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July 2012

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i N T O U C H

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Let the Games Begin

本 体 七 七 七 円

Tennis star Shuzo Matsuoka and other Club Members look ahead to the London Olympics Issue 567 • July 2012

Independence Day

The Club hosts a day of revelry for America’s birthday

Northern Pursuits

Summer activities abound in the winter paradise of Niseko

Dying to Work

One Member assesses the mental state of Japan’s workforce

food & beverage

What’s the Point?


Keen to host a straightforward tasting at the Club this month, in-house oenophile Kelley Michael Schaefer reveals why wine ratings don’t have to rule what’s in your glass. women’s group


Cutting Through the Nationalist Noise


South Korean student Jisun Park explains how a Women’s Group-funded scholarship has helped her to continue her study of a long-running territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo. inside japan

Evolving Attitudes to Art


To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara: 03-4588-0976

For membership information, contact Mari Hori:

Designers Ryan Mundt Nagisa Mochizuki Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki 03-4588-0687

Assistant Editor Erika Woodward

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

Communications Manager Matthew Roberts Cover photo of Shuzo Matsuoka by Kayo Yamawaki.

6 Board of Governors

7 Management

8 Food & Beverage

9 Committees

20 Women’s Group

Before heading to London to host TV Asahi’s coverage of the Olympics, onetime Wimbledon quarterfinalist Shuzo Matsuoka talks with iNTOUCH about the best and worst moments of his tennis career and finding his calling off the court. Meanwhile, Club Members from around the world offer their picks for the athletes to watch at the games.

4 Events

16 Recreation


Editor Nick Jones

14 DVD Library

Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer


2 Contacts

10 Library

As Tokyo begins timidly embracing modern art, Club Member and gallery owner Karen Thomas is helping to foster enthusiasm for contemporary works—one inspired sale at a time. feature


22 Feature

28 Talking Heads

30 Frederick Harris Gallery

32 Member Services

34 Inside Japan

36 Out & About

38 Event Roundup

44 Back Words

Bob Sexton General Manager

Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director

Lian Chang Information Technology Director

Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director

Darryl Dudley Engineering Director

Scott Yahiro Recreation Director

Brian Marcus Food & Beverage Director

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

(03) 4588-0676

Banquet Sales and Reservations

(03) 4588-0977

Beauty Salon

(03) 4588-0685

Bowling Center

(03) 4588-0683

Café Med

(03) 4588-0978


(03) 4588-0307

Childcare Center

(03) 4588-0701


(03) 4588-0262


(03) 4588-0675

DVD Library

(03) 4588-0686


(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

(03) 4588-0679

Information Technology

(03) 4588-0690


(03) 4588-0678

Management Office

(03) 4588-0674

Membership Office

(03) 4588-0687

Member Services Desk

(03) 4588-0670

Pool Office

(03) 4588-0700

Rainbow Café

(03) 4588-0705

Recreation Desk

(03) 4588-0681

Redevelopment Office

(03) 4588-0223

The Cellar

(03) 4588-0744

The Spa

(03) 4588-0714


(03) 4588-0671

Women’s Group Office

2 July 2012 iNTOUCH

(03) 4588-0691

from the


What’s the link between Basque pelota, jeu de paume and roque? Apart from sounding like items on the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, they were, in fact, all once Olympic sports. In some cases, they made just one appearance before being relegated to the annals of sporting history. Browsing the lineup of sports at the modern Olympics since the inaugural games in 1896 in Athens, you would expect the list to reflect, at least in part, the rise and fall in popularity of particular sports. But that’s not necessarily the case. It’s difficult to see why some events were dropped, added or have continued to be included over the years. Take tennis, for example. While it enjoyed a slot at six Olympics between 1900 and 1924, it was suddenly excluded and didn’t appear again until the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The timing, though, was perfect for former tennis pro and Club Member Shuzo Matsuoka, who competed at those games and the following two. (In this month’s cover story, “Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer,” he talks to iNTOUCH about his career on the court and Japan’s prospects at the upcoming Olympics in London.) But throughout that period of omission, tennis grew in popularity as it became more accessible to the masses, enjoying a boom during the 1970s and ’80s. Can the same be said of the likes of equestrianism and fencing, which have featured in almost every modern Olympics? Interestingly, some of the world’s most popular sports today were once a part of the games, but subsequently went the way of roque. Cricket was in the 1900 lineup, while rugby union teams competed against one another at the 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 Olympics. Rugby sevens, though, is on the program for 2016, as is golf, which returns after a 112-year absence. With the Olympics now a multibillion dollar enterprise and brand, there are numerous opaque forces at work when it comes to deciding the sports that will enjoy the spotlight for two weeks every four years. And I’m not sure that tug of war has enough lobbying clout to ensure its Olympic return. If you have any comments about anything you read in iNTOUCH, please e-mail them to, putting “Letter to the Editor” in the subject title of the mail.

contributors Catherine Shaw

Brian Publicover

After living in Tokyo for a decade, Zambia-born freelance writer Catherine Shaw moved with her family to Hong Kong earlier this year. She writes about art, architecture, design and culture for a range of Japanese and international publications, including Wallpaper*, Monocle, the Financial Times and MillionaireAsia. She also writes for a number of travel magazines, which allows her to indulge her love of travel. She has co-authored the Wallpaper* Tokyo City Guide for the past three years. In this month’s Out & About section of iNTOUCH, Shaw heads to the winter sports mecca of Niseko in Hokkaido to find out what the area offers during the summer months.

After a sojourn in Japan sparked his interest in travel, Canadian Brian Publicover headed to Melbourne to attend graduate school and pursue his love of hiking and scuba diving. Following a brief stint as a copy editor at a state newspaper in Beijing, he helped start a weekly newsmagazine in Hong Kong, dabbled in automotive journalism in Shanghai and wrote about intellectual property for the European Chamber of Commerce in China. In between, he worked in Seoul as a copywriter and edited the business section of a newly launched daily newspaper in Jakarta. Publicover now works at The Nikkei Weekly in Tokyo. On pages 20 and 21 of this month’s iNTOUCH, he interviews the recipient of a Women’s Group-supported scholarship.

Tell Us What You Think Take the Club’s annual Communications Satisfaction Survey and help us measure how we’re doing at keeping Members informed of what’s going on at the Club. Fill out the survey on the Club website before the end of July to be entered into the drawing for a dinner for two at the Club.

Words from the editor 3

What’s happening in July 1


Independence Day Reception The Club pays tribute to America’s founding and its own 84th anniversary with a reception of toasts, speeches and a slice of ceremony. 5 p.m. Independence Day Dinner The patriotic revelry continues into the night with a spread of American food and a performance by Elvis…or at least his doppelganger. 6:30 p.m. Independence Day for Kids Youngsters of all nationalities celebrate the American holiday with a playful afternoon of activities, games, arts and crafts. 2 p.m.



Summer Spa Special Treat yourself to a summer of pampering as The Spa offers a discount on back-to-back treatments. To learn more, turn to page 19.



Summer Truffle Experience It’s your last chance to celebrate that most rare of mushrooms with a medley of dishes at American Bar & Grill and Traders’ Bar.

Flip to page 9 for a rundown of the day's events.




Friday– Friday


Saturday– Sunday



Spicy Night Enjoy an array of mouthwatering curries on the family dining terrace. 5–8:30 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥1,950; juniors (12–17 years): ¥1,650; children (7–11 years): ¥1,200; kids (4–6 years): ¥700; infants (3 and under): free. Continues September 5.

Creative Kids Summer Art Class Budding artists use their imaginations to make creative keepsakes at these fun sessions. Page 19 has the details.

Birth Preparation for Couples Two invaluable days from the Women’s Group that will get you ready for labor, birth and beyond. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥36,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

Okinawan Night Sample some cuisine from Japan’s subtropical paradise on the family dining terrace. 5–8:30 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥1,950; juniors (12–17 years): ¥1,650; children (7–11 years): ¥1,200; kids (4–6 years): ¥700; infants (3 and under): free. Continues September 12.





Friday– Sunday

TAC Premier Classic Squash Tournament The Club hosts three days of top-level squash as Japan’s pros battle for the TAC Premier Classic crown and Club players also put their skills to the test. Squash Courts. Free.

4 July 2012 iNTOUCH


TAC Student Council This hard-working group gathers to discuss the needs and wishes of the Club’s younger Members. 1 p.m. Teen Lounge. Free.


Decanted! Australian Surf ’n’ Turf Decanter continues its Decanted! program with a trip Down Under for an exquisite combination of Aussie cuisine and wines. ¥12,500. Reserve your table at 03-45880675 or Through August 4.


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







Monday– Thursday


Monday– Friday

Camp Discovery It’s not too late to join the Club’s summer camp adventure of daily fun for children and preschoolers. To find out more about these weekly sessions, turn to page 19.

Summer All-Star Sports With only a few weeks remaining of this activity-packed program for kids, be sure to sign up soon. To learn more about the sports in store, flip to page 19.

Kids’ Summer Swim Program Another two-week intensive swim program for kids kicks off at the Sky Pool. To learn more about this popular class, flip to page 19.

Summer Intensive Aikido A two-week course introduces energetic youngsters to this popular martial art. Details on page 18.







Independence Day Happy Birthday, America! Celebrate by dining on Americanstyle fare at your favorite Club restaurant.

Southeast Asian Night Feast on dishes from the likes of Thailand and Singapore on the family dining terrace. 5–8:30 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥1,950; juniors (12–17 years): ¥1,650; children (7–11 years): ¥1,200; kids (4–6 years): ¥700; infants (3 and under): free. Continues August 29.




London Olympics Grand Buffet Don’t miss this buffet of champions at the New York Ballroom. 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. and 5–8 p.m. Adults (18 and over): ¥4,900 (includes drinks package); juniors (12–17 years): ¥2,800; children (7–11 years): ¥2,000; kids (4–6 years): ¥1,050; infants (3 and under): free.



Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Parents-to-be prepare for the arrival of their bundles of joy during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ¥7,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Wine (But Were Afraid to Ask) The Club’s wine expert, Kelley Michael Schaefer, hosts a refreshingly unpretentious wine tasting and answers questions many quaffers are too shy to ask. 7 p.m. More on page 8.

22 Izakaya Night 27 Decanted! California Dreamin’

27 Coffee Connections 29 Southeast Asian Night


Gallery Reception A casual reception at the Frederick Harris Gallery kicks off an exhibition of engaging artwork by Japanese artists with learning disabilities. 6:30 p.m. More on page 30.

London Calling Enjoy a little Olympic spirit at American Bar & Grill and Traders’ Bar with a selection of British cuisine and international beers, and catch all the Olympic action from London on the screens in Traders’ Bar through August 12.

Coming up in August

8 Italian Night 15 Korean Night

1 Casbah Night



Latin American Night It’s all about tortillas, enchiladas, chile con queso and more on the family dining terrace. 5–8:30 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥1,950; juniors (12–17 years): ¥1,650; children (7–11 years): ¥1,200; kids (4–6 years): ¥700; infants (3 and under): free. Continues September 19.



Noteworthy dates for the month 5


Celebrating Diversity by Hiroshi Miyamasu


ince becoming a Club governor last November, I’ve been fortunate to have met so many Members and management staff and to have had many new experiences. In short, it’s been tougher and more enlightening than I could ever have imagined. At last year’s Annual General Meeting, I saw many Members openly question, request, discuss, appraise and criticize on various matters. Having grown up in Japan, where people vote unanimously and don’t ask any questions in formal meetings, it was an unusual scene for me to witness. In fact, Japanese often do want to question and debate, but they have been taught not to speak up. Needless to say, the Club’s approach is much better and can be seen during the monthly Board meetings. Such subjects as membership, dining, communications and the Club’s financials are discussed openly, fairly and rigorously. Even outside of these formal meetings, these topics are discussed casually, which seems an efficient way of doing things. At the same time, I wonder if our Members’ values are more diversified than they were in the past. For example, some longtime Members tell me that they miss certain elements from the old Azabudai facility. On the other hand, some new Members say that they don’t understand why we do things a particular way. Such diversification, I guess, reflects not only the demographic change in our Membership, but also our modern society. According to Chris Anderson’s 2006 book The Long Tail, large numbers of people watched certain TV programs and listened to particular musicians in the 1980s, but now people are accessing niche programs and music though the Internet. I’m unsure about the validity of Anderson’s theory, but I know that I need to listen carefully to what Members think and want. One issue that is discussed frequently is the Club’s financial

6 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Board of Governors Lance E Lee (2012)—President Brian Nelson (2012)—Vice President Mary Saphin (2013)—Vice President Ann Marie Skalecki (2012)—Vice President John Durkin (2012)—Treasurer Deb Wenig (2013)—Secretary Kavin C Bloomer (2012), Norman J Green (2013), Paul Hoff (2013), Hiroyuki Kamano (2012), Per Knudsen (2012), Gregory Lyon (2012), Jeff McNeill (2013), Hiroshi Miyamasu (2013), Steve Romaine (2012), Dan Stakoe (2013), Ira Wolf (2013), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2012), Ginger Griggs—Women’s Group President

state. I would like to thank fellow governor John Durkin, Finance Director Mutsuhiko Kumano and all those involved in the recent deal with Mitsubishi Estate Corporation over the future of the Azabudai Parkhouse site. The one-time cash payment of ¥600 million improved the Club’s position drastically. We still need to keep monitoring our fiscal situation. And conversations about increasing revenue while decreasing expense will continue. Personally, I would like to see the Club in a position where it can adjust to economic volatility and uncertainty in the long term. The Club lost many Members following the global financial crisis and then again after last year’s earthquake, putting the Club in a tough financial situation. We can’t guarantee there won’t be future difficulties, so one idea is to change our cost and expense structure by increasing the variable portions and decreasing the fixed ones. I am aware that such an approach would entail many challenges, such as maintaining the Club’s quality of service, but I believe that we will be in a stronger position if we adopt best practices and plan for the future. While we might see more diverse values among our Members, the core of the Club must be about having fun. Without this, meeting our debt service requirements and paying back our loans won’t mean a thing. See you around the Club. o


Encouraging Club Exploration by Bob Sexton


ur recent Find Your Groove campaign, which ran from March through the end of April, resulted in a number of Members trying new services and facilities around the Club. Launched to mark the Club’s one-year anniversary of its new Azabudai home, the program was designed to encourage Members to explore areas of the Club they hadn’t used before. By the end of the campaign, a few dozen Members had completed all three tiers of their Find Your Groove stamp cards and won a range of incredible prizes, including a night for two at one of the Guest Studios, dinners and treatments at The Spa. In pursuit of this same goal, as well as to showcase the Club to a wider audience, we produced a number of short videos highlighting the range of activities available at the Club, such as classes for all ages and dining at Decanter. These can be watched on the Club’s own YouTube channel, website and Facebook page. Going forward, we will continue to add to the current selection of promotional films in an effort to show different aspects of Club life. The Library area on the second floor is particularly worth exploring. With a separate Children’s Library, large deck with

Bob Sexton

General Manager

comfortable seating, impressive collection of English-language books and iMacs and iPads for use, the Library has something for everyone. What’s more, iNTOUCH features reviews of a selection of new arrivals at the Library each month. Turn to pages 12 and 13 to read those and details of our annual Summer Reading Program for youngsters. Across from the Library is the Business Center. This quiet area has six computers and ports for Members with their own laptops. There is also a printer for use here, while a photocopy and fax service is available at the Library. Just around the corner are two conveniently located meeting rooms, which can accommodate up to eight people per room. For those Members who don’t need a larger space, these can be booked through the Club’s Banquet Sales and Reservations team. To find out more, go to the Functions & Catering page under the Wine & Dining section of the Club website. If you would like to take a look inside one of the rooms, just ask for a key from the Library staff. So, while Find Your Groove may have ended, be sure to keep discovering all that the Club has to offer. o

Executive remarks 7




What’s the Point? by Kelley Michael Schaefer

Kelley Michael Schaefer


here is a disconcerting trend in the world of wine. Points, it seems, have power. Arbitrary scores of wines by the likes of wine critic Robert Parker and such periodicals as Decanter and Wine Spectator are increasingly influencing many purchasing decisions. Visit your local wine shop and witness patrons pondering the selection, trying to discern between two wines, one awarded 89 points and the other 92. Such ratings are having a significant impact on sales and are affecting wine trends and consumer habits. Perhaps most disturbing is the marketing power of the Parker Points scale. When the American founder of The Wine Advocate publication awards a wine more than 90 points, that wine quickly sells out, increasing in price at the same time. Any score less than 85, on the other hand, can be a death sentence for a producer. In theory, a winemaker could compile a list of all of Parker’s 90-plus-point wines, decipher their common traits, including

8 July 2012 iNTOUCH

grape variety, alcohol content, titratable acidity, pH level and type of oak and barrel style, then create a template for a high-scoring Parker wine. As a result of this growing focus on ratings, it appears that many winemakers are now producing their wines specifically to please the critics. This would explain the current trend toward more homogenized, super-extracted, high-alcohol wines. So do Parker and other wine cognoscenti simply have excellent taste (Parker’s palate is said to be insured for $1 million)? In fact, these “experts” are telling us merely what they like while offering their perception of what is good and not much else, save a few ambiguous yet alluring tasting notes: “Aromas of Sun Crest peaches, Red Gravenstein apples, Fantasia nectarines and Muscat Canelli grapes.” I have to admit, I struggle to differentiate between my Sun Crest and Golden Glory peaches. Parker is purported to taste more than 10,000 wines a year. How might sampling that kind of volume affect his judgment? I suspect that palate fatigue, as well as

other, more dubious, factors, influence these scores. If you want to get the most out of any wine, always savor a bottle in the company of friends and family. What the critics think is inconsequential. Take their opinions cum grano salis. We all know what we like and what we don’t. With so many wines to choose from, just enjoy the exploration, challenge your palate and trust your sommelier. Oh, and be sure to attend my fun and informative tasting this month. o Schaefer is the Club’s wine program manager.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Wine (But Were Afraid to Ask): A Wine Tasting with Kelley Michael Schaefer Tuesday, July 10 7–8:30 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms ¥6,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk


Independence Day for Kids Sunday, July 1 2–4 p.m. Activity Room and Beate Sirota Gordon Classroom Free For more information, contact Reina Collins at Independence Day Reception Sunday, July 1 5–6:15 p.m. Manhattan II and III Free All ages welcome No sign-up necessary Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

Celebratory Spirit

by Barbara Hancock


Independence Day Dinner Sunday, July 1 6:30–9:30 p.m. Manhattan I ¥7,700 (drinks not included) Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

hen George Washington surrounded the army of Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, the newly founded United States of America won what most believed it never would: surrender from the mighty British and national independence. Through years of war, the spirit of July 4, 1776 had endured, and the Declaration of Independence, ratified on that date, would stand. The Club will celebrate both this momentous date and its own founding in 1928 at the annual Independence Day Reception on Sunday, July 1. All Members are welcome to attend this grand occasion that will feature speeches, toasts, the singing of the American and Japanese national anthems by opera tenor

John Ken Nuzzo, a color guard and the cutting of cakes. But the revelry doesn’t end there. The patriotic fun continues into the evening with an adults-only dinner of all-American favorites and a muchanticipated performance by talented Elvis impersonator Donny Edwards. A sing-along of well-known American tunes (don’t worry, song sheets will be provided) will top off the proceedings. On this important American holiday, the children aren’t forgotten, either. In the afternoon, the Club hosts two hours of Independence Day fun, packed with arts, crafts and games. o Hancock is chair of the Programs and Events Committee.

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

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

Membership Craig Saphin (Deb Wenig) Membership Subcommittee Branding TBD Nominating Nick Masee Programs & Events Barbara Hancock (Ann Marie Skalecki) Programs & Events Subcommittee Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai

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

Cornerstone of the Club 9

In Pursuit of Japan’s Underground Faithful I

n 1549, the first Christian missionaries arrived in Japan. Over the next 60 years their successors managed to convert more than 300,000 Japanese, including some of the country’s leading figures. But, in the process, they raised fears about colonialism, which led to a ban on Christianity in 1614. There followed one of the most ruthless persecutions in history, as a religion that preached against evil was itself denounced as evil. More than 4,000 believers were martyred, thousands of others tortured and 37,000 rebels under a Christian flag systematically slaughtered at Shimabara near Nagasaki. For more than 200 years Japan isolated itself from the outside world—and the contagion of European religion. After the nation was prized open again in the 19th century, an astonishing discovery was made:

Dozaki Church, Goto City

10 July 2012 iNTOUCH

British academic John Dougill explains how a trip to the former Christian hotspot of Kyushu led to a book, In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians.


groups of villagers, mostly illiterate, had continued to practice Christianity in secret. These hidden Christians had passed down their religion to their children for seven generations, without copies of the Bible, priests or sacraments (except baptism). Isolated and imperiled, they clung to their faith. Just as remarkably, even after the toleration of Christianity in 1873, about half of them refused to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church, preferring to carry on the traditions of their parents. When I first heard this story it prompted a host of questions, and my interest was fueled by Shusaku Endo’s compelling novel Silence (1966). What had motivated simple Japanese peasants to risk death and the ruination of loved ones? Why were the authorities so determined to stamp out the religion when there was a long history of pluralism in Japan? Why were the hidden Christians reluctant to rejoin Catholicism? And what makes Japan so resistant to Christianity, even now when membership is only 1 percent of the population? In unpacking the answers to these questions, I sensed I would be picking at the very essence of the cultural differences between the Confucian and Socratic traditions. As I mulled over the encounters of the past, I felt a compulsion to see for myself where the events had taken place. My motivation was secular, for I wanted to understand more fully the country in which I had chosen to make my home. With around only 1,000 aging hidden Christian practitioners left, I knew that I would have to start my journey soon. One fine day in 2010, I set out from my home in Kyoto for a faraway island of which I knew nothing. The East-West encounter had started with a chance happening in Tanegashima (now home to Japan’s largest space development center), south of Kyushu, and it was there that I began to follow the course of history. My journey into the past took me around some of the most attractive parts of Kyushu. Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Unzen, Shimabara, Hirado and the Goto and Amakusa islands were a delight to visit, though the experience was darkened by revelations of crucifixions, torture, massacre and an atomic bomb that exploded above a onetime hidden Christian enclave. The history was as shocking as it was intriguing.

John Dougill

The exploration of the past led eventually to the present. In meeting contemporary practitioners, I realized how much they and their ancestors had absorbed elements of Japanese folk belief. In the process, they had created a syncretic and decidedly Japanese type of religion. It was symptomatic of the way Japan adopts and adapts foreign culture—a trait evident in the country’s ongoing Westernization. Many hidden Christian practices involved curious hybrids. Catholic flagellation whips were used as purification tools. Prayers handed down in Latin had descended into doggerel but were still memorized. Maria Kannon statues looked like the Buddhist deity of compassion but to believers they represented the Madonna. A hidden Christian “holy book,” with its fabulous tales and Japanese elements, was an approximation of the Bible. By the end of the journey I had developed a greater appreciation for the liberties and luxuries we take for granted in modern life. I had also reached some unexpected conclusions about Japanese culture. I believe that the hidden Christians have much to teach us not just about Japan, but about life in general. They may well be passing into history now, but their legacy deserves to be cherished. If director Martin Scorsese fulfills his dream of filming Silence this year, they will surely receive the attention they deserve. o Dougill is a professor at Kyoto’s Ryukoku University.

In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival is available at the Library.

Literary gems at the Library 11

off the


Travel Tips by Melanie Chetley


hether you’re planning a last-minute getaway or the holiday of a lifetime, the Library stocks all the inspiration you’ll need. The vast array of travel guides are packed with information on where to stay, what to eat and what to see. The Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Travel series of guides really are a feast for the eyes. The striking photographs almost qualify the books as works of art, but the guides are also incredibly informative and easy to use (a color code matches pages with particular regions) and feature a useful country introduction. DK also publishes a set of Top 10 guides that feature everything from the 10 best sights to the top 10 eating spots of a particular destination. All DK series include a survival guide section to help you get around in a foreign country. The Lonely Planet travel guides offer a plethora of practical information and insights about various countries and cities. They also include a glossary of useful phrases and words in the local language and tips on health and avoiding problems. The guides help prospective travelers work out itineraries and activities or explore areas before deciding on where to stay. What these travel tomes lack in images, they more than make up for in necessary and interesting information. Fodor’s are a good medium between the DK and Lonely Planet guides. Packed with information, pictures and easy-to-read maps, these books break down countries by region, detailing the best places to eat, stay and play. Each area includes planning advice on the ideal time to go, where to visit and how to get around, and close-up boxes on entertaining activities.

“I like guidebooks that do more than just cover the main attractions, good places to eat and how to get around,” says travel writer and iNTOUCH contributor Rob Goss. “The best ones weave stories into the text, giving cultural, historical and social insights into the places and people they cover.” Overflowing with primers on countries and cities across the world, the Library’s shelves can be both a convenient planning resource and an inspiration for a future trip. o Chetley is chair of the Library Committee.

Summer Reading Program:

Finding Dragons Young book lovers delve into the fantastical world of dragons this summer as they embark on mythical adventures through such intriguing titles as My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Carole Wilkinson’s Dragonkeeper. Children are invited to attend a dragon-themed session of arts and crafts each week before enjoying a wrap-up party in celebration of these scaly, winged creatures next month. Finding Dragons Until August 8 Every Wednesday 2:30–3:30 p.m. Children’s Library ¥1,050 Recommended for ages 6 to 12 Sign up online or at the Library

12 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Wrap-Up Party Wednesday, August 15 2:30–4:30 p.m.



reads Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us about Success and Failure by Andreas Kluth

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree by Shamini Flint

The likes of Albert Einstein, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong—and their tales of triumph and failure—make appearances in this book as Kluth shows that what we see as disaster is often the beginning of something great.

In this fourth installment about the portly, chain-smoking inspector from Singapore’s police force, Singh is called in by the UN to investigate the murder of a tribunal witness. A thought-provoking and easy read that offers a real insight into Cambodia.

Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox: 21 Days to a Healthier, Slimmer You—For Life by Nish Joshi

Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home by Andrea Nguyen

The ultimate goals of this book are rebalancing your digestive system, reprogramming your palate so that you don’t crave foods that are bad for you and identifying foods to which you have an intolerance. The writing is clear, informative and, for the most part, convincing.

This wonderful book offers inspiration on how to use tofu in everyday cooking, not just in vegetarian meals. From main dishes to desserts, Nguyen provides recipes that are both precise and straightforward.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan by John Benson

An engaging read on the history of forensic toxicology in the United States. It shows how new poisons came to prominence and how legislation was introduced to control them. Each chapter focuses on a particular poison, describing the crimes committed with it and how the medical world reacted.

Far from overloading the reader with unnecessary information, this guide to urban and rural Japan provides concise, interesting details, coupled with beautiful images and easy-to-follow maps. Perfect if you’re planning a trip this summer.

Reviews compiled by Library Committee chair Melanie Chetley.

member’s choice Member: Sabrina Satterwhite Title: Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

What’s the book about? This book is about a dragon that is trying to find the Himalayas. Dragons used to all live there a long time ago. On the way, Firedrake meets a couple of friends.

What did you like about it? On the way, when Firedrake and his friends are almost at the end of this incredible task, a vicious, giant dragon, whose name is Nettlebrand, tries to stop them.

Why did you choose it? I chose it because from the first page it was like a magnet. I couldn’t stop reading it.

What other books would you recommend? Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Literary gems at the Library 13



Doomsday Drama


ome to the Declaration of Independence, the Library of Congress preserves some of America’s most prized cultural artifacts, including, since 2008, an influential action film with one unforgettable line. Inspiring many Americans to speak in clipped, robotic tones, The Terminator took the box office by storm in 1984. Of the 16 lines artfully grunted by the eponymously named lead character, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back” has saturated popular culture. Although Schwarzenegger broke from Hollywood in 2003 to serve two terms as

the governor of California, many people will forever associate him with that iconic utterance. “Schwarzenegger was our generation’s John Wayne,” wrote film critic Max Messier, “a muscle-bound bodyguard extracting his own kind of vengeance from a cold and dangerous world.” And if the Hollywood buzz proves true, the Austrian-born action hero might well be back on the silver screen in a fifth installment of the famous sci-fi franchise. So, in honor of legendary cataclysmic cinema, our Club critics proffer their picks for the best apocalyptic flick. o

“HG Wells’ classic book The War of the Worlds has never gone out of print and its 1938 radio adaptation by Orson Welles even caused mass hysteria. Director Steven Spielberg’s 2005 movie adaptation stars Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier, a divorced New York port worker. While looking after his children one weekend, a strange lightning storm forms over the city. Soon after, mechanical tripods emerge from the ground. And so begins the first wave of an alien invasion. Of the realistic special effects, my favorites are the red fungus that begins to grow on the ground and the sight of an alien at the end.”

“Sometimes mindless, but packed with action, Armageddon is an endof-the-world movie without a preachy message about the environment or society. This 1998 effort by Michael Bay is about a band of deep-core drillers (Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi) that is sent to destroy a meteor that is headed for Earth. A peculiar, shifty eyed Buscemi does a great job as an unlikely hero. By their very nature, apocalyptic movies tend to be dark and filled with doom, but Armageddon is overflowing with comedy and action and features a great soundtrack by Aerosmith. A great summer flick for the entire family.”

“With global warming bringing about the end of mankind, a climatologist (Dennis Quaid) sets out to find his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) in New York, a city in the grip of a new ice age. Although this 2004 movie by Roland Emmerich is a hard-to-believe piece of fiction about climate change, it is still a great action-packed thriller that features heartwarming scenes of family ties and love. A great movie to watch with either family or friends.”

Best apocalyptic movie: War of the

Best apocalyptic movie: Armageddon


Club critic: David Fujii

Club critic: Diane Harris

Club critic: William Liang

All titles mentioned are either available at the DVD Library or on order.

14 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Best apocalyptic movie: The Day

After Tomorrow

DVD LIBRARY He is Club President Lance E Lee. She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the DVD Library.


John Carter A unique film that is hard to categorize as classic science fiction. It is well paced and I enjoyed the body art on the characters. Unfortunately, the character development is poor and the movie lacks any real “soul.” It’s good entertainment, though.

give it a go


Based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, this rather long film is about an ex-military officer who finds himself transplanted to a war-torn Mars, where one side sees him as their savior. Although it’s a Disney flick, it’s too violent for small children.



Battleship I liked the balance between the action and the story. Although the special effects are very good, they are not the focus of the movie, which is more about naval battle tactics. The acting is good and it’s refreshing to see a ship’s crew showcase their skills during the battle scenes.

Yet another movie about aliens attacking Earth, only this time the action takes place at sea. Based on the classic Hasbro game, the film’s special effects are impressive. Playing Admiral Shane, Liam Neeson is stunning (as always) and steals the movie.

This Means War The movie tries to be a lot of things—romantic comedy, spy thriller and action adventure—and it succeeds in all categories. Featuring so many clever jokes, a clear romantic element and delightful performances by the three protagonists (Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon), this film is entertaining right to the end.

A no-nonsense fun flick about two top CIA operatives (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who battle it out for the affections of a woman (Reese Witherspoon) they have both been unknowingly dating. The movie is not unenjoyable, but the storyline is poor and there is no real message.

Oranges and Sunshine While not a documentary, this film appears to retell this story of child deportation as it happened and some parts are disturbing to watch, particularly for parents. As the state of social welfare in two civilized countries is unveiled, we feel for social worker Margaret Humphreys, the mothers and their transplanted children.

This film is based on the true story of a social worker (Margaret Humphreys—portrayed powerfully by Emily Watson) in 1980s Britain who uncovers a former government policy to migrate children from Britain to Australia.








Safe House When rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) returns to the dangerous game of politics, he’s remanded to a safe house. But when he gets attacked there, he puts his faith in an unproven rookie to help him run for his life.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Chasing a distress signal coming from an unknown island, Sean Anderson (John Hutcherson) embarks on a journey to a place few people have ever been and uncovers secrets that lead to a shocking discovery. Also stars Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine.

21 Jump Street As if being a pair of flunky cops isn’t humiliating enough, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are sent to a local high school where they pretend to be students in order to take down a drug ring, which isn’t half as bad as being the awkward new kids at school.

A Little Bit of Heaven When it comes to love, Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is a non-believer, but after receiving sobering news from her handsome doctor, she questions everything she thought she knew. This serious-minded rom-com delivers muted laughs but lacks the substance for heartfelt tears. A Thousand Words Literary agent Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) has a lot to say that people don’t want to hear. He doesn’t care—until he strikes a deal with a spiritual guru and his life-sustaining tree that loses a leaf every time he speaks. Now, his words could kill him.



other new titles...

Too Big to Fail Relive the chilling financial crisis of 2008 through this HBO drama that makes humdrum middle-aged politicians, spreadsheets and processions of Lincoln town cars rivetingly entertaining. Better than when they scared us. Stars James Woods, John Heard and William Hurt.

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

TV and film selections 15

Theresa Le Sliworsky

The Making of a Master by Erika Woodward

The Club’s masters program swimmers aren’t all elite athletes and ex-college champs. Many have found much more than fitness through the sessions.

16 July 2012 iNTOUCH


n several occasions, Theresa Le Sliworsky’s swimming instructor confused her unusual strokes for spasms—or worse—and jumped in the pool to check her pulse. “I was like, ‘Ahh! Ahh!’” says the 38-year-old Canadian, flailing her arms about in a reenactment of the scene while sitting in the Winter Garden after a morning swim in May. “I just remember he came over and took my hand and said, ‘I just want to make sure you’re not going to die on me.’ It was really fun.” That was 2007, Le Sliworsky’s second year as a student of the Club’s masters swim program, where dedicated adult swimmers get fit, get faster and train for everything from swim meets to triathlons during lively mornings at the Sky Pool. But for the small-framed former weightlifter and self-confessed “land creature,” the thrice-weekly, hour-long class is where she learned how to get from point A to point B in the water, without looking as if she needed to be rescued. “When I first started, oh my God, I could not swim 25 meters and would, like, hyperventilate,” she says with a laugh. Leaning back in his chair in the fourth-floor Sky Pool Office, Le Sliworsky’s instructor for the last three years says, thankfully, things have changed. “Now [her swimming] is very much improved,” says Masa Hamanaka, a competitive swimmer and keen surfer with 12 years’ teaching experience. “Every day she asks me how to do it faster, how to do more strokes, and she’s very clever, very smart. Every time she says, ‘I’ll try.’” It’s this tenacity that powers Le Sliworsky through up to 20 100-meter-long sprints per class and motivates her to tie a bungee cord around her waist (the other end of which is secured to a diving

Irwin Wong


block) and swim forward with all her might. “Sometimes I say to her, ‘OK, take a break, stop,’” Hamanaka explains. “She says, ‘OK,’ then keeps going.” A member of the program since its inception, Roni Ohara says that anyone who desires to become a better swimmer will improve in the class, no matter what their swimming ability. “I’ve always liked the water—I’m from Hawaii—but this was something different,” she says. “What it did was it drove me to become something I never anticipated.” While the program is designed to challenge participants, Ohara says that it can be adapted to each person’s potential. “We’re all screaming and hollering because we all can’t breathe, but [Hamanaka] does tailor it, he does scale it back and, if he thinks you can’t do it or if you have an injury, he’ll say, ‘OK, you can do this instead.’” There was a time when wading in the sea at the beach or floating casually in a pool was enough for Le Sliworsky. That was before she discovered that her lack of swimming skills encroached on her vacation fun. “My girlfriends, they went cliff diving and I couldn’t go, and I was pissed off,” she says of one particular college getaway to Hawaii. “You can’t jump into the ocean unless you know how to swim.” So, at age 21, she enrolled in an adult swim class at the University of Alberta. A few years on, she signed up to train with a triathlon team in Winnipeg. “I was so bad I had to start swimming with the kids,” she says. Taking a break from the water for about two years for marriage and children (both her kids are members of the Club’s Mudsharks youth swim team), Le Sliworsky says that getting started again

wasn’t easy. “You have kids. You’re big, you’re really big,” she says, extending her arms to show just how wide. “I was 65 kilos. I was huge.” Then she feared the worst. “I was self conscious about the fact that I might sink and die because I hadn’t swum in such a long time,” she explains. Of course, she didn’t sink when she joined the masters class about six years ago, but she didn’t exactly swim, either. “‘This is not dancing. What are you doing? You’re supposed to be swimming!’” Le Sliworsky says of the instructor’s reaction to her rather chaotic display in the pool. “Oh, it was just brutal, but it was so wonderful.” Three instructors later, Le Sliworsky says there’s no better way than swimming to start her day. “I use it to relieve stress, like it’s therapy, seriously. It’s just good therapy because you go in and you get whatever angst out and you just start your day.” Unlike running or cycling, she says, she should be able to continue doing the sport for many more years. As proof of her belief, she explains how she saw a 90-year-old man, who walked with a cane, compete in a swim meet she attended as part of the masters swim program. “To see someone do that!” she says. “There’s no way you’re running a marathon with a cane, right? But here he is—he’s swimming! Isn’t that cool? To me that was, like, ‘Yeah! Oh, yeah! I’ll keep swimming for as long as I can swim, for sure.’” o To find out more about the Club’s masters swim program, contact the Sky Pool Office or visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website.

Fitness and well-being 17



Martial Art Moves


nergetic youngsters ages 5 through 12 learn basic locks, holds and self-defense techniques during a two-week introduction to the popular Japanese martial art of aikido. o

Summer Intensive Aikido July 2–13 (weekdays) 4:30–5:30 p.m. ¥29,400 Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

class focus CrossFit Created in 1995, CrossFit is a fitness regimen that focuses on improving stamina, strength and overall health to help the body to perform at its peak during life’s routines. The hour-long classes kick off with a warm-up and continue with a variety of high-intensity exercises that may include anything from squats to handstands. These Reebok-supported CrossFit sessions run every Monday (7–8 p.m.), Wednesday (6:45–7:45 a.m. and 7–8 p.m.) and Friday (6:45–7:45 a.m.). For more information, visit the Recreation Desk or the Health & Recreation section of the Club website.

Nicholas Pettas

The Instructor Only the second non-Japanese to complete the legendary Sosai Masutatsu Oyama’s 1,000-day Kyokushin karate training course, Nicholas Pettas has enjoyed much success throughout his nearly two-decade-long career as a fierce competitor in karate and the mixed martial arts sport of K-1. He has been teaching CrossFit at the Club since February.

David Fujii

The Student “CrossFit training has been a fantastic experience and everyone has shown immediate improvements in their core strength. Each training session is different, so there is no repetitiveness and your mind and body are being challenged every session.”

18 July 2012 iNTOUCH


Get Set to Swim Make the most of the Sky Pool this summer by joining one of the two-week swim programs. Through a program of six levels, children learn everything from basic water safety to stroke technique. Next sessions: July 2–12 and July 23–August 2 Sign up online or at the Sky Pool Office For more information, contact the Sky Pool Office at

Assortment of Sports

Getting Creative

Boredom-Busting Fun

The Club’s weekly sessions of high-energy fun, including soccer, basketball, gymnastics, badminton and hip-hop dance, give kids ages 6 through 12 the chance to play their favorite sports and try out new ones.

Established artist Sanae Takahata nurtures imaginative minds at this workshop that teaches kids about colors and shapes while showing them how to turn ideas into art with particular materials and tools.

It’s nonstop excitement this summer at Camp Discovery, the Club’s weeklong sessions of sports, crafts, music, games and field trips for ages 6 through 12.

Summer All-Star Sports Until August 17 (weekdays) 3:30–4:30 p.m. Gymnasium Members: ¥13,125 per weekly session Non-Members: ¥14,440 per weekly session Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Creative Kids Summer Art Class Session I: July 13–27 Session II: August 3–17 Every Friday Little Artist: 3:45–4:45 p.m. (¥9,450) Advanced Studio: 5–6:15 p.m. (¥10,395) Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk

Youngsters ages 3 through 5 can share in the summer camp merriment with Camp Discovery for Preschoolers. Camp Discovery Until August 17 (weekdays) ¥37,800 (¥34,650 for preschoolers) For more information, visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website or contact Reina Collins at

Summer Spa Special

For the next two months, for as many times as you want, receive 20 percent off any second treatment when you book two back-to-back pampering sessions—because sometimes one is just never enough. This promotion runs from July 1 to August 31.

Tel: 03-4588-0714


Fitness and well-being 19

Cutting Through the Nationalist Noise by Brian Publicover

Of the money raised by the Women’s Group each year, a portion goes to help one woman further her studies.


isun Park is clear about why she chose to study a long-running spat that is sometimes clouded by nationalist bravado and political rhetoric. “I really wanted to get down to the facts,” she says of the disagreement between Japan and Korea over a handful of tiny, Koreanadministered islets in the Sea of Japan. In Korea, where the islets are known as Dokdo, the territorial dispute has long stoked populist passions, perhaps more than in Japan, where the islands are known as Takeshima. But as a Korean PhD student, Park’s interest in the issue is remarkable because she is currently studying Japanese policy at the University of Tokyo, where she is supported by the Women’s Group. “This is my fifth year in Japan. I’ve already studied for a year as a research student and three years as a doctoral student. I became interested in Japan in university,” she says. “Before 1998, there weren’t any cultural exchanges between Korea and Japan. So I couldn’t connect with Japanese culture, other than through things such as animated films and music. I used to enjoy that.” The 31-year-old Seoul native has moved beyond Japan’s pop culture and is examining the intricacies of Japanese policymaking. Her time in Tokyo has also changed the way she views the Dokdo issue. “When I studied the case, I realized there was a lot of evidence that supported Japan’s [claim],” she says. Selected from 100 applicants, Park can continue to explore the topic after being awarded this year’s CWAJ-Women’s Group non-Japanese graduate scholarship, which was set up in 1989. The scholarship is worth ¥2 million. “Awards are based strictly on the candidates’ academic excellence, the quality and feasibility of their proposed study and their potential to contribute to society,” explains Jackye Lawless, the Women’s Group’s programs director. The College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) was established in 1949 by former American and Japanese students of Mount Holyoke College and Wellesley College in Massachusetts to help Japanese students attend universities in the United States. Since then, the group has extended its scholarship program to include different categories of recipient. “I barely knew about this organization when I applied,” says Park of the CWAJ. “But I found that there are many CWAJ activities, including initiatives to help earthquake victims, exchange programs and a range of activities for women. I was very impressed and I’m very honored to get this scholarship.” Women’s Group President Ginger Griggs says the Women’s Group and CWAJ share similar goals. “A key difference between the two organizations is the wide variety of activities the Women’s Group supports, compared to

20 July 2012 iNTOUCH

CWAJ’s very specific focus on scholarships for women. CWAJ’s focus has resulted in the development of a very rigorous selection process that the Women’s Group highly respects,” she says. “Capitalizing on that process via the Women’s Group’s funding of an annual CWAJ-TAC Women’s Group scholarship allows our two organizations to come together each year in support of a graduate-level education for an outstanding young international woman studying at a Japanese university.” The open-mindedness that Park has displayed in her study of a hot-button issue is likely what helps her thrive in a maledominated environment, where she is one of the only women in most of her classes at the university’s law and politics graduate school. She also shrugs off the fact that both her home country and Japan rank fairly low down in surveys of female representation in national parliaments. “Sure, I think there is a glass ceiling,” she says. “But right now, I am a student, so I don’t have many obstacles to face.” Even Park’s field of study sets her apart from many of her fellow scholarship recipients. “In general, it seems that more Asian students coming to Japan, especially for a master’s or a PhD, tend to be in the field of sciences, compared to liberal arts,” says Keiko Yoshimura, the CWAJ’s director of scholarship. As an undergraduate, Park earned a degree in English language and literature and politics and diplomacy at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, the world’s largest female educational institute. It was during this period that she developed a strong academic interest in the comparative politics of Japan and Korea and continued her studies. “I got interested in Japanese domestic politics and how they develop policies,” says Park, who completed her master’s thesis at Seoul National University on Japan’s postal privatization. “As an undergrad, I just wanted to know about the foreign policies of the Korean government and what happened in 1965, when they established diplomatic relations with Japan.” Given her intellectual curiosity, it is not surprising that Park wants to pursue a career in academia. “Eventually, I want to go back to Korea. I hope to get a job at Ewha Womans University,” she says. She says she’s also interested in helping other women. “The job of a professor is a good way to help people,” she explains. “I’m interested in political science and education. It’s good to help other younger people to develop their abilities. In Korea, many women do not continue their careers. So I want to let them know how attractive this field is because,

Kayo Yamawaki


Jisun Park

especially in political science, they don’t encourage women.” In many ways, Park represents perfectly the ideals of education, cross-cultural exchange and friendship that both the Women’s Group and CWAJ seek to promote. “On the one hand, by helping to correct many common misunderstandings that Korea and Japan have about each other and by fostering a mutual appreciation of each other’s political similarities and differences, Ms Park can support the process of building strong ties between the two countries,” Griggs says. “At the same time, by excelling in a field traditionally dominated by men, as a role model and mentor, Ms Park will serve as an inspiration to other young women—both Korean and Japanese—to broaden their horizons and follow their dreams.” o Publicover is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.

Women’s Group 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 Member Services Desk or Women’s Group Office. They can also be picked up at the class registration event on September 13. o

For more information, visit the Current Scholars page of the CWAJ website at

An interactive community 21

Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer by Nick Jones

Ahead of the London Olympics this month, Club Member and one-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Shuzo Matsuoka reflects on the highs and lows of his tennis career and how he discovered a life away from the game.


here was no makeshift court in the back garden, no relentless practice sessions as a toddler and no rigid roadmap to stardom, drawn up by a determined father. In fact, Shuzo Matsuoka’s journey to tennis success was far removed from the parentally stagemanaged trajectories of some young athletes. For starters, his father wasn’t particularly in favor of his son’s interest in tennis. “When I started playing tennis, he always told me, ‘You don’t have any talent. Just stop tennis.’ It was tough for me, but I was always winning junior tournaments,” Matsuoka says. Certainly, Isao Matsuoka could never have been accused of trying to live his own sporting dreams of playing on the international stage through his son. As a member of Japan’s 1956 Davis Cup tennis team, he’d already been there. He had just never told his children. “The first time I found out was when I was 11 or 12 years old. A [former] Davis Cup player, who was my father’s friend, told me: ‘Your father is pretty good [at tennis],’” Matsuoka says of learning about his dad’s esteemed tennis past. Dressed casually in a T-shirt and jeans and looking younger than his 44 years, a toned and tanned Matsuoka explains that his decision to take tennis more seriously was partly motivated by his dislike for another after-school sport. “From 10 years old, I started playing just tennis. I was trying to find an excuse not to do swimming,” he says, a smile breaking out across his face. “I really didn’t like it. It was so hard for me. Every time I went

22 July 2012 iNTOUCH

to the swimming pool after school, I said to my brother, ‘Why don’t we miss this train and take the next one?’” Quickly developing a passion for tennis, Matsuoka began to rack up victories. In many ways, he was a pioneer in the men’s game in Japan, becoming the first Japanese to win a tournament on the professional ATP tour, reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and break into the world’s top 100 of the men’s rankings. And despite retiring from the competitive game in 1998, Matsuoka’s records remained unbroken in Japan until just last year, when Kei Nishikori, at the age of 21, became Japan’s highest-ever ranked male player. Reaching the quarterfinals of this year’s Australian Open, the promising talent is now ranked 18th. While Matsuoka can claim to have had a hand in Nishikori’s success, having coached him at one of his tennis camps when Nishikori was 11, the mentor is quick to draw attention to his successor’s superior ability. “I always tried to [give] 100 percent…but I was too tight,” Matsuoka says. “Kei looks like he’s just playing for fun. It looks [effortless], but he’s always watching everything, which is very important if you want to be at the top.” Speaking candidly about his own skills on the court, Matsuoka admits that he always had to grapple and

Shuzo Matsuoka

Kayo Yamawaki


Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer 23

24 July 2012 iNTOUCH

IMG Japan

sweat for his memorable wins. He was also aware, he says, that his best was just never going to be good enough against some of the formidable power and flair he faced on the circuit. He is perhaps best known for his quarterfinal showdown with American Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 1995. Looking back on that momentous match on the perfectly manicured grass of Court No. 1, Matsuoka says that it’s difficult to believe that he was there. Matsuoka started well, taking the first set 7-6, before his top-seeded opponent wrestled control of the game and won the following three sets. “My tennis was 100 percent. His tennis was maybe 60 percent because he was nervous and maybe he didn’t play well that day,” Matsuoka says. “I was telling myself I could do it, but maybe…I didn’t believe in myself. That’s a great experience for me to teach juniors.” Although Matsuoka is frank about his playing ability, his groundbreaking accomplishments in Japanese tennis are considerable. And the beginning of his rise from a junior champ in Japan to an ATP tour pro can be attributed to a meeting in Tokyo with an Australian coach by the name of Bob Brett, who urged Matsuoka to move to the United States. At 17, he entered the Palmer Tennis Academy in Florida, joining young players from all over the world. Matsuoka says he has no doubt that the challenges of that time molded him as a player. “My game was completely different [after attending the academy],” he says. “I used to play Japanese tennis, which is waiting for opponents to make a mistake. Every time I hit the ball I looked at the coach. I wasn’t playing for myself. But over there, I could do anything I wanted. They didn’t give me so much advice, so I had to find things myself, which is pretty tough for Japanese. It changed my attitude. I found my game and my personality.” Turning professional in 1986, Matsuoka’s goal was to be ranked in the top 100 players. “[Bob] said to me, ‘Shuzo, if you try so hard for five years, you have a chance to be in the top 100…maybe,’” recalls Matsuoka. Unperturbed, he embraced the allconsuming life of a tennis pro. He says he loved traveling from one tournament to the next for 10 months of the year. His climb up the rankings, punctuated by a notable triumph over Sampras in the 1991 Canada Masters, culminated in his first—and only— ATP tournament win. “I was very happy because that was in

FEATURE opinion is that cramp is not an injury,” he says. “It means you’re not training enough. I think players now, even if they’re not cramping, start calling the trainer and stop the game too much. That’s why I don’t agree with the rule.” It’s an opinion shared by a number of players and former pros on the subject of medical timeouts. The issue also reflects how the game has changed since Matsuoka packed away his racket for the last time. “It is much tougher now,” he says. “If I played now, I don’t think I could be in the top 100. Everybody is faster and nobody goes to the net. Their returns and reactions are more like [those of] athletes. I don’t think I would win more than two games against [Rafael] Nadal.” Realizing that he no longer had the hunger to play, Matsuoka decided to retire. His final outing was, perhaps fittingly, at the Japan Open in 1998. And since then, unlike his compatriot Kimiko Date-Krumm, he has felt no urge to rejoin the tour. “I have never felt like playing tennis myself since I stopped 14 years ago—not even one time,” the father of three says. “I wanted to teach, not play myself.” Aside from coaching juniors through his annual “Shuzo Challenge” tennis camp, he works as a television sportscaster, renowned for his impassioned commentary. “I have a bigger talent for what I’m doing right now than playing tennis,” he says. “My destiny is to encourage people.” It’s this belief that drives Matsuoka to produce his somewhat tongue-in-cheek motivational videos for his website. Meanwhile, his TV work allows him

to find out what inspirits athletes. Of the dozens of sportsmen and sportswomen he has interviewed over the years, he cites swimming’s multiple Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima as particularly inspirational. “He is the most mentally strong [athlete I’ve met],” Matsuoka says. “I asked him once, ‘How does it feel to [compete in] the Olympics?’ He said, ‘I feel like if I lost, I couldn’t come back to Japan.’” That encounter left the interviewer in tears. Set to host TV Asahi’s coverage of the Olympic Games from London this month, Matsuoka says he’s excited about reporting on the fortunes of Japan’s athletes. Although he lost each time in the first round, he represented his country at three Olympics (1988, 1992 and 1996). “At that time, everyone was thinking that grand slams were more important, but the Olympics are completely different,” he says. “You’re in the village and it’s so intense. For me, I just enjoyed it. I have a kind of Olympic soul.” In Beijing, four years ago, Japan finished the games in eighth place with 25 medals, including nine gold. Although the likes of the nation’s swimmers and gymnasts are expected to do well in Britain, replicating previous Olympic success could be difficult. “It’s going to be tough, especially if I compare with Athens,” Matsuoka says. “We got 16 gold then.” One thing’s for sure, though, Japan’s athletes can expect a pumped-up Matsuoka urging them on from the sidelines. o Shuzo Matsuoka

Jiji Press

Asia. I loved to travel in Asia, especially in Korea. Every match, I felt like I was Korean because they supported me a lot. It was like I was playing at home,” he says of that victory in Seoul in 1992. That same year, he reached his careerhigh ranking of 46. But shortly afterwards, a viral infection cut his season short. Injury, too, hampered his progress at times. “I always had a problem with my knee. I never felt 100 percent, even now, and I always had to put 80 percent of my weight on my left knee. I couldn’t bend deeply, particularly for a low backhand,” he says. “I had to change my game and finish [matches] quicker because otherwise I would get cramp from only using my left leg.” In 1995, at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, spectators witnessed a disturbing scene that led to a change in the rules of tennis. On a punishingly hot day, Matsuoka faced the Czech Republic’s Petr Korda in the first round. Battling though a series of tight tiebreakers, Matsuoka was leading. Suddenly, he fell to the ground clutching his legs. His face contorted in pain, he writhed and screamed. But since he would have forfeited the match had he asked for help, all that his trainer, officials and fans could do was watch. Finally, Matsuoka forfeited the match for delaying it, but the incident resulted in a rule change that allowed players to receive treatment for cramp in the same way that they would for an injury. In 2010, the law was amended to let players receive treatment under set conditions. Matsuoka believes the rule should never have been changed in the first place. “My

Matsuoka interviewing Kosuke Kitajima

Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer 25

Olympic moment: When Hicham El Guerrouj won the 5000 meters and 1500 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Although a seven-time world champion and world-record holder for the mile, 1500 meters and 2000 meters, he had never won an Olympic gold until Athens. Spanish athletes to watch: Rafael Nadal’s defense of his tennis gold medal.

Olympic moment: The ice hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics, when the US team (made up of college kids) beat the seemingly invincible Soviet juggernaut 4-3 and went on to win the gold medal. Austrian athletes to watch: Judoka Ludwig Paischer and world champions Viktoria Schwarz and Yvonne Schuring in the sprint canoeing. Dieter Haberl

Olympic moment: In 2008, I lived in Beijing and the most memorable moment was the opening ceremony. Russian athletes to watch: Pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and gymnast Aliya Mustafina. Andrei Soroka

NORWAY Olympic moment: Carlos Lopes’ gold in the men’s marathon in 1984. The celebrations in Portugal were unforgettable. His record stood until 2008. Portuguese athletes to watch: European champion Telma Monteiro in the women’s judo competition. Tiago Rodrigues


James Knott

Olympic moment: Swimmer Michael Phelps winning the 100-meter butterfly by 1/100th of a second in Beijing. American athletes to watch: Desiree Davila, the marathoner who came in second in the 2011 Boston Marathon.


Olympic moment: Usain Bolt’s contagious energy, broad smile and celebratory style, when he won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay in Beijing. Brazilian athletes to watch: César Cielo, the sprint swimmer who currently holds the 100-meter and 50-meter freestyle world records.

Olympic moment: Romanian Nadia Comăneci’s perfect gymnastics routine at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Colombian athletes to watch: Triple jumper Catherine Ibargüen.

26 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Olympic moment: The thrill of the opening ceremony, the anticipation at the start of the men’s 100-meter final and the elation on the faces of winning athletes. South African athletes to watch: 800meter runner Caster Semenya. After all the adversity she has encountered, I hope she has the Olympic success she deserves.


Shelley De Villiers


Juan Pablo Campos


London Calling

Susan Griffen

Frederico Monteiro


Olympic moment: Steve Redgrave’s fifth successive rowing gold medal in Sydney in 2000. British athletes to watch: Swimmer Hannah Miley in the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley and the men’s team pursuit cyclists.


Olympic moment: The 1968 Mexico City Olympics, when Tanzanian runner John Ahkwari finished the marathon last, with a bandaged and bloodied right leg, as the stadium was emptying and it was getting dark. Danish athletes to watch: Badminton’s mixed doubles team of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christina Pedersen. Christian Andersen



Olympic moment: Greeting my father’s cousin Pål Tyldum at the finish line when he won the 50-kilometer cross-country skiing gold medal at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics. Norwegian athletes to watch: Rower Oaf Tufte and javelin double Olympic gold medalist Andreas Thorkildsen. Svein Tyldum

César García


Olympic moment: Watching the soccer final between Spain and Cameroon at the Sydney Olympic Stadium in 2000. Cameroon won the gold medal after a penalty shootout. Mexican athletes to watch: Paola Espinosa, Mexico’s leading diver. Ernesto Abedum de Lima


FEATURE Olympic moment: Ron Delany’s gold in the 1500 meters at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Also, John Treacy’s marathon silver in LA (1984) and Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe’s golds in the 800 meters and 1500 meters in Moscow (1980). Irish athletes to watch: World lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor. Patrick Hogan


Olympic moment: Usain Bolt winning in Beijing. French athletes to watch: Heavyweight judoka Teddy Riner, backstroke swimmer Camille Lacourt and freestyle rising stars Yannick Agnel and Camille Muffat. François Maury

Krishna Iyer

Olympic moment: The soccer finals. German athletes to watch: The athletes in the team competitions.

Yuuichiro Nakajima



With the Summer Olympic Games set to kick off in London this month, a selection of sports-loving Members offer their favorite Olympic memories and respective countries’ medal prospects.

Olympic moment: The men’s 100-meter final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Chinese athletes to watch: Liu Xiang in the 110-meter hurdles. Jay Wang

Olympic moment: At the 1996 Olympics, Muhammad Ali was given a replacement medal for the 1960 medal he lost. In 1988, Ariane Cerdeña won the Philippines’ firstever Olympic gold in the demonstration sport of bowling. Filipino athletes to watch: Roberto Miguel Jalnaiz in boxing, triathlete Gabriel Allen Santiago and Irene Therese Bermejo in taekwondo.


CHINA Olympic moment: The bronze medals of Jordanians Samer Kamal and Ihsan Abu Sheikha in taekwondo—a demonstration sport at the time—at the 1988 Seoul Games. Jordanian athletes to watch: Nadin Dawani, Mohammad Abu Libdeh and Dana Touran in taekwondo.

Olympic Coverage Catch all the athletic action from London on the screens in Traders’ Bar.

Siegfred Penaverde


Olympic moment: The 1968 Mexico City Olympics, when Japan’s men’s soccer team won the bronze medal. Will Japan repeat or better this feat in London? I wouldn’t rule it out. Japanese athletes to watch in London: The men’s and women’s soccer teams and Hiroshi Hoketsu, the septuagenarian dressage rider.


Sven Stein

Olympic moment: American Carl Lewis’ dash in 1984’s 4x100-meter relay, which set a new Olympic record and equaled Jesse Owens’ record of four gold medals at an Olympics. Indian athletes to watch in London: Saina Nehwal in the women’s badminton competition.

Tarek Daoud


Olympic moment: The opening ceremony. Thai athletes to watch: Thailand’s boxers. Supot Katetopragran

Olympic moment: The women’s singles badminton final in 1992. Susi Susanti beat the top seed from South Korea, Bang Soo Hyun. The country seemed to pause that day, as everyone watched the match on TV. Indonesian athletes to watch: Athens gold medalist Taufik Hidayat should be fun to watch in the badminton. Stephanus Kurniadi

THAILAND Olympic moment: In Mexico City in 1968, Tanzania’s John Akhwari dislocated his knee but still finished the marathon. When asked why he hadn’t quit, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me to finish it.” Australian athletes to watch: Marathoner Jessica Trengove, who made an amazing debut in Nagoya this year. Jon Sparks



Japan’s Tennis Trailblazer 27


or decades in Japan, work has been about sacrifice. As the country’s workers toiled to rebuild the economy after the war, they were expected to put the company first. In return, they were guaranteed a job for life and financial security. That was until the wheels started to come off the economic juggernaut in the early 1990s. Despite official statistics that declare that Japanese clock up fewer working hours than their American counterparts, it’s well known that unpaid overtime continues to be an integral part of corporate life in Japan. And it’s this often punishing regimen of long hours and few holidays (the average worker took fewer than half of his annual paid vacation days in 2010, according to government figures) that is having a number of unhealthy consequences. With one of the highest suicide rates in the world and karoshi, or death by overwork, a recognized cause of death, Japan, many doctors and mental health experts believe, should reevaluate its attitude toward work. Ichiyo Matsuzaki is a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Tsukuba. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to assess the mental state of Japan’s workforce. Excerpts:

iNTOUCH: How would you describe work conditions in Japan? Matsuzaki: The economy has been bad for the last 10 years, but the [unemployment] number is not so high compared with other countries. But many people have committed suicide [during this time], with about 30,000 suicides a year. That’s about 84 a day [in Japan]. The rate first jumped in 1998, five years after Japan’s economic bubble burst. Since then, it has continued to be over 30,000 a year. iNTOUCH: How serious a problem is work-related stress in Japan? Matsuzaki: The Japanese government says the main factors related to stress are overwork and human relations. Japanese have a tendency to work [long hours], so overwork is a big problem. The Labor Standards Act in Japan, compared to [similar laws] in EU countries, is very, very strict [on overtime], but companies don’t 28 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Workplace Woes

really comply with it. Even though it’s a national law, people devote themselves to the company. iNTOUCH: Are you saying companies don’t comply with the act or workers don’t comply? Matsuzaki: Both. On the surface, companies are complying. But if workers work overtime, they don’t declare it [for fear] they won’t be promoted. The problem is to do with [job] mobility. In Japan, the labor market is so rigid; we don’t change jobs. iNTOUCH: Is the problem of overwork worse in Japan than elsewhere? Matsuzaki: Actually, recently, the [labor standards] inspection offices make inspections frequently, so unpaid overtime has decreased for the last six or seven years. But people still hide their unpaid overtime. Recently, inspectors

have been checking PC log-in and logout times [of workers]. iNTOUCH: So is the government getting tougher on this issue? Matsuzaki: On the surface. They say, “We inspected but workers and companies hid [the unpaid overtime].” iNTOUCH: Why don’t officials want to crack down on the problem? Matsuzaki: Because the [overtime] restrictions [hinder] the productivity of companies, especially when the economy is not so good. In the US and Europe, compliance is [better] and the penalties [for noncompliance] are [stiffer]. iNTOUCH: How much of the problem is down to workers themselves? Matsuzaki: The main [problem in Japan] is that workers don’t claim overtime. It’s


Ichiyo Matsuzaki

about communitarianism and Japan as a mura, or village, society. In this case, the company is the village, and for Japanese people the village is more important than the individual. In [psychologist Abraham] Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the third level is love and belonging. For Japanese people, this belonging is very, very important. The fourth level is about esteem and includes the respect of others. Working long [hours] is [regarded as] a good thing and [earns] this respect of others in Japan. iNTOUCH: Do Japanese understand the health dangers of overwork? Matsuzaki: I often educate [workers] about the dangers of overwork and stress. They listen to me and tell me they understand, but they think devotion to the company is more important than themselves. The official figure for work-related suicides in 2010 was 170. That’s very, very low. iNTOUCH: Of the approximately 30,000

suicides in Japan each year then, what percentage would you attribute to overwork and work-related stress? Matsuzaki: Around 30 percent. But recently things are changing. Younger workers in their 20s are not devoting themselves to their companies and are claiming [overtime pay] and refusing to do unpaid work. Most companies are surprised at this change. These younger workers think that the individual and the family are more important than the company. iNTOUCH: Is karoshi unique to Japan? Matsuzaki: Karoshi is [more common] in developing countries, where people have to work hard to eat and survive, and Japan, while the [incident rate] is low in the US and Europe. iNTOUCH: Is the work culture changing in Japan?

Matsuzaki: Forty or 50 years ago, the Japanese economy was growing and [that growth] depended on workers’ devotion to their companies. But recently young people focus on their own happiness and satisfaction. I explained to the vice president of [a large Japanese advertising company] that since mental disorder prevention is a problem in Japanese companies, he should do a prevention program. He asked me not to teach the program because [he thought] productivity would [decline]. I think I should try and change this philosophy. iNTOUCH: What is the reaction of companies to your efforts? Matsuzaki: Unions welcome me but executives don’t like it. And corporate managers welcome me because they don’t know about mental health management methods. Many executives understand the situation but they believe that selfless devotion to the company is much more important than [dealing with] stress. o Member insights on Japan 29

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

Art-mura by Erika Woodward As history has it, Vincent van Gogh experienced bouts of mania long before he cut off his ear. Still, more than a century after his death, the legendary artist thought to have had bipolar disorder is celebrated the world over for his bold paintings. The Art-mura project is a chance to ensure that the creative talents of other artists with similar challenges are not wasted, either. The provocative and inspiring exhibition, launched at the Frederick Harris Gallery this month, showcases the works of 10 Japanese artists with learning disabilities. The show comes from the Art Village Project, run by the job agency Pasona, with the goal of helping people who have difficulty securing traditional employment earn money by making and selling art. The chair of the Frederick Harris Gallery Committee, Yumiko Sai, first discovered the project about three years ago. “I visited Pasona’s headquarters on business and found interesting and attractive artworks by these artists displayed in the office,” she says. “Upon moving to the new Azabudai building, the committee set one of our new missions to focus on discovering hidden talents by offering exhibition opportunities at the Fred Harris Gallery. The committee agreed to invite them to [the gallery] as the quality of their artworks fits this purpose.” Since launching in 1992, Art-mura has offered courses for free in painting, pottery and other skills to more than 100 budding artists. It has also planned myriad public exhibitions, some at its own atelier. This month’s show is Art-mura’s first at the Club and Sai says it is not to be missed. “I was inspired by their artworks, which I felt were created being driven by their instincts and concentration,” she says.


July 30–August 26

Gallery Reception

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

30 July 2012 iNTOUCH


Exhibitions of Art 31

yokoso Itay & Jana Tuchman United States—Citigroup

Shigeyuki & Yuko Morioka Japan—EST International

William Van Alstine & Toshiko Onuma United States—Deutsche Securities, Inc.

Benjamin & Yoko Simons United Kingdom—ICAP Totan Securities Co., Ltd.

Nobuaki Inomata Japan—JP Morgan Asset Management (Japan) Ltd.

Jonathan Breaden & Soni Pope United Kingdom—BGC Capital Markets (Japan) LLC

Corinne Johnson United States—McKinsey & Company, Inc., Japan

Christopher & Annette Waterman United Kingdom—Chartis Far East Holdings K.K.

Aston & Mayumi Bridgman United Kingdom—Deutsche Securities, Inc.

Alan Cannon & Fuyumi Kitakado United States—Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Stefan & Satomi Jakobsen Denmark—Coloplast K.K.

Akifumi Baba Japan—Accenture Japan Ltd.

Holger & Martina Klein Germany—Draeger Medical Japan Ltd.

Theodore Paradise & Reiko Goto United States—Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Thomas Moffat & Edwina King Australia—CBRE K.K.

Michael Savage United States—Toys “R” Us-Japan, Ltd.

Andrew & Kayo Hurfurt United Kingdom—CBRE K.K.

Tomohiro & Hirono Ishikawa Japan—Deutsche Securities, Inc. Carter Burns United States—Deutsche Securities, Inc. Michael & Dinasha Cellura United States—Ace Insurance Company Graeme Preston United Kingdom—Herbert Smith

sayonara Cecil & Ligia Holstein Aidan Kidney & Maeve Kelly Martin & Junko Le Tissier Lee Merchant & Stephanie Marie Stroup Sean & Julie Murphy Joshua Robert & Heidi Lynn Nelson Andrew & Lota Nemec

Ali & Gloria Bahaj Guy & Keiko Cihi Frank Clark III & Kumi Clark Wolfgang Dietrich Patrick & Silvia Floody Eugene & Barbara Gregor Akira & Kimiko Hara

Leslie & Monica Patterson Scott Roman & Daniela Camacho Abi Sekimitsu Iwan & Marleen Tamm Cody Walsh

Stacks of Services at the Club

JTB Sunrise Tours



André Bernard Beauty Salon

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

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

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)

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.

32 July 2012 iNTOUCH



of the month

Seo Ochi by Nick Jones


tability, experts agree, is key to a child’s development. Obviously, none of them have met Seo Ochi, whose childhood was marked by a seeming inability to stay in one place for long. And while she had her fair share of challenges along the way, Ochi’s years of school hopping between Japan and the United States hold good memories for her. “The grass is always greener” is how the 23-year-old describes the motivating force to constantly move on. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, when her father was studying for an MBA, Ochi’s next stop was the Alaskan wilderness after her mother secured a job teaching Japanese

there for a year. Although the family returned to their home in Saitama, Ochi felt the urge to head abroad when her elder sister moved to the US for high school. So, at 8 years old and unable to speak English, she kissed goodbye to her mother at Anchorage Airport and flew almost 700 kilometers west to Kasigluk, a settlement of around 550 people in the desolate tundra. “It was very tearful,” she says of that emotional farewell. “I still feel funny when I think about it.” Attending the local elementary school for six months, May’s Employee of the Month says her recollections of that time are of playing in the snow, slipping on the ice and

New Member Profile

Jason & Amy Young United States—Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim Co., Ltd.

Why did you decide to join the Club?

slumber parties. Returning to Japan, she traveled back across the Pacific just a year or two later. Joining her sister at school in a tiny, rural community in eastern Oregon, Ochi stayed for two and a half years. Stints at schools in Saitama, Tokyo and Oregon followed, before she entered Waseda University in 2007. Naturally, the course included a year in the US. Shortly after graduating last year, she started at the Club, where she works as an administrative assistant in the Management Office. She describes the job as a “perfect fit” for her skills—honed over many years in small town America and big city Japan. o

New Member Profile Keiichi & Nana Kawabata Japan—Novellus Japan G.K.

Why did you decide to join the Club?

“Living in Tokyo has far exceeded our expectations so far and what better way to maximize our experience than with a TAC membership? Living as expats in Germany for the past few years has taught us that friends become family when living so far away from home. We have heard nothing but great things about the Club, and we are excited to be Members and look forward to building lasting friendships and taking advantage of the fantastic facilities and programs that TAC has to offer.”

“We fell in love with life in the United States after living there for over eight years until 2003. Even after returning to Japan, we have always pursued some kind of American atmosphere in our lives. This year, some of my son’s friends introduced him to the Club. I heard this and thought that now was the perfect opportunity to be a part of an American environment in the middle of Tokyo. As a family, we are looking forward to enjoying the events, Fitness Center, Sky Pool and other facilities and creating new friendships with other Members.”

(l–r) Amy, Landon, Jason and Sasha Young

(l–r) Nana, Keiichi and Hisaaki Kawabata

Services and benefits for Members 33

Evolving Attitudes to Art by Erika Woodward

With modern art slowly gaining a wider audience in Japan, one Club Member is doing her part to help grow interest in contemporary works.


welve years ago, straying from the genteel galleries in the storied coastal city of Hoi An, in central Vietnam, Member Karen Thomas stumbled on an oil painting on cardboard in a cozy backstreet shop. Without hesitation, she snapped it up for $500. “It wasn’t what everybody else was looking at. It was really just hiding somewhere off the beaten path,” says Thomas of the cubist-style painting of entwined bodies she found on that Women’s Group trip to Vietnam. Thomas says it was money well spent, regardless of whether or not critics agree that the famous artist Bui Chi painted that portrait she gifted her husband. “It was really an emotional piece that showed a love and bond and I was really drawn to it,” the American says. It’s this philosophy that inspires Thomas’ selections as owner of Toriizaka Art, a salon-style gallery of contemporary Vietnamese art she opened in 2006 in her home in Hiroo. “I had been [to Vietnam] and saw all these artists and I saw that for the most part they weren’t being represented on the world stage,” she says, citing a few Vietnamese art galleries in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore as exceptions. So, about five years later, the telecommunications expert returned with a plan. “I didn’t even have a business card at that point, but I went up to the [gallery] owners and said, ‘I’m planning to have a gallery in Tokyo. I’d like to buy a number of pieces to do a first show there and I’d like them at a discount’….I was lucky enough that people trusted me.”

34 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Having built relationships on her myriad trips to Vietnam since, Thomas, 54, deals directly with artists to ensure the authenticity of each work. On a Tuesday afternoon in May, starting in the foyer, she shows off the collection she initially funded with $100,000 of her savings. From the kitchen to the living room, stretching down the hall to the master bedroom and just about everywhere the eye settles, vibrant oil and lacquer paintings hang on almost every wall. “You do this much art this close together and you are just trying to make sure you don’t have too many clashes,” says the selftaught curator with a laugh. The mother of four boys sells about 200 paintings a year from her home gallery she modeled after a favorite art spot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More than half of her customers are foreigners or live overseas—a reality of selling contemporary art in a city where most collectors won’t buy it. Compared to other world-class art hubs, such as New York, London and Paris, the market for contemporary art in Tokyo is onehundredth of the size, according to a 2008 Bloomberg Businessweek magazine article. While there’s tremendous art appreciation here, it’s difficult to arouse interest in more modern, avant-garde pieces. “Whereas an Asian art hub like Hong Kong can boast a truly cosmopolitan milieu, Tokyo can often seem positively provincial….In Tokyo’s Ginza district, where the city’s fine art galleries have traditionally congregated, there is still a conspicuous bias towards more traditional Japanese arts and crafts,” wrote art critic David Wee in the May issue of Leap international art magazine.

Karen Thomas

In order to sell her paintings, which range in price from $2,000 to $17,500, Thomas restretches and reframes each canvas by hand or has a professional do it. “Japan is a very high quality, perfectionist market. The way [paintings] were framed in Vietnam simply would not cut the mustard here,” she says. Enjoying her most profitable years before the global financial crisis, Thomas says her latest challenge is convincing consumers living in a traditionally collective-minded and brand-conscious society to spend money on art widely viewed by their peers as less prestigious.

Kayo Yamawaki


“It takes a little bit of a unique, independent personality to buy a piece of [contemporary] art,” she says. “Many Japanese historically have wanted somebody else to kind of vet, somebody else to say that this is of value. If it’s at Sotheby’s or Christie’s and it’s a Monet or it’s a Picasso, that’s a certain kind of a statement, right?” Celebrated contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, 50, says it’s this attitude toward art in Japan that drove him to leave Tokyo and make a name for himself in New York. “The art scene [in Japan] existed only as a shallow appropriation of Western trends, or an artificial construction of self-

contained hierarchies, unable to support an artist’s career over many years,” he writes on his website. “I realized this when I was a student and stopped operating within the Japanese art market altogether, investing my energies instead into promoting my works overseas.” However, recent years have seen a push to promote contemporary artists from within. In 2008, Tokyo’s first international contemporary art-only event, Tokyo 101, lured hundreds of visitors. Supporting artists locally, Murakami hosts a contemporary art fair biannually in Japan. Thomas says she’s optimistic that more

people will learn to appreciate art as a feelgood asset rather than a prestige-driven investment. “I have seen with my clients, people who just absolutely, genuinely are willing to do what I’ll say is take a risk, go for something they absolutely have fallen in love with, and I have to say it’s wonderful for me to see,” she says. “Art doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be matchy, matchy. It’s just about what makes you feel good and reflect.” o Toriizaka Art

A look at culture and society 35

Discovering Niseko’s Summer Side by Catherine Shaw

Well known for its outstanding powder and top-class skiing, Niseko has plenty to offer during the summer months, too.


Ninety minutes from Haneda Airport to New Chitose Airport. Then travel by either train (2 hours, 30 minutes to Kutchan Station, transferring at Otaru Station) or car (2 hours, 20 minutes via Route 276). Hilton Niseko Village Niseko Adventure Center Niseko Sky Sports Club (Japanese only)

36 July 2012 iNTOUCH

Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel

t is hard to believe that just 20 years ago Niseko was a relatively unknown Hokkaido village of dairy and vegetable farmers. Its transformation into one of the world’s leading ski destinations is thanks to a few intrepid Australians who were enamored by its incredible piste potential and friendly local community in the late 1980s. Niseko has come a long way since then and without losing any of its original charm. Instead of resting on its well-earned laurels as a winter wonderland par excellence, it is fast developing a name for itself as a summer getaway, complete with a tantalizing portfolio of all-season activities, both sedate and adventurous. The first sport to emerge as the ski season ends is whitewater rafting. The Shiribetsu River swells dramatically with snowmelt, guaranteeing white-knuckle rides along its pristine icy waters. There are courses for different levels of expertise, including beginners, but for the adventurous the river offers the opportunity to indulge in grades four and

Gallery Doumu Milk Kobo Niseko Resort Tourist Association Niseko Tourism Niseko Discovery Holidays Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel


five rafting experiences (grade six is extreme white water). Niseko Adventure Center, the first outdoor activity company in the area, specializes in river trips and half-day tours that travel about 10 kilometers downstream. Today, there are several other companies offering a wide range of adventure sports and excursions for all ages, including indoor rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, trekking and paragliding. Soaring on thermals can be an exhilarating way to take in the spectacular topography that includes the peaks of Mount Annupuri and Mount Yotei. And instead of having to drive or hike to a launch point, paragliding in Niseko can be accessed by gondola. The stunning natural landscape provides a unique setting for enjoying Japan’s most popular fine-weather activity: golf. The area’s pièce de résistance is the 18-hole, par-72 Niseko Golf Course, designed by international golfing legend Arnold Palmer. The course, with its sweeping views of Mount Yotei, is considered one of the most difficult courses in this part of Hokkaido and features well-placed bunkers and stunning rolling fairways. Nearby, the Niseko Village Golf Course is set within the stunning forest at the base of the ski resort, one of Hokkaido’s most panoramic mountain landscapes. The 18-hole, par-73 course features top-notch facilities, a challenging layout, perfectly manicured greens, with fairways separated by white birch and larch trees, and one of the few par-6 holes in the world. For beginners, Hilton Niseko Village’s driving range and two practice holes offer a stress-free opportunity to practice before hitting

Hilton Niseko Village

Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel


the course. The 506-room hotel is at the epicenter of a plethora of family-friendly, outdoor activities, including 23 tennis courts and horseback riding. Pure is Niseko Village’s outdoor center and its tree trekking is a huge draw. This forest adventure features ladders, wooden bridges and walkways between trees and zip lines. There is a simple route for beginners or smaller children and a second, more challenging one for older or more adventurous trekkers. Another popular feature is Pure Action, a huge inflatable assault course of climbing walls, swings, a trampoline and a high wire for children and adults. Together with such activities as horse riding, rafting, paragliding, hot-air ballooning, mountain biking, volleyball, hiking, badminton and golf, Niseko Village has plenty to keep everyone entertained. The more culturally inclined are catered to as well, with classes on everything from Japanese tea ceremony and taiko drumming to cooking and pottery. Alternatively, join renowned local glass artist Tsuneo Kitajima to design and make your own glassware pattern at Glass Gallery Doumu. Despite Niseko’s transformation, the local population remains predominately focused on farming. The region is justifiably famous for its delicious carrots, asparagus and potatoes, while a visit to Milk Kobo, a farming cooperative known for its milky ice cream and creamy cheesecakes, is a must. o Shaw is a Hong Kong-based freelance journalist.

Explorations beyond the Club 37

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

Still Jammin’ for Japan April 27

Following the success of last year’s Jammin’ for Japan fundraiser for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake, the Club hosted another evening of music and merriment. More than 160 partygoers enjoyed an eclectic lineup of entertainment that included opera, blues, gospel, jazz, Japanese folk and the avant-garde creations of top fashion designer Junko Koshino. Turn to page 40 for the list of the evening’s supporters.


Photos by Yuuki Ide

1. (l–r) Christa Wallington, Miki Ohyama, Mariko and Shunichiro Sato and Barbara Hancock 2. (l–r) Chika Tajika, Haruno Akiyama, Mako Hattori and Setsuko Shimamura 3. (l–r) Sandeep and Mayuki Mand, Grace Sekimitsu and Fumiko Ryu 4. Sai Yan-guang 5. Izumi Morikawa 6. Junko Koshino 7. Jett Edwards (left) 8. J’Elvis 9. (l–r) Ana Freire, Marcos Turini, Cristina and Svein Tyldum, Christine Elliot Hernandez and Sandra Donoso 10. Bill Steber and Steve Gardner 11. Back row (l–r): Grace Sekimitsu, Fumiko Ryu and Junko Thomas; front row (l–r): Setsuko Shimamura, Chika Tajika, Haruno Akiyama and JoAnn Yoneyama 12. Sai Yan-guang


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Snapshots from Club occasions 39

A Big Thanks The organizers of this year’s Still Jammin’ for Japan fundraising event would like to thank the following supporters for their help in making the evening a huge success.


Delta Air Lines Eastern Carpets Hilton Worldwide Conrad Tokyo

Hilton Tokyo Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton Naha

Kenmei Real Estate K.K. K Koubou Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo United Airlines

PATRONS Asian Tigers Premier Worldwide Movers Co., Ltd. Louis Vuitton Japan

Mashiko potters Yoshinori Hagiwara, Kiyoshi Hara, Yumiko Horinaka, Ken Matsuzaki, Osamu Matsuzaki, Toru Matsuzaki, Toru Murasawa, Tadahito Okada, Hitoshi Otsuka, Kazuhiro Otsuka, Masayoshi Otsuka, Toya Sakuma

Nakamura Jico Co., Ltd. Osada Seishisho Co. Riedel Japan

SUPPORTERS adidas Japan K.K. Alaffia Japan, Inc. AquaAlpine Hotel - Cezars International Asahi-Ecocarry, Inc. Carmela Ben Shitrit Angelika Chaudhry Cheeky Leopard Del Benson, The Photographer Carolyn Dong Estée Lauder K.K. Foreign Buyers’ Club Fukushima-Garo Garden Clinic Hiroo General Motors Japan Ltd. Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hakkaisan Brewery Co., Ltd. Noboru Hikosaka Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hyatt Regency Osaka

40 July 2012 iNTOUCH

I Can Gymnastics M. Ishii & Sons The Japan Times Jeroboam K.K. JTB Global Marketing & Travel, Inc. Kanoa Pure Silver Kashmirian Trading Co. Kia Heiberg Kimono Wine and Grill Meat Guy - TMG International Y.K. Microscooters Japan Mugen Nissan Motor Company Co., Ltd. Nissin World Delicatessen John Ken Nuzzo Roni Ohara Orca International Pacific Island Club, Guam Pacific Island Club, Saipan

The Peninsula Tokyo Diane Rakocy Reebok Japan The Ritz-Carlton Osaka Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel Masae Shibamura The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo Tokyo American Club Tomon K.K. Toriizaka Art Toys “R” Us - Japan Ltd. Tumi, Inc. Unique Japan Villa Nirwana Village Cellars Ltd. Warner Entertainment Japan, Inc. WDI Japan The Windsor Hotels International


Mother’s Day Grand Buffet May 13

Almost 570 people paid homage to moms everywhere by treating their own family matriarchs to an exquisite feast of comfort cuisine and sweet treats. Photos by Ken Katsurayama

1. Back row (l–r): Lori, Taylor, Joshua and Robert France; front row: Olivia and Evan France 2. (l–r) Andrew, Anna and Naoko Collier



Snapshots from Club occasions 41

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

A Taste of Hokkaido May 11

Welcomed to the 39th floor dining spot by a breathtaking view over Tokyo, Members enjoyed mouthwatering bounty from Japan’s northern island and good company at the eponymously named restaurant Hokkaido in Ebisu. Photo supplied by Sandra Isaka

Back row (l-r): Chie Ikeya, Leslie Wakabayashi and Sandra Isaka Front row (l-r): Asao Wilson, Catherine Allan, Ery Blackstone and Liana Nobleza

Mount Nokogiri Hiking Tour May 14

A band of intrepid Women’s Group tour travelers hopped on the ropeway to the top of Mount Nokogiri in Chiba Prefecture for panoramic views of Japan’s coastline, a mesmerizing stroll through a sprawling Buddhist site and a picnic lunch and beers overlooking the sea. Photo supplied by Heidi Sanford (l–r) Sandra Isaka, Ed Holdaway, Elaine Williams, Ann Marie Skalecki, Alaine Lee, Annette Beiderwieden, Kathryn Temple, Diane Bohm, Nicki Titze, Cheryl White, Miranda Remie, Muriel Stoll, Kathryn Wright, Lily van Bunnik, Deb Wenig, Gunil Kim, Caron Ngan Nakano, Nancy Davis and Rosemary Hyson

Nagatoro and Shibazakura Tour April 24

With sunshine on their shoulders, Members traveled to the charming Saitama Prefecture town of Nagatoro for a spectacular boat ride on the Arakawa River, before admiring a breathtaking carpet of blooms in Hitsujiyama Park on this Women’s Group tour. Photo by Heidi Sanford

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Fitness Biathlon March 3

Flaunting their staying power through back-to-back sessions on the treadmill and indoor bike totaling six kilometers, Susan Griffen and Tiziano Russolo sweated their way to victory in less than 24 minutes.


1. Susan Griffen 2. Tiziano Russolo


Fun Bowl May 16

Wrapping up their spirited season, t he Ladies’ Bowling League indulged in a little lighthearted bowling at the Bowling Center before sitting down to an awards luncheon.


1. (l–r) Yukiko Kambe, Jeanne Noble, Whitney Helwick, Karen Helbock, Shari Vallier, Julie Murphy, Crystal Goodfliesh, Cheri Loeber, Robin Bradley, Nora Marks and Minori Kanai 2. (l–r) Crystal Goodfliesh, Cheri Loeber and Robin Bradley 2

Snapshots from Club occasions 43

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


nformation, support, motivation, stabilization: the four stages of recovery from a disaster. Of course, not everyone reacts to a calamity in the same way, but after the events of March 11 last year, I looked at other societies affected by disaster and discovered that the four stages pretty much hold true everywhere. The first two are the obvious responses in the first week or so. People then look for

after the earthquake (people were keen to experience some fun again). Or why sales of luxury watches, pearls and quality decorative items ballooned in the second half of the year (people invested in objects that held long-term value and implied a safe future). Naturally, each person behaves differently. While Fukushima, recurring tremors and predictions of the next Tokyo “Big One” still fill the news, so do stories

A Little Truth about Recovery by Dave McCaughan

motivators to help them cope before trying to create a sense of stability. And so, at the beginning of this year, we heard a lot of businesspeople talking about the need to “move on.” But how do people really react to such catastrophes? Since March 2011, my colleagues and I have carried out five rounds of national research (“Fukkatsu: Japan Rebuilds”) to understand how stable people are feeling. Our analysis helped us understand, for example, why cinema attendances reached unusual heights in the month

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of how people have recovered, coped and moved on (or not), illustrating the range of ways in which people are dealing with life more than a year on. In our most recent national survey of people’s reactions to recovery and their expectations for the future, we found the following six distinct profiles of behavior. Which one do you think best applies to you? Self-Protectors (19 percent of respondents) are still very much taking action to make their lives healthy, safe and sustainable. They are focused more

on personal and family issues than public ones and tend to seek out advice through various media. Not surprisingly, they tend to be parents of young families or 30-something singles living alone. Insecure Searchers (19 percent) feel the most anxious about the current situation and the future, but they don’t tend to take action in proportion to their anxiety. While they look out for information, leaving the TV on and checking rumors on social media sites, they appear frozen. They are rich in information and concern but unsure about what to do. Optimistic Believers (21 percent) want to believe that the future is bright and avoid disturbing information. They follow government and community disaster guidelines and tend to watch the most TV, accepting the official version of events. Evenly split across the age groups, Optimistic Believers are slightly higher in income level. Logical Idealists (18 percent) care about longer-term issues, such as society, government and the environment. They like to think they make decisions based on reasoning and an analysis of a broad range of media. They are more likely to be older, in their 50s or 60s, or executives and have a higher-than-normal income level. Gently Resigned (15 percent) really just want the freedom to enjoy life and not take things too seriously. Often worrying about a new disaster, they make decisions based on living life to the fullest. They tend to be older men from lower-income groups. Socially Indifferent (8 percent) appear rather disinterested in everything, from social and government issues to relationships and marriage. Interestingly, they do portray some self-protective traits and talk about the need to save money and spend to ensure their security. Since they are usually under 35, they tend to have lower incomes. So, whichever group you think you belong to, you’re not alone. We just look for stability in different ways. o Club Member McCaughan is director of strategic planning with the advertising agency McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific.


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Let the Games Begin

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Tennis star Shuzo Matsuoka and other Club Members look ahead to the London Olympics Issue 567 • July 2012

Independence Day

The Club hosts a day of revelry for America’s birthday

Northern Pursuits

Summer activities abound in the winter paradise of Niseko

Dying to Work

One Member assesses the mental state of Japan’s workforce

iNTOUCH July 2012