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iNTOUCH TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
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Football fever erupts at the Club ahead of the start of the World Cup in South Africa
Issue 543 • June 2010
Raising a Racket
A glimpse at the verdant flourishes in Azabudai
A Nobel Prize winner spreads his passion for physics
Young Club athletes find victory on the squash courts
recreation Raised among gangsters, Shoko Tendo talks about her turbulent journey into single motherhood and her newest memoir, a follow-up to the acclaimed bestseller Yakuza Moon.
Samurai Soccer As the world breaks out in football fervor, Club Member and sports magazine publisher Toshi Takeya chats about Japan’s quest for glory at the World Cup.
out & about
7 Management 8 Food & Beverage 12 Library
16 Video Library
The sleepy fishing port of Yunotsu in Shimane Prefecture lets travelers step back through time as they take in its once-flourishing silver mines and curative onsen waters.
World Cup Warriors
There’s Silver in Them Thar Hills
24 Women's Group 28 Feature 34 Genkan Gallery
36 Talking Heads 38 Redevelopment
While the Club’s diverse nationalities clash over who will conquer the soccer field this month during the world’s most widely watched display of athletic grit and grandeur, two prominent coaches mull over Japan’s World Cup prospects in South Africa.
40 Member Services 46 Inside Japan 48 Out & About 50 Event Roundup 56 Tokyo Moments
Editor Nick Jones
To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara: firstname.lastname@example.org 03-4588-0976
Designers Ryan Mundt Jasmine Lai
For Membership information, contact Mari Hori: email@example.com 03-4588-0687 Tokyo American Club 4–25–46 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108–0074
Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki Assistant Editor Wendi Hailey Design Assistant Miki Amano Communications Manager Matthew Roberts
Cover photo by Ross Martens (www.secretagentmartens.com)
Management Michael Bumgardner General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director email@example.com
Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Joseph Administrative Services Director email@example.com
Lian Chang Information Technology Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director email@example.com
Darryl Dudley Engineering Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Marlay Food & Beverage Director email@example.com
Alistair Gough Redevelopment Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Yahiro Recreation Director email@example.com
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail American Room
Banquet Sales and Reservations
Food & Beverage Office
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2 June 2010 iNTOUCH
When Japan’s national soccer coach, Takeshi Okada, announced a target of the semifinals for his side at this year’s World Cup in South Africa, the pronouncement was met with a mix of raised eyebrows and mocking guffaws in the media. In fact, journalists like nothing better than this kind of seemingly unrealistic declaration. It’s an immediate headline generator and automatically will be placed in any related stories right up to and during the tournament. The “target” is also an easy-to-measure yardstick by which to judge any coach or sports body chief. If Okada had opted for a more humble objective, for example, columnists would have pounced with questions about why a more ambitious target wasn’t being set. In soccer, however, few matches on the big stage go according to plan. Oppositions are underestimated, strategies fall apart or relatively obscure athletes put on game- (and career-) changing performances. If this wasn’t the case, then millions of casual fans and loyal followers wouldn’t eagerly soak up the on-field action. Just look at how the crowds thinned when Michael Schumacher drove to a record seven championships and the sport of Formula One into a state of torpor. Simply, sport is—or at least should be—subject to the same unpredictability and range of human frailties as every other area of life. While some may scoff at the fantastical goal of Okada (who, along with former national coach Philippe Troussier, talks about Japan’s chances of success in South Africa in this month’s cover story, “World Cup Warriors”), they would find it worth their while delving into soccer’s past a little. How many foresaw minnows Greece taking home the European Championship trophy in 2004? And two years before that, who predicted an unknown South Korean side would knock out European heavyweights on the way to the semifinals of the World Cup? Okada is right to dream. After all, long shots occasionally stand on the podium, too.
contributors Andy Sharp
Hailing from a dairy farming village in northern England, Andy Sharp moved to Japan more than 10 years ago to teach English to children. Since then, he has worked at a robot manufacturing company in the hills of Hiroshima, attempted to sell semiconductor materials to Germans far smarter than himself and localized Japanese video games for Western markets. A former Daily Yomiuri staff writer, Sharp is a freelance writer and translator and co-author of Tokyo: The Complete Residents’ Guide. For this month’s cover story, he speaks to past and present coaches of Japan’s national soccer team to get their thoughts on the prospects of the Samurai Blue at the World Cup in South Africa, which kicks off on June 11. Canadian freelance journalist Tim Hornyak’s writings on Japanese culture, technology and history have appeared in a number of publications, including Wired News, Scientific American and the Far Eastern Economic Review. The author of Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots, which was selected as one of the top 10 science books of 2006 by Amazon.com, Hornyak returned to his native Montreal in 2008 after almost a decade in Japan. Having traveled to all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, he contributes to Lonely Planet guidebooks. In this month’s Out & About, he stumbles upon a tucked-away World Heritage site in Shimane. When not immersing himself in the sci-tech scene, he enjoys hiking and cross-country skiing.
www.tokyoamericanclub.org For the latest Club news, schedule of events, class registration and more, check out the Tokyo American Club website. And remember, you can read this month’s iNTOUCH there, as well as previous issues, too. Words from the editor 3
1 What’s happening in
Toddler Time The Library hosts a free, weekly session of fun activities for preschoolers every Tuesday this month (except June 29). 4:30 p.m. Library. No sign-up necessary.
Parent-Child Book Group Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts is the topic of this fun, family chat. 4 p.m. See page 14 for more.
New Moms and Babies Get-Together Qualified nurse Ann Tanaka explains the ins and outs of the first years of motherhood at this informative Women’s Group session. 3:45–5:15 p.m. ¥2,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
4 June 2010 iNTOUCH
A Taste of Cloudy Bay Try the Club’s most popular wine at this casual tasting in Vineyards, including a show-stopping Sauvignon Blanc from the acclaimed New Zealand label. 6 p.m. ¥1,000. Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk.
Ella Baché Beauty Seminar The beauty pros at Ella Baché reveal the secrets to a radiant complexion that defies age during a special two-hour seminar at The Spa. Flip to page 22 for more.
A World of Baron Philippe de Rothschild The renowned Bordeaux wine house shares its classic French styles and international stunners during an enlightening evening in Vineyards. Learn more about the global gems on page 8.
Balancing Body and Soul Extended sessions of Iyengar Yoga keep Members in perfect harmony all summer long. Every Monday. Details on page 23.
Special General Meeting Members are encouraged to attend this meeting to vote on several proposed cost-cutting initiatives and other actions to improve the Club’s bottom line. 7 p.m. New York Suite.
Father’s Day Buffet Dads get something to celebrate with a hearty spread of Father’s Day food for brunch and dinner. Reserve at 03-4588-0977.
School’s Out Kids fill their summer days with fun-packed activities and games at the Club’s Camp Adventure. Flip to page 23 for more on the weekly sessions.
Lose that Last Inch Boring exercise routines get a boost with free 30-minute workouts at the Fitness Center every Thursday and Saturday this month. More on page 23.
Handmade for Dad With Father’s Day just around the corner, kids design the perfect present—a personalized baseball cap—for their dads during this fun-filled workshop. 1:30 p.m. Get the details on page 23.
Soccer Spectacle Traders’ Bar has the World Cup covered. Grab a few friends, order up a cold one and cheer your country to victory during a month of soccer madness. Through July 12. Read up on the tournament on pages 28 to 33.
Coffee Connections Meet new people and learn about the Women’s Group at this revamped, relaxed gathering. 10:30 a.m. Banquet Rooms. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare.
Open Mic Night The Club’s moonlighting songsters take the stage during this entertaining night of tunes at Traders’ Bar. Check out page 18 for the details.
Fun in the Sun Welcome the arrival of summer with an afternoon of waterbased activities and pool-party vibes for the whole family. 2 p.m. For more, turn to page 23.
Mary Ann’s Sunday Crafts and Storytime This delightful workshop of activities and fantastical tales takes on a special Father’s Day theme. 10 a.m. Learn more on page 14.
Beer Tasting The Wine Committee shuns the grape this month for some first-class microbrew beers from the United States. 7 p.m. Learn more about these artisan ales on page 9.
Artist’s Reception A gorgeous compilation of Kamakura prints by Noboru Hikosaka goes on display in the Genkan Gallery during this relaxed opening. 6:30 p.m. Find out more about the colorful works on page 34.
Coming up in
Independence Day at the Club Celebrate “Lady Liberty” and the Club’s heritage with a full day of patriotic merriment. For details on the Fourth of July events, turn to page 19.
Bad Parking Day
Noteworthy dates for the month 5
Board of Governors Lance E Lee (2010)—President Amane Nakashima (2011)—Vice President Jerry Rosenberg (2011)—Vice President Rod Nussbaum (2010)—Treasurer Norman J Green (2011)—Secretary
by Lance E Lee
Tim Griffen (2010), William Ireton (2010), Hiroyuki Kamano (2010), Per Knudsen (2010), Jeff McNeill (2011), Brian Nelson (2010), Rod Nussbaum (2010), Mary Saphin (2011), Dan Stakoe (2011), Dan Thomas (2010), Deborah Wenig (2011), Ira Wolf (2011), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2010), Barbara Hancock—Women’s Group President
nother summer vacation is upon us and Tokyo’s expat community is about to experience its annual exodus. If the months ahead are not filled with travel plans or visits back home for you, the Club offers an array of programs and activities, besides enjoying the Pool or soaking up the sun on the deck. For our younger Members, the Recreation Department has organized another summer of fun. Camp Adventure, our popular day-camp program for 6- to 12-year-olds, allows kids to enjoy sessions of art, music and games, as well as field trips, under the supervision of trained college students from the United States. Ask at the Recreation Services Desk to find out more. But that’s not all. There are many more summer programs, from camps for toddlers to aikido for kids, that allow energetic youngsters to learn something in a fun environment and make new friends. And, at the same time, you get to relax by the Pool or enjoy a lazy lunch with friends in Vineyards. Visit the Club website to learn about what’s on offer. For my sons (three young adults and one teenager), the summer represents a change of pace and a time to focus on interests and activities that they may not have had the time to do during the rest of the year. It is also a time for them to unwind and take a break from their school responsibilities. But I believe that there are certain things that can be done over the two- or three-month-long vacation that can enhance their holidays and make their summer activities more productive.
The first is helping around the house. As a parent and husband, I do my best to lend a hand with the chores. My sons, too, from an early age have shared in the daily housework or household tasks. I also urge them to do a little bit extra, without being asked. Personally, cleaning and organizing things around the house gives me an instant sense of accomplishment and gratification. I think that my sons experience similar benefits, although they might not immediately realize it! If you are not on the road this summer, have your child work a seasonal job. My sons work regularly as instructors in my company’s gymnastics program, so our summer day camps keep them occupied throughout the school vacation. I think any form of work teaches children the value of money, both in terms of what is required to earn it and how it needs to be managed. Fortunately for me, I also get the opportunity to spend even more time with my sons. I hope you are enjoying the summer and, if you’re staying in Tokyo, I look forward to seeing you around the Club. o
6 June 2010 iNTOUCH
by Wendi Hailey
With the frame of the building in place, the construction crew has turned its attention to the window installation using an unusual technique. “We call it the ‘sashless’ method,” says site manager Ryota Sekiguchi. “We are installing the glass directly onto the concrete surface. It demands a very high level of precision.” The end of May saw a project milestone reached. “The erection of the pool roof steel is kind of a main event of the entire construction,” he says. Excavation work near the Russian Embassy was completed down to the B2 level. Inside, interior scaffolding for the ceiling is being erected carefully around the current profusion of well holes in the floors, while finishing work moves above ground. o To learn about the Club’s lush green touches that will be planted from next month, turn to page 38.
Financial Future by Michael Bumgardner Michael Bumgardner General Manager
he current global economic climate continues to provide challenges for all our Members and their companies. The Club, too, has not remained unaffected. Your Board of Governors, committees and management, therefore, have been working hard at controlling costs and seeking new ways to improve the value of your Membership. One small example of this is the recent decision to combine the annual Employee Recognition Day party with the staff end-of-year bonenkai. Since the Club is usually closed for an entire day in August to allow for the staff appreciation party, this year Members will be able to enjoy an additional day by the Pool or relaxing around the Club. By combining these two events, we will be able to retain a valuable staff motivation tool while reducing costs. This year’s joint event will be held on December 26 in the Takanawa Club. You may also have noticed that the opening hours of Vineyards have been changed to allow the Club to make the best use of its resources. The casual wine and coffee spot is now open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The ongoing economic conditions have also led to some rumors about the financial status of the Club that I would like to set straight. First, the new Azabudai Club will be completed and opened as scheduled, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for January 18. The
funding for the new facility was put in place several years ago through a bond issuance and the proceeds of this will be used to make the remaining payments to the contractors. Since our operational cash flow is running ahead of our 2010 budget (submitted in October last year), there are no immediate concerns with the Club’s fiscal situation. However, as I mentioned, the Club has not been immune to the financial downturn. Currently, we have fewer Members than we projected when the design of the new facility was originally put in place. Consequently, the Board, relevant committees and management are looking at a variety of potential initiatives to ensure that the Club retains a healthy cash flow during these uncertain economic times. These ideas will be shared with the Membership as and when they are finalized. As for upcoming events at the Club, it’s not too early to mark your calendars for our annual Independence Day celebrations on July 4. Once again, this year promises to be a fun affair with activities and tasty treats for the whole family. We look forward to seeing you at our final July Fourth festivities in Takanawa. o Turn to page 19 to find out more about what the Club has lined up for Independence Day.
Executive remarks 7
Worldly Wines by Wendi Hailey
aron Philippe de Rothschild represents the epitome of classic French wine. But as the wine world swiftly evolves, the illustrious Bordeaux wine house has reached far beyond the edges of its châteaux to add modern flair to its repertoire. “Wine has now become a universal and global business,” says Anthony Gourmel, the label’s export director for Asia. “To me, the terms ‘New World’ or ‘Old World’ are then no more appropriate.” Indeed, ever-growing expanses of land are planting wine-worthy grapes, cases are passed around the globe and more people are developing an affinity for the good stuff. And so, deigning the location debate antiquated, Rothschild has snapped up promising vineyards in California and Chile, as well as France, to produce ambrosial styles of wines at relatively low costs. “These three areas were chosen for their unique potential,” says the 33-year-old Parisian, who will share a diverse selection from Rothschild’s wine portfolio, including a breathtaking 1999 Château Mouton Rothschild, with Members this month. “Concentrating on making these wines the best in their categories is what we aim to do rather than expanding in other markets, even though the possibilities are, of course, numerous.” The family, famed for its European banking empire and expansive fortune, has been making wine in Bordeaux since one enterprising relative purchased a then-mediocre winery in 1853 and rechristened it Château Mouton Rothschild. With an appetite for adventure, 20year-old racecar driver and playwright Baron Philippe de Rothschild took over those vineyards in 1922. After bottling his first vintage at the château, he established the popular Mouton Cadet brand a decade later, acquired another premier parcel on the Pauillac appellation in the Médoc shortly thereafter and helped cultivate the Rothschild name into a symbol of drinkable magnificence. Mouton Cadet was the first Bordeaux blend to reach the restaurants and wine shops of China, where the nouveau riche are devouring prestigious labels by the caseload, and remains the top-selling French wine there. Capitalizing on its success, the brand will soon open its first-ever wine bar in the southern city of Guangzhou. Using its “technical know-how from Bordeaux,” Rothschild has broadened its appeal to gratify varying tastes and budgets outside of France. In Chile’s Maipo Valley, it has partnered with Viña Concha y
8 June 2010 iNTOUCH
Toro, one of the country’s top wineries, to produce small quantities of luxurious-tasting, single-vineyard wines under the 14-year-old Almaviva label. Rothschild has blazed paths in California, too, where it established the premium Opus One label with the late Robert Mondavi 30 years ago. The blended wine was tied to location instead of grape, a method that has long been used in the US as an easy cue for casual drinkers. Now, a growing number of American winemakers have embraced the non-varietal designations in order to blend more liberally, as many European labels do. (Labeling a wine by the grape requires each bottle to contain at least three-quarters of a single varietal.) “As far as Baron Philippe de Rothschild is concerned,” says Gourmel, “the art of blending is definitely our identity.” Experience for yourself a window into Rothschild’s spectrum of blended beauties from around the globe during this palatable evening at the Club. ®
A World of Baron Philippe de Rothschild Friday, June 4 7 p.m. Vineyards ¥15,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
FOOD & BEVERAGE
he Wine Committee turns its attention to beer this month. And it’s about time. Microbreweries and craft beer took off in the United States in the mid-1980s, with now such familiar names as Samuel Adams, Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada leading the way. Craft beer producers continue to grow, with cities like Portland and San Diego well known for their brewpubs. In Japan, however, the stranglehold of the big four beer producers wasn’t broken until 1994, when new laws reduced the legal minimum beer production from 2,000 kiloliters to 60 kiloliters. The craft beer industry slowly began to develop and now there are more than 100 producers here. Consequently, interest in craft beer from overseas has also grown. American Andrew Balmuth noticed this piquing interest in small, local producers from Europe, but realized that American brewers had very little exposure in Japan. In 2004, he set up Nagano Trading to rectify the situation and now imports beers from the likes of Stone Brewery, Bear Republic Brewing and Great Divide Brewing. “The importing and distribution of
American craft beer from the West Coast was pioneering,” says Balmuth, “and the hoppy beer styles, large noses and full flavors have opened beer drinkers’ minds to new possibilities.” At this month’s special tasting, Members will enjoy a range of flavorpacked beers, including Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA, Coronado Idiot IPA and Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale. Not for the faint of heart, these brews will likely affect the way you view craft beers in general. After the tasting, there will more time to savor these beers, for as the old Czech maxim goes, “A fine beer may be judged with just one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” ®
Hot Days and
Cold IPAs by Mark Baxter
Baxter is chair of the Wine Committee.
Beer Tasting Wednesday, June 16 7 p.m. Banquet Rooms ¥6,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
Wines of the Month Red Nederburg Pinotage 2008, Western Cape, South Africa A well-balanced vintage with rich fruit flavors, soft tannins, aromas of plum, cherry and slight oak spices and a lingering finish. Try this red from South Africa’s most awarded winery with pasta, pizza, lamb or even chocolate.
White Nederburg Chardonnay 2009, Western Cape, South Africa Situated in the Paarl wine region, Nederburg has been producing fine wines, such as this crisp, creamy-textured and apricot-flavored specimen, for more than 200 years. Complements beautifully any seafood, poultry or veal dish.
Bottle: ¥4,000 Glass: ¥800
Club wining and dining
The Place to Party With an array of customizable packages of flavor-packed fare and atmosphere to suit every taste, the Club is your perfect party planner.
The Not-So-Small Party Plan
The American Room rolls out the red carpet for a glamorous evening of cuisine and premium vintages worthy of Hollywood’s most illustrious glitterati. If you’re seeking a little luxury, indulge in multicourse food affairs paired with enticing varietals, recreate the full experience of one of our Decadent Dinners or host a private wine dinner spotlighting the winery, region or grape of your choice. Whether savoring contemporary stunners or American classics like sizzling steak, an experienced sommelier is always nearby to guide wine selections and help craft an unparalleled dining experience. With plenty of space and no room fee, the stylish venue is ideal for formal corporate events, seasonal parties and wedding receptions. Contact 03-4588-0675 or email@example.com to plan a celebration to rival Tinseltown’s finest.
An ordinary meal is transformed into an unforgettable occasion at Vineyards. Three set dinner courses of seasonal dishes perfect for sharing are available (along with optional beverage menus) for parties of six to 14. Simply select a package, then sit back and enjoy the cozy setting and attentive service. Room fees are waived on small-party bookings, plus guests receive a complimentary welcome glass of sparkling wine. Upon request, a sommelier will expertly match the meal with a selection of top-notch wines. Who needs an excuse to celebrate? To effortlessly up the atmosphere of any intimate gathering, contact 03-4588-0978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 June 2010 iNTOUCH
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Birthday Bashes with a Difference
Experience TAC Banqueting
Make your child’s next birthday one to remember with a themed celebration and kid-friendly feast at the Club. Fueled by cake and other birthday favorites, a range of fun options will keep little partygoers happy and entertained, from high-energy games to activities designed to extend imaginations. Call 03-4588-0977 to arrange for a room and a fantastic menu that will cap off your child’s one-of-a-kind birthday experience.
Make your next party at the Club a Mexican-inspired fiesta grande to savor with a mouthwatering buffet of Americaninfused South-of-the-Border dishes likes sizzling fajitas and sweet Mexican flan. Anniversary, birthday or company get-together, the Club’s banqueting pros promise to add a little spice to any occasion through a healthy and hearty spread of flavorsome cuisine complemented by such Mexican liquid delights as margaritas and Corona beer. But if you would prefer to travel to another exotic locale for your bash, talk to our Banquet Sales and Reservations team about our California- and New Orleans-inspired party packages. Call 03-4588-0977 now to start planning your unforgettable fiesta.
Club wining and dining 11
Celestial Journey by Brett Bull
1 June 2010 iNTOUCH
he occasional flash of an elaborate tattoo from under the cuff of her long shirtsleeve is the only hint of Shoko Tendo’s tumultuous past. With her reserved demeanor and sharp, cosmetically enhanced features framed by straight brown hair, the 42-year-old author offers no other obvious traces of a history mixed up with drugs and yakuza gangsters. The daughter of a former mobster, Tendo isn’t shy about revealing the striking artwork that covers her pencil-thin frame. In fact, the tattoo of a courtesan with a dagger between her teeth that fills her back is emblazoned across the jacket of her book Yakuza Moon. “In public, people don’t see tattoos,” says the soft-spoken Tendo, sitting in a coffee shop in Ikebukuro on a rainy, late-winter day. “They disapprove. But when I was growing up, I saw my father and people around him with tattoos. It was close at hand, and I thought, ‘That’s me.’” Following on from her gritty, hugely popular memoir, Yakuza Moon, Tendo’s latest book, Full Moon Baby, released in December, is another journey of selfdiscovery. Only this time, the challenges of being a single mother in Japan are the source of much of the despair. “There’s a difference between being a single mom and not married and a single mom and divorced,” says the Osaka native. “If a woman has not been married, the baby is
37. (Tendo is now estranged from the father of her daughter, a photographer with whom she had a complicated relationship.) While highlighting the stigma attached to single parents in Japan through her encounters in such innocuous places as the hospital and ward office, Full Moon Baby is light reading compared with her previous book, which has sold more than 100,000 copies since its release in 2004. Yakuza Moon, which has since been translated into more than a dozen languages, is a frank description of a brutal youth in which Tendo was bullied for her family’s yakuza connections. Drifting toward society’s fringes, she spent eight months in a reformatory after assaulting someone while high on paint thinner. Later, as her family fell deeper into debt, so Tendo descended into a dark world of drugs, abusive gangster boyfriends and, by the age of 20, hostess work. After being beaten and raped by an ex-boyfriend, she moved to Tokyo, where she found work in a pachinko parlor. The death of her mother, however, sent her into a deep depression and she attempted to take her own life. “I wrote that book by facing my past,” she says. “It made me remember those days. That wasn’t something that was easy to face up to. I had no problems writing about myself, but it was most difficult to write
The author of Yakuza Moon, Shoko Tendo, talks about dealing with her harrowing past and the struggles of single motherhood. considered illegitimate. This gives a negative image of a hidden past. In foreign countries, this is not an unusual situation. I wrote this book to change that dark image that is held by society in Japan.” The 166-page book is an earnest account of her more than decade-long celibacy, until her “last chance” to have a baby, at the age of
about my family.” Tendo’s full-body tattoos, a notorious symbol of Japan’s criminal underworld, have accumulated over the years as a means for her to acknowledge her history. After her father died of stomach cancer when she was 29, she became inspired to change her life. Divorced and working as
a hostess again, this time in Tokyo’s sleazy entertainment district of Kabukicho, she devoted herself to the job and opened her first bank account at the age of 30. Her last day as a hostess was marked by the appearance of a full moon, which, says Tendo, in its waxing and waning reflects her life’s highs and lows. Yet, in spite of her turbulent early years, she doesn’t view her yakuza ties negatively. “I have accepted where I came from without hesitation or doubt,” she says. “I have never questioned it.” Typically, Japan’s organized crime gangs don’t look upon revelations about their secretive dealings favorably, but Yakuza Moon isn’t about the inner workings of the yakuza. “In books or movies, there is a hero,” she says. “In my book, there is no good yakuza. After its release, I got a letter from a yakuza group saying that it depicted their life accurately and that they were happy about it.” Frequently visiting her family’s grave in Sugamo, Tokyo, she says she offers thanks to her parents for looking after her and prays for the well-being of her daughter and her work as a writer (her next project is a novel about a woman who grows up in a gang). Before his death, Tendo’s father penned a letter to his daughter. “Shoko, please continue to believe in yourself,” he wrote. But the struggle to remain upbeat and confident is a daily one that is often chronicled on her blog. She later writes that it is common for journalists to want to explore her past, which conjures up memories of her emotional and financial difficulties when she first arrived in Tokyo. “This is something that has bothered me for a long time,” she notes. “But today I realized that this is a part of me that has made me strong. It is because of those hard times that I am who I am today.” ® Bull is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Yakuza Moon is available in the Library. Shoko Tendo http://shoko-tendo.com
Literary gems at the Library 1
Collection Construction by Michelle Arnot
s the Club’s literary hub, the Library is a repository of 25,000 adult and children’s titles. But how does it keep its collection current and balanced?
Since the Library isn’t ever-expanding, how does it accommodate the influx of books? During the year, librarians and the committee weed out titles that haven’t been checked out in five years. These are sold via the free book exchange outside the Library or at the Women’s Group’s annual Nearly New Sale. How does the committee select books? The committee refers to industry publications and other review sources. Our suppliers, Baker and Taylor and Amazon, also recommend titles. Does each committee member have an order quota? Yes, each member is assigned genres and orders up to eight books per meeting. Is there a monthly quota for each genre? Yes, of sorts, although sometimes the committee focuses on one section. Recently, there has been a push to refresh the children’s section. How many people sit on the Library Committee? Six American and five European women. (Since four members will soon
How many books are ordered each month? Nearly 100. New York Times bestsellers are ordered automatically. In addition, Library Committee members each make orders and take requests from Members. (l–r) Kimberly Fiorello, Christine Beed, Susan Millington, Emma Sanekata, Denise Hersey, Melanie Chetley, Sophie Narayan, Michelle Arnot, Katherine Forelle and Elena Connery (not pictured: Carine Luis)
step down, we are actively recruiting for men and Japanese members. Please get in touch.) What are their responsibilities? To attend a minimum of four of the eight annual meetings, submit book orders and complete iNTOUCH assignments. Some members also help to organize book groups and events. How do committee responsibilities overlap with librarian duties? The committee, whose main function is choosing new titles, and the librarians, who place orders, process books and tackle day-to-day issues, all work toward the same goal: to make the Library a great place to visit and find the latest hot reads. ® Arnot is chair of the Library Committee.
s’ n a i r a r Lib C o rn e r a preview of what’s on for the Club’s inquiring minds
Picks and Pieces by Dan Cherubin
If you didn’t get to the Library fast enough to grab the latest bestseller, why not digest some old classics? Try these links for a spot of literary time travel: Stump the Bookseller Loved a certain book ages ago but can’t quite remember the title or author? Or
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maybe you just want to find a copy to buy. This website will help you track down some of those more obscure titles, although I also recommend picking the brains of the Club’s librarians! www.loganberrybooks.com/stump.html Shelf Renewal Two librarians reflect on forgotten reading pleasures. Their “Dusty Book” entries can spark a lot of rereading. www.libraryjournal.com/blog/ 1760000776.html
Mary Ann’s Sunday Crafts and Storytime The Library’s Mary Ann Tiu Yamashita hosts a Father’s Daythemed workshop of creative crafts and delightful tales for kids. Sunday, June 13 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30–3 p.m. Library ¥840 Sign up at the Library
Parent-Child Book Group Young book fans and their moms and dads discuss Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts at this lively gathering. Sunday, June 6 4–5:30 p.m. General Manager’s Meeting Room Free No sign-up necessary
reads The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo A look at the controversial life of fashion icon Coco Chanel, the brilliantly passionate, strong-willed designer who popularized trousers for women and pioneered the trend for practical yet stylish clothes. A captivating and inspiring read. (ES)
Akihabara: Tokyo Realtime by White Rabbit Press Ever visited Akihabara but felt that you were missing out on something? Then grab this audio guide, the accompanying map and prepare to take a unique tour of Tokyo’s mecca for electronics, video games, anime and all things otaku. Also available for Kabukicho. (CM)
Dreambook by Mark di Suvero
Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
A beautifully illustrated book featuring more than 200 images of abstract expressionist sculptor di Suvero’s most important works. The book also contains words from the artist, as well as from those who have been inspired by his stunning masterpieces. (ES)
In New Delhi, Vicky Rai is killed at a party to celebrate his acquittal of a particularly vicious murder that he probably committed. The Delhi police have six possible suspects. A fun Indian whodunit that lampoons Agatha Christie. (KF)
Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell
The Secrets of Noh Masks by Michishige Udaka
A fascinating, pertinent analysis of how some intellectual ideas play out in the real world. Besides illustrating how disastrous some of these theories turn out to be, Sowell’s book shows how many intellectuals, journalists, teachers and politicians continue to push the same bad ideas. Intellect is obviously not wisdom. (KFi)
A leading Noh actor and producer, Udaka is known for handcrafting his own masks for each performance. This book presents 32 of his more than 200 seemingly lifeless masks, which are capable of evoking an unexpected depth of emotion. (CM)
Reviews compiled by Library Committee members Emma Sanekata, Kimberly Fiorello and Katherine Forelle and librarian Charles Morris.
member’s choice Member: James Latimer Title: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
What’s the book about? A world history, told with crystalline clarity, about salt, the only rock that we eat. What links Roman colonialism, the birth of chemistry, Tabasco sauce, early Chinese drilling, nuclear waste disposal, Parma ham and ketchup? You got it: salt.
What did you like about it? The breadth of topics covered is exhilarating. A dry subject made tasty through culinary, cultural, historical and social observation. The book is peppered with anecdotes and spiced with recipes from the ages. Plus, I learned the root of two favorite words: salsa and salary!
Why did you choose it? A friend recommended it.
What other books would you recommend? Kurlansky’s Cod is a natural companion to Salt. In a different vein, Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver and Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, an unusual take on Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the English Reformation.
Literary gems at the Library 15
Scenes Worth Savoring
ood is central to our daily lives, yet movies often devote relatively little time to the act of eating. Aside from the occasional interrupted restaurant dinner or coffee shop scene, characters are rarely seen pondering how they’re possibly going to forge a meal from half an onion and some leftover mincemeat, or delicately slicing a clove of garlic with a razorblade (see 1990’s Goodfellas).
But when food or cooking becomes more than a prop or means of moving a story along, it can delight the senses and invoke a glutton’s yearning in any audience, even if the treat is nothing more than an innocuous-looking Wonka Bar. So in an epicurean, cinematic showdown, which film food scene would reap the most Michelin stars? ®
“For my money, the 1996 film Big Night is one long drool. Two immigrant brothers in a nondescript New Jersey town struggle to bring real Italian cuisine to an unappreciative local population (“I need a side of spaghetti.”). In order to save their business, Primo (the perfectionist chef) and Secondo (the smooth maitre d’) plan to risk it all on one big throw: a Big Night. The centerpiece of the meal is a timpano, a huge, pielike dish filled with almost every Italian delicacy you can imagine. Watch them cut it and weep. And if you thought omelets have no soul, wait for the last few minutes of the film.”
“My favorite food scene is during the opening credits of Ang Lee’s 1994 classic Eat Drink Man Woman. A widower and master chef, who lives with his three unmarried daughters, is losing his sense of taste. Every Sunday, the daughters dine with their father. For almost four minutes, we watch in close-up as Chu slices, fillets, deep-fries and steams the ingredients, including a fresh fish and a chicken from the backyard. The face and hands of actor Sihung Lung are never in the same shot, and I understand it’s a real chef doing the cooking. I always lick my lips as I watch this scene, and it has given me a greater appreciation for Taiwanese cuisine.”
“My most recent saliva-inducing film scene takes place in It’s Complicated. Jane (Meryl Streep) and Adam (Steve Martin) have been at a party where they have over-imbibed. Driven by redeyed hunger, they go to Jane’s bakery-restaurant, where she offers to make him anything he wants. Adam chooses chocolate croissant, and they spend mirthful hours making them from scratch. The measuring, kneading and careful hand-rolling of sweet chocolate into the middle serves as a wonderful metaphor for how a lasting love is made. Who doesn’t hunger for this kind of love?”
Most saliva-inducing food scene: Big Night
Most saliva-inducing food scene: Eat Drink Man Woman
Most saliva-inducing food scene: It’s Complicated
Club critic: Nick Johnson
Club critic: Sara Sakamoto
Club critic: James Latimer
All titles mentioned are either available in the Video Library or on order.
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VIDEO LIBRARY He is Club President Lance E Lee. She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the Video Library.
HE SAYS, SHE SAYS abort
A refreshing and humorous romantic comedy, with a great cast (Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are really good). It is nice to see Hollywood’s older generation playing parts usually performed by young actors, although the movie features some new faces, too.
give it a go
Meryl Streep is stunning in her role as Jane, a divorced business owner and mother of three grown children, who ends up in an affair with her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), while attending their son’s college graduation. Writer-director Nancy Meyer creates an affable comedy that doesn’t pander to the youth market.
Although some of the acting from the all-star cast is poor and the story predictable, this movie had me laughing a lot. The connection between the actors is well produced and the ending adds a nice touch. A romantic comedy worth watching.
An easy-to-watch, feel-good movie that follows the interconnected stories of a number of different LA couples and singles (all played by a superb cast) over the course of one Valentine’s Day.
A terrific and thoroughly entertaining musical from the director of Chicago, Rob Marshall. Daniel Day-Lewis, supported by a tremendous female cast, really makes this engaging film. The songs are wonderful and the wardrobe impressive. Stacy Ferguson’s number is a high point.
This really impressive musical version of Federico Fellini’s 8½ stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Guido Contini, a movie director struggling with a mid-life crisis. The gorgeous cast can certainly sing as well.
A truly intriguing and engaging thriller that twists and turns right up until the end. An outstanding performance from Leonardo DiCaprio as US Marshal Teddy Daniels and brilliantly directed by Martin Scorsese.
While eerily entertaining, this drama about an investigation into the disappearance of a murderess from a high-security hospital for the criminally insane by US Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) lost me. A second viewing is highly recommended.
Home of the Giants An aspiring reporter (a grown-up Sixth Sense’s Haley Joel Osment) gets caught up in corruption as his high school basketball team marches toward the state championship.
other new titles...
Teenage boys from two rival high schools unleash hijinks and bedlam to score prom dates with the prettiest, smartest and most sought-after seniors from a reputed all-girls school.
D OC UME N TA R Y
HO RR OR
An indebted ex-con’s scheme to rob his boss’ country estate is thwarted by a more sinister crime in the works, forcing him to navigate a maze of deadly traps to save his would-be victims in this gory tale of home invasion.
Wrongly convinced of his own superpowers, Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) dons homemade crime-fighting duds by night and bumbles through the perilous underbelly of the city with the help of a troubled teen (Kat Dennings) and his courtappointed shrink (Sandra Oh).
This intense yet understated family drama entwines superb storytelling, casting (including another remarkable performance by Juliette Binoche) and cinematography at the able hand of French director Oliver Assayas.
Cheech & Chong’s Hey Watch This An 83-minute romp showcasing footage from hippie comedic duo Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong’s “Light Up America” reunion tour.
All movies reviewed are either available at the Video Library or on order.
TV and film selections 17
embers with musical aspirations can enjoy their moment in the limelight during the everentertaining Open Mic Night at Traders’ Bar. All styles and talent levels are welcome, but the melodically challenged or those suffering from stage fright can kick back with a frosty pint amid the live music lounge atmosphere. The evening will be hosted this time around by Member Terry Christian, a Welsh-born singer-songwriter and international school headmaster by day. An assortment of instruments and equipment will be on hand, but performers are encouraged to bring their own. So dust off that guitar, warm up those vocal cords and get ready to rock! ®
TAC’s Got Talent Open Mic Night Saturday, June 5 7:30 p.m. Traders’ Bar Free Adults only Sponsored by the Entertainment Committee
Some restrictions apply. Ask for details.
• Laser hair removal • Botox • Restylane • Retin-A • Liposuction, Eye, Nose, Breast, Facelift, Tummy Tuck • Laser (Titan, Genesis, Hair Removal, Tattoo, IPL) • Men’s (ED, AGA)
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Festivities on the Fourth by Wendi Hailey
unctuated by fireworks, picnics and parades, Fourth of July marks one of America’s most beloved rites of summer. For those in Tokyo, the Club will offer Members and their families, friends and distinguished guests of all nationalities a taste of pure Americana with a day of patriotic festivities. This year’s theme, “Lady Liberty,” celebrates the international icon of freedom and democracy, given to the people of the United States by France as a symbol of friendship in 1886. The copper GrecoRoman work of art, formally named the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, stands 93 meters tall. Far from the shores of New York, youngsters can share in an afternoon of holiday activities in Takanawa, including a Nintendo Wii challenge, sports, arts and crafts and clowns. The annual Independence Day Reception, which includes lively speeches, a ceremonial cutting of cakes, a US Navy color guard and national anthems, is followed by a not-to-bemissed evening of delectable cuisine and wine in the American Room. Mark your calendars and come out for this one-of-a-kind celebration to honor “Lady Liberty” and the heritage of Tokyo American Club. ®
Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the General Manager’s Office.
July Fourth Fun for Kids Sunday, July 4 2–4 p.m. Gym Free Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk Sponsored by the Entertainment Committee
Recreation Tim Griffen (Tim Griffen) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Pam Jenkinson Fitness Jerry Rosenberg Golf Steven Thomas Library Michelle Arnot Brown
Independence Day Reception Sunday, July 4 5–6:15 p.m. New York Suite Free No sign-up necessary Sponsored by the Community Relations Committee
Logan Room Diane Dooley Squash Nelson Graves & Alok Rakyan Swim Jesse Green & Stewart Homler Video Lisbeth Pentelius Youth Activities Jane Hunsaker Community Relations Stan Yukevich (Jeff McNeill)
Independence Day Dinner Sunday, July 4 6:30–10 p.m. American Room ¥6,300 Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Entertainment Committee
Community Relations Subcommittees Distinguished Achievement Award Jeff McNeill Independence Day Stan Yukevich & Barbara Hancock Sportsman of the Year Jeff McNeill Culture Eiji Arai (Per Knudsen) Culture Subcommittee Genkan Gallery Fred Harris Entertainment Per Knudsen (Per Knudsen) Finance Akihiko Mizuno Food & Beverage Craig Saphin (Amane Nakashima) Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter House Mary Saphin (Ira Wolf) House Subcommittee Architectural Michael Miller Human Resources Victoria Muir (Barbara Hancock) Membership Mark Saft (Mary Saphin) Nominating Nick Masee
Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons.
Cornerstones of the Club 19
Court Bond by Wendi Hailey
A father and son’s shared passion for the game of squash led to a showdown in the final of a local tournament.
n hour’s drive from Tokyo, Ritsubun and Yuga Koda grabbed their regulation rackets and stepped onto the aging squash courts to face different opponents one morning in late March. The father and son dominated their respective matches in the Kanagawa Open’s men’s friendship division until they were the last two standing from a field of 17. “The tournament made things official, determining who is better,” says Yuga, who turns 16 early this month. “I joined this tournament to grasp a sense of the true feeling standing in a court when it really matters, and also to create a deeper connection with my father.” “When I beat [him],” he says, “I felt accomplished more than ever. It was the best moment out of all the times I played my father.”
Club youngster Colin Bell excelled in his first competitive squash outing in March when he swept aside all his opponents to claim the title in the under-11 newcomer division of the All-Japan Junior Squash Championships in Yokohama.
Junior Jubilation by Nick Jones Colin Bell
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Though some might wonder if the elder Koda deliberately dropped the game to secure athletic glory for his offspring, true athletes know that the quest for victory overrides even blood ties. “There were a few mistakes I made that I wish I didn’t make,” says Ritsubun, a 43-year-old investment banker. “I found areas that I could improve as a squash player. As a parent, I’m happy that he surpassed me.” After taking up squash casually two decades earlier, Ritsubun began booking private lessons with Club pro Hiro Horie three years ago. In addition to running the occasional marathon, he continues his weekly lessons and participates in leagues throughout the year in Hong Kong, where he currently lives for his job. Yuga has moved even farther overseas. He attends high school in Connecticut, where his squash program is ranked fifth in the country. When the two meet during holidays and weekends in Tokyo, they often head to the Club courts for a friendly rally. “It’s always good to find a passion together,” says Ritsubun, who returned in January to play in the TAC Premier Classic, in which the robust competition bested him in the first round. “It gives me the incentive to improve, so I can keep up with Yuga.” Like his two elder siblings, Yuga was no quick admirer of the
Despite having to play his three matches on one day after attending a wedding with his family the day before, he still managed to win without
sport at first. After stepping onto the whiteSet to enter his junior year in the fall, walled court at summer camp six years Yuga says he will juggle his time on the ago, he routinely would get crushed by the squash court this summer with a partcompetition, including Horie, coach of the time job and studying for his upcoming Club’s Junior Squash program. college admission exams. Though a “I guess what really serious rematch got me into the sport between father and was the feeling of son is unlikely, they losing. Since I kept on will continue to bond losing to my father, over an invigorating brother and my coach, practice round I wanted to get better,” and polish their he says. “Now that I competitive skills. understand the game “It’s a sport that and can deal with requires intellectual losing, I learned to and athletic like the sport [from] discipline,” Ritsubun a different aspect. I says. “It’s a game you Ritsubun and Yuga Koda enjoy the thrill the can just focus on, you sport gives—playing can let go of every a long rally with both players tired and other thing. It’s a beautiful game.” ® the only thing that keeps you going is adrenaline. I also enjoy the demands, To find out more about playing squash at the not only the racket skill, but physical and Club, visit the Squash page under the Health & Recreation section of the Club website. mental demands.”
dropping a game. “It felt really good,” he says of his remarkable achievement. The fifth grader at the American School in Japan almost walked away from the sport soon after taking it up at the Club two years ago. “In the early stages, he almost quit,” says Colin’s father, Michael. “He wanted to win and got frustrated.”
But, with the help of his coach, Hiro Horie, Colin persevered and found that his new hobby quickly eclipsed his other two interests of soccer and aikido. “I just like chasing the ball and hitting it,” says the 10year-old. “It’s exciting.” Boosted by that rookie competition success, Colin says he is all set for next year’s challenge.
Fitness and well-being 21
class focus Core Conditioning This class is specifically designed to strengthen and stabilize the core area of the body: the pelvis, lumbar and cervical spine. The range of exercises can improve students’ static and dynamic postural control, strengthen abs and hips and flatten the abdominal region. Since more than 80 percent of people experience lower-back problems at some point in their lives, this class can help to reduce the risk of lower-back and lower-extremity injuries. By learning proper posture and movement, students will feel the benefits as they go about their daily tasks. Suited for all fitness levels, this class runs every Monday (10:35–11:30 a.m.) in the Recreation Room and Wednesday (11:35 a.m.–12:30 p.m.) in The Studio. Ask at the Recreation Services Desk or check out the Health & Recreation section of the Club website for details.
Taka Komatsu has a degree in human performance and sports. A certified strength and conditioning specialist, he has taught movement skills to students of varying ages and abilities, including professional athletes. He also speaks at fitness conferences on the subject. Besides being a personal trainer at the Club, Komatsu teaches kickboxing.
“I love Taka’s Core Conditioning class because it helps to strengthen my abs, shoulders and glutes. This class is fun, interesting, challenging and with a sweet reward: a smaller waist and hips and stronger arms, legs, back and shoulders.”
Fountain of Youth Ella Baché Beauty Seminar Friday, June 4
Discover the essentials of beauty, health and nutrition to melt away the years and reveal a radiantly youthful complexion at an insightful anti-aging seminar this month. Led by professionals from the French skincare brand Ella Baché, this two-hour session will cover beauty-care basics and insider secrets that will leave a lasting impression.
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10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Women’s Group Classroom 1 ¥1,050 (includes light refreshments) Sign up online or at The Spa
youth spot School’s Out Beat the summer doldrums and make new friends during weeklong sessions of Camp Adventure, featuring art, music, sports and other hands-on activities for ages 6 to 12. Starting June 21, the Club’s day-camp program runs for nine weeks and is staffed by trained college students through the University of Northern Iowa. Download an application form from the Health & Recreation section of the Club website and return it by fax or in person to the Recreation Services Desk.
Fun in the Sun Club families and their guests greet the sizzling summer months with an exciting afternoon of relay races, water volleyball and other aquatic activities. Sunday, June 6. 2–4 p.m. Ages 4 and above. ¥1,155 (4–19 years); ¥1,470 (20 and above). Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.
Handmade for Dad Decorate a one-of-a-kind baseball cap for Dad and give him something this Father’s Day that he’ll treasure and wear for years to come. Saturday, June 5. 1:30–2:45 p.m. ¥3,675. Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.
what’s on Lose that Last Inch With beach season just around the corner, amp up your exercise routine and get a toned, swimsuit-ready figure. Pick up pro tips and banish those lingering love handles during free 30-minute workouts every Saturday (8:45–9:15 a.m.) and Thursday (2:15–2:45 p.m.) this month in the Fitness Center. Contact the Fitness Center to find out more.
Balancing Body and Soul The full lineup of yoga classes winds down midmonth, but keep your body and mind in perfect harmony all summer long with extended sessions of Iyengar Yoga on Monday evenings. Other classes resume in September. Check at the Recreation Services Desk or on the Health & Recreation section of the Club website for details.
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Road Trip to the Deep North by Betsy Rogers
One Women’s Group member forsook the annual summer pilgrimage back home for a colorful journey closer to Tokyo.
ast summer, the airline fuel crisis was in full swing and the cost of five tickets to the United States for my family was a bear. Furthermore, we had made our home in Tokyo, so we would be heading to the homes of parents, in-laws and gracious friends. But how long would they be willing to put up with our party of five and how long could I be the polite guest, especially in the wee hours of the morning with a severe case of jetlag? My mind was made up. It was time to get out of Tokyo and really experience Japan. A friend had invited us to tag along on her annual trip with her sons to Aomori, the northeastern prefecture renowned for its apples, where her husband’s family has a beautiful traditional house. The plan was to stop to camp and take in some hot springs along the eight-hour drive.
be hot,” I said as I scuttled down the riverbank, took off my yukata and jumped in. It wasn’t scorching hot— the bubbles were just bubbles—but the glassy blue mountain stream was undeniably refreshing. Back at the ryokan, we feasted on mountain vegetables and fresh fish. Kidfriendly meals of chicken, hot dogs, rice and edamame were served up for the less-adventurous eaters. Afterward, we rested our weary bodies in the milky onsen waters. Getting on the road early, we soon arrived in Aomori and met our waiting husbands and the in-laws. Their home was an extensive farmhouse with wooden floors and enormous tatami rooms. The kids especially loved the nightingale floors, or uguisubari, in the hallway, which were designed to squeak to reveal intruders. Only stealthy-footed ninja could pass undetected. That evening, we headed to the Neputa festival, a smaller version of the Nebuta matsuri, in the castle town of Hirosaki. Giant illuminated papier-mâché floats honoring ancient warriors were paraded through the streets. It was quite a sight to take in as we devoured our favorite festival treats, including takoyaki octopus balls and chicken skewers. Unfortunately, we never made it to the second festival. Less than five minutes away from our destination, one of the kids threw up in my friend’s new car and the entire brood had to return home. Heading back to Tokyo, our greatest discovery was Lake Towada. It reminded me of Lake Tahoe in California before the Internet bubble of the 1990s—no buildings, no cars and no people. Formed by a volcanic eruption, the clear, sparkling blue lake is more than 300 meters deep. Leaping off a wooden dock into the water and hitching rides from Jet Skiers, the children were in aquatic paradise. With renewed confidence, an outline of a travel plan, plenty of yen and a full tank of gas, I would be happy to journey off again. Next stop on the summer road trip agenda? Niigata and the serene Sado Island. ® Betsy Rogers
Although we had lived in Japan for seven years, I had not explored much of the country by car. I was admittedly a bit trepid of trekking off on my own with a 6-, 4- and 2-year-old, but excitement took over my nervousness and I agreed to go. Japan is an island, after all. How lost could I get? We planned to reunite with our husbands in Aomori for the weekend and go together to the Nebuta festival of Aomori and Hirosaki’s rival Neputa, two big summer celebrations with gorgeous, towering mikoshi floats. My friend and I would meander up in a makeshift caravan of two adults, five children and two cars. Our first night we drove past Sendai to
a campsite outside Matsushima, a cluster of forested islets in Miyagi Prefecture. Instead of pitching our own tents, spacious ones were waiting for us, complete with a fire pit, swing sets and an obstacle course that the kids tackled with glee the following day. After lunch, we went to explore Matsushima. Matsushima ah! A-ah, Matsushima, ah! Matsushima, ah! Famed 17th-century haiku poet Basho penned those rapturous lines after drinking in the area’s majestic beauty. He must have been walking for days and in need of a rest. Luckily, we didn’t have to walk, just drive, and, with a few more people sightseeing with us than must have been with Basho, we weren’t quite as inspired. The second night we rested at Kuroyu, an old ryokan inn nestled in the mountainside two hours away. We hiked up to find the source of the hotspring waters and watched the bubbles percolate in a roaring river. “That must
Rogers is a former president of the Women’s Group.
An interactive community 25
The Only Man in the Room by Divya Krishnan
ohn Delp remembers sitting enraptured by the tales of Beate Sirota Gordon when she spoke to the Women’s Group. A member of the team that worked under US General Douglas MacArthur to write Japan’s postwar constitution, Gordon was just 22 at the time. Since Gordon was the only female on the subcommittee tasked with writing the part of the constitution devoted to civil rights (hence the title of her memoir, The Only Woman in the Room), she was handed responsibility for drafting the elements that dealt with gender equality. Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923, Gordon first moved to Japan as a little girl after her Russian pianist father was offered a teaching position here. Attending college in California at 15 years old, she returned to Japan to work for the Allied occupation forces in 1945. “Gordon’s story of her separation from her parents and her later reunion with them in Karuizawa made for a very special and memorable luncheon program,” says Delp, who was so impressed with Gordon’s presentation that he decided to join the Women’s Group to enjoy easy access to other speaker events. Delp, 66, has since heard many more inspirational and engaging presenters at Women’s Group luncheons over the years and recently decided to contribute a number of Japanese prints from his own collection to the Club organization.
“My reason for donating these prints is to give something that can be appreciated and enjoyed for generations,” he says. Originally from Illinois, Delp first came to Japan on an exchange program from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, in 1963. Later teaching at a high school in Toyama Prefecture, he eventually opened his own travel agency in Osaka in 1974. But after a powerful earthquake devastated Kobe in the early hours of January 17, 1995, Delp decided to relocate his business to Tokyo. “The Great Hanshin Earthquake caused me to think about helping others,” he explains, “and my membership in the American Club and the Women’s Group provided me with many opportunities to help in special sales being organized at that time. This was a good way to get out of my office and do something useful.” And with the Women’s Group offering more and more programs aimed at a broader audience, Delp will continue to be able to listen to stimulating speakers—only he won’t be the only male in the audience. ® Krishnan is a member of the Women’s Group. Gordan’s autobiography, The Only Woman in the Room, is available in the Library.
Join the Crowd by Barbara Hancock Dive into a spectrum of enriching endeavors and discover unparalleled camaraderie within the Women’s Group. For more than 60 years, the organization has served as a cultural touchstone of the Club through a multitude of classes, tours, programs and fundraising events. Group members are encouraged to get involved in opportunities that best suit their interests and talents, from volunteering at charity events to organizing
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fundraisers to taking on a leadership role. To join this dynamic community, visit the Women’s Group website at www. tokyoamericanclubwomensgroup.org and click on Who We Are, stop by the Women’s Group Office on the third floor or come to the next lively Coffee Connections on Monday, June 28 (flip to page 5 for details), to learn more. ® Hancock is president of the Women’s Group.
Handmade Memories by Katherine Forelle
other during class, while our teacher illustrates new stitches and techniques. Through this pastime, I have discovered that embroidery is similar all over the world, but certain stitches often have different names. We work on our pieces and are able to understand the makings of each stitch, even if we are not from the same country. My classmates’ works of art continually impress me. Embroidery has been a wonderful way for me to gain exposure to Japanese people
and their culture, and I hope to continue my Japanese needlework creations wherever my travels take me. It is relaxing, yet challenging, and always a pleasure to watch my works transform into masterpieces, just as my grandmother’s did. ® Forelle is a member of the Women’s Group. To learn about this and the dynamic array of Women’s Group classes coming up in the fall, visit www.tokyoamericanclubwomensgroup.org.
An interactive community 27
t was my grandmother who taught me needlework. I can remember sitting and watching her creations evolve into beautiful masterpieces and feeling inspired. She always told me to work hard at what I did and to never give up. I have followed her lead and continue my needlework even today. My grandmother has truly stimulated my creative ways, and I love her for that. Living in Tokyo for four years, I have been learning the Japanese art of silk embroidery from the talented and well-known textile artist Shizuka Kusano. This distinctive art of creating decoration through the use of silk fabrics and threads was initially introduced from China to Japan in the sixth century. Kusano sensei teaches us to stitch strands of silk onto fabrics, weaving together color and texture—sometimes combining them with shibori (tie-dye) or haku (silver or gold leaf)—to produce exquisite results, many of which can be seen on handcrafted kimono and obi. She has published a colorful book of her delicate, brilliant works called The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery, which includes insight into the ancient art form. Every Tuesday afternoon at the Club, I thread my needle and sew diligently alongside a great group of women who are all working on pieces of varying levels of difficulty. We encourage and help each
apan’s soccer bosses went back to the future when they turned to Takeshi Okada to steer the national soccer team to this month’s World Cup. Despite a relatively smooth qualifying campaign, Okada, who led Japan to their first-ever World Cup in 1998, has come under fire in recent months for a string of lackluster performances. Yet the former Yokohama F Marinos coach can find an unlikely ally, perhaps, in Philippe Troussier, Japan’s outspoken coach at the 2002 World Cup. Okada, who oversaw three narrow defeats in France 12 years ago,
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was reappointed in December 2007 after the coach at the time, Ivica Osim, suffered a stroke. For this year’s tournament in South Africa, the 53-year-old announced an ambitious semifinal target, a goal many have dismissed as unrealistic. “It’s going to be extremely difficult, but not impossible,” says Okada. “All we can do is our utmost to win every game.” Troussier, meanwhile, does not dismiss Okada’s objective. “If you remember 2002, South Korea got fourth and Turkey got third position. France came 28th. Does this mean that France is worse
FEATURE than South Korea? No. It’s just the result of special circumstances,” he says, “so, [a semifinal] spot is possible. Sixty percent of football is down to the mechanics of the game, but 40 percent is something you cannot imagine, something irrational.” The only coach to have guided Japan into the knockout stages of the World Cup (Japan failed to win any of its group games four years ago in Germany), Troussier is now the general manager at FC Ryukyu, a third-tier, semiprofessional outfit in Okinawa. Both coaches agree that Japan have been drawn in an exacting
group that includes the Netherlands, a highly fancied team that strolled to a 3-0 victory over Japan last fall, Denmark, a determined and welldrilled outfit, and Cameroon, Africa’s World Cup veterans. “I see Denmark and Cameroon as tough opponents, but Holland as a class above,” says Okada. “We’re going to have to work very hard to pick up points in this group.” To progress to the next round, Troussier says that Japan’s opening game against the Indomitable Lions is crucial. “I think Japan can challenge for second position [in the group], but [they] must get points
As the world awaits the start of soccer’s greatest spectacle, past and present Japan national team coaches discuss with iNTOUCH the Samurai Blue’s prospects in South Africa and the Club’s football fanatics share the odds of their countrymen coming out on top.
World Cup Warriors 29
Ross Martens (www. secretagentmartens.com)
by Andy Sharp
Club Member Peter Owans
Club Member Jon Sparks
Club Member Sam Murakami
“The Samurai Blue will have to work hard on their playing system, especially their defense. I predict that they will draw two games and lose one or lose two and draw one. They probably won’t make it to the final 16, but if they can play well against Cameroon for at least 80 minutes, there’s a chance they can win the game and progress to the next round.”
“After a fantastic 2006 World Cup, the chat is that the Socceroos are now four years slower and will struggle in their group. What a load of codswallop! They are a team in transition, with young players coming through, lots of experience and the ability to be physical on the field. If they don’t take home silverware this year, watch out for the 2011 Asian Cup.”
“While Ghana may be without top players like Chelsea’s Michael Essien and Bologna’s Stephen Appiah, the younger players Ghana fielded at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finished second. Ghanaians are crazy about soccer and they’ll be hoping that Ghana can at least equal their efforts of four years ago when they made it to the best 16 before being beaten by Brazil.”
against Cameroon and Denmark,” he says, sitting in FC Ryukyu’s Shibuya office. “Japan will meet Cameroon in [their] opening match. [They have] already played and beaten Cameroon twice before, a psychological advantage. Japan’s World Cup final is the match against Cameroon. It’ll be impossible if they cannot beat Cameroon.” While the Japanese squad contains several players with World Cup pedigree, including Shunsuke Nakamura (who Troussier believes has one of the best left foots in world soccer), midfielders Yasuhito Endo and Junichi Inamoto and captain Yuji Nakazawa, Okada and Troussier highlight Keisuke Honda as a player to watch in South Africa. “Honda’s a strong individual who scores goals,” says Okada. Troussier is even more complimentary of the CSKA Moscow midfielder. “He knows what he wants, he knows where he wants to go and he knows what he wants to do,” says the 55-year-old Frenchman. “He could be a new symbol [for Japanese soccer].” Whereas Troussier concurs with Okada’s assessment that organization and player stamina are Japan’s strengths, he also sounds a warning about the team’s tenacious approach. “I don’t know if it’s a clever investment,” he says. “[Japan] moves the ball forward quickly and supports the ball with many players. This is fine against teams like Malaysia, against whom they will have 80 percent of possession. In such situations, Japan can destroy anyone, but against teams like Cameroon, Denmark and the Netherlands, I think they will only have 30 or 40 percent possession
Club Member Pascal Martin
Club Member Tobias Lintvelt
Club Member Aureliano Torres
June 2010 30February 2007iNTOUCH iNTOUCH
“Chile finished only a point behind Brazil, so, of course, they have the capacity to do well. Switzerland had a bit of a resurgence in qualifying and finished top of their group. Honduras are not well known, but they handed Mexico a 3-1 defeat in qualifying, so obviously they have some talent. We are probably considered by many as favorites to win this tournament, but Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Italy are also worth watching.”
“As optimistic and enthusiastic supporters of Oranje, we Dutch dream of bettering the two successive runner-up finishes of 1974 and 1978. This time, our heroes, who too often are brought down by glorious internal dispute, will make it. Watch out for Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. We look forward to playing the final against Spain, Germany, Brazil or, who knows, Japan!”
“I would love to say France are at their best right now. After all, they came close to winning the 2006 World Cup and they have world-class players from the best European clubs. But they had a disappointing qualifying campaign, only earning a spot in the finals thanks to a controversial hand against Ireland. However, the French are never better than when they are most challenged. Allez les Bleus! Impossible is nothing.”
Club Member Georg Loeer
Club Member Diego Donoso
Club Member Ignacio Morfin
“The base of the Mexican squad is composed of players who won the U17 World Championship in 2005. Many of them are playing in major European leagues now and have been exposed to a lot of international games. In addition, the coach, Javier Aguirre, has produced some great results, with nine victories and only one loss from 13 official games.”
“Dunga has put together and tested a strong team, and Brazil have a very good chance of winning their sixth World Cup in a tournament with many strong competitors. Soccer, though, is a game of surprises and the best teams don’t always win. During my two years living in Milan, however, I met many Brazilian players and am confident of their passion and dedication.”
“Germany made it to the final of the World Cup in 1954, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1990 and 2002. Many experts see them as one of the favorites for 2010, too, but six to seven other nations come to mind. To reach the semifinals would be a success for Germany. Whatever the outcome, this year’s tournament promises great entertainment, matches and surprises.”
“Even in rugby-mad New Zealand, the All Whites’ achievement in qualifying for the World Cup has attracted interest. Although NZ will be considered tournament minnows in a pool that includes defending champions Italy, their physical approach can cause problems for sides, as Italy found out when scraping to a 4-3 victory over the Kiwis earlier this year. Watch out! Here come NZ!”
Club Member Claus Eilersen
Club Member Deane Sadler
“The Danish squad is made up of players from the national league as well as several from major European clubs. After Denmark won their qualifying group, it would be disappointing if they didn’t make it to the knockout stage. The match against Japan on June 24 is sure to attract a lot of attention from both Danes and Japanese. But do I cheer for my hosts or my countrymen?”
World Cup Warriors 31
“The main objective of the Portuguese team will be to qualify for the round of 16. If that happens, anything is possible, and every match after that will be like a final. In that situation, we will be the ones with nothing to lose as the pressure will be on the other side. I’m looking forward to watching plenty of good matches.”
Club Member David Doyno
“June 12 against England. An unlikely win in that game would create some chaos in the soccer world, wouldn’t it? We should expect to get out of Group C, but to come out on top would be quite an accomplishment and give us a chance to go further in the tournament.”
Club Member Rui Brandao
“Sixty percent of football is down to the mechanics of the game, but 40 percent is something you cannot imagine, something irrational.”
Club Member Tony Moore
June 2010 32February 2007iNTOUCH iNTOUCH
Club Member Gerry Dorizas
“A creditable performance at the 2009 Confederations Cup showed that South Africa can compete at the highest level and raised the expectations of the country’s fans. While it will be a big ask for Bafana Bafana to progress past the group stage, a good result in the opening match against Mexico is the key to success (the quarterfinals?). I have tickets for the final and hope to be watching my team!”
“Greece have spent most of their soccer history in relative obscurity, and this will be only their second World Cup. Although Christmas comes only once a year, you never know with the Greeks—as was shown in 2004 when they won the European Championship. With their 13th Greek god Otto Rehhagel as coach, they should put on a good show.”
“England face their opening game against the USA looking more spineless than a squeamish cephalopod. A broken Rooney, a misfiring Gerrard, a less-thantumescent Terry and a goalie nicknamed ‘Calamity’ will probably cope with an easy-ish group. Can England win the whole thing? No. Will their fans sound better than the local vuvuzela trumpets? Yes. Quarterfinal failures at best.”
Club Member Pete Juds
Club Member Paolo Tombesi
“South Africa marks the eighth World Cup appearance for the Taeguk Warriors. Their best performance was in 2002 when they reached the semifinals. They will be hoping to do even better this time, and if they can beat Argentina in the group stage, that dream could come true.”
“I believe Argentina have a fair chance of reaching the semifinals. But to do it, they need a good mix of age, experience and skill, a great midfield and offense, sound passing, Lionel Messi to be given the ball and space, and the coach, Diego Maradona, to avoid controversy and focus on rallying the team. Vamos Argentina!”
“In my opinion, Italy are not a top candidate to win this year’s World Cup. Having said that, very often in the past, Italy have won when nobody expected them to. Interestingly, when Italy won the World Cup final in 2006 against France, I was an expat in Paris. An Italy-Japan final this time, perhaps?”
Club Member Bill Shin
Club Member Santiago Bargagna
and may struggle.” This overzealousness, says Troussier, highlights the players’ naiveté. “Experience is playing every day in a big league, talking another language, learning a different attitude,” he says. “[The players] try to play quickly, but when you play quickly, you automatically make mistakes and miss opportunities. You have to play to your optimum; this doesn’t always mean perspiration. I’m sure the Japanese players wear helmets when they start the match because they think football is war!” Acknowledging his side’s weaknesses, Okada says that the key to improvement lies abroad. “I hope more players go overseas to play at a higher level and, in turn, help raise the level of Japanese soccer,” he says. “I also think we need to play tough opponents away from home more often.” So if Japan don’t yet have what it takes to be crowned world champions, who will be lifting the trophy on July 11 in Johannesburg? Okada fancies five-time winners Brazil. “As well as being physically and technically strong as an attacking force,” he says, “they have really tightened their defense.” Troussier, however, believes that soccer’s greatest prize will remain in Europe. “Frankly,” he says, “it’s the year of Spain.” ®
“The way the Swiss topped the group in the qualifying rounds is promising. They beat ex-European champions Greece twice and ended up with six wins, three draws and one loss. Spain, Chile and Honduras are waiting in their group. With a win against either Chile or Honduras and two draws, Switzerland will qualify for the next round.”
Club Member Martin Fluck
2010 FIFA World Cup Groups
Group E Japan vs Cameroon: June 14, 11 p.m. (Japan time) Japan vs Netherlands: June 19, 8:30 p.m. (Japan time) Japan vs Denmark: June 25, 3:30 a.m. (Japan time)
Group A South Africa Uruguay Mexico France
Group C England USA Algeria Slovenia
Group E Netherlands Denmark Japan Cameroon
Group G Brazil North Korea Ivory Coast Portugal
Group B Argentina Nigeria South Korea Greece
Group D Germany Australia Serbia Ghana
Group F Italy Paraguay New Zealand Slovakia
Group H Spain Switzerland Honduras Chile
World Cup Warriors 33
GENKAN GALLERY All exhibits in the Genkan Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.
Hikosaka by Wendi Hailey
For many years, Tokyo native Noboru Hikosaka built technology to temper air pollution. As he worked to preserve nature, the scientist grew captivated by the age-old principle of universal conflict and order. He studied lithography and began to capture that harmony artistically. “I began to have a longing for realizing and expressing the world of Cosmos, rather than the world of Chaos, in my print works,” says the 76-year-old lithographer and Stanford University science alumnus. “Several years ago, I noticed that Kamakura, surrounded by forest and sea, could be a good theme of a ‘Cosmos town’ in my works.” Hikosaka will debut two series of intriguing prints, each running for two weeks, that showcase Japan’s multifaceted beauty and vitality. The “Twelve Scenes of Kamakura” depict the former capital as an ancient temple ground, vibrant surfing mecca and tranquil residential spot, which will be followed by a set from his ongoing “Harmonious Town” theme. The Kamakura series is “based on not only what I have seen, but also what I have cultivated in my mind through my many years in the town,” says Hikosaka, whose prizewinning work has been exhibited at the annual CWAJ Print Show and the 2007 Contemporary Japanese Prints exhibit in Washington, DC. That latest anthology took three years to complete using traditional printmaking methods, with every step, from sketching to the final printing, done in his Kamakura studio. After transferring the photos to an aluminum plate and pressing them onto paper in ink to form the background, Hikosaka added clever streaks of color and small flourishes that offer a modern and wondrous window onto familiar sights.
Exhibition June 28–July 25
Wine and Cheese Reception Monday, June 28 6:30–8 p.m. Adult Lobby Open to all Members Free
34 June 2010 iNTOUCH
36 June 2010 iNTOUCH
TALKING HEADS Japan’s national soccer team opens its World Cup campaign against Cameroon on June 14 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. Many pundits believe that victory in this match is crucial for the Japanese if they are to have any chance of progressing from a group that also includes Denmark and the Netherlands. Despite becoming the first country to qualify for the finals, Japan’s preparation for South Africa has been less than smooth, with some fans having called for the resignation of the coach, Takeshi Okada, the man who led the national side to its first World Cup in 1998. While Okada surprised many by setting a target of a place in the final four, most Samurai Blue fans would be content to see their team make it through to the knockout stages, a feat Japan managed in 2002 before losing 1-0 to eventual third-place finishers Turkey in the round of 16. Toshi Takeya is president of Nippon Sports Kikaku Publishing, a publisher of sports magazines, including Soccer Digest and World Soccer Digest. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones spoke to the Club Member about Japan’s World Cup and beyond. Excerpts:
iNTOUCH: What are Japan’s chances of success at the World Cup? Takeya: I think it will be really difficult because this is a period of change in the team; one era has ended and another is starting. It’s the same with France. iNTOUCH: Was it the right move by the Japan Football Association to reappoint Okada as national coach? Takeya: It was a kind of emergency. After [former coach Ivica] Osim became sick, we had to find a coach as soon as possible, so I think it was the right decision. iNTOUCH: Should he have been replaced as some fans called for earlier this year? Takeya: I think it’s too late now. Unlike the FA [Football Association] in England, which has a strong philosophy, Japan hasn’t grown up yet. The same goes for the players, managers and front [office staff]. Only the supporters have become adults. They watch a lot of matches [from abroad] on TV, so they understand what good players are and compare foreign managers with Okada. Also, the professional league in Japan is only about 15 years old, so it’s still growing. iNTOUCH: Who should have gotten the job after Osim in 2007? Takeya: We could have asked many different foreign managers. I think right now we need good teachers to teach about training and professionalism. For example, [former Japan coach] Zico taught his players about professional attitude when
he was coaching in the J League. Of course, there would have been many [hurdles], but we could have asked someone like [Arsenal coach Arsène] Wenger. iNTOUCH: What are your thoughts on Japan’s group at this World Cup? Takeya: We have a big opportunity in the first game against Cameroon. I think the Holland game will be tough, so if we could tie, that would be really good. Of course, it’s the World Cup, so nobody knows what will happen. Also, Holland have to play Denmark in their first game. If they tie, I think Holland will be [unnerved]. iNTOUCH: Can Japan progress to the knockout stages? Takeya: I think so. That’s why I have already bought a ticket for the best 16 game. iNTOUCH: Let’s look at 2002 when Japan made it out of the group stage. How much of that success was down to the coach, Philippe Troussier? Takeya: I think Troussier was a good teacher. He introduced the flat back three [team formation], which was the first time in Japan’s history. iNTOUCH: How about that team at the time? Takeya: They had a lot of experience, I think, with players in Europe like [Hidetoshi] Nakata in Italy. And some of them went to the World Youth Championships in Africa [in 1999] with Troussier. When they were teenagers, he taught them many things about being a professional and they followed his ideas. iNTOUCH: During the two years he has been in charge, Okada has tried out
more than 20 strikers. Who is going to be the crucial striker for Japan at this World Cup? Takeya: I think [Takayuki] Morimoto, who plays [for Catania] in Italy. iNTOUCH: Are Japanese players good enough to play with the best in Europe? Takeya: Technically, I think, they are good. So when they go to a professional team in Europe, practices are good, but when the game starts most European players are hungry to win. But the 16- or 17-year-old players in the J League are of a totally different mindset [than before]. Because when they were growing up, they had an aim to play professionally in the J League. So, at the next World Cup in Brazil [in 2014], I think we will have a good team with a lot of potential. iNTOUCH: What needs to change in the Japanese game for the level of soccer to improve? Takeya: I think we need a more professional approach in each J League team. Japan’s youth teams are at a really high level in the world. After that, they disappear, so that’s where the problem lies. So the media, football association, front office staff and supporters all have to be [more] professional. iNTOUCH: Which Japanese players will do well at this World Cup? Takeya: I think [Keisuke] Honda and [Makoto] Hasebe. They have had good seasons in Europe. iNTOUCH: Ultimately, who do you think will win? Takeya: For me, it’s Spain or England. ®
Member insights on Japan 37
Urban Oasis The man behind the new Clubâ€™s green elements discusses the challenges of blending Mother Nature with the concrete and glass of a multiuse facility in the heart of Tokyo. 38 June 2010 iNTOUCH
by Wendi Hailey
to create a cross-cultural design that embodies both America and Japan.” Outdoors, the grounds will be dusted with flowering dogwood trees, native to the US, and Japan’s iconic cherry trees, as well as bamboo trees, oaks and gardens. Flowerbeds will flourish with azaleas, rhododendrons, camellia, roses, hydrangea and other colorful blooms. The meticulously sculpted land, in addition to promoting environment-friendly and cost-savings effects for which PCPA is highly known, will provide a serene escape for Members and their neighbors in tune with its surroundings. “It’s always important to think of the local character of the place,” says the designer, who runs his own landscaping company in Suginami Ward. “I don’t like the very characteristic designs that reflect someone’s own tastes or styles. I teach landscaping design at university right now and tell the students that the landscape designs that have personal tastes that are directly visible are not good. They shouldn’t put too much of themselves in the design.” A graduate of Tokyo University of Agriculture, Soma was awestruck to discover how the subtleties of design sprang to life under the deft hand of Cesar Pelli and went on to work with PCPA on the NTT headquarters in Hatsudai and the Mori Atago Green Hills Forest Tower, a 42-story skyscraper in Minato Ward, among other projects. Though lacking any extraordinary affinity for the outdoors as a child, growing up among the proliferation of miniature gardens in Kyoto likely inspired his career choice. “Landscaping called me,” he explains with a chuckle. All the green touches that will be installed in Azabudai were carefully selected after several trips to nurseries and farms outside of Tokyo and as far away as Osaka, where 18 olive trees were picked for the poolside terrace. Soma chose the trees for their tall, narrow branches, which are ideal for limited spaces, and the refreshing shadows that they cast. (Just don’t try to eat the inedible fruit, he warns.) The various trees and shrubs currently are being groomed for their move into the new soil starting from the end of July. The bamboo trees will be planted first at the end of the rainy season when the ground is still soft. Each plant has to be deposited under the right conditions, some in September, others in the latter half of November. The Frank Lloyd Wright stone marker and tanuki figurine that rested at the old Club will return home, along with numerous verdant flourishes. With somewhat limited resources, Soma and his team have created a landscape that beautifies the building and provides countless benefits, both physical and intangible. “Everybody concerned with this project was making enormous efforts to bring some personal contributions that could cover the lack of budget,” Soma says. “But, as a result, I think the design is fantastic.” Members can experience the fruits of his labor for themselves when they step into the lush, airy confines of the Winter Garden in January. ® Franck Robichon
nclosed inside a soaring, glass-vaulted atrium in Lower Manhattan, an opulent haven of palm trees, marble surfaces and botanical riches beckons visitors to the World Financial Center. The celebrated Winter Garden, which overlooks the New York Harbor, is home to shops, restaurants and an innovative series of free cultural events year round. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli and completed in 1988, the 10-story, $60 million landmark was restored for nearly its original price tag after being severely damaged in the 9/11 attacks on the adjacent World Trade Center towers and remains a well-trafficked spot to roam. A smaller, private version of the structure currently is being erected in Tokyo, on the Club’s permanent site in Azabudai. “They wanted to achieve that same image here,” says landscaping consultant Masahiro Soma, who has worked with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) for 30 years. “It was quite difficult, though.” Instead of the towering Washington palms that dot the original, the Club’s Winter Garden will flourish with Japanese soyogo. The evergreen tree, with its deep emerald hue, was chosen as an alternative because of its smaller roots and robust nature, meaning it can thrive in spite of less sunlight and a dry air-conditioning system. In place of the glass ceiling, oversized windows will let the sunlight pour in. The overall effect of this social sanctuary, says Soma, will be no less spectacular. For the past three decades, Soma has been the go-to greenery guy for all of PCPA’s projects in Japan. He was personally recommended for the Club’s landscaping concept by the firm, which designed the stunning new facilities that are slated to open in seven months. With nothing but the likeness of that Lower Manhattan destination in mind and a budget of about ¥230 million, Soma has spent two years crafting the ideal landscape. “There was no concrete image to work from, but I could suppose what PCPA and Cesar Pelli wanted to achieve there because I’ve had such a long relationship with them,” says the 62-year-old Kyoto native. “PCPA’s style is always visible at the end result, but there is no such style by definition at the beginning.” One of the world-renowned architectural firm’s trademarks is its seamless integration of diverse backgrounds and traditions. “They’re taking elements from the local culture and reflecting that into the building design,” says Soma. “Therefore, I wanted
The journey back to Azabudai 39
Amit Trading The biggest wholesaler of pearls in Tokyo offers the lowest prices, highest quality and best selection of pearls and diamonds. 40 years in the business. Tel: 03-3404-3853 www.pearls.jp Reward: Free pearl accessory with any purchase
S HO P P I N G
United Dental Office Restorative, implant and cosmetic dentistry by US-trained and -licensed dentists. We treat adults and children. Tel: 03-5570-4334 www.uniteddentaloffice.com Reward: 40% discount on home bleaching
DE N T AL
new member profile
Tim & Susannah Fortin Australia—Medtronic Japan Co., Ltd.
Why did you decide to join the Club? “Japan is our second overseas posting and we are fortunate in that we were able to join the Singapore American Club while posted there. We enjoyed the social atmosphere and our children took full advantage of the facilities and programs. But the real benefit came in the form of the many friends that we were able to make there. We continue to remain in contact with them five years on. We felt confident that Tokyo American Club would provide the same opportunities in Japan, so signing up was amongst the first of our moving priorities.”
Bhanu Tailors Quality custom-made garments. 27 years of experience in the fashion industry. Choose fabrics from Valentino, Reda and more. Visiting Tokyo every month. E-mail: email@example.com Reward: Free shirt with every suit
(l–r) Sophie, Phoebe, Susannah, Charlie and Tim Fortin
A-Cross Corporation A wide variety of traditional Japanese byobu screens, handcrafted and painted in Kyoto. See our website for details or call us to arrange a viewing. Tel: 03-5449-7621 www.japanesescreens.net Reward: 10% discount
IN T ER I O R
The Meat Guy With the barbecue season here, get your new gas grill from The Meat Guy. Tel: 052-618-3705 www.TheMeatGuy.jp Reward: Free shipping on any grill
new member profile
Go & Mitsue Mugino Japan—Audemars Piguet (Japan) Ltd.
Why did you decide to join the Club? Tokyo Lease Corporation Large collection of Asian, European and American furniture for sale and lease. Tel: 03-3585-5801 www.furniture-rental-tokyo.com Reward: 5% discount on items bought in the shop
“Tokyo American Club is an ideal private club for families with young children. Since many Members are in a similar age group, I think this will be a very good opportunity to get to know people with similar interests in different fields. Since joining the Club, I have already met so many Members, both Japanese and nonJapanese, whom I know.” (l–r) Mitsue, Kai, Go and Roi Mugino
40 June 2010 iNTOUCH
Thomas & Cindy Cook United States—Dow Corning Toray Co., Ltd.
Yoshiko Takahashi & Harris Mathura Japan—Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Russell Burns & Estefania Vohue United Kingdom—Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd.
Anthony & Kiki Pierotti United States—Corning International K.K. Michael & Yuki Green New Zealand—JP Morgan Chase Bank Toshiyasu & Yoko Fujinawa Japan—Yoku Moku Co., Ltd.
Brian & Marcia Chermside United States—Dow Corning Toray Co., Ltd.
Yuko & Tadashi Suzuki Japan
Nadine & Peter Edge Belgium—Philip Morris Japan K.K.
Hiroshi & Nobuko Sato Japan—Toyo Engineering Corporation
Christopher & Erin Keogh United States—Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Randy & Brenda Wahlstrom United States—Johnson Controls, Inc.
Anthony & Julie Ennis United States—BAE Systems (International) Ltd. Okifumi Murata Japan—Syngenta Japan K.K. Allan & Ann Ritchie United Kingdom—Johnson & Johnson K.K.
Phoenix Hotel and Chalets, Hakuba The Phoenix Hotel and Chalets, Hakuba, and Mimi's Restaurant are designed to give you a year-round playground. It is all the special things we do at the Phoenix that make the difference. Tel: 0261-72-4060 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.phoenixhotel.jp Reward: 10% discount
Hideo Inoue Japan—Cinq Deux Un Co., Ltd. Hiroshi Nonomiya Japan—RHJ International Japan, Inc. Yoshitatsu Kanada Japan—Kanada Enterprise Co., Ltd. Tsutomu & Yukiko Kuribayashi Japan—Kuribayashi Sogo Law Office
Jun & Jo Koliski Sochi United States—Johnson Controls K.K.
sayonara Rosalie Barsotti
Puneet & Lakhbir Mahajan
Robert & Marianne Clyde
Andrew & Ivonne McCann
Tim & Masae Coomber
Tadaoki & Yasuko Minami
Masami & Yoshiko Ogawa
Stephen & Niena Cronin
Duncan & Minna Orrell-Jones
& Yvonne Schanzenbach
Iver Javed & Petra Tak
Andrew & Susan Higgins
Etsuo & Etsuko Takenouji
Dean & Chiyoe Kimpton
Jose Luis Tomasevic
& Alejandra Blanco
Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) TUJ’s Continuing Education offers courses and workshops for personal and professional development, including leadership, project management, IFRS and legal writing. Tel: 03-5441-9864 E-mail: email@example.com www.tuj.ac.jp/cont-ed Reward: Entrance fee waived and 10% off tuition
James & Susan Allhusen United States—Visa Worldwide (Japan) Co., Ltd.
E DUCAT I ON
Yuji Kiriyama Japan—Astra Tech K.K.
Nick Shamlou United States—Celestica
T R AV E L
A Cut Above Cut, color, perm, etc. for the entire family. English-speaking stylists. Find us in Hiroo, up the hill from Segafredo and National Azabu. Tel: 03-3441-7218 www.above.co.jp Reward: 10% off introductory services
Ken Corporation Ltd. Being a resident of a Ken Corporation apartment gives you exclusive membership to the KEN Green Golf Club. Tel: 03-5413-5666 www.kencorp.com Reward: Special packages for Club Members
Oakwood Serviced Apartments Oakwood is the most trusted name in serviced apartments worldwide. We offer three different styles of living to make you feel at home: Premier, Residence and Apartments. Tel: 0120-313113 (toll-free)/03-5412-3131 www.oakwoodasia.com/en/japan/default.aspx Reward: Preferred rental rates with free Internet connection
Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd. Luxury apartment brand La Tour promises you prime comfort and security. Good locations and beautiful views in the heart of Tokyo. Tel: 0120-770-507 www.sumitomo-latour.jp Reward: No agent's fee
& Gabriela Altamirano
Services and benefits for Members 41
DAD Narita Parking Heading overseas? DAD Narita Parking will pick up your vehicle at Narita Airport and keep it in a closely monitored, secure lot while you’re away. Tel: 0120-35-1462/0476-32-1955 www.dadparking.com/index-e.html Reward: 20% off basic charge
Audi Japan Sales Authorized Audi dealerships with Englishspeaking sales staff in Tokyo and Osaka. Tel: 03-6890-0123 (Noboyuki Kinushi) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.audi-sales.co.jp Reward: ¥50,000 Audi accessory voucher with new Audi purchase
BMW Tokyo Takanawa All BMW navigation systems are in English and English-speaking sales consultants are available at BMW Tokyo. Tel: 03-3443-2291 www.bmw-tokyo.co.jp Reward: ¥50,000 travel coupon with every BMW purchase
of the month
Yuri Hasegawa by Nick Jones
42 June 2010 iNTOUCH
AUT OM OT I V E
Employee of the Quarter
Miki Sato by Nick Jones
Mixed Grille’s Miki Sato picked up the most recent Employee of the Quarter award after being named the Employee of the Month for March. Joining the Club in 2008, not long after the Takanawa facility opened, Sato took on the challenge of improving her English skills while providing exemplary service to Members. While still occasionally nervous working in her second language, the former school volleyball player and Otsuma Women’s University graduate never hesitates in her efforts as part of the restaurant’s tight-knit team. Food & Beverage Department Director Michael Marlay says Sato’s accolades are well deserved. “Miki consistently carries out duties that go far beyond her current position,” he says. “Constantly thinking of others before herself, Miki is an outstanding team member.” ®
hat do people in paradise do in their spare time? While most of us haven’t had the good fortune to ponder such enviable conundrums, Yuri Hasegawa faced just that “dilemma” while living on the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora for a year. “There’s nothing really on the island,” she says. “No cinema, cafés or transport. I went to the beach a lot or to hotel restaurants.” When she wasn’t lazing amid the stunning turquoise waters and white sand beaches of one of Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s topthree Pacific islands, Hasegawa worked for a Tokyo-based wedding planning company, helping to beautify couples for their big day. Now a therapist at the Club’s haven of relaxation, The Spa, the 27-year-old’s journey to some of the world’s most idyllic spots started after she graduated from high school in her hometown of Shizuoka. Venturing to New Zealand in 2001, she studied English at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier before turning her attention to beauty therapy. Hasegawa’s interest in the fields of
nutrition and health next took her across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, Australia, where she enrolled in a naturopathy course. After completing the two-year program, she developed yet another yearning for travel and spent a year working in cruise ship spas in surroundings as varied as the Alaskan coast and the Caribbean. “That was the first time I thought that there were no walls between nationalities because we had all come away from home,” she says of being a part of a multinational staff. Not surprisingly, she has had no problem working alongside the Club’s own international band of employees. “I like working here,” says the Employee of the Month for April. “I like the friendly environment and I like to see a change [in a Member’s appearance] after a treatment.” Joining the Club in January 2009, Hasegawa provides revitalizing beauty and massage treatments to around four or five Members a day. And while lagoon waters are no longer a short walk away, being in Tokyo at least means she is not short of entertainment. ®
Being a Member of Tokyo American Club allows you access to a network of more than 200 reciprocal clubs across the globe. For a full listing of reciprocal clubs worldwide, check out www.tokyoamericanclub.org.
Location: Binghamton, New York Founded: 1880 Members: 300
Steeped in local history, this clubhouse provides sublime dining, business amenities and leisurely pursuits to upstate New York’s business set. Members enjoy theme parties, bowling and golf groups, while those seeking more solitary diversions can relax with a newspaper in the Reading Room or indulge in a massage treatment. One of the most popular nooks is the Billiard Room, where games of pool, table tennis and foosball are interspersed with big-screen sports and snacks.
Cercle Munster Location: Luxembourg Founded: 1984 Members: 1,500
This opulent European institution is nestled among a jumble of 17thcentury architecture. Beautifully restored along the waters of the Alzette River, the three-story club preserves the neighborhood’s classic charms with its simple yet sumptuous décor and artwork. Aside from housing books, the library hosts everything from jazz concerts to chess battles. In the restaurants and lounges, culinary experiences can be deepened by a vintage from the 2,000 bottles stored in the cellar.
stacks of services at the Club
JTB Sunrise Tours
Go Mobile Phone Rental
André Bernard Beauty Salon
Five percent discount on all package tours. Available at the Member Services Desk.
The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 Family Area (1F) Sat–Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Need a rental mobile phone or help with translation? Want to find useful English mobile sites? Go Mobile—more than just a phone. www.gomobile.co.jp
English support for all your Toyota and Lexus needs. Available services: Q&A by e-mail; dealer visit assistance; and translation of estimates, contracts and other related documents. www.mytoyota.jp/english
Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (2F) Tue–Sun: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
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Back to Basics
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n 1951, after graduating from the University of Tokyo’s School of Science, a 24-year-old Masatoshi Koshiba set sail from Allied-occupied Japan for the United States. With World War II still fresh in the minds of the masses (Koshiba’s own father had served as an officer with the Imperial Army in Manchuria), Koshiba was prepared for any hostility he may encounter. But arriving in Seattle after two weeks at sea, he was soon overwhelmed by something else altogether. “The first impression I had of the US was that it was such a big country,” says the soft-spoken 83-year-old. “People were eating a very big bowl of ice cream soda. And for me, during the war, that was something so high up in the sky. ‘If these people are eating this every day,’ I thought, ‘it is no wonder that we lost the war.’” Earning a PhD in physics from the University of Rochester in 1955, he later found more than sweet dreams in the heavens above. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his detection of cosmic neutrinos, which result from fusion reactions in stars like the Sun. He has since returned to the classroom in his position as chairman of the Heisei Foundation for Basic Science, which promotes science to young Japanese. “Everyone has different appetites,” he
by Brett Bull
INSIDE JAPAN says one April morning at Tokyo University, where he is a professor emeritus. “Some people feel music is most important. Some people think beautiful paintings are everything. Only part of the population has an intrinsic interest in science. If those people could not get interested in science because of education, that is very sad. What kind of education would hinder those people to get acquainted with science?” A study compiled by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement indicates that average math and science scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students in Japan largely fell between 1995 and 2007. “Between 10 and 15 years old, people either get interested in science or they do not,” says Koshiba. “And for the teacher who teaches science to these young people, if they themselves did not enjoy science, then the children will not get interested in science.” Koshiba’s own journey into the world of science started relatively late. As a teenager, he was stricken with polio that resulted in a weakened right arm, a condition that kept him out of the military and still lingers today. After initially being drawn to German arts at the University of Tokyo, he turned his attention to physics largely out of spite. “A professor denounced me as being no good at physics,” he recalls. “That made me furious. So I took the entrance exam for the physics department.” He passed and later began experimenting with sensitive photographic materials, called nuclear emulsion plates, which can be used to track the path of fast-moving particles. “I knew then that I had found it,” explains the Aichi Prefecture native. “It was what I could do, and that was the beginning of my career in elementary particle experiments,” he says. In 1963, Koshiba relocated to Japan after a number of years at the University of Chicago. It was around this time that scientist Raymond Davis, Jr began conducting solar neutrino detection experiments in mines in Ohio and South Dakota. Much like quarks, electrons and photons, neutrinos are one
of the building blocks of the universe but almost impossible to detect. Davis was the first to notice solar neutrinos and later concluded that the number reaching the Earth from the Sun was significantly fewer than theorized, a discrepancy that stumped the scientific community. Koshiba, who in 1970 became a professor at the University of Tokyo, was inspired by the findings. “I had to think about something that would impress young people and show that basic science is something really wonderful,” he says. More than a decade later, he constructed the Kamiokande detector in an abandoned zinc mine in Gifu Prefecture. The project involved lining the inside of an enormous cylindrical water tank with highly sensitive detectors. Neutrinos arriving from a supernova explosion were observed in 1987, and later the project showed that some neutrinos change into different types while traveling to Earth, making it difficult for them to be detected. This fact explained the numerical discrepancy noticed by Davis. When he received the phone call from Sweden, in the fall of 2002, announcing that he would be sharing the Nobel Prize with Davis and astrophysicist Riccardo Giacconi, who performed pioneering studies on cosmic rays, Koshiba could only think about the funding shortfall that faced the Heisei Foundation. “I was almost desperate,” he says. “Then I received the telephone call from Stockholm. I was happy.” The ¥35 million provided through the prize was still not enough, though. But Hamamatsu Photonics, which helped in the development of the Kamiokande experiment, made up the difference, and the foundation was founded the following year. Sporting a tweed jacket and occasionally leaning forward on his cane, an immensely modest Koshiba remains passionate about science. “If someone wants to do something seriously,” he says, “there is always a way to overcome the difficulty.” ® Bull is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
A look at culture and society 47
Thereâ€™s Silver in Them Thar Hills Words and photos by Tim Hornyak
t was a whim that took me to the old-timey hot-spring town of Yunotsu on the Sea of Japan. I was traveling along the Sanin Honsen Line in Shimane Prefecture and noticed the onsen symbol on my weather-beaten map. Getting off the train, Yunotsu turned out to be a sleepy fishing port caught in a time warp, with more cats than people on the streets. The town has an excellent public bath called Yakushiyu (Apothecary Spring), where locals have gone to heal ailments like arthritis since the 1870s. Despite its top-ranked status by the Japan Spa Association, few foreigners have tried the waters. The four old men were agape at seeing a tall, naked outsider stepping into the bath, but quickly made room in the tub, which was lined by a caramel accretion from the spring water. Rain was pouring down when I left the bath, but one of my fellow bathers offered me a ride to the next town. Masashi Iesako drove me to the shore, pointing out an old mooring post in a disused part of the harbor. It was from there, he explained, that one-third of the worldâ€™s silver supply was shipped. Yunotsu was the port for one of the largest silver mines on the planet, Iwami Ginzan, a scattered group of mines that gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007. Iesako asked me if I was interested in visiting the site, and we were soon heading into the hills, where it began to snow. His generosity was typical of the Shimane people I met.
48 June 2010 iNTOUCH
OUT & ABOUT Eighty-five minutes from Haneda Airport to Izumo Airport. Take a bus for 24 minutes to Izumoshi Station for the 46-minute journey to Yunotsu Station. Kiunsoh www.kiunsoh.com (Japanese language only)
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine http://ginzan.city.ohda.lg.jp Nima Sand Museum www.sandmuseum.jp (Japanese language only)
Chomeiso www.yunotsu.jp/yado/index.htm (Japanese language only)
Shimane Prefecture www.pref.shimane.lg.jp Sightseeing in Shimane www.kankou-shimane.com
It was damp and drizzly when we reached the hamlet of Omori deep in the mountains. The village has an impressively refurbished medieval magistrate’s office (where silver was examined) and an elegant temple, graced by half-moon bridges. Rakan Temple features 501 stone arhat figures, each carved with a different facial expression. The laughing, scowling and bemused faces are some of the most striking Buddhist art I’ve seen in Japan. Iwami was in operation from 1526 to 1923 and was known for its high-grade silver, produced through a Korean refining method in which silver ore and lead were melted into an alloy and heated over a bed of coals, leaving the silver on top. The precious metal entered circulation as far away as Europe, with Iwami even featuring on Portuguese maps. I hopped on a bus to the Ryugenji Mabu shaft, dating back to 1715 and the only one of more than 600 galleries at Iwami open to visitors. Tracing my hands over the rough-hewn sides of the tunnel as I hunched forward, I could imagine the precarious conditions under which the Edo-period miners toiled. Some diggers were as young as 10 years old, and 30 was considered old age. Farther in, a few mannequins in period attire completed the picture. As the shogun was the ultimate mine boss, the miners had little choice but to endure whatever hardships they faced. Despite the conditions and primitive digging techniques, the mines produced as much as 15 tons of silver annually in the early 17th century. Iwami Ginzan became less relevant as copper production started to dominate; low prices in the 1920s finally forced the mine to close. There are few accommodation options in Omori itself, but
Yunotsu, a 30-minute drive from the mine area, is an excellent base for exploring the area. The largest ryokan inn, Kiunsoh, has airy, renovated rooms for about ¥13,000 per person, including two meals. Slightly smaller but far more nostalgic is Chomeiso, a century-old charmer right by the baths, with rooms for about ¥7,000, including breakfast and dinner. Rural areas in Japan often feature bizarre museums, and Iwami is no different. A bit farther north along the coast is the Nima Sand Museum, a collection of six glass pyramids built into a hillside near Nima Station on the Sanin Honsen Line. It’s dedicated to the qualities of the grains at Kotobiki Beach in Kyoto Prefecture, where the sand supposedly “sings” when stepped on. My efforts to wrest some music from the sand were to no avail. The museum boasts the world’s largest hourglass, a remarkable 5-meter-long timepiece suspended above the floor in one of the pyramids. The single ton of sand housed in the hourglass takes exactly one year to tumble through the 0.085-mm-wide aperture between the bulbs. It’s turned over every December 31 at midnight to mark the New Year. If you’re visiting the romantic castle town of Matsue or the famous Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane, the Iwami Ginzan area makes for a worthwhile side trip. And if you drop in for a soak at Yakushiyu, be sure to say hello to the elderly bathers—before asking them to slide over. ®
Hornyak is a Montreal-based freelance journalist.
Explorations beyond the Club 49
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
Springtime Fun April 7
More than 180 kids flocked to this colorful celebration at the Club, taking part in a golden egg hunt, festive games and craft sessions and snapping keepsake photos with the Spring Bunny. A popular petting zoo filled with rabbits, chicks and other cuddly creatures offered plenty of hands-on fun. Photos by Ken Katsurayama 1
1. Gregory Lyon and Sein Dee Konieczny and their children, Ava Isabelle and Dominick 2. (lâ€“r) Mia, Dean and Anthony Capizzi
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EVENT EVENT ROUNDUP ROUNDUP
Izakaya Cooking Class April 14
Curious chefs enjoyed an educational morning at an offsite cooking class in Minami Aoyama, where tasty izakaya fare was on the menu. Instructor Mika Takaki taught participants how to make mizuna salad with crispy fried tofu, kakiage tempura and stewed beef and tofu. Taste testing got underway promptly at lunchtime. Photos by Venice Tang
1. (lâ€“r) Nicole Fall, Ayako Kerr, Moka Quinlan, Karen Huang, Trisha Sykes, Gaynor Niumata, Michelle Rainsberger, Chantal Bray Nebelung, Rebecca Rhee Kinoshita, Tomoko Murakami, Liza Reid and instructor Mika Takaki
Snapshots from Club occasions 51
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
An Evening with Geisha April 3
The veil on the intriguing world of Japan’s iconic entertainers was lifted for 70 Members and guests during a one-of-akind dinner at an upscale ryotei restaurant in Mukojima, one of Tokyo’s few remaining geisha quarters. Highly versed in classical Japanese arts, the geisha enthralled their audience with music, dance and song performances and friendly conversation throughout the night. Photos supplied by Andrew Russel, Miki Ohyama and Sandy Isaka
1. Nobuko Hirata and Miki Ohyama 2. (l–r) Ren (Mukojima geisha) with Bianca and Andrew Russell
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Carpet Auction April 24
The New York Suite was transformed into a bustling Oriental bazaar for the annual Women’s Group fundraiser, where nearly 125 attendees learned about the luxurious tapestries on display from the Middle East, India, Russia and elsewhere and enjoyed a buffet of delicious Middle Eastern cuisine and wine ahead of the whirl of bidding action. A friendly fracas over 83 carpets capped off the night, with proceeds going to fund a College Women’s Association of Japan scholarship and other Women’s Group charities and programs. Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. Eastern Carpets’ Edmund Rajendra 2. Isolda Perez 3. Debbie and Joseph Longo 4. Michael Evans
Snapshots from Club occasions 53
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
St George’s Day Quiz Night April 23
Intellectual brawn was flaunted and general trivia knowledge put to the test when six teams assembled in Traders’ Bar for a traditional pub quiz to celebrate England’s legendary dragon slayer and patron
saint. Competition was fueled by traditional English fare and drinks, with the winners collecting a bounty of tantalizing treats that included Champagne and tickets to the Cotton Club. Photos by Yuuki Ide
1. (l–r) Anne Ritchie, Julie Ennis, Anthony Ennis and Allan Ritchie 2. Nick Johnston (right) 3. James and Sylvia Latimer
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Store Wars by Andy Sharp Illustration by Akiko Saito
hen I started learning the local tongue, I used a book titled Japanese for Busy People 1. I found it to be a good introduction to the language, filled with realistic practical examples and clear explanations, but also extremely revealing in the order it chose to present kanji to its foreign learners. The first two Chinese characters it teaches after numbers and the days of the week make up the word kaisha, or company, a clear forewarning of the importance society places on an institution that seems to be prioritized over family, friends and other pursuits. The glossy exterior of this incorporated mentality is most evident at the nation’s supermarkets and convenience stores. I’ve been picking up bottles of water and snacks from the same store in Otemachi every morning for the past three years. The same young woman has been working there for the entire time. Yet, every time I visit, we seem to do battle. With a big smile, she insists on putting my Kit Kat into a plastic bag. With the same growl, I insist that I do not require her to put my chocolate treat into a receptacle that I will promptly dispose of. Victory in our daily skirmish hinges on a number of factors. If I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I can get in a preemptive strike by requesting a bag-free purchase even before I’ve put my munchies on the counter. She admits defeat by giving me one more regimented “Arigato gozaimasu [Thank you very much]” than permitted in the store’s service manual. When the tables are turned, however, and I’m buying a bottle of rehydrating Pocari Sweat after a beer-soaked night, I don’t stand a chance. She swiftly takes my drink, bags it and sends me
56 June 2010 iNTOUCH
on my way before I can utter a whimper of disapproval. The real test is when we are both keen, focused and unwilling to concede any ground. Her favored tactic is to completely ignore my request while pretending to be swimming in her thoughts. I counter this with a strategic “eco-warrior” argument about protecting the environment. These contests can continue for a full 10 seconds or so, before she smugly withdraws the bag knowing that she’s made me earn my lack of plastic. After about 10 years in Japan, I have found that rather than the conventional greetings and weather-based chitchat presented in Japanese for Busy People 1, the phrases I use the most in stores are “Kono mama de ii desu [It’s fine as it is],” “Fukuro ga iranai [I don’t need a bag]” and “Kekko desu [I’m alright, thanks].” I wonder if the publishers have ever thought about altering the opening chapter. I would be happy to explain why they should. But before that, I’d like someone to tell me why everything has to be bagged in the first place. ®
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 三 巻 三 十 二 号
ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 十 〇 六 月 一 日 発 行
iNTOUCH TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
本 体 七 七 七 円
Football fever erupts at the Club ahead of the start of the World Cup in South Africa
Issue 543 • June 2010
Raising a Racket
A glimpse at the verdant flourishes in Azabudai
A Nobel Prize winner spreads his passion for physics
Young Club athletes find victory on the squash courts