Page 8


Growing Up at the Club Board of Governors

by William Ireton

Lance Lee — President (2010) Tim Griffen — Vice President (2010) Jerry Rosenberg — Vice President (2009) Thomas Brown — Treasurer (2009) Monica Hobbs — Secretary (2010)


s the son of an American father and Japanese mother—a so-called “third culture kid”—growing up in Japan in the 1950s and ’60s, the Club for me represented America, even though I had never actually lived there. We resided in a rambling house with a Japanese garden in the Kamiyamacho district of Shibuya Ward, and it was a ¥300 taxi ride to the Club in Azabudai, located behind the Soviet Embassy. I remember the two black sedans that were constantly parked across the street from the embassy. Their telltale “88” license plates meant that they were “special purpose vehicles” and doubtless contained Japanese government “watchers.” The original Club building in Azadudai was a low structure that housed the main dining room and cocktail bar, with its stern reminder that entry was restricted to those 20 and older. There were three private dining rooms (efficiently named A, B and C) looking out onto a garden. My parents entertained guests quite frequently at the Club and I was invited occasionally and enjoyed the culinary fare that featured such treats as shrimp cocktail, cold vichyssoise and juicy roast beef. This was my Introduction to America 101. The recreation building was located on the side of the main building, and the swimming pool in those days was constructed perpendicular to the pool that most Members remember from the previous Club. On Saturday evenings during the summer, a large white screen was hung on the wall at one end of the pool

William Ireton (2010), Thomas Jordan (2009), Hiroyuki Kamano (2010), Per Knudsen (2010), Gerald McAlinn (2009), Jeffrey McNeill (2009), Amane Nakashima (2009), Brian Nelson (2010), Mary Saphin (2009), Mark Schwab (2010), Dan Thomas (2010), Ira Wolf (2009), Shizuo Daigoh — Statutory Auditor (2010), Barbara Hancock — Women’s Group President

and a movie projector was set up at the opposite end for everyone to enjoy alfresco (although no such word existed in those days) movie and dinner nights. The first movie I ever saw at the Club was Dr. No, starring Sean Connery, and my parents were somewhat concerned that I would be corrupted by the antics of James Bond. Needless to say, I was completely hooked, and couldn’t wait to see the next installment of 007, From Russia With Love. My sister and I were members of the Club’s Mudsharks swim team (which is still going strong), as well as the junior bowling league. Since we had swim and bowling practice every Saturday, we were relieved of morning bed-making duty—although we had to do it after we returned home later, fortified by a lunch of hamburgers, french fries and thick chocolate milkshakes. I used to think the burgers were the best in the world, and still do (and please be sure to keep those Hamilton blenders for the shakes!). Such is my pastiche of memories of the Club, and it is my pleasure to be able to fast-forward almost 50 years to Takanawa today during our brief interlude before returning to Azabudai. Tokyo American Club will always remain dear to my heart and an integral part of my memories of growing up in Tokyo. o


Ayano Sato


6 June 2009 iNTOUCH

by Wendi Hailey

As the summer holidays approach, construction work on the Azabudai site continues unabated, with preparations in place for the building foundations. In mid-May, Bill Butler of architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli paid a visit to Tokyo to inspect the mockup of the Club’s new building façade and casual bar and to discuss some of the finer details of the design with the local team. As attention now turns to the interior elements, excavation on the site has reached new levels. “We have excavated down to 28 meters from the original ground level to meet solid ground,” says site manager Ryota Sekiguchi. The digging has hit various layers of rock and soil not commonly uncovered in the metropolitan area. “You rarely see this kind of situation in the middle of Tokyo,” Sekiguchi says. For more on the ongoing Redevelopment Project, visit

iNTOUCH June 2009  

Tokyo American Club’s monthly magazine, iNTOUCH

iNTOUCH June 2009  

Tokyo American Club’s monthly magazine, iNTOUCH