern world of marketing. Japan then seems to have a hard time talking about itself, despite all of its positive aspects. Fortunately, I notice that a number of Club Members and others in the foreign business community here agree that a bit more self-promotion by Japan might help. Different groups are starting to put together programs and initiatives to talk up the Japan opportunity. A longtime fan of Japan, the sci-fi writer William Gibson was once asked why he continued to spend a good part of each year in Tokyo. “I write about America in five to 10 years’ time,” he said, “so I have to be inspired by Japan now.” o McCaughan is director of strategic planning with the advertising agency McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific.


TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 七 巻 五 七 四 号 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行 

February 2013

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

i N T O U C H

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 三 年 二 月 一 日 発 行  平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 0 0 円

Fit for Office Club President John Durkin explains how he set out to get himself and the Club’s finances healthy

Gridiron Extravaganza The Club gears up for Super Bowl XLVII

本 体 七 七 七 円

Electric Dreams

One Member contemplates Japan’s electric car future

Continuing Tradition

Discovering calligraphy through the Club

Issue 574 • February 2013


iNTOUCH Feb 2013