July 2015 iNTOUCH Magazine

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毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行  第 四 十 七 巻 六 〇 三 号   ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ

July 2015

Elite Labels

CHOP’s wine collection attains world-class status i N T O U C

Summer Retreat Tokushima’s cultural and natural charm


イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 五 年 七 月 一 日 発 行


Ground Rules

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

Members practice the art of grappling

本 体 七 七 七 円

Issue 603 • July 2015

Battle Ready Member Ron Tanno gears up for three days of squash thrills at the TAC Premier Classic

contents 2 4 5 6 8 12 18 24 28 30 32 34 36 46 48

Contacts Board of Governors Management Events Wine & Dining Arts & Entertainment Recreation & Fitness Feature Parting Thoughts Inside Japan Out & About Cultural Insight Event Roundup Club People Back Words

24 FEATURE Off the Wall 8 WINE & DINING Top Bottles The Club’s wine guru, Anna Tyack, shares some of her favorites labels from CHOP Steakhouse’s award-winning wine list.

18 RECREATION & FITNESS Going to Ground Under the guidance of a former Brazilian jiujitsu world champ, Members learn how technique always trumps bulk.

Board of Governors

Club Committees

John Durkin (2016)— Representative Governor, Mary Saphin (2016)—First Vice President, Brenda Bohn (2016)—Second Vice President, Jesse Green (2016)— Secretary, Hiroshi Miyamasu (2015)—Treasurer, Ginger Griggs (2015), Mark Miller (2015), Machi Nemoto (2016), Innocent Obi (2016), Betsy Rogers (2015), Jerry Rosenberg (2016), Kazuakira Nakajima (2016)—Statutory Auditor

Compensation Mark Miller Culture, Community & Entertainment Dan Smith (Innocent Obi) Subcommittee Culture & Community JoAnn Yoneyama Entertainment Matt Krcelic Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai Video Library

Cover photo of Ron Tanno by Benjamin Parks

While the world squash fraternity lobbies for an Olympic berth for the sport, the Club remains a vibrant squash hub in Japan, illustrated by its hosting of the TAC Premier Classic professional tournament each July.

Abby Radmilovich Finance Rodney Nussbaum (Hiroshi Miyamasu) Food & Beverage Michael Alfant (Jerry Rosenberg) Subcommittee Wine Stephen Romaine House Tomio Fukuda (Jesse Green) Subcommittee Facilities Management Group Matt Krcelic Human Resources Per Knudsen (Ginger Griggs)

30 INSIDE JAPAN Spectacles in the Sky In a country that takes its fireworks particularly seriously, aerial explosions of color are a hallmark of summer in Japan.

Membership Alok Rakyan (Machi Nemoto) Nominating Steven Greenberg Recreation Samuel Rogan (Mark Miller) Subcommittee Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh Fitness Samuel Rogan Golf John Patrick Vaughan Library Alaine Lee Logan Room Christa Rutter Squash Pete Juds Swim Alexander Jampel Youth Activities TBC

Follow the Club Online facebook.com/tokyoamericanclub twitter.com/TACtokyo instagram.com/tokyoamericanclub youtube.com/user/TokyoAmericanClubTV

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

Phone (03) 4588-0676


Banquet Sales and Reservations

(03) 4588-0977


Beauty Salon Bowling Center

(03) 4588-0685 (03) 4588-0209


Café Med

(03) 4588-0978



(03) 4588-0307


Childcare Center

(03) 4588-0701



(03) 4588-0262


CHOP Steakhouse/220°

(03) 4588-0675



(03) 4588-0699



(03) 4588-0222


Fitness Center

(03) 4588-0266


Food & Beverage Office

(03) 4588-0245


Foreign Traders’ Bar

(03) 4588-0677


Guest Studios

(03) 4588-0734


Human Resources Information Technology Library

(03) 4588-0679 (03) 4588-0690 (03) 4588-0678


Management Office

(03) 4588-0674


Membership Office

(03) 4588-0687


Member Services

(03) 4588-0670


Pool Office

(03) 4588-0700


Rainbow Café

(03) 4588-0705


Recreation Desk

(03) 4588-0681


The Cellar

(03) 4588-0744


The Spa

(03) 4588-0714


Video Library

(03) 4588-0686



(03) 4588-0671


Women’s Group Office wg@tac-club.org

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(03) 4588-0691

from the

editor Editor Nick Jones editor@tac-club.org

In between the ongoing corruption scandal at soccer’s governing body, FIFA, and the endless stories of misbehavior by today’s celebrity athletes, it’s easy to forget the dozens of minor sports toiling away to attract more followers in an already-crowded sports scene.

Assistant Editor Nick Narigon Designers Enrique Balducci Anna Ishizuka

Squash is one such pastime. Invented in Britain in the 1800s, squash is now played in more than 185 countries, according to the World Squash Federation (WSF). The racket sport boasts a professional tour and the top 50 male and female players are drawn from more than 20 nations. But squash’s worldwide popularity has waned since its heyday in the 1970s and ’80s.

Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki Management Anthony L Cala General Manager

WSF chief executive Andrew Shelley says that some countries like Poland are experiencing a squash boom now. “Peru is not where you would expect the current male world junior champion to come from, but he does,” he says.

Wayne Hunter, Director GMO & Membership

The Club, which hosts the sixth edition of its three-day, professional TAC Premier Classic tournament this month, is experiencing its own squash revival, as Gianni Simone writes in this month’s cover story, “Off the Wall.”

Business Operations Brian Marcus, Asst GM Business Operations Scott Yahiro, Director Recreation

Shelley acknowledges that squash’s inclusion in the Olympic Games would boost the sport’s profile. While the WSF has been unsuccessful in its lobbying for squash’s admittance so far, Shelley says the sport will keep trying.

Nori Yamazaki, Director Food & Beverage Jonathan Allen, Director Member Services & Guest Studios

“Squash is a great sport,” he says, “but without encouraging people to try it, then it will be too hidden.”

Hettige Don Suranga, Director Revenue Management

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.

Business Support Lian Chang, Asst GM Business Support Darryl Dudley, Director Engineering Shuji Hirakawa, Director Human Resources Naoto Okutsu, Director Finance


Toby Lauer, Director Information Technology

Gianni Simone

Gianni Simone is the Japan correspondent for Vogue Italia and Playboy Italia and a regular contributor to The Japan Times. His work has also appeared on the Flash Art and CNN Travel websites and in Metropolis and San Francisco Arts Quarterly magazines. In this month’s iNTOUCH, he talks to Members with a passion for two very different sports: squash and Brazilian jiujitsu. A resident of Japan for more than 20 years, Simone lives in Yokohama with his wife and two sons.

Rob Goss

Rob Goss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Time and National Geographic Traveler. He has written a number of books for Tuttle Publishing, including the guidebook Tuttle Travel Pack Japan and Tokyo: Capital of Cool. Originally from Britain, Goss lives in Tokyo with his wife, son and pet dog. A frequent contributor to iNTOUCH, in this issue he explores the natural and festive offerings of Shikoku’s Tokushima Prefecture, a region off the beaten path for many overseas travelers.

Shane Busato, Director Communications

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

For membership information, contact Mari Hori: mari.hori@tac-club.org 03-4588-0687

Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649 www.tokyoamericanclub.org



Somewhere Special by Machi Nemoto Governor


rivate membership clubs the world over are made up of members, management and staff. But what makes a club special? People join clubs for many different reasons. A lot of Members join Tokyo American Club to establish friendships and to enjoy the Club’s facilities and activities with their families. In turn, the Club constantly evaluates how it can best help Members enjoy the Club. The Club is also one big community. It is not a hotel, and we not its guests. In many ways, we are the Club. This means that the community is as vibrant and relevant as we wish it to be. I used to think that the Club was a convenient place for socializing, networking and doing business. In recent years, however, I have come to realize that the Club is much more than a place to congregate. But it

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is dependent upon us, as Members, to make a contribution. This might mean joining one of the many committees that oversee the various aspects of the Club or volunteering to help at an event or activity.

I believe we all have something unique to offer our “second home,” and if more Members participate, together with the staff and management, we can make the Club an even better place.”

I believe we all have something unique to offer our “second home,” and if more Members participate, together with the staff and management, we can make the Club an even better place. To paraphrase the 1961 inaugural address of former United States President John F Kennedy, ask not what your club can

do for you, ask what you can do for your club. My late father had this kind of attitude. While he was a successful businessman, he constantly thought about how he could best use his skills in the service of others. His approach to life has been an inspiration to me since I was young. Aside from being a governor, I am involved with the Membership and Food & Beverage committees, where I believe my ideas can be of most use. I feel strongly about how we should grow the Membership and how we can encourage Members to become more engaged. I also enjoy discussing dining at the Club and the best ways to attract Members to our restaurants and related events. Being part of Club committees over the years has enhanced my enjoyment of the Club. The experience has also helped me appreciate the staff even more. Although they work hard to keep Members happy, relaxed and satisfied, they don’t always receive the recognition they deserve. Forever smiling, they do their best to attend to the needs of Members and make sure that the Club runs smoothly each day. This dedicated staff is an important part of our community and helps make TAC a truly special club. 


Prepare to Party by Brian Marcus

Assistant General Manager Business Operations


ho doesn’t love a good party? And throwing good parties has been one of the hallmarks of the Club since way back when. What’s more, the Club keeps getting better at it. I remember back in the late ’90s when the Club organized a raft of big blowouts, from transporting Members by barge down the Nile River to organizing an outdoor celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau, complete with a 5-meter-tall Champagne coupe tower. There wasn’t a festival, holiday or country we couldn’t celebrate. During that time, the Club was the place to go if you wanted a memorable occasion, from private parties and company get-togethers to bowling bashes and weddings. Fast-forward to 2015 and not much

has changed, except the fact that the Club’s parties have gotten better. Members still love to let their hair down and the Club is providing relevant, fun and creative ways to do just that. The Culture, Community and Entertainment Committee organizes monthly fun, with regular First Friday events in the Winter Garden, dynamic themed parties and large-scale spectacles like the all-day extravaganza to celebrate Independence Day on July 4.

Whatever the idea, we have the experience and creativity to turn it into an occasion you’ll never forget. ”

Those Members with school-aged children probably already know that the Club is birthday party central. Youngsters can choose from a range of themed parties, and we can even organize bouncy houses to ratchet up the excitement.

Whatever your whim, we have the party to match. If your speed is more “mani-pedi,” The Spa can help you and your friends really unwind. Or maybe a barbecue under the stars is more your style. Still not hitting your party button? Try an evening of strikes, spares and refreshments, a golf and beer bash or even a Zumba and Champagne party. It’s not all about clowns and balloons, though. The Club regularly handles gala evenings, weddings (the Club hosts close to 60 weddings a year) and corporate soirées. As a Member, all you need is a reason (or an excuse) to party and your Club will take care of the rest. We can even bring the party to yours. Our team of event professionals can organize any size of function at any location. Why not invite your friends over for a Sunday afternoon on your terrace? We’ll even clear up afterwards. Just recently, we helped an embassy in town throw a party for 500 guests. We know that many Members join the Club for the great facilities, programs, service, food and opportunities to party. Whatever the idea, we have the experience and creativity to turn it into an occasion you’ll never forget. 


What’s on in July 1


Toastmasters Luncheon Start losing your fear of public speaking and improve your leadership skills at this bimonthly event. 12 p.m. Members: ¥2,200; non-Members: ¥2,560. Sign up online or at the Library. Continues on July 15.




Spa Summer Refreshers Pamper your skin with a revitalizing treatment this month at The Spa. Check page 20 for the full details.



Summer All-Star Sports Energetic youngsters learn teamwork and skills through an array of fun sports. Continues through August 21. Learn more on page 21.


Gallery Exhibition: Michio Nakamura The innovative Japanese woodblock painter hosts an exhibition of his imaginative pieces at the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. Find out more about the artist on page 16.


Friday– Sunday

TAC Premier Classic The Club hosts three days of toplevel squash, as Japan’s pros battle for the TAC Premier Classic crown and Club players enjoy a chance to put their skills to the test. Find out more about the Club’s active squash fraternity on page 24.

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Camp Discovery With school out for the summer, kids enjoy fun-packed days of games, sports, arts and crafts and day trips. Continues through August 21. Page 21 has the details.



Independence Day Celebration Celebrate the birthday of the United States with a day of family fun, including live entertainment, special attractions, kids’ games and a traditional American barbecue. Turn to page 15 for the rundown.



Saturday– Sunday

BBQ Dinner Buffet The Club fires up the coals for a Fourth of July holiday feast at Rainbow Café and the Family Dining Terrace. 5–8:30 p.m.




Saturday– Monday


Saturday– Monday

Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Expectant moms and dads prepare for the big day during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ¥6,700. Sign up at Member Services.

Hawaiian Family Buffet Rainbow Café pays homage to Hawaii with a mouthwatering spread of local favorites. More on page 41.

Ocean Day Bowling Celebrate Japan’s annual tribute to the sea with fun, games and prizes at the Bowling Center.





Hawaiian Grand Buffet A Polynesian feast is topped off with live entertainment and prizes. New York Ballroom. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4:30–7 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥5,555; children (4–17 years): ¥2,700; infants (3 and under): free. Sign up online. More on page 41.


Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or you just want to meet new people, drop by this free Women’s Group gathering. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare. 10:30 a.m.


All-American Friday Feast Hook up with friends at a Café Med booth for an evening of all-you-can-eat Tex-Mex cuisine. 5 p.m.





Summer Reading Program Kids dive into worlds of action, adventure, fantasy and fun while earning prizes for reading at least 10 books over the summer. Runs through August 14. Contact the Library for details.

Independence Day Special American Bar & Grill gives its menu a patriotic boost with American summer classics in honor of the July Fourth holiday.




The Eyrie Vineyards and Domaine Drouhin Oregon Wine Dinner Two Oregon winemaking neighbors host an evening of exquisite Pinot Noir at CHOP Steakhouse. 7 p.m. Learn more about their remarkable relationship on page 10.



Wednesday– Sunday


Family Field Trip Families head to the wilds of Chiba and for a day close to nature at Mother Farm. 9 a.m. Flip to page 21 for the furry details.


Squash Social Night The Club’s squash players enjoy an evening of casual play and a chance to put their skills to the test against former national champion Hitoshi Ushiogi. 6:15 p.m. Continues on July 28.



New Member Orientation The Club’s newest Members learn about the Club while forging new friendships. 10 a.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. Contact the Membership Office to reserve your spot at least one week in advance. Continues on July 29.


Birth Preparation for Couples Expectant parents prepare for the arrival of their bundle of joy during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥34,300. Sign up at Member Services.



Youth Basketball Students learn basketball fundamentals while enjoying the opportunity to compete in game situations. Find details about the second summer session on page 21.

Saturday– Sunday

Monday– Sunday

A Taste of Hawaii The Club’s restaurants feature distinctive dishes and drinks from the Aloha State while celebrating the cultural influences that shaped the Pacific islands’ cuisine. Page 41 has more.

Coming up in August 1 Recreation Program Fall Registration

1 & 26 New Member Orientation

5–6 Moroccan Night

5 & 19 Toastmasters Luncheon

17 Mudsharks Swim Team Session 3

28 All-American Friday Feast

31 Coffee Connections

31 Mudsharks Kids (group and private lessons) Session 3

Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.


Top Bottles The Club’s wine guru offers her picks of CHOP Steakhouse’s award-winning wine list. Photos by Anna Tyack


lipping through the collection of wines at CHOP Steakhouse now means browsing the world’s best medium-sized wine list. The World of Fine Wine magazine bestowed that honor on the restaurant last month, making CHOP the only dining spot in Japan to win three stars from the venerated

publication. It is also one of just 22 three-star restaurants in all of Asia. The judges praised CHOP’s diversity of wines and, in particular, the collection of California wines. To help Members explore this remarkable selection, the collection’s curator and the Club’s wine program director, Anna Tyack, picks out 12 of her favorites.

Volcanic Red

Smashable Red

2012 Girolamo Russo ’a Rina Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy Made by former classical pianist Giuseppe Russo from vines planted on the slopes of Etna, Sicily’s famous active volcano, this outstanding red boasts cherry and oriental spice aromas and a vibrant cinnamon and pepper lift. Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo lovers will enjoy the grip and minerality of Nerello Mascalese. ¥8,000

2013 Bedrock Wines Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Coast, California Thirty-four-year-old winemaking prodigy Morgan Twain Peterson produces a fascinating array of wines from old vine sites throughout California. This Zinfandel (with a touch of Carignan) is made from vines around 80 years old. Seductive and lush, with notes of raspberry, black cherry, forest, earth, pepper and spice, it’s a steal at the price. ¥7,780

Plain Crazy

Perfect Pinky

Summer Bubbles

2011 Scholium Project The Prince in His Caves, Farina, Sonoma, California New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov wrote that “to call Scholium Project a winery and its proprietor, Abe Schoener, a winemaker is a little like calling Salvador Dalí a painter. It’s true, but it does not begin to capture his visionary character.” Abe, who holds a doctorate in ancient Greek philosophy, is a free thinker and makes the most unique wines in California today. This is a mysterious wine, with intense herbal notes, fruit skins, honeyed richness and crisp acidity. ¥8,920

2013 La Porta di Vertine Sangiovese, Rosato Toscana, Italy In 2006, La Porta di Vertine’s owners, Dan and Ellen Lugosch, acquired the amphitheatre-shaped vineyard in Vertine, a tiny, ancient hamlet in the Chianti Classico area of Gaiole. This fantastic, berry-nuanced, organic rosé is 100 percent Sangiovese and 200 percent pleasure. Salute! ¥1,300 (glass)

Domaine Belluard Les Perles du MontBlanc Brut, Savoie, France This traditional method bubbly is made from Gringet, an obscure local variety found only in Ayse, about 60 kilometers from Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Dominique Belluard, the vigneron, owns 10 hectares, which is about half of the varietal’s worldwide production. Smoky, with yellow plum, melon and a hint of fresh ginger to invigorate a long finish. A mountain sparkler with attitude. ¥7,200

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Old School Meets New School

New Kid on the Block

2009 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California Founded in 1889, this storied winery is located in the Mayacamas Mountains, west of Napa. The dry-farmed, mature vineyards were planted in the early 1950s at up to 730 meters on Mount Veeder. Spirited and energetic, with black cherry, wild strawberry, sage, licorice, fig and red rose notes, this old-school Cali is one of my favorites, and it won’t break the bank. ¥18,700

2012 Domaine Olivier Pithon Cuvée Laïs Blanc, Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, France Soft-spoken and driven, Olivier Pithon started the winery in 2000 and now farms 17 hectares biodynamically on cooler sites. I can’t get enough of his Macabeubased whites, and this is voluptuous yet utterly refined and vibrant, with mango, pink grapefruit and herbal notes and a firm mineral character. Oh, and the “Laïs” moniker is from the name of his Jersey cow. ¥7,880

Magnum on the Terrace

Japan-Exclusive Wine

2013 Van Volxem Saar Riesling, Mosel, Germany Farming old vines (from 50 to 125 years old) organically, Van Volxem is a star in the Saar region. This dry Riesling has an incredible texture and energy, with juicy peach and pear, substance and well-balanced slate minerality, acidity and fruit. A good reason to support the #summerofriesling cause. ¥10,800

2013 Jamsheed Laneway White, Yarra Valley, Australia Available only in Japan, the Laneway label is a collaboration between a local importer and Gary Mills of Jamsheed in Victoria. With mineral-laced aromas of fresh citrus, white peach and quince, this delicious, fleshy blend of Roussanne and Chardonnay brings the rebel laneways of Melbourne to the streets of Tokyo. ¥1,300 (glass)

Japanese Expat Winemaker

Biodynamic Guru

Tribute to Serge

2013 Sato Wines Pinot Gris, Central Otago, New Zealand Yoshiaki Sato worked as an investment banker in Tokyo before taking a winemaking course and settling down with his wife, Kyoko, in Central Otago. He crafts some of the most delicate, soulful wines I have ever tasted, and sipping this white, with its pear, nectar, citrus rind and honeyed finish, is an immensely evocative textural experience. Producing miniscule amounts of wine, he pours his passion into each bottle. ¥8,000

2012 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California Ted Lemon made history when Domaine Guy Roulot hired him as the first (and, to this day, only) American winemaker and vineyard manager in Burgundy. In 1993, he and his wife, Heidi, started Littorai, and they now make some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Sonoma. A biodynamic evangelist, Ted firmly believes in the “power of observation” in the vineyard. This Pinot has energy, intensity and notes of smoke, sweet red cherries, menthol and tobacco. ¥12,520

2007 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon The great Lebanese winemaker Serge Hochar, who passed away last year, enjoyed a cult following. Chateau Musar was founded in 1930 by his father and Serge became winemaker in 1959. During the country’s civil war, he refused to abandon his wine and lost only the 1976 and ’84 vintages. I was once lucky enough to enjoy a vertical tasting of back vintages with the man himself. Seven years in the making, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan is packed with finesse and complexity, earthy nuances and a gamey hint. ¥8,800

CHOP Steakhouse Weekdays: 6–10 p.m. Reservations: 03-4588-0381 tac@tac-club.org Prices exclude 8 percent tax.


Community Spirit by Wendi Onuki


n 1979, trailblazing Oregon winemaker David Lett pitted his virtually unknown Pinot Noir against the globe’s finest at the World Wine Olympics in France. His 1975 The Eyrie Vineyards Reserve ranked so high in the blind tasting that Robert Drouhin, who headed his family’s legendary Burgundy maison, organized a rematch the following year to disprove its success. Drouhin’s wine just barely edged out the American newcomer, confirming that the original result had been no fluke and thrusting Oregon wines into the international spotlight. The two rivals became neighbors after Drouhin purchased a nearby plot of land in the Dundee Hills and established his Domaine Drouhin Oregon, which bottled its debut vintage in 1988. “From the beginning, there was mutual respect and appreciation and, later, great friendship,” says David Millman, Drouhin’s managing director. “This is still true and will always be true. These roots are strong.” David Lett, who passed away in 2008 at age 69, developed an early affection for Pinot Noir and scoured sites on the West Coast for years before deciding that the Willamette Valley was the right place to plant his vine cuttings in 1965. Soon, other likeminded visionaries joined him. Largely inexperienced, they were eager to share equipment and learn from one another. A winemaking culture took hold. “From the very beginning, working together was a necessity,” says Millman, 51. “All the pioneers had was each other and their commitment. One could say camaraderie is in the DNA of the Oregon wine industry.”

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Jason Lett

David Millman

Now a flourishing winegrowing region, with more than 400 wineries, the Willamette Valley has retained its grassroots soul and hospitable vibe. “I ran into a neighbor at the store this morning and we compared notes,” says 45-year-old Jason Lett, the son of David and Diana Lett and The Eyrie’s present winemaker and vineyard manager, who will join Millman for a Pinot-punctuated dinner at the Club this month. “There is a lot of this. It is definitely the kind of place where if a machine breaks, you can go down the road and borrow the part from someone else.” The thinking behind this uniquely collaborative spirit is straightforward, according to Lett. “I don’t feel like we are in competition with one another because Pinot Noir is so infinitely expressive that none of us make the same wines,” he says. “And I’m sure one of the reasons people have taken such a good interest in us is that we promote the area together.”

The region’s wine production continues to swell, but newcomers are welcomed into the fold. The wineries might vie for ribbons or other accolades, but the “true believers… striving to make really good wine here” have a fellowship that makes the Willamette Valley a special place, Lett says. “The story of Eyrie Vineyards and Domaine Drouhin,” he says, “perfectly encapsulates the community here.” o Onuki is a Michigan-based freelance journalist.

The Eyrie Vineyards and Domaine Drouhin Oregon Wine Dinner Friday, July 10 7–10 p.m. CHOP Steakhouse ¥13,000* Sign up online or at Member Services *Excludes 8 percent consumption tax.


Cocktail Champs by Nick Narigon Photos by Enrique Balducci

Cellar Selection

Sera Goto

2014 Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

(l–r) Betsy Rogers, Chalice Markowitz, Sibyl Kane, Reiko Saito and Cathy Noyes


ummer in Shimoda conjures thoughts of emerald waters and white sands off the coast of Shizuoka’s Izu Peninsula. The titular libation, dreamed up by the winners of the recent Women’s Group cocktail competition, is the perfect sipper for unwinding at a secluded beach resort. Competitors were given 15 minutes at the May luncheon to create a drink from pure imagination, and the winning team of Sibyl Kane, Chalice Markowitz, Cathy Noyes, Betsy Rogers and Reiko Saito delivered a pineapple-heavy concoction, flavored with a hint of fresh mint and lime.

“We were so happy to win,” says Kane. “It’s a lot of pressure to come up with something drinkable in 15 minutes.” For those wanting to make the drink at home, Kane says the fresh pineapple and mint can be substituted with juice or syrup, and the amount of Cointreau can be adjusted depending on preferences for sweetness. She recommends blending the drink to build a delicate froth, evoking the foam of the sea. “I’ll blame that romantic notion on all the cocktails we had at the luncheon,” she says. Summer in Shimoda is available at Traders’ Bar for the month of July. o

This Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, featuring clean citrus and lemongrass flavors, fresh herbs and a racy finish, is a Member favorite. Wine Enthusiast magazine described it as having “everything you’d ever want in a Sauvignon Blanc…and then some.” Dog Point Vineyard supports sustainable agriculture and has 210 hectares organically certified and the rest currently under conversion. Perfect partner: fresh summer flavors of parsley and basil, sushi rolls, grilled chicken, quesadillas, casual evenings, barbecues or firework displays.

Summer in Shimoda Ingredients 2 sections of fresh pineapple 6 sprigs of mint (leaves only) juice of one fresh lime 2 jiggers of light rum 1 jigger of Cointreau Directions Blend, strain, shake and pour over fresh ice in a double oldfashioned glass and garnish with pineapple, a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

Available at The Cellar (B1), opposite Member Services, for ¥2,800* a bottle. *Excludes 8 percent consumption tax.


off the


What Lies Beneath by Kokila Katyal


n murder mysteries, things are never as they seem. The same can sometimes be said of the authors themselves. Anne Perry is the best-selling author of two acclaimed crime and detection series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including A Dangerous Mourning, Execution Dock and Defend and Betray, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, whose titles include Traitors Gate, Farrier’s Lane, Midnight at Marble Arch and Dorchester Terrace. Perry is also known for a five-part series set during World War I and her annual Christmas novellas. Thematically, her novels deal with issues entrenched in Victorian and early 19th-century mores (political corruption, misuse of social power, housing for the poor, the fate of female prostitutes, the

Anne Perry

punishment for social transgressions) and played out in the deeply hierarchical Victorian society. The novels are also ripe with the nuances of the minutiae of day-to-day life. For example, the number of servants a family employs reflects the family’s social standing, and Thomas Pitt’s professional success is mirrored in the expanding number of servants his wife hires at home. However, the 1994 release of Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Bodies changed

the Anne Perry world forever. In a twist that could have emerged from one of Perry’s own plotlines, the film revealed that Perry had, in fact, started life as Juliet Hulme, the teenager convicted of jointly murdering her friend’s mother. On June 22, 1954, Honorah Rieper was bludgeoned to death by her daughter, Pauline Parker, and Parker’s school friend, Juliet Hulme, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Both girls were convicted of murder and released after serving five years in separate institutions. Upon her release, Hulme disappeared with a new name and new life. She lived in the United States for a few years, became a devout Mormon and ultimately a writer. By the time her identity was uncovered, she had published her 19th novel. Her present tally tops more than 70 publications, and she has sold more than 26 million books. Perry’s literary achievements, including the 2001 Edgar Award for best short story, haven’t been completely overshadowed by her past. Ever since her grisly history was exposed, however, that period of her life has become part of the narrative: the murderer turned murder-mystery author. o Katyal is a member of the Library Committee. The Library stocks 14 Anne Perry titles.

Reciprocal Club Spotlight Cornell Club-New York The 14-story clubhouse of the Cornell Club-New York is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The club features 48 overnight guestrooms, two dining rooms, private function rooms, a fitness center, reading room and business center. www.cornellclubnyc.com

Worldwide Network The Club is a member of a network of more than 150 private membership clubs across the world. Members can take advantage of this network when traveling abroad on business or for a vacation. Check the Reciprocal Clubs page of the Club website for details.

12 July 2015 iNTOUCH



reads buried treasures

Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup by Andrew Zimbalist American economist Zimbalist writes about the risks that countries take on to host the two biggest sporting spectacles, the Olympics and World Cup, the false guarantee of profit to those not within the elite, and the overall exploitative economics of the sports industry.

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy Considered to be a legendar y self-help guru, Tracy delivers the 21 most effective methods for dominating procrastination, getting motivated, achieving success and preventing technology from dominating your time.

Euphoria by Lily King Nell and Fen Stone meet fellow anthropologist Andrew Bankson while in New Guinea between the two world wars. Shortly afterwards, the three form a bond, though it is between Bankson and Nell that feelings develop. Loosely based on the life events of American anthropologist Margaret Mead.

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin James Baldwin’s semiautobiographical novel, first published in 1953, chronicles the spiritual, sexual and moral struggles of John Grimes, a 14-year-old boy coming to terms with his own identity. A large part of his inner battles are derived from his family: his stepfather, Gabriel, a preacher doused in his own hypocrisy, his mother, Elizabeth, who lost her first love and John’s father, only to redeem her sins by marrying Gabriel, and Aunt Florence, whose life is tormented with broken dreams. Though each character’s story is different from the next, together they weave a tale of self-discovery, revelation and the human condition.

Compiled by librarian Alison Kanegae.

Roger Dahl’s Comic Japan by Roger Dahl Follow Larry and Lily through their travels, as they attempt to navigate the nuances of Tokyo and the Japanese culture and language. A compilation of Dahl’s popular “Zero Gravity” cartoon strips from The Japan Times.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga Despite being raised by a serial killer, Jazz is a surprisingly normal teenager. But while his dad is in prison, an array of bodies begins to pop up, prompting Jazz to join the police hunt for the killer and prove that murder doesn’t run in the family.

A King’s Ransom (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers) by Jude Watson After seven members of their family are kidnapped by the sinister group known as the Vespers, Dan and Amy Cahill must steal an ancient map and face Nazis, spies, a mad monarch and history’s biggest secrets to secure their release. Reviews compiled by librarian Alison Kanegae.

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





The Year of the Franchise new movies by Matthew Tappenden Focus Will Smith stars as veteran con man Nicky Spurgeon, whose latest grift puts him in contact with a former flame and now a professional rival (Margot Robbie).


here has been plenty of discussion recently about Hollywood’s seeming obsession with remakes and the movie industry’s perceived lack of originality. Are we being inundated with too many reboots, revivals and sequels? Or is Hollywood actually giving us what we want? One thing is for certain, 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the franchise revival. The likes of Terminator: Genisys, Jurassic World, Fantastic Four, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Transporter Refueled and Star Wars: Episode VII are in cinemas or are due for release. Sequels (and sequels of a sort) include Minions, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, which grossed over $50 million the first time around, Ted 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and James Bond: Spectre. Meanwhile, Furious Seven, the latest installment of the popular “Fast and Furious” franchise, made more than $1.3 billion worldwide in less than a month. In its April opening in China alone, it grossed a staggering $68.6 million. According to the Slashfilm website, there are just “nine original films” scheduled for release in 2015, if we don’t include material based upon “book adaptations, comic books, remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, spinoffs or video games.” Among these nine, Neill Blomkamp’s third movie, Chappie, as well as The Wedding Ringer, Kitchen Sink and Spy are possibly worth checking out. By studio, four of the nine are from Sony Pictures, two are from Fox and two are by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. So where does this leave the audience? Marketing and brand awareness aside, as the new crop of studio executives and decisions makers head into their 40s, I think the franchise revival fad will continue. The reboots and remakes we are seeing now are ones that the movie execs grew up watching. Take a look at what’s slated for release in 2016 and beyond and the trend becomes clear. As a 40-something myself—and a self-confessed comic book geek—I’m looking forward to this year’s bounty of cinematic remakes, reinterpretations and revivals. o

Welcome to Me Mega-Millions lottery winner Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig) uses her winnings to start her own talk show, despite suffering from a borderline personality disorder.

Wild Tales A delightfully deranged, awardwinning collection of six tales of revenge, injustice and hedonism from Argentine director Damián Szifron.

McFarland, USA In this true-life story, high school coaching castoff (Kevin Costner) transforms a cross country team of predominantly Mexican-American runners into championship contenders.

Kingsman: The Secret Service A secret operative (Colin Firth) recruits the son of a fallen friend to his agency just as a mad tech genius (Samuel L Jackson) unleashes a global threat.

Danny Collins Al Pacino delivers a stirring performance as an aging rock star who abandons his hard-living ways to rediscover his family and give his life a second act.

Tappenden is a member of the Video Library Committee. Video Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tel: 03-4588-0686 E-mail: video.library@tac-club.org Reviews compiled by Nick Narigon.

14 July 2015 iNTOUCH


Step right up for a family-friendly July Fourth of food, games, entertainment and fun to celebrate America’s birthday.  kids’ games live music  American BBQ buffet  3-on-3 basketball tourney  pie-eating contest  chili cook-off  petting zoo  ceremony and color guard  fun run/walk 

Saturday, July 4 9 a.m.–4 p.m. 

In support of

Sponsored by

More information


Frederick Harris Gallery | Michio Nakamura

by Nick Narigon Michio Nakamura is the only “kumikie” artist in the world. Creatively unsatisfied during his years as an illustrator in Tokyo, he longed to somehow return to his roots amid the verdant surroundings of Gifu Prefecture, and he became intrigued with wood as a medium for art. The concept of kumikie, which roughly translates as assembled wood pictures, was Nakamura’s brainchild. He first traces an original picture on a baseboard then selects exotic wood pieces (discarded by furniture makers and artisans) based on texture and color. Each piece is hand-beveled with a scroll saw and sanded to bring out the grain. The pieces are fit on the baseboard and the completed picture is varnished. “As a technique, it is a kind of inlay, but it is not the same as other craftworks around the world,” says Nakamura. “To collect waste woods and to give them a second life as pictures, I make them with the hope that when people look at these pictures—to which absolutely no paint is applied—they think about the environment and think about the relationship between nature and humans.” The scenes he creates depict stories that unfold in this imagined world of kumikie, inhabited by wild or domesticated animals, an old man of the woods and rural children. Nakamura has published several books of his works, and he and his wife, Kinue, operate a gallery and café near their home in Tokyo’s western hills.

Exhibition July 13–August 9

Gallery Reception

Monday, July 13 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Adults only Open to invitees and Members only All exhibits in the Frederick Harris Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at Member Services. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.

16 July 2015 iNTOUCH

Dr Feelgood

The Perfect Pour

Staying healthy through happiness

Fuji Views

Wine-preserving technology at the Club

A guide to climbing Japan’s highest peak


May 2014

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT Issue 589 • May 2014

Helpings of Hops An evening of Japanese craft brews June 2014

Tohoku Return

One Member assesses recovery in Kesennuma

Musical Members on hustling for gigs in Tokyo

Hidden Peaks

Hikes and excursions in Tokyo’s backyard



July 2014


FLAVORS FROM PARADISE A weeklong tribute to modern Hawaii


50% Advertise in iNTOUCH and receive a



One Member’s lifeline for Japanese design


Nurturing Club-supported rural leaders


D I S C O U N T on regular advertising rates.

August 2014

Plates of Perfection A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Club culinary magic


Open to Members and advertisers introduced by a Member for advertisements booked by September 30, 2015.

Art of the Samurai

Going inside the dojo

Future of Food

Japan embraces the organic movement

Court’s in Session The fast-paced action of squash

Contact Rie Hibino at 03-4588-0976 or rie.hibino@tac-club.org to learn more.

On Land and Sea

The secret of one Member’s triathlon success

Breaking the Language Barrier Mastering Japanese is a herculean task, but a handful of Members show how it can be done

Fiery Festivals

Obon’s centuries-old carnivals of fire and light

Pantsuits and Diapers Japan’s struggle to support working moms

March 2015






April 2015

May 2015


June 2015













Far from the peak’s madding crowds



Fuji’s Other Face

Churning Waters

The swim program producing record beaters

Creative Cocktails The man behind CHOP’s new libations


Club Member Carmen Roberts and other travel connoisseurs rate the country’s efforts to attract more tourists West Coast Wines Viticultural trailblazers at the Club

End of an Era A tribute to actor Ken Takakura

Fine Lines

A night of country tunes and dance



The Club gears up for its annual July Fourth celebration

Member Julia Spotswood and other female entrepreneurs on starting a business in Japan

Dwelling Dilemma Assessing Japan’s glut of empty homes

Issue 602 • June 2015

Issue 599 • March 2015

Chef Scott Kihara fires up the grill at the Club’s newest home of steaks and wine

Selling Japan

Luxury Mushrooms The Club honors Italy’s summer truffles

Kimono 101

Purchasing wearable works of art

Going to Ground by Gianni Simone Photos by Yuuki Ide

Mikio Oga

18 July 2015 iNTOUCH


Held each week at the Club, the Brazilian jiujitsu class sees exponents receive instruction from a former world champ.


he two men grappling on a mat in one of the Club’s activity rooms on a Monday evening in May appear to be practicing the sport of judo. And the class’ instructor, Mikio Oga, is even dressed in the traditional white judo uniform of a tunic and loose pants. In fact, this is a class for the martial art of Brazilian jiujitsu, and Oga, 44, is a third-degree black belt and one of the sport’s most accomplished practitioners in Japan. He won the super featherweight title at the 2007 International Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation master and senior world championships and was runner-up in the light featherweight category in 2005. “It sure looks like judo,” he says, “and it actually derives from a brand of judo that was introduced in Brazil by a Japanese master in 1909, but while judo employs a mix of throws and grappling techniques, Brazilian jiujitsu is essentially a groundfighting sport.” One of Brazilian jiujitsu’s appeals is that an athlete can overpower a bigger, stronger opponent by taking the fight to the ground and applying chokeholds and joint-lock techniques. At 1.75 meters tall and 65 kilos, Oga easily repels the attacks of the much bigger and heavier Bud Roth, one of his students, who returned to jiujitsu last fall after hip-replacement surgery. “Not only has [Brazilian jiujitsu] very effective submission techniques, it’s much safer than getting thrown,” the Club Member says. “You see [fewer] big injuries, so it’s easier for people in their 30s and 40s to get something out of it.” Roth’s 16-year-old son, Charlie, also takes Oga’s class. “[Charlie] had some judo background and a little bit of jiujitsu,” Roth says, “and since he started training with Oga, his technique has become much sharper. He’s really learning a lot.”

Like Roth’s son, Oga took up Brazilian jiujitsu via other martial arts. In fact, he has first-degree black belts in judo, kendo and karate. “My grandfather was a big fan of period dramas and, especially, samurai sword fights,” he says, “so when I was in fourth grade, he got me into kendo, a modern version of traditional Japanese swordsmanship.” Oga practiced kendo for five years, before switching to karate in high school and judo while studying engineering at Kyushu University. “The particular brand of judo practiced by my college team favored ground fighting over throws,” he says. “At that time, I wasn’t very comfortable with doing all the standing throws that comprise a good part of judo, so I found that their emphasis on pinning techniques suited me fine. That was the main reason that eventually took me to jiujitsu.” Taking a five-year break from martial arts to concentrate on a corporate career, Oga moved to Tokyo in 1999 to join an old friend, Yuki Nakai. The head of the Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation in Japan, Nakai is famous for fighting Rickson Gracie, a member of the famous Brazilian jiujitsu dynasty. “At the time, there was a combat sports boom in Japan,” Oga says. “Nakai was promoting many tournaments and

he invited me to take part, even before I moved to Tokyo. At that time, it was still possible for someone like me, who mainly came from judo, to excel in jiujitsu. Now the same thing wouldn’t be possible.” Now the head instructor at the Newaza World Academy, the soft-spoken Oga manages two of its 20 branches and has awarded black belts to 30 of his students. He has taught Brazilian jiujitsu for 16 years and extols the benefits of the sport, which, he says, boosts participants’ concentration, conditioning, flexibility and confidence. “[It] is a very tactical sport, which rewards patience and technique. In other fighting sports, like boxing, size matters and, even when you are losing a match, you can always win on a lucky punch,” Oga says. “However, in jiujitsu, these things are very rare. When I used to fight, I had a defensive approach. I would absorb each of my opponent’s attempts before striking back when he finally got tired. This is something I really like about jiujitsu: winning without being a bully, so to speak.” o Simone is a Yokohama-based freelance journalist. The Brazilian Jiujitsu program runs each Monday, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visit the Club website or the Recreation Desk to learn more.


Taking the Challenge

by Nick Narigon

Sangeetha Narasimhan and Dan Mullaney

angeetha Narasimhan attended her niece’s wedding in India in March, and she was determined to look just as good in her outfit as her 20-something nieces. She began a diet and exercise program with Fitness Center trainer and nutritionist Dan Mullaney in January, and from February to April she took part in the annual I Lost It at the Club weightloss challenge. Not only did Narasimhan, 42, look “fabulous” in her outfit, she also won the female category by losing more than 4 kilograms during the 10-week competition. To date, the mother of two has lost 7 kilos working with Mullaney. “Indian weddings are so grand. All of the cousins were together and it felt really great,” she says. “I got so many compliments, and I fit into the outfits I wanted to fit into.” Mullaney says he tailored a realistic program that would help Narasimhan

reach her short-term goal and provide longterm results. It started with the diet. Mullaney says there is a temptation for people to save calories, but to make significant progress he recommends cutting down on starches and carbohydrates—breads, pastas and, in particular, processed foods. Last year, Narasimhan’s family moved from the United States, where, she says, her grocery shopping included more canned and processed foods. Adjusting her diet has been relatively easy in Japan, she adds, thanks to the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. “I don’t feel like I cut a lot of calories, per se. I switched what I was eating,” says Narasimhan. “For example, I cut out sugar in my tea and coffee and reduced my sweets intake, which was really hard. I also stopped eating rice or any kind of wheat during dinner.” For exercise, Narasimhan says she


Enrique Balducci

A recent Club challenge helped one Member give her lifestyle a healthy overhaul. takes her dog for a 5-kilometer jog three or four times a week, practices yoga once or twice a week and works out at the Fitness Center twice a week, once with Mullaney and once alone. Mullaney introduced resistance weight training and intervals workouts. “He would say, ‘Planks, 30 seconds, planks,’” says Narasimhan. “And I thought, ‘I can’t believe I seriously asked for this pain.’” Narasimhan has a 25th high school reunion in August and plans to run a half marathon in the fall. She says the intermittent goals help keep her motivated. “I can’t just forget about weight training or forget about my exercise routine or food. It’s a balance,” she says. “Everybody knows this stuff. It’s just being disciplined about it, which is a challenge.” o Contact the Fitness Center to learn about how the personal trainers can help you attain your fitness or weight-loss goals.

Summer Refreshers For all of July, The Spa is offering some respite from the sun with two rejuvenating treatments, designed to keep your skin smooth and radiant looking. • 75-minute Head and Reflexology Massage + Foot Self-Heating Mask: ¥8,800 (originally ¥11,000) • 90-minute Deep-Pore Cleansing Facial + Exfoliating Body Polish: ¥12,000 (originally ¥16,000) Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.

The Spa proudly uses products by

To book a treatment, contact The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or spa@tac-club.org Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. | Sunday and national holidays: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

20 July 2015 iNTOUCH


The Club is brimming with exciting activities for kids over the summer months. Sign up online.


Summer camp sessions of games, sports, crafts, day trips and fun.

Through August 21 | Weekdays Big Kids (6–12 years) Preschoolers (3–5 years) Big Kid Camp: ¥45,000 for Members (¥54,000 for non-Members) Preschool Camp: ¥40,000 for Members (¥48,000 for non-Members)

SUMMER ALL-STAR SPORTS Ages 5 to 12 try their hand at the likes of soccer, Brazilian martial art capoeira, taiko drumming and hip-hop dance.

Through August 21 | Weekdays 3:30–4:30 p.m. (Thursday: 5–6 p.m.) Gymnasium and The Studio Members: ¥13,500 per session (¥16,200 for non-Members)


Club kids enjoy sessions of basketball that blend skills building with opportunities to put them to the test during games. Session 2: July 22–August 21 Wednesday and Friday 4:30–5:30 p.m. ¥23,000 per session


Combining the Club’s rooftop space, Splash!, with two lanes at the Bowling Center, the Club’s kids’ party packages are guaranteed to put smiles on young faces. Through August 31 | Daily 11 a.m.–1 p.m. | 2–4 p.m. Two-hour package: ¥35,000 Visit the Club website for details


Return to nature on this trip to Mother Farm in Chiba, with its opportunities to milk cows, watch sheep-shearing and sheepdog shows, hold rabbits and guinea pigs and pick strawberries and blueberries. Saturday, July 11 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Adults: ¥4,500 Children (12 and under): ¥3,500

Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.


Hopes and Aspirations Founded in 1949, the Club’s Women’s Group promotes cultural exchange through a range of programs and activities while raising funds for local charitable causes.


fter taking up their positions last month, the new members of the Women’s Group board offer their thoughts on how they hope to develop the storied Club organization.

Betty Butler President

“I would like to continue to grow the Women’s Group membership and support Club functions. I hope to find individual strengths within our members to reinforce our mission of providing a network for the total wellbeing of Women’s Group members and their families.”

Kayo Yamawaki

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22 July 2015 iNTOUCH




4 5


Front row (l–r): 1. Megan Tooker 2. Christa Wallington 3. Chalice Markowitz 4. Betty Butler 5. Jamie Burger 6. Anush Balian Second row (l–r): 7. Tami Lightle 8. Annette Harling 9. Karen Thomas 10. Julie Voskuil 11. Reiko Saito Back row (l–r): 12. Therese Cowled 13. Betsy Rogers 14. Sibyl Kane 15. Alaine Lee


Karen Thomas

Vice president “The Women’s Group is full of bright, well-educated individuals from all over the world, who bring a wealth of experience to the organization. I hope we can tap into people’s expertise and interests to make the organization a place of continuing personal and professional growth in a fun, meaningful, collegial environment.”

Megan Tooker

Director of finance “I hope to offer a fresh perspective to my fellow board members in planning events, fundraising activities, tours and programming in order to maintain current membership levels, attract new members and ensure the Women’s Group is a fun and friendly place where we can be ourselves. I also hope to carry on the spirit of philanthropy by supporting the group’s fundraising activities and seek out opportunities where we can make a difference.”

Sibyl Kane

Director of administration “I want to help continue to grow our membership and especially to attract mothers with young children. To that end, I’m excited about two projects within the Club: refreshing the Mothers’ Room and updating the Chill Zone toys. I hope to get the Women’s Group Office organized, so our wonderful staff and members can use it to its full potential.”

Therese Cowled

Director of charities “In my first year as director of charities, the Women’s Group donated over ¥6 million to charities, an increase of almost ¥4 million from the previous year. This increased to almost ¥9 million in my second year, and we should surpass ¥11 million in my third. In my fourth year, I hope to continue this trend and provide our members with opportunities to donate their time and skills to charities.”

Alaine Lee

Director of communications “I am looking forward to helping make the Women’s Group a fun, friendly place, where members who are new to Tokyo, new to TAC or longtime Club Members, who have not yet explored the Women’s

Group, can participate in Women’s Group activities. Whether it is promoting a class, a tour, a luncheon or charity sale, I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends.”

Tami Lightle

Director of social programs “The monthly luncheons are a great opportunity to meet women outside your normal circles. I’m hoping to introduce some interesting topics at the luncheons that will bring together a variety of TAC women, regardless of their nationality or whether they are in Tokyo with kids or without kids or as empty nesters.”

Betsy Rogers

Director of community events “I am naturally drawn to organizing events that bring a diversity of ideas or resources together. The Club and the Women’s Group is rich in talent and professions and, by bringing these people together and coordinating among committees, we can offer unique programs and events accessible to our members and community, like a bilingual education seminar, international school fair, panel discussions and documentary film screenings.”

Jamie Burger

Co-director of programs (tours) “I’m planning a wonderful year of tours, with a variety of day trips and overnight tours that can introduce people to Tokyo and beyond and help them make new friends.”

Anush Balian

Director of fundraising (Carpet Auction) “The Women’s Group is the best opportunity for anyone to make friends, stay connected and get to know a large community of diverse and interesting women. As a board member, I hope to develop a stronger Women’s Group by volunteering my time, participating in the activities and promoting the Women’s Group to all new and old members.”

Chalice Markowitz

Director of programs (enrichment programs) “I’m looking forward to developing classes to reach out to a broader community within the Women’s Group and the Club.”

Christa Wallington

Co-director of programs (tours) and fundraising (International Bazaar and Asian Home Furnishings Sale) “I hope to continue making the Women’s Group the fantastic organization it is, where women can meet and use their skills and their time for the greater good of our community, fundraise, have fun and form lifelong friendships.”

Reiko Saito

Director of programs (enrichment programs) “I have enjoyed working with Women’s Group members since I joined the group. I would love to encourage and help Japanese members join our events and create friendly programs where they can participate and make friends and have fun.”

Annette Harling

Co-director of fundraising (International Bazaar and Asian Home Furnishings Sale) “I have enjoyed helping out as a volunteer, especially at the International Bazaar and the Asian Home and Furnishings Sale. I really would like to get more involved and contribute to raise more money for the important charities that the Women’s Group supports.”

Julie Voskuil

Director of programs (Tokyo: Here & Now) “I’m planning a great Tokyo: Here & Now for the fall. I’m looking forward to welcoming newcomers to both the Women’s Group and Tokyo.”

Roni Krinsky (not pictured)

Director of membership and director at large

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL Membership of the Women’s Group will be renewed automatically on September 1, unless the Women’s Group Office receives a cancellation notice by August 31. New stickers for the coming year are available from the Women’s Group Office.


Off the Wall

Ron Tanno

24 July 2015 iNTOUCH


With the Club set to host the sixth edition of its TAC Premier Classic squash tournament this month, iNTOUCH examines the popularity of the sport at the Club and beyond. by Gianni Simone


Benjamin Parks

lok Rakyan smashes the ball against the front wall and dashes to the center of the court. His opponent rushes to his left to return the shot. Throughout the game, the two players dart around one another, lunging for the small rubber sphere. At this evening’s Squash Social Night, the Club’s three courts echo with the squeak of shoes on wood and the occasional clatter of a racket tumbling to the floor. Several Members have arrived to play one another and put their skills to the test against two of the Club pros, former national champion Hitoshi Ushiogi and Australian Peter Amaglio. At the end of his match, Rakyan, who is the former chair of the Squash Committee, sits down to talk about the sport’s current surge in popularity. “When the Club was still in Takanawa, we used to have about 20 members, including a few who rarely played,” he says. “However, after moving here, we took it upon ourselves to boost squash membership. Luckily, it worked and now we are up to 75 members, with around 60 playing in six leagues. And that’s without counting the 25 to 30 juniors.” Rakyan is joined by the committee’s current chair, Pete Juds. “In South Africa, squash is not as popular as tennis, but for a 12to 13-year-old, it’s easy to find inexpensive courts to play,” he says. “I must confess I never played seriously, even in college, and then I didn’t play for 25 years until I became a TAC Member six years ago. That was actually a big part of joining the Club because I heard they had excellent courts.” As squash is an indoor sport, Juds says it is never affected by the weather and provides a great workout in just 30 to 40 minutes. “It burns calories like nothing else, and I know of


many people who play during their lunch break,” he says. “But the most important thing is that it’s fun. And it’s very social. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie at the Club. We are all friends and it’s a very inclusive group of people. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro or a beginner, we welcome everybody.” One of the Club’s more experienced players is Ron Tanno, a former Japan national player who is now the co-owner of a sports facility in Chiba Prefecture that features three squash courts. “My father played squash as an amateur,” he says, “so I was quite close to the sport from my childhood. I started playing competitively from university, where I won the national college championships, and even after joining Deutsche Bank I kept training. That’s when I joined TAC.” Tanno, 37, believes there are few sports as interesting as squash. “Another thing I appreciate now that I have reached middle age is that it’s such an effective way to keep in shape. An average 30-minute game is the equivalent to running about 10 kilometers, but, unlike running on a treadmill, you never get bored.” For all its selling points, squash has largely remained a minor sport in Japan. Three decades after the Japanese Squash Association (JSA) was established, in 1971, there were only around 100,000 players in the country. “Squash’s popularity in Japan has been pretty much flat for the last 20 years,” Tanno says. “It’s such a great sport for an urbanized country like Japan, so it’s a pity that more people don’t play it. Even now, there are only 500 courts nationwide. Most of them are in private sports clubs and even those few are being converted for higher space-efficient activities like treadmills or aero bikes.” Club instructor Amaglio, 52, a multiple tournament winner who has been coaching for the last 30 years, remembers the sport’s halcyon days. “There was a boom in the 1970s and ’80s, but since then numbers have dropped off,” he says. “I played many times in Japan, including in the now-defunct Japan Open that used to attract top players from around the world, but unfortunately it was dropped off the calendar because of a lack of courts. Here at the Club, we are quite fortunate to enjoy such a good program.”

26 July 2015 iNTOUCH

It’s such a great sport for an urbanized country like Japan, so it’s a pity that more people don’t play it. Ron Tanno

Indeed, the Club has been a bastion of squash in Japan for many years, and its hosting of the annual, JSA-sanctioned TAC Premier Classic tournament, now in its sixth year, has further raised its standing as a hub of squash in the country. “When we were thinking of ways to boost our program, we realized we had the best facilities in town,” Rakyan says, “so we decided to organize a championship that would be open to all professional players in Japan. Again, we were lucky to find several sponsors, many of whom are Club Members who actually play squash. With their financial help, we have been able to offer one of the biggest prize money [purses] in Japan and, in turn, attract one of the largest numbers of [competitors], including the top 10 [male] and [female] players in this country.” Last year’s three-day competition, with its total prize money of more than ¥450,000, drew 125 professionals and was won by Ryosei Kobayashi and Chinatsu Matsui in the men’s and women’s categories. The tournament also features a “friendship tournament,” in which amateurs, including a number of Members, play against the pros. The Club’s ultimate goal is to attract players from abroad. This would likely have a better chance of becoming a reality if squash were to secure a berth on the roster of sports in the Olympics. While the sport failed in previous bids, it is hoping to become an “additional event program” at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Tanno gives squash a 50 percent chance of becoming an Olympic event. “If this happened, it would be a huge boost for the whole movement, as it would create more public courts throughout the country and give more opportunities for people, especially children, to have a go at such an exciting sport,” he says.


Yuuki Ide

Alok Rakyan

Yuuki Ide

Yuuki Ide

Yuuki Ide

Juds, however, says that squash can be difficult to follow for the uninitiated, while Rakyan admits that there are other sports with a wider international following. “In my opinion, the chances a sport has to be admitted to the Olympics are largely dictated by TV audience, and squash is not that big as a TV sport,” he says. “Having said that, it has reinvented itself in the last few years and has become more television-friendly. Now we have colored clothes, glass courts, a new point system to make it faster and the rules have been changed to make it easier to understand.” Coach Ushiogi says squash faces some stiff competition for an Olympic spot. “Obviously, I hope [squash] will make it, but the Japanese sports authorities seem to be pushing more for baseball and softball, as the country has more chances to win a medal. In this case, it may be admitted as a demonstration sport.” Now in his late 50s, Ushiogi took up squash at 19. He went on to become a 14time national champion. “The fascinating thing about squash is that it requires a combination of very different abilities,” he says. “First of all, you must be physically fit, as endurance, speed and quick reflexes are important. Then, of course, you need to have good technique. Last, but not least, psychology plays an important part. This

When we were thinking of ways to boost our program, we realized we had the best facilities in town.

sport is so quick you don’t have time to think and have to come up with a different strategy every time in order to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.” While Ushiogi acknowledges that squash is not as popular as some other sports, he says the number of participants playing the truly global game is growing. “Right now, for example, the best woman player in the world is Nicol David from Malaysia. Among men, England and Australia have traditionally been top countries, but the player who is considered the best ever is Jahangir Khan from Pakistan. And right now, the real superpower is Egypt, with such players as Ramy Ashour and Mohamed El Shorbagy.” Since Ushiogi began playing, Japan’s squash landscape has changed. “During my time, the average age was 28 to 30 years old, but now most members of the national team are 21 to 22. Admittedly, Japan is not very high in the world rankings, but I think our players only need more experience in order to climb up the world rankings, and if squash becomes an Olympic sport, it’s going to take off big time in Japan.” And, no doubt, at the Club. o Simone is a Yokohama-based freelance journalist.

TAC Premier Classic Friday, July 24, 12 p.m. | Saturday, July 25, 9 a.m. Sunday, July 26, 9 a.m. Squash Courts Sponsored by Ueda Tradition, Geronimo Shot Bar, Asian Tigers Mobility, Oakwood Premier Tokyo Midtown and The Montessori School of Tokyo


The Talk Ahead of her family’s return to the United States, Member Chizoba Obi contemplates how she will prepare her children for life as African-Americans back home.

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Irwin Wong

hen I first arrived in Tokyo, I couldn’t eat anything. Everything tasted strange, even food I used to enjoy in the United States. Two years later, I can’t imagine roasted sweet potatoes being as mouthwatering anywhere else as they are here. Japan has exceeded my expectations in other ways, too. I never thought I would feel my children were safer as foreigners in Japan than back home in America. Yet, as our time in Japan comes to an end, I’m worried my son, who is growing into a young black man, could be a potential target for the police. Over the last year, race relations have become a hot topic in the US, with stories of discrimination in professional sports, on college campuses and in law enforcement. The recent spate of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers is unsettling. A new online project by Britain’s Guardian newspaper that documents every police-related death in the US reveals that unarmed African-Americans are disproportionately killed at the hands of white police officers. Reading through some of the data brought to mind an emerging tradition in the black community, referred to as “the talk,” when parents explain to their teenagers about what it means to be black in America today and give them advice on how to behave when interacting with the police. My son and daughter have spent most of their lives surrounded by white people and have not suffered any real racism. They are a minority in their schools and most of their friends in the US and Japan are either white or Asian. Through our travels abroad, they have experienced the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the world. I’m raising them to be globally aware and accepting of people’s differences. As a black parent, I realize I cannot insulate my children from discrimination and must prepare them for the challenges they will likely face. So what do I tell my children about being black in America? First, I will tell them that we don’t live in a utopian society. There is injustice and racism. The official police report into Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore earlier this year stated that he fled “unprovoked upon noticing police presence.” The shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina at around the same time followed a similar narrative, and there have been other recent cases across the US. I start with the presumption that all police officers are good and fair-minded professionals, but the number of such incidents, together with the racial disparity in our criminal justice system, illustrated by the sentencing guidelines and the speed at which black men are warehoused in jails, seem to suggest these incidents are not isolated. My advice then will be simple: stay out of trouble, take your studies seriously and be polite and respectful. Since you are different, expect to be treated differently—and sometimes unfairly. You cannot act

the same way as your white and Asian friends. Some people may not like you just because you are black. You will have to work twice as hard for the same opportunities. People will judge you based on how you look or dress. Writing in The New York Times, the director of the FBI, James Comey, argued that law enforcement officers need to acknowledge racial bias against African-Americans and that law enforcement is an inherently racist institution because of the country’s racial history. “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups,” he wrote, adding that the training of police officers would need to be rethought. Second, I will warn them that the most hurtful kind of discrimination will be subtle. A TED Talk by Mellody Hobson, the president of an investment management company, a Starbucks board member and the wife of moviemaker George Lucas, struck a chord with me. As a 7-year-old, she returned home from a birthday party at which she was the only black kid. Rather than asking about the party or cake, her mother asked her, “How did they treat you?” She then warned her that she would not always be treated right. Racism today is different from the racism of the 1950s and ’60s. Deep-rooted racial attitudes and prejudices are often expressed in seemingly harmless side comments, “jokes” and racial stereotypes. In a New York Times column last year, commentator Nicholas Kristof pondered whether everyone was “a little bit racist,” pointing out that “racial stereotyping remains ubiquitous, and that the challenge is not a small number of twisted white supremacists but something infinitely more subtle and complex: People who believe in equality but who act in ways that perpetuate bias and inequality.” Third, I will reassure my children that despite the odds, great progress has been made. America is the only country where anything is still possible if you work for it. Sixty years after the civil rights movement, there are many antidiscrimination laws. Barack Obama’s two terms as president speaks volumes about how far the US has come. Today, there are many successful African-Americans in government, business, entertainment and sports. No other country can boast of such accomplishments by its minorities. The law protects against discrimination but we cannot—and should not—try to legislate against feelings and opinions. We need an open and honest dialogue about race. In a talk, diversity advocate Verna Myers urged people to acknowledge their biases, move toward the groups that make them uncomfortable and challenge acts of racism. “When we see something, we have to have the courage to say something,” she said, “even to the people we love.” o Obi has been a Club Member since 2013.


Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival

Spectacles in the Sky Firework displays are as much a feature of summer in Japan as the energy-sapping humidity and shaved ice. Toshikatsu Ogatsu

by Nick Narigon


he three pontoons anchored off Zushi Beach in southern Kanagawa Prefecture were loaded with 7,500 firework shells, each up to 30 centimeters across. A mix of Bruno Mars, Eric Clapton and Antonin Dvorak songs blared from 70 ElectroVoice speakers installed along 600 meters of shoreline. Everything was set for the first large-scale fireworks display of the 2015 season for pyrotechnics firm Marutamaya.

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The day before the show in May, Marutamaya’s president, Toshikatsu Ogatsu, inspected the site. The ¥25 million production, which took three months to prepare, was expected to draw 85,000 spectators. But for Ogatsu, safety is paramount. “You can’t only think about design and making new types of effects and forget about safety,” says Ogatsu, 65, sitting in his Nihonbashi office. “Of course, we do our best to give people thrilling moments. At the

end of the show, when everybody is happy— sometimes 1 million people, sometimes 2 million—that’s [when I’m reminded] why I am in the fireworks industry.” The Zushi Beach “pyromusical” is an example of the new brand of Japanese fireworks display, or hanabi taikai. Japan was once one of the world’s largest exporters of fireworks, and Japanese technology is still coveted, but the export business has dried up.


“During the summer season, every night, every weekend, any city you go anywhere in Japan, you see a fireworks show,” says Ogatsu, who joined his family’s fireworks business in 1978. “I would like to go overseas to promote Japanese artistic shells, but we cannot compete with Chinese rates.” While fireworks were invented in China, it is said Japanese pyrotechnicians perfected the art. The aerial shells used today were created by Japanese manufacturers, who also produced the first rockets to change color multiple times during a single launch. By the 1960s, Japan was shipping around ¥1.5 billion of fireworks overseas each year. Then, in the 1970s and ’80s, the Chinese government eased restrictions on private manufacturing, and fireworks became one of the country’s first major exports. By 2007, Japan’s annual exports fell to ¥70 million. Japanese fireworks are up to six times more expensive than those from China, which now controls 90 percent of the worldwide fireworks trade. The decline is also due to Japan’s stringent shipping regulations, which categorize fireworks as more dangerous than dynamite. “We don’t export, only for special occasions, and for each occasion we have to negotiate. It is very hard,” says Ogatsu, who once produced shows in New York, Cairo, Moscow and Paris, as well as a July Fourth display in Seattle. “It is my dream to export overseas, but the problem is the transportation.” Ogatsu limits himself to one overseas competition a year. Last year, Marutamaya won third place at the Baroque Fireworks Competition in Hanover, Germany, using the inventory on hand.

According to Ogatsu, while exports were shrinking, displays in Japan were growing, particularly following the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. Domestic production is now worth ¥65 billion. Ogatsu, whose company produces the nightly fireworks display at Tokyo Disney Sea, says the American entertainment giant changed attitudes toward fireworks in Japan. “This was different from the traditional Japanese fireworks show,” he says. “I was inspired to combine the entertainment business with fireworks by adding music and some other effects.” When Ogatsu founded Marutamaya in 1990, he was the first Japanese designer to choreograph fireworks to music. Next month’s Kanagawa Shimbun festival in Yokohama, for example, features a 25-minute, 13-song soundtrack that took three weeks to synchronize. “You need a sense to understand the music, harmony, rhythm and melody,” says Ogatsu, who favors Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” for the grand finale. “Also, you have to understand how to draw the fireworks with the music, which color, which effects, what size of shells, etcetera.” Today, Ogatsu’s firm of 27 employees produces around 300 firework shows a year, including the Tokyo Bay Fireworks in August. Last year, Marutamaya pyrotechnicians shot a round of cannons from 160 positions around the roof of Ajinomoto Stadium in 12.5 seconds. In another Japan first, designers have developed a shell that displays five colors. “Now most of the young people working for the fireworks industry are focused on improving shows,” says Ogatsu. “They have some very good ideas, so it is very good for the future.” o

Summer Displays Adachi Fireworks July 18 The Arakawa River display kicks off the Tokyo fireworks season. http://adachikanko.net/hanabi/index.html

Yokohama Sparkling Twilight July 18–19 This spectacle by the sea features fireworks and illuminated boats off Yamashita Park. www.y-artist.co.jp/sparkling/

Sumida River Fireworks Festival July 25 A contest between rival pyrotechnic groups, this festival attracts more than 1 million spectators. http://sumidagawa-hanabi.com

Tachikawa Fireworks Festival July 25 Showa Kinen Park hosts an array of family activities before the fireworks spectacle. www.tbt.gr.jp/hanabi/

Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival August 4 15,000 fireworks launched off Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama. www.yokohamajapan.com

Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival August 8 One of Japan’s largest firework festivals can be viewed from Odaiba and Harumi Pier.

Illuminating History  In 1776, future United States President John Adams wrote that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary festival… solemnized with pomp and parade… and illuminations.”  A year later, the first Fourth of July firework exhibitions were held in Philadelphia and Boston. The tradition

spread throughout New England and eventually across the country.  The first public fireworks festival in Japan took place not long before the American Revolutionary War. In 1733, the shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, held an aerial display along the Sumida River to dispel evil spirits and comfort the souls of the 1 million cholera epidemic victims. Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival


Street Parties and Whirlpools Tokushima Prefecture’s colorful local culture and breathtaking natural beauty combine for the perfect summer getaway. by Rob Goss Onaruto Bridge


ou are a fool if you dance and a fool if you watch, so why not dance?” is a loose translation of the call to arms at Tokushima’s annual Awa Odori. The 400-year-old dance festival is Tokushima Prefecture’s most well-known event, rivaling historical figure Sakamoto Ryoma and sanuki udon noodles as Shikoku’s most recognizable icon. While the Awa Odori is more than worth its fame, this region once known as Awa has plenty more to offer. AWA ODORI Nobody seems to know exactly how the Awa Odori dance festival in Tokushima City began. One theory links it to the completion of Tokushima Castle in 1587 and the man behind its construction, Hachisuka Iemasa. To celebrate, he supposedly laid on so much free sake for the people of Tokushima that they ended up dancing for several days. Less debauched ideas say the festival is connected to a Noh theater style of dance or is simply a local variation of Bon festival dances

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that are performed all over Japan during August. Whatever its roots, the modern-day Awa Odori is one of Japan’s most vibrant events, not to mention being one of the world’s biggest dance festivals. Held in the streets and parks of central Tokushima, from August 12 to 15 each year, the festival attracts more than 1 million spectators, who come to watch colorful costume-clad troupes, or ren, dance and whoop to a frenzied accompaniment of shamisen, flutes, bells and drums. It’s hot, sweaty and goes long into the balmy nights, with informal dance parties springing up all over town. If you can’t make it to the event itself, there is a yearround Awa Odori museum in the center of the city, which features nightly Awa Odori performances and audience participation. You’d be a fool not to take your dancing shoes with you. Of course, if you can’t make it to Tokushima, the Awa Odori festival in Tokyo’s Koenji district on August 29 and 30 offers a lively version of the original.

Tokushima City Tourism www.city.tokushima.tokushima.jp/kankou (Japanese only) Koenji Awa Odori www.koenji-awaodori.com

NARUTO WHIRLPOOLS While the Awa Odori somehow manages to avoid feeling touristy, the whirlpools of Naruto, an hour by bus from central Tokushima City, most certainly don’t. You can thank busload upon busload of tourists for that. Nevertheless, there is something quite beguiling about northeast Tokushima’s main attraction, which sees whirlpools up to 20 meters across swirling through the waters of the Naruto Strait, between Shikoku and Awaji Island, at up to 20 kilometers an hour. The Senjojiki Observatory, Eska Hill or a sightseeing boat offer some of the best views of these wonders of nature, which


Awa Odori



Iya Valley Vine Bridge

are created by massive volumes of water being channeled between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide. Meanwhile, the 450-meter, glassbottomed Uzu no Michi enclosed pathway extends under the Onaruto Bridge and offers views from directly above the giant eddies. Be sure to check the times of the tides, as the best time to see the whirlpools is at either low tide or high tide. Uzu no Michi www.uzunomichi.jp

TURTLE WATCHING Facing the Pacific, Tokushima’s southern coast is where the prefecture reveals some of its most stunning natural scenery. Known for its surfing beaches, precipitous cliffs, clear waters and high-quality seafood, the area also sees sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs between May and August. Head to Hiwasa (renting a car is probably

the easiest way), about 60 kilometers from Tokushima City, where you can join guides on the beaches to watch the turtles slowly make their way up the sand and deposit their eggs. The nearby Caretta Sea Turtle Museum, where you can feed and hold turtles, is also worth a visit. Caretta Sea Turtle Museum http://caretta-hiwasa.com (Japanese only)

IYA VALLEY Smack in the middle of Shikoku, at the western edge of Tokushima Prefecture, the Iya Valley is another area of exceptional natural beauty. According to tourist brochures, this out-of-reach area is one of the three most unexplored regions of Japan. Despite that, the Iya Valley is home to a couple of Shikoku’s more distinctive sights. At the Nana Magari (Seven Curves), a “peeing boy” statue teeters precariously on the edge of an overhanging rock that

gives way to a 200-meter drop to the valley floor. Apparently, it was erected to stop young locals testing their bravery by relieving themselves over the edge. Equally memorable is the 45-meter Iya Valley Vine Bridge, which wobbles over the Iya River. Exploring this area requires at least a two-night stay. One option for nonJapanese speakers is Chiiori, the tranquil 300-year-old thatched farmhouse restored by noted Japan writer Alex Kerr. The dense woods and verdant valleys and peaks would make for a memorable side trip, so long as you can find your way there.  Miyoshi City www.miyoshinavi.jp Oboke Iya http://oboke-iya.jp Chiiori www.chiiori.org Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.



Enrique Balducci

Sprucing Up the City

Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the capital is cleaning up the morass of utility lines that crisscross its streets. by Efrot Weiss


he tangle of black utility wires suspended from poles is an alltoo-familiar sight in modernday Japan. In fact, there are 35 million of these pylons throughout the archipelago, belying the country’s reputation as a technology leader. According to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, nearly 100 percent of roads in London and Paris, 98 percent in Berlin and 83 percent in New York have no overhead power lines. In Tokyo, 30 percent of the metropolis’ highways are subterranean, while only 7 percent of the roads inside the city are clear. In Osaka, it is just 5 percent. Tokyo’s upcoming hosting of the Olympics appears to be incentivizing the government to take action, although the timeframe and the sheer size of the city present a huge challenge.

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Muddying the problem is the issue of jurisdiction. Tokyo’s roads are classified as metropolitan, ward or city thoroughfares. Due to budgetary and time constraints, priority has been given to bury lines along major metropolitan roads that extend within an 8-kilometer radius of Nihonbashi Bridge. The next phase encompasses an additional 80 kilometers of metropolitan roads, followed by local roads near the main Olympic venues. Aesthetics is only a minor consideration in the burying of these utility lines. In earthquake-prone Tokyo, there are significant safety considerations. Suspended high-voltage lines pose a fire hazard and have the potential to block roads in the event of a disaster. Critics of cable burial argue that aboveground utility poles enable easier access to damaged electric poles following

disasters like landslides or floods. In addition, the poles are home to the ubiquitous address markers, which are necessary in cities with few street names. The costs associated with burying power lines are significant. The most prevalent solution costs ¥350 million per kilometer, but this can reach ¥600 million if it is necessary to first shift water and gas pipes. Ongoing maintenance is also expensive. Nevertheless, the current government is proposing legislation that would not only encourage the burial of existing lines, but would prohibit erecting new electric poles (around 70,000 a year). Direct burial is estimated at ¥80 million per kilometer. The costs would be shouldered by the national government, Tokyo’s metropolitan government and the relevant utility companies. Local ward and city governments would not be accountable. According to the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, the estimated cost for this year is ¥17.5 billion. That’s a lot of overhead. o Weiss has been a Club Member since 2002.

Make your second home a holiday

This summer, enjoy a one-night stay, including breakfast, at one of the Guest Studios for just ¥28,000, or stay for three nights or more for only ¥25,000 a night.

©Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

mac zen spa fitness oasis den for two

Club Getaway Special July 1–August 31 This offer is based on double occupancy. Children accepted. Prices exclude consumption and accommodation taxes.

Reservations: 03-4588-0381 | tac@tac-club.org www.tokyoamericanclub.org

Mother’s Day Grand Buffet May 10

As part of a decades-old tradition, the Club hosted a feast of treats for moms and their families in the New York Ballroom on Mother’s Day, and some enjoyed free frames of bowling at the Bowling Center. Photos by Ken Katsurayama

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Club Recital May 17

Young musicians who take classes at the Club took to the stage to showcase their piano, violin and singing talents at the Club’s annual concert. Photos by Yuuki Ide 1

1. Benjamin Maury 2. Vocal instructor Ya Shan Cheng and Ami Kobayashi 3. Daphne Schmidt




Browse the online Wine Shop’s shelves of great-value and acclaimed wines.



Third Friday: Cinco de Mayo

May 15

Members and guests celebrated Mexico’s heritage and America’s multicultural roots with an evening of food, drinks and musical entertainment from south of the border in the Winter Garden. Photos by Yuuki Ide



Mudsharks Championships June 1–2

The Sky Pool hosted two consecutive evenings of competition to wrap up another successful season of the Club’s youth swim team. Photos by Yuuki Ide

1. Kiyomi Miura and Gavin Wilmoth 2. Alyssa Nguyen 3. Carolyn Simons 4. Rosie Whan





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First Friday: Hawaiian Night Luau June 5

The only thing missing from the Winter Garden’s tribute to Hawaii was a gentle Pacific breeze. There were, however, Hawaiian eats, drinks, music and aloha spirit in abundance. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki

1. Club President John and Makiko Durkin 2. (l–r) Kirsten Baur, Chizoba Obi and Per Knudsen 3. (l–r) Diana Bohm, Grace McCauley and Women’s Group President Betty Butler 4. Mika Aikawa and Dan Smith




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English Workshops in Fukushima May 15–16

The Women’s Group has been supporting Fukushima in various ways since the tragic events of March 11, 2011, in the Tohoku region of Japan. In May, in partnership with Fukushima City’s board of education, Women’s Group members Betty Butler, Anush Balian, Sandy Isaka, Vicky Fujii, Sally Sheridan and Miki Ohyama traveled up to Fukushima City to present interactive English workshops at Moriai Public Elementary School and Chuo Community Center.

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new members

Marcus & Mika Rosie

Riccardo & Atsuko Tossani

Why did you decide to join the Club?

Why did you decide to join the Club?

“I work for Disney in Toranomon Hills and Mika is with Apple in Roppongi Hills. The location of the Club is very convenient for us to be able to regularly go to the gym, enjoy the swimming pool with our son, Cole, and frequent the many great restaurants in the Club. We have so many great friends who are Members of TAC, and the Club has become very much a meeting place for business, to meet friends for dinner or to simply enjoy family time together.”

“After focusing all our energies for almost two decades to establish our international design practice, we have discovered that TAC offers unique opportunities to connect with existing and new clients. The new building, designed by my old Harvard visiting lecturer, has created a sophisticated setting more in tune with our contemporary design brand image, which we can now exploit for business development, as well as social events. We have also finally been blessed with children, and are very impressed by TAC’s family-oriented amenities.”

(l–r) Mika, Cole and Marcus Rosie

Atsuko and Riccardo Tossani

United Kingdom— The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd.

Australia—Riccardo Tossani Architecture, Inc.

yokoso Andrew Fried & Melissa Debayle United States—Evolution Japan Securities Co., Ltd. Stephen Greenall & Pauline Seah-Greenall United Kingdom—Meitan Tradition John Woodward & Karen Nicholson United Kingdom—McCann Erickson, Inc. Scott Yen & Chiu-Shu Hsia United States—AIG Japan Holdings K.K. Mari & Ichiro Kawashima Japan—Zappallas, Inc. Paul Raudkepp & Claire Tanner Australia Tomohiro & Maiko Yamaguchi Japan—Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. Ajay & Suparna Patki Singh United Kingdom—Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. Gavin Murdoch United Kingdom—DHL Supply Chain Ltd. Hung Ju Cheng & Yuka Kimura Taiwan—Sinyi Realty

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Hiromi Takahashi Japan—CO2 Plus Co., Ltd. Niels Ortoft Denmark—Royal Furniture Collection K.K. Norimitsu & Ayumi Niwa Japan—CVC Asia Pacific (Japan) K.K. David & Rimi Bergin United Kingdom—Ametek Co., Ltd. Mayumi & Mitsuhiro Abe Japan Norikazu & Ayako Matsukura Japan—Piccolo Grande, Inc. Hideaki & Emi Oharazawa Japan—Oharazawa Eye Clinic Peter & Mika Chang Taiwan—Gendai International Co., Ltd. Julian Bashore United States—Nippon MacDermid Co., Ltd. Akira Fuse & Yukari Morikawa Japan—FRA Ongaku Sosha Co. Eiko & Daisuke Watanabe Japan—Citigroup Global Markets Japan, Inc.

Emiko & Takao Ochi Japan Kristina & Michael Wright United States Roelof & Delia Mancini de Borst Netherlands—Philip Morris Japan K.K. Lucas Oliver-Frost Australia—TA Lawyers GKJ Jonathan & Anya Proctor United States—Brunel Energy Japan K.K. Alexander Postma & Gwen Anderson Netherlands—Ernst & Young Tax Co. Masami & Kyoko Yabumoto Japan—Medical Corporation Kinshukai Christopher Zelley & Hong Phuong Vy United States—AIG Japan Holdings K.K. Yoshio & Minami Igarashi Japan—Medical Care Toranomon Toshiya & Naoko Banno Japan—PricewaterhouseCoopers Co., Ltd. Michio & Masako Mizuguchi Japan—Valuegolf Co. Ltd.



of the month

Kaede Uehara by Nick Jones


ur memories can be highly unreliable. Far from storing information like a video recorder, they retain details in a way that makes sense to us. Familiar people, surroundings and situations all have an influence on how well we remember someone or something. Un f o r t u n at e l y, t h i s c a n m a k e eyewitness accounts of crimes particularly dubious. It’s not unusual to have witnesses recall completely incorrect details of a scene. It’s just the way our memories cache experiences. Kaede Uehara works hard at training her memory to accurately remember faces and names. As a member of the Guest Relations team, she greets familiar and unfamiliar faces every day, and

she has become surprisingly adept at recalling the names of people she has met only once. “I like to see people’s faces when I remember their name. I want to surprise them,” she says. “We are the face of Tokyo American Club, and first impressions are very important.” Joining the Club in the late 1990s, Uehara, 41, first worked as a server in Mixed Grille, American Bar & Grill’s predecessor. “I was looking for a job where I could speak English,” she says. “I wanted to work in the service industry. I believed I wouldn’t be so good at office work.” Before starting her Club career, Uehara studied American literature at Senshu

Kim Buoy Norway—Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Fabio Caputo & Sandra Delarco Ramos Brazil—HSBC Securities (Japan) Ltd. Wei Wei & Danwen Zhao China—Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., Ltd. Yuka & Masakazu Komatsu Japan Yoshiko & Toshiya Katsuta Japan—Shofukumon

Yoshinori & Noriko Momose Japan—Sumitomo Mitsui Trust & Banking Ltd. Mark & Mutsumi Shan United States—Zonan, Inc. Robert Schulz Jr & Mayuko Kanai United States—Morgan Stanley Japan Group Co., Ltd. Jonathan Tischler & Eiko Matsumoto United States—Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd.

sayonara Akiko Aoyama Yoshiki Otake Keld & Reiko Hammering Mikio & Yoko Matsubayashi Masayoshi & Hiroko Nawa Veronica Minukas Masayuki Ienaga Asad & Asmah Khan Yuxiang Lei & Reng Lin

Adrian & Amy Gottschalk Nobuaki Inomata Myles Mantle & Nadiia Olefir Raul & Karen Gumagay Elliott & Susan Leschen Andrew Barf Craig & Karen DiLorenzo Timothy Stevens

University in Kanagawa Prefecture. The course included a year of study abroad, and she attended the University of Oregon in Eugene. “If I hadn’t gone to Oregon, I would never have known about studying hard,” she says. Her years at the Club have also included a stint in the American Room, a finedining restaurant, and a period as part of the event reservations team. “You just start from zero and organize a party. It was a good challenge,” she says of that time. At the end of 2011, she moved to her present position. “I like Guest Relations more than any other area I’ve worked in,” she says, “because I can meet Members more often.” And perfect her powers of recollection. o

Stacks of Services at the Club 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

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.


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)



Embracing the Difference by Dave McCaughan


friend and I were planning a podcast on marketing in Japan. We had spent a couple of hours refining the content and recounting examples of unique situations we had experienced professionally when my friend noticed how much we peppered our conversation with the phrase “Well, in Japan…,” before explaining a local anomaly. For example, “Well, in Japan, things work really well; you just have to get used to them working differently.” Or, “Well, in Japan, something that might seem logical in the West could be seen as a shortcut of limited worth.” I used to encounter an “in Japan” moment whenever I set up brainstorming sessions. Each time, it was like my team

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was doing it for the first time. A colleague explained that since Japanese prefer to follow a process of careful assessment and appraisal before reaching a conclusion, an explosion of ideas seems like intellectual laziness and inefficient. However, given recent studies on brainstorming that indicate that the practice is, in fact, a waste of time and produces very few realistic ideas, it would appear that Japan, rather than being a bit old-fashioned, is ahead of the game. You might also have heard about how focus group responses in Japan are very different from elsewhere. But this will always be the case if you don’t provide enough context, don’t establish a comfortable setting and don’t ask lesspersonal, indirect questions. There’s also the baffled Japanese response to PowerPoint presentations with short, provocative phrases and images. But this reaction makes sense in a detailoriented society, where context is important and broad claims and concepts are viewed as frivolous. Maybe we need to stop seeing Japan’s

anomalies as cultural hurdles and stumbling blocks to be overcome and start exhibiting the sort of patience and willingness to understand practiced by our hosts.  Club Member Dave McCaughan builds stories for brands.


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July 2015

Elite Labels

CHOP’s wine collection attains world-class status i N T O U C

Summer Retreat Tokushima’s cultural and natural charm


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Ground Rules

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Members practice the art of grappling

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Issue 603 • July 2015

Battle Ready Member Ron Tanno gears up for three days of squash thrills at the TAC Premier Classic