TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 七 巻 五 六 三 号
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
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i N T O U C H
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Road to Recovery
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
A year after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Club’s relief fund helps communities rebuild
本 体 七 七 七 円
Issue 563 • March 2012
From the Vine to the Vessel
The Club hosts evenings of wine and wineglass appreciation
State of the Art
Kichijoji: a Tokyo pocket One Member reveals the of bohemian charm challenges of running art museums
food & beverage
A Glass Act
Set to host a much-anticipated wine tasting at the Club this month, Georg Riedel explains the science behind the acclaimed Riedel wineglasses.
Honing Hoop Skills Under the expert tutelage of former professional basketball player Dan Weiss, legions of Club youngsters are developing a passion for the game.
For membership information, contact Mari Hori:
6 Board of Governors
8 Food & Beverage
16 Committees 18 Recreation 22 Womenâ€™s Group
Following the unprecedented death and destruction of last yearâ€™s earthquake and tsunami, Club Members quickly set about raising funds and collecting supplies for those survivors in Tohoku. A year on, iNTOUCH finds out how three Club-supported projects are helping people recover.
To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara:
14 DVD Library
Boasting a strange dialect, a love of running and an even greater love of drinking, the Hash House Harriers are a phenomenon that spans the globe.
Editor Nick Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Designers Ryan Mundt Nagisa Mochizuki Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki
Assistant Editor Erika Woodward
Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649
Communications Manager Matthew Roberts
www.tokyoamericanclub.org Cover photo of Mangokuura Elementary School children by Takahiko Numata.
32 Talking Heads
34 Frederick Harris Gallery
36 Member Services
38 Inside Japan
40 Out & About
42 Event Roundup
48 Back Words
Bob Sexton General Manager email@example.com
Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Lian Chang Information Technology Director email@example.com
Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Darryl Dudley Engineering Director email@example.com
Scott Yahiro Recreation Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Marcus Food & Beverage Director email@example.com
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail Phone American Bar & Grill
Banquet Sales and Reservations
Food & Beverage Office
Foreign Traders’ Bar
Member Services Desk
Women’s Group Office firstname.lastname@example.org
2 March 2012 iNTOUCH
As darkness fell on March 11 last year, Hitomi Asano huddled with her 10-year-old daughter on the second-floor balcony of their house in Ishinomaki, more than 400 kilometers north of Tokyo. With the snow falling, Asano listened to the radio while running over and over in her mind the terrifying scenes of a few hours earlier when blackened waters had surged up her street and into her house. “There was no sound and there was no light. It was so dark,” Asano told me as she sat in an evacuation center a few weeks after the tsunami waves had devoured large swaths of the city. “I just didn’t know what was happening.” The daily rhythm of life in the coastal community had been shattered for good. In the weeks and months following that cataclysmic day last year, there was much talk of the disaster being a watershed moment for Japan and an opportunity for many of the country’s lingering issues to be addressed. Some commentators said the earthquake was as significant as pivotal events like World War II and the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s squadron of “black ships.” In general, though, people don’t like change and will often do anything to prevent an upheaval of the status quo. That is, of course, unless they have lost everything. And it’s often those living amid the wreckage and ruin—rather than bureaucrats and politicians—who embrace change over a return to the past. Sitting on the tatami-matted floor of the shelter in Ishinomaki, Asano said that she wasn’t certain if she and her family would ever live in their house again. Writer and Club Member Maria Bromley found similar attitudes in the pottery town of Mashiko, in Tochigi Prefecture, while discovering how three Clubsupported projects were helping people affected by last year’s quake. “It’s no use trying to make the same [works] as I did before,” says potter Ken Matsuzaki in this issue’s cover story, “Rebuilding Lives,” on pages 26 to 31. “It is an opportunity to try something new.” . If you have any comments about anything you read in iNTOUCH, please e-mail them to email@example.com, putting “Letter to the Editor” in the subject title of the mail. For this month's letter, turn to page 48.
contributors Maria Bromley
Canadian Maria Bromley is a freelance writer, producer and blogger. A wanderer by nature and a writer by happenstance, she specializes in financial news, travel and trend spotting, as in finding a trendy place to drown your sorrows over your losses in the financial markets. After 10 years as a financial adviser in Canada, she switched to journalism, working as a producer for BNN in Toronto then for Bloomberg Television in Tokyo. For this issue of iNTOUCH, Bromley, a resident of Tokyo since 2006, finds out how three post-earthquake projects supported by the Club are progressing, on pages 26 to 31, and teams up with a group of drinkers with a running problem for Inside Japan, on pages 38 to 39.
Equipped with a degree in hospitality and tourism from Queensland University in Australia, Nicki Titze forged a career in the hotel business before switching to the airline industry, where she worked in marketing. Later, after earning a diploma in wines and spirits in Britain, she established her own company to import wines from Australia and New Zealand to the UK. A freelance writer and wine event organizer, she interviewed Rick Small of Woodward Canyon Winery for this issue of iNTOUCH. Ahead of his visit to the Club this month, Small talks about the popularity of Washington wines on page 9. Titze and her family joined the Club last year.
Find Us on Facebook and Twitter Join the Club’s social network and keep tabs on news, photos from events and announcements, take part in lively dialogues and so much more. Look for the Tokyo American Club page on Facebook and Twitter and discover endless ways to connect with your fellow Members!
Words from the editor 3
What’s happening in March 1
Frederick Harris Gallery Dedication Ceremony Members pay homage to the late Fred Harris, as a portrait of the former Club president and artist is dedicated to the gallery named after him. 6:30 p.m. Formal Lobby (B1). Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Fitness Biathlon Fitness fanatics push their bodies to the limit in this test of running and cycling. 10 a.m. Page 21 has the details.
Yamatane Museum of Art Tour Join an exclusive guided tour of a fascinating exhibition of Japanesestyle artworks featuring kimonowearing women. 3:45 p.m. Flip to page 17 for details.
Café Med Seasonal Menu Launch The Club’s Mediterranean-inspired culinary destination unveils a new selection of mouthwatering, healthy items for spring. Find out more by visiting the Wine & Dining section of the Club website.
Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Parents-to-be prepare for the arrival of their bundles of joy during this Women’s Group session. 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Women’s Group classrooms. ¥7,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Tokyo: Here & Now Cocktail Party Tokyo rookies celebrate their newfound knowledge of city living and toast to new friendships at this conclusion of the orientation program. 6 p.m. Visit the Club website for more.
Skills Evaluation Day The Club’s Baseball League kicks off another season with a session of skills assessment. Flip to page 20 for more.
Monthly Luncheon: Shunsuke Kimura and Etsuro Ono Concert This shamisen-strumming duo bring their modern, energy-infused brand of traditional Japanese music to the Club. 11:30 a.m. More on page 22.
Library Book Group JG Farrell’s colonial-era saga The Singapore Grip is up for discussion at this month’s gathering of literature lovers. 12–2 p.m. For more information, contact the Library.
Birth Preparation for Couples Expecting couples get expert help to develop their own choices and styles for labor. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Women’s Group classrooms. ¥36,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Lake Kawaguchi and Oshino Hakkai Tour Journey to the largest lake at the foot of Mount Fuji for a day of unforgettable sightseeing. 7:45 a.m. Sign up at the Member Services Desk. Visit the Club website for details.
Sakura Family Weekend Buffet In celebration of the season of blushing cherry blossoms, Rainbow Café serves up a delicious smorgasbord of tantalizing spring-inspired eats. Visit the Club website for details.
Steal a look at Decanter’s avant-garde American dining experience. For an epicurean adventure not to be missed, check the Tokyo American Club website and Facebook for details.
For reservations: 03-4588-0675 (Club Members) www.opentable.jp (non-Club Members)
4 March 2012 iNTOUCH
www.tokyoamericanclub.org E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crabfest Grand Buffet Head to the New York Ballroom to feast on clawed crustaceans. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–8 p.m. Adults (18 and over): ¥5,400; juniors (7–17 years): ¥2,900; children (3–6 years): ¥1,050; infants (2 and under): free. Reserve at 03-4588-0977.
Tokyo: Here & Now Don’t miss this two-day, Women’s Group-organized seminar designed to help newcomers adjust to life in Tokyo. 8:45 a.m. Check the Club website for details.
Woodward Canyon Wine Dinner with Rick Small Join vintner Rick Small when he uncorks varietals from his winery in Walla Walla, Washington’s award-winning wine country. 7 p.m. Find out how to reserve your seat on page 9.
Ella Baché Beauty Seminar The Spa hosts an informative session of skincare tips that will leave attendees glowing. 10:30 a.m. Page 21 has more.
Taste of Oregon American Bar & Grille celebrates the fine food and wine of Oregon with a special selection of dishes matched with varietals from Oregon winery A to Z Wineworks. Reserve at 03-4588-0734.
Winemaker Tips Winemaker Sam Tannahill, from the Oregon winery A to Z Wineworks, drops by American Bar & Grill to offer diners recommendations and chat about his passion for the grape. Reserve at 03-4588-0734.
William Saito Lecture From child prodigy to entrepreneur and venture capitalist, William Saito offers his thoughts and aspirations in a talk at the Club. 7 p.m. Page 23 has the rundown.
Gallery Reception Ink-and-wash artist meets political satirist Zhu Wei launches his exhibition of thought-provoking works at a casual reception at the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. Flip to page 34 to learn more.
Flowering Fun for Spring The Club hosts a morning of creative fun for youngsters to welcome the change of season and warmer weather. 10 a.m. Find out how to sign up by turning to page 21.
Riedel Wine Tasting with Georg Riedel Find out why size and shape matter when George Riedel, of the world-famous Austrian glassmaker, reveals how to get the most out of wine. 6:30 p.m. Learn more on page 8.
Coming up in April 7 An Architectural Walking Tour of Ginza 8 Family Spring Festival 11 Basketball League kickoff 27 Jammin’ for Japan II
Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or want to meet new people, drop by this relaxed Women’s Group gathering. 10:30 a.m. Haru Reischauer and Beate Sirota Gordon classrooms. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare.
As if you needed an excuse for staying at the Club
Whether you’re planning a girls’ getaway, romantic break or weekend retreat, check out our array of exciting overnight packages to suit every occasion.
For more details, visit the Guest Studios page under the Activities & Amenities section of the Club website.
Tel: 03-4588-0734 | E-mail: email@example.com | www.tokyoamericanclub.org
Noteworthy dates for the month 5
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
A Time to Remember by Ann Marie Skalecki
Board of Governors Lance E Lee (2012)—President Brian Nelson (2012)—Vice President Mary Saphin (2013)—Vice President Ann Marie Skalecki (2012)—Vice President John Durkin (2012)—Treasurer Deb Wenig (2013)—Secretary Kavin C Bloomer (2012), Norman J Green (2013), Paul Hoff (2013), Hiroyuki Kamano (2012), Per Knudsen (2012), Gregory Lyon (2012), Jeff McNeill (2013), Hiroshi Miyamasu (2013), Steve Romaine (2012), Dan Stakoe (2013), Ira Wolf (2013), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2012), Ginger Griggs—Women’s Group President
n our hectic worlds of commitments, meetings, responsibilities and demands, there seems to be so little time to reflect on the past and determine how we will make things better for the future. With the tragic events of last March 11 only a year old, it’s an especially poignant time to consider our lives here in Tokyo and as Members of the Club. It’s difficult to believe that 12 months have passed since that unforgettable day last year. As soon as the news of the record 9.0-magnitude earthquake and destructive tsunami swept around the world, Members immediately got together to see how they could help those survivors in Tohoku. Wasting no time, the Club set up a relief fund and the Women’s Group organized a food and clothing drive, while corporations volunteered their time and resources to transport the much-needed supplies to the hardest-hit areas in the north. Such efforts continued beyond March through various activities at the Club, including the musical fundraiser Jammin’ in Japan in May. For an update on the three main projects supported by donations from Members, turn to this month’s cover story, “Rebuilding Lives,” on pages 26 to 31. And be sure to mark your calendars for a night of opera and fashion at Jammin’
6 March 2012 iNTOUCH
for Japan II on Friday, April 27. Through the hard work and generosity of Members last year, the Club has been able to alleviate the suffering of some of those affected by the disaster. During this time of remembrance, it’s good to contemplate such things and build on those efforts. In the uncertain aftermath of last March’s catastrophe, many Members found comfort in the welcoming surroundings of the Club. It proved a place where they could come to relax, feel safe and meet friends. And that’s still the case. Take a stroll around our beautiful facility or flip through the pages of this issue of iNTOUCH and you’ll see that there is so much going on. With so much on offer, there is an event or service for all interests and ages. A glance at the calendar of events on pages 4 and 5 reveals an incredible range of activities, classes and programs taking place this month. From the Women’s Group biannual Tokyo: Here & Now primer for those new in town and wine tastings with connoisseurs of the grape to sumptuous family Sunday buffets and exciting new fitness programs. Our Club is a hub of possibilities. Why not come and explore? o
New Frontiers by Bob Sexton
t seems hard to believe we have been in our Azabudai home for more than a year. Obviously, the earthquake and related problems of last March took the complex job of opening the Club to new dimensions. Accordingly, both Members and staff have learned about parts of the Club, but perhaps not about all of the outstanding facilities. That is one of the goals of our one-year anniversary Find Your Groove campaign, which launches this month. We hope that you will be able to take advantage of the many special offers this spring while exploring unfamiliar areas of the Club and trying out new programs. This building is one of the largest private clubhouses in the world and to enjoy the full benefits of membership, you need to experience all that the Club has to offer. Have you considered taking a dip in the Sky Pool at night? This year-round facility not only has spectacular views, but in the evening it can be a tranquil place to exercise. Another area worth exploring is the Frederick Harris Gallery. Its display cases in the B1 Formal Lobby and on the first floor of the family wing feature a remarkable variety of artists throughout the year. The gallery has proven so popular that all 2012 exhibition dates are booked. The Club’s function and meeting rooms are attracting plenty of business as well. We are becoming the location of choice for a number of events, including those of fashion design firms. Of course, the New York Ballroom continues to host a themed
grand buffet every month. The next one on Sunday, March 4, is a celebration of crab. This month also sees another of our popular “Show and Tell” Club introduction parties, which give Members an excellent opportunity to bring friends interested in joining the Club to meet other Members and see the facility. The next party is on Friday, March 16, from 6:30 p.m. You may be aware of our plan for a child safety monitor program in the family dining outlets, which aims to improve the behavior of children and remind parents of their responsibilities. This issue has been with us for many years but, despite numerous appeals, we have not made enough progress. Opinions vary as to what level of control parents should exert. One comment we have heard is that parents may relax their supervision at the Club because we provide such a safe and familiar environment. As much as we appreciate the Club’s homelike feel, inappropriate behavior by children has led to falls and collisions, particularly with staff carrying food. Fortunately, there has been no serious injury yet. Noise is another issue. We must take the steps necessary to ensure all Members dining in the family restaurants can enjoy the experience. Single incidents of child misbehavior will be brought to the attention of parents or domestics helpers in the form of a reminder. Multiple incidents involving the same supervising adults failing to control children will be referred to the House Committee for review. Please help us make the Club a welcoming haven for everyone. o
Executive remarks 7
A Glass Act by Erika Woodward
hen it comes to preparing for a first-class flight or a night out at a club, few people would include a wineglass on their list of must-brings. But Georg Riedel won’t leave home without his travel-ready chalice. “It comes in a small canister, so it’s very well-packed, double safe,” says the 62-year-old head of the Austrian glass-making company that bears his name. “Life is too short to drink good wine from a second-rate glass.” Around 50 years ago, Riedel’s father, Claus Joseph Riedel, revolutionized the glass industry when he discovered that the size and shape of a wineglass can affect the wine contained within it. The launch of Claus’ innovative series of Sommeliers glasses in 1973 transformed the centuriesold glassware company into the world’s leading producer of slim-blown stemware. “[The glass] triggers different flavor pictures and makes you believe the same wine tastes differently,” Riedel explains by phone from Arizona. In short, the right wine in the wrong glass can lead a drinker to dismiss the wine as poor. “You don’t blame it on the glass,” Riedel says, “because many consumers aren’t aware of the incredible impact the glass has on the perception of wine.” Fortunately, he does. When crafting wineglasses, Riedel considers everything from the effect of gravity on flavor to how much the width of a glass is able to capture or release aromas of particular grape varietals. It is this attention to detail that attracts winemakers looking for tailor-made vessels for their latest vintages. Yet, even science falls short compared with the simple act of sampling wines from different glasses. “[The ideal glass] comes by trial and error,” says the 10th-generation Riedel, whose glasses have received countless design honors and accolades from the likes of renowned wine critic Robert Parker. “There is no computer software that gives you the indication.” This month, Members can learn how to choose the optimal glass for any grape situation, when the 40-year glassmaking veteran, armed with his sleek stemware, hosts a wine tasting at the Club. And soon, Riedel could be extending its reach into cafés and coffee shops. The company is in talks with top coffee companies to design “special vessels” for caffeine lovers to enjoy the subtleties of their favorite pick-me-up. “The search for the holy grail, so to speak, is not limited to alcoholic beverages,” he says. “[It] can be expanded to all type of liquid, with flavor and without flavor.” For those Members still not convinced, Riedel throws down a glass gauntlet. “People should come to tastings and experience for themselves the difference a glass can make,” he says. o
Riedel Wine Tasting with Georg Riedel Thursday, March 15 6:30 p.m. Manhattan I and II Members: ¥19,000 Non-Members: ¥22,800 Prices include three Riedel Vitis glasses and buffet (specially priced Riedel glassware available for purchase on the night) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Georg Riedel
8 March 2012 iNTOUCH
FOOD & BEVERAGE
n an increasingly competitive wine world, dominated by corporate behemoths and conglomerates, Woodward Canyon Winery, in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley, stands out as a family-owned producer of award-winning wines. Run by the effervescent Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small, Woodward Canyon is perhaps best known for its Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Chardonnays. Devoted to producing smaller amounts of well-crafted, premium wines, Small says that the region is blessed with excellent winegrowing conditions. “We are bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the north by Canada, our days are longer and we are a cooler place overall to grow wine,” he says. “Washington State is very unique, and I believe that it is these differences in soil and water and geology that make us special.” In 1976, Small started a vineyard on the family’s former wheat farm. Five years later, the self-taught vintner produced his first vintage. Since those early uncertain days, Woodward Canyon has grown in reputation, impressing wine critic Robert Parker enough to declare it “one of Washington State’s leading wineries.” This month, Members will have the chance to draw their own conclusions, when Small uncorks a range of varietals at the Club. “I do believe that wines from Washington State have a purity of fruit and a very distinct sense of place,” says the 65-year-old Washington Wine Commission chair. “The wines are flavorful and balanced and match beautifully with Japanese cuisine.” It’s these qualities that have been recognized by the likes of The Wine Advocate, which, in 2010, awarded around 470 Washington wines 90 points or more. And it was a Washington wine that took the top spot in Wine Spectator magazine’s top 100 wines for 2009. The state’s wineries are finding an appreciative group of drinkers in Japan, too. A 2011 US government report on the Japanese wine market noted that Washington was “establishing a presence on many wine lists in hotels and restaurants in Tokyo.” For Woodward Canyon, the country represents its largest export market. “Since my first visit to Japan 10 years ago, I appreciated that the Japanese people like nice things,” Small says. “They appreciate quality and craftsmanship and beauty. They appreciate and respect an artisan, and so do I.” o
The Rise and Rise of Washington Wine by Nicki Titze
Rick Small Woodward Canyon Wine Dinner with Rick Small Friday, March 9 7 p.m. New York Dining Bridge ¥15,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
Titze is a Member of the Club.
Club wining and dining 9
City Sketches French graphic artist Florent Chavouet explains the genesis of his vividly illustrated city guide, Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods.
hen my girlfriend found an internship with a French company in Tokyo in 2006, I decided to follow her and lived in the city for six months. While she was working, I spent my days by myself. At first, I tried to find a job in order to get some pocket money, but I soon realized that I didn’t want to waste my time hanging around a French café serving coffee. I decided to spend my hours doing what I love most: drawing. I had been curious about Japan even before the trip and I was really looking forward to exploring the country in detail. Fusing both these passions, I started drawing my surroundings in Tokyo.
10 March 2012 iNTOUCH
At first, I didn’t have any professional or editorial objectives; I just drew randomly and whenever something caught my eye, whether it was a house, person, office building or billboard. Little by little, I started to get organized, though. I bought a bike (easily the best way to discover Tokyo) and selected my subjects. I began sketching one or two pages a day. The good thing about drawing, compared to photography, is that you have to stay in one place for a while. As I was sketching, passersby, including old ladies and men, would stop to have a chat with me. I was asked where I was from, what I was doing and why I was interested in Japan. I found Japanese people to be certainly curious. Once I came back to France, I found a publisher. Together, we thought through how my drawings would appear. We decided to divide the book into different chapters, with each chapter dedicated to a specific district and featuring a map of that particular area. We also decided to add my koban police box series of sketches as a reminder of my adventures with the local lawenforcement officers. That’s how the book came about, and now I return to the source of my inspiration every year. o Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods is available at the Library.
Literary gems at the Library 11
Listening to a Good Book by Alaine Lee
o you love to read, but lack the time? Are you bored with your music playlist for the gym? Do you have a long commute to work or school? Do you have a long flight coming up? One enjoyable solution to all these issues might be audiobooks. The Library stocks about 500 audiobooks, which are either full-length readings or shorter, abridged versions. All available on CD, the audiobooks are often narrated by professional actors, whose inflection and dramatic interpretation of the stories they read add to the richness of the listening experience. The Library offers a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction in its collection of audiobooks for adults. Enjoy listening to Bill Maher’s latest book, The New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody but Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass, read by the American comedian, author and television host. Arguably, the latest collection of essays by the late author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, is worth exploring, as is the new novel of renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, which is performed by four different narrators.
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The young adult audiobook choices include many popular fantasy and science-fiction titles, such as the Inheritance Cycle, Twilight and Harry Potter series. For younger readers, the Library stocks the audio versions of a number of classics, including CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, read by British comedian Eric Idle, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by Newbery Medal-winning writer EL Konigsburg. Audiobooks can be experienced wherever you might be and at any time of the day. An added bonus is the relaxation and satisfaction that comes with having a story read aloud to you. Whether you listen to an audiobook through headphones or together with the family, why not check out the selection in the Library? o Lee is a member of the Library Committee. The Library’s audiobook collection includes more than 330 adult titles, 40 young adult titles and 75 titles for children.
reads The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
When 11-year-old Michael journeys unaccompanied from Sri Lanka to London aboard the Oronsay, he befriends the ship’s eccentric strays who dine at the cat’s table and learns life lessons and clues to unlock a mystery. This elegantly written coming-of-age novel touches on the personal experiences of its award-winning author.
Troubled orphan Victoria Jones has a hidden gift for communicating emotions through the Victorian language of flowers, in which each blossom symbolizes a feeling. But after she plants a poignant public flower garden, a florist discovers her talent and challenges Victoria to confront her own difficult past.
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson
Discover how an orphaned German shepherd became an Oscar-nominated movie star and international icon in this biography from the author of The Orchid Thief. The book explores America’s post-Cold War psychology through the true story of a canine hero that embodied the principles of a nation.
Based on more than 40 interviews conducted over two years with Apple’s founder, this riveting biography chronicles the life of the creative genius who revolutionized the personal computer, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing.
Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
From the iconic children’s book author of The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up comes an enthralling compilation of his neverbefore-published poems and drawings that readers of all ages can enjoy.
Enjoy a quick and fun read packed with humorous essays about dating, dieting and dealing with mom by Kaling, who produces, writes for and stars in the Emmy Award-winning show “The Office.”
Reviews compiled by Library Committee member Alaine Lee.
member’s choice Member: Helen Siedell Title: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
What’s the book about? Besides being a story about love, loss and survival, it’s also a book within a book that spans the world and 60 years. While the stories of the three protagonists seem vaguely connected throughout most of this book, the author gradually pulls them together in striking fashion.
What did you like about it? A relatively short work, this is a novel of surprising complexity and depth. It’s also so full of twists and turns that you may have to reread sections or possibly the entire book. The pace slows midway through, but I strongly encourage you to stay with it to the last page.
Why did you choose it? It’s a great choice for a book group discussion, which is how I came to read it.
What other books would you recommend? State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller.
Literary gems at the Library 13
inematographers decide who should stand there just long enough to be seen, suggest whether that unlocked door should be noticed or overlooked and control which image is worth examining or better lost in the blink of an eye. And when it comes to delivering goose bumps, they know a carefully plotted zoom will do. Certainly M Night Shyamalan, the Indian-born master of suspense and the director of the 1999 blockbuster The Sixth Sense, does. “[Zooming] creates a different
emotion,” he once said in an interview. “When you zoom in, it’s like focusing on a detail in a painting. It’s like looking at a painting and realizing there’s someone in the corner of that room holding a knife.” In honor of these masters of perception, who use camera motion, depth of field, lighting, frame composition and all manner of skills to change the way we see the world— or the plot unfold, anyway—our Club critics offer their picks for the best cinematographic masterpiece. o
“Cinematography has evolved as newer technologies have been introduced, but the older, epic movies like Ben Hur, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz still stand the test of time. When it comes to a more recent generation of filmmaking, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) is a beautifully shot movie. The movie’s rich colors give it an almost manga comic-like feel, or as if it’s a series of stunning photographs. Breathtaking landscapes enhance the ballet-like fighting scenes and the images of bamboo forests, mist-covered mountains and cascading waterfalls are endless. Meanwhile, the lighting enhances the textures of clothes, woven baskets and armor. Simply, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon engulfs you in a beautiful and mythical world. An instant classic.”
“Alfred Hitchcock’s unique filming style and techniques in Psycho not only shocked the world, but reinvented how movies are made today. Psycho consists of twists and turns, as well as terrifying moments that will keep you either on the edge of your seat or burying your face in your hands. Despite the mixed reviews it received on its release in 1960, after much dissection, the true genius of Psycho was revealed and it went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards. Not only is this film one of the most terrifying, it paved the way for a new age of horror films, as well as great cinematographic masterpieces.”
“The winner of three Oscars, including one for best cinematography, Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) tells the story of 9-year-old Chiyo, who is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto in the 1930s. Director of photography Dion Beebe presented the protagonist’s ‘journey through time’ with lighting. ‘Young Chiyo arrives frightened and scared in this strange house. We wanted it to feel dark and mysterious to capture how it must have felt to this young child,’ Beebe explained. As the girl gains confidence and control, ‘light starts to come in,’ sliding screens gradually open and ‘panels change from solid wood to reed, paper and glass.’ The meticulously created sets, cobblestone streets, breathtaking scenery and gorgeous silk kimonos combine to make you feel transported back in time.”
Best cinematographic masterpiece:
Best cinematographic masterpiece:
Best cinematographic masterpiece:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Memoirs of a Geisha
Club critic: David Fujii
Club critic: Cameron Olsen
Club critic: Diane Harris
The Big Picture
All titles mentioned are either available at the DVD Library or on order.
14 March 2012 iNTOUCH
DVD LIBRARY He is Club President Lance E Lee. She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the DVD Library.
HE SAYS, SHE SAYS abort
Real Steel A great movie about a man’s (Hugh Jackman) redemption as a boxer and person, and his growing relationship with his 11-year-old son. The terrific special effects in the robot fight scenes add the sci-fi element to the film.
give it a go
This entertaining family flick for older kids is a kind of Rocky meets Transformers. Set in a world of boxing robots, the story follows destitute former boxer Charlie (Hugh Jackman), as he rebuilds his career and his relationship with his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo).
New Year’s Eve A stereotypical, fairytale-like rom-com that is for those who like their movies to leave them feeling warm all over. With no masterful twists to the plot, this film, set in New York on New Year’s Eve and boasting a star-studded cast, is a simple drama about hope and love.
A real feel-good flick that examines the essence of love, life and joy through the lives of a number of New Yorkers over the course of New Year’s Eve. From the director of Valentine’s Day, Garry Marshall, this film is perfect for a girls’ night in.
Restless A promising film from Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) about two teenagers dealing with death while learning to appreciate the importance of the present and the value of love. The cinematography and score tenderly augment this not-atall-morbid movie.
Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper produce good performances in this slightly dull film about a terminally ill teenage girl and her relationship with a somewhat dark, funeral-crashing boy. Not for everyone.
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol Tom Cruise delivers another solid performance as Ethan Hunt in this latest installment of the lucrative franchsie. Although some of the attempts to add humor are weak, this fast-paced movie gets off to an energy-infused start that continues the story without missing a beat.
Many might groan at the prospect of yet another dose of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), but this film won’t let you down. While hardly Oscar-winning material, Ghost Protocol, which sees Hunt and his crew battle to clear their names after being implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, is well worth watching.
MYST E RY
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas Hollywood’s favorite Asian-American stoners embark on a Cheech and Chong-inspired search for the perfect trees to pacify Harold’s dreadful in-laws. Expect crude jokes from the equal-opportunity offenders in this third installment about living a kind of high life. Stars John Cho and Kal Penn.
other new titles... Sunset Limited One man stops another from throwing himself in front of a train, but the real story unfolds when the white atheist professor (Tommy Lee Jones) and the black convict turned evangelical Christian (Samuel L Jackson) find themselves sharing a confined space and trading world views.
Happy Feet Two In the webbed footsteps of the first box-office smash comes the latest animated saga starring lovable Arctic penguins. In this National Geographicmeets-Finding Nemo flick, the dancing birds rally behind an unlikely hero to free their trapped colony from shifting ice due to climate change.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 This vampire blockbuster kicks off with the muchanticipated wedding of heartthrob fanger Edward (Robert Pattinson) to mortal beauty Bella (Kristen Stewart), but their hopes for happily ever after plummet when a villainous werewolf threatens the couple’s honeymoon-created vampire-human hybrid.
The Son of No One New York cop Jonathan White (Channing Tatum) has managed to bury a dark childhood secret with help from influential friends, until an enterprising reporter (Juliette Binoche) receives a letter describing a decades-old grisly crime that occurred in the hellish housing project White once called home. Also stars Al Pacino.
Anonymous With beddings, beheadings and a brilliant cast of Britain’s most beloved actors, this 16th-century-set drama questions William Shakespeare’s true identity and whether he actually penned all those famous sonnets and plays, transforming a longstanding academic debate into a thrilling unsolved mystery.
All movies reviewed are either available at the DVD Library or on order.
TV and film selections 15
All a Façade
okyo has some of the most exciting architecture in the world. With its daring design, unexpected forms and innovative technology, the capital’s cityscape is without parallel. But in our busy city lives, we sometimes forget to look up and appreciate the astounding buildings that house the shops, offices and homes. Next month’s tour is about taking in some of Tokyo’s architectural wonders. We will visit the consumerist mecca of Ginza, business-minded Marunouchi and iconic Nihonbashi. Many of the area’s glittering façades were designed by some of the world’s best architects, and the streets are filled with traces of the city’s storied past. Ginza’s long history as a center of power and glamour is readily expressed in the district’s opulent, eye-catching architecture. We will see recent creations by both Japanese and international star architects, including Shigeru Ban’s Nicolas G Hayek Center, Renzo Piano’s Maison Hermès, the Mikimoto building by Toyo Ito and the Dior building by up-and-coming designer Kumiko Inui. While the Edo and Meiji periods are long gone, we’ll discover how that history still remains, not only squeezed between high-rises and under highways, but in the designs of some of Japan’s finest contemporary architects. We’ll also consider the renovations of historic structures like the 98-year-old Tokyo Station and the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, an intriguing development in a city where buildings rarely stand 20 years before being demolished. So, dig out that pair of good walking shoes and get set for a morning of walking and talking about architecture. o
by Deanna MacDonald
MacDonald is an art and architectural historian and the author of numerous books on art and architecture. An Architectural Walking Tour of Ginza: Where Past and Present Meet in Architectural Design Saturday, April 7 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (meeting point: Nicolas G Hayek Center) ¥4,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee
Stacks of Services at the Club JTB Sunrise Tours
Enjoy a 5 percent discount on all package tours and start making unforgettable memories. Tel: 03-5796-5454 (9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jtb-sunrisetours.jp
The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 The Cellar (B1) Sat: 1–4:30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Weekday drop-off: Member Services Desk
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
To find out more about the range of services and Member discounts, visit the FedEx counter. The Cellar (B1) Mon–Fri: 1–5 p.m. (closed Sun and national holidays) Sat: 12 p.m. (pickup only)
16 March 2012 iNTOUCH
André Bernard Beauty Salon Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (B1) Tue–Sun 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Kimono on Show by Nick Jones
Yamatane Museum of Art Tour Saturday, March 3 3:45–5 p.m. (meeting point: Yamatane Museum of Art lobby) ¥2,100 (includes admission, green tea and Japanese sweet) Ages 16 and above Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee
hat’s striking about Ito Shinsui’s exquisite work “Spring” is how different it appears from the more iconic images of kimono-clad young Japanese women. The silk painting shows two gossiping girls, one, the sleeve of her vividly colored kimono drawn up to her mouth, whispering mischievously into her friend’s ear. But it’s the hairstyles that catch the eye. Rather than sporting the traditional shimada hairstyle, typically associated with geisha, the two women have wellcoiffed dos from the 1950s, reflecting the
era in which Shinsui created the piece. “Spring” is one of a number of works by the famous print artist on display this month as part of a special kimono-themed exhibition at the Yamatane Museum of Art in Hiroo. Titled “The Japanese Garb: Uemura Shoen, Kaburaki Kiyokata and Ito Shinsui,” the show features depictions of kimono-wearing women in various artistic styles by the three headlining painters and other Japanese artists. Members are invited to join an exclusive guided tour of the exhibition early this month. Founded in 1966 by Taneji Yamazaki,
the Yamatane Museum of Art was the first gallery specializing in nihonga (Japanesestyle paintings) in Japan. While the museum also boasts a collection of oil paintings, ukiyo-e and ancient Japanese calligraphy, the majority of its many works are modern nihonga, including Gyoshu Hayami’s famous painting “Dancing in the Flames.” o
To read an interview with Club Member and director of the Yamatane Museum of Art Taeko Yamazaki, turn to Talking Heads on page 32.
Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the Management Office. Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons.
Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter
Recreation Tim Griffen (Ira Wolf) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh Fitness Sam Rogan Golf Steven Thomas Library Melanie Chetley Logan Room Diane Dooley & Cathleen Fuge Squash Martin Fluck
Finance Gregory Davis (John Durkin)
Programs & Events Barbara Hancock (Ann Marie Skalecki) Programs Community Relations Donald Soo Culture Miki Ohyama Entertainment Matthew Krcelic Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai
Food & Beverage Joe Purcell (Mary Saphin)
House Jesse Green (Gregory Lyon)
Swim Jesse Green & Alexander Jampel DVD Abby Radmilovich Youth Activities TBA Compensation Brian Nelson
House Subcommittee Facilities Management Group Gregory Lyon Human Resources Jon Sparks (Steve Romaine) Membership Mark Ferris (Deb Wenig) Membership Subcommittee Branding Mark Ferris Nominating Nick Masee
Cornerstone of the Club 17
Honing Hoop Skills by Erika Woodward Photos by Kayo Yamawaki
or nearly four weeks, head coach Dan Weiss watched the youngest member of the Club’s Basketball League fearlessly dribble down court, square off against bigger kids, shoot—and miss every time. “Then, all of the sudden, it clicks,” says former pro Weiss, who looked on with pride when the novice sank his first basket before shouting to his mom in the stands. “Always when a kid makes his first shot... it’s pretty cool and it feels good.” Weiss has been cheering on ball-playing protégés since 2002 as coordinator of the four-tiered program that focuses on the fundamentals of the game, from ball handling and dribbling to rebounding, passing and shooting.
Dan Weiss with students
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The Club’s popular youth basketball program develops basic b-ball skills while nurturing a passion for the game. The roughly hour-long practices kick off with stretching, continue with drills tailored to the theme of the day, such as offense, then culminate with a high-energy scrimmage in which the budding all-stars put their skills to the test. “It’s like play time,” says 7-year-old Sam Glusker of the entry-level Pee Wee class. “The drills, the game, like the whole lesson from when you get there until the game ends are fun.” In addition to enjoying the sport, Weiss wants all his students, who range from first-graders to eighth-graders, to experience the kind of personal triumph that comes from hard work. “I think some kids just think they aren’t good enough to be part of the program, that there’s going to be
kids that are ‘better than me…’” he says one weekday evening in January. “‘You’ve got to start somewhere’ is my response to that.” In fact, the towering 2.06-meter-tall American, whose ball-wielding skills catapulted him halfway around the world to play first in Turkey then in the Japan Basketball League, didn’t unearth his talent until later in school. Until junior high school, Weiss was more likely to be found at band practice than on the court. After graduating from California’s Santa Clara University in 1988, he tried out with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics before embarking on a 14-year professional career. He’s now been coaching almost as long. Weiss says he wants hopefuls to know that being a great ball player requires more than natural ability. “[Students] have to self-motivate…that’s what’s going to make them stay the extra 20 minutes to work on their shot, their left-handed dribble instead of just their right and to become better,” he says. “As long as I can see that energy and enthusiasm in the kids, that’s what I’m looking for.” Unlike competitive squads, everyone makes the team at the Club. But this doesn’t mean Weiss doles out empty praise. Instead, he gives students opportunities to succeed by rewarding incremental achievements. In turn, youngsters recognize when they do well, even if they Sam Glusker
don’t sink the game-winning basket. “In the first game, I had a very nice pass. I think that was probably a good moment,” says 9-year-old Joseph Glusker, Sam’s elder brother, after playing a thrilling scrimmage that ended in a dead heat. And he couldn’t be more pleased with the program. “I think [Weiss is] a fun coach. He does cool drills and I think the games are cool, too,” he says. “I hadn’t thought about [basketball] much until my mom got me signed up, [but] I think it’s a fun sport and it gets you working.” With an eye to the future, Weiss plans to introduce a variety of coaches, host events where students can workshop their moves with pros and launch a competitive team modeled after the Club’s successful Mudsharks swim team. “Hopefully the program will continue to grow…Basketball is for everyone,” he says. “It’s something to get out there and just have fun, fulfill that self-confidence and meet new friends.” o
The next 10-week session of the Basketball League begins on April 11. For more information, visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website or contact Reina Collins at email@example.com.
Fitness and well-being 19
hether you’re looking to improve your batting average or simply learn the basics, the Club’s Baseball League is for you. Grab your glove then head out for some friendly competition and, if you’re lucky, a few home runs. o
Skills Evaluation Day Sunday, March 11 Junior League (coed, grades 3–5) and Senior League (coed, grades 6–8) For more information, visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website or contact Reina Collins at reina.collins@ tac-club.org.
class focus Kickboxing for Ladies The hybrid martial art got its start in Japan in 1958, when boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi combined Muay Thai and karate. Today, the fiery combative sport boasts fans the world over, including at the Club, where this fun, women-only class covers basic kickboxing techniques using focus mitts and kick pads. Kickboxing classes run every Monday (11:35 a.m.–12:30 p.m.) and Wednesday (12:35–1:30 p.m.). Visit the Recreation Desk or Club website to learn more.
The Instructor Taka Komatsu has been studying and teaching martial arts, including kickboxing, boxing and karate, for more than 20 years and to Members for 12 years. Komatsu is also a personal trainer at the Fitness Center.
The Student “Kickboxing class is a total-body workout. It’s a fast-paced class that has improved my cardio fitness, flexibility and coordination. Taka is a great trainer and gives a lot of one-on-one time during the class. I look forward to this class every week.”
20 March 2012 iNTOUCH
Ladies’ Self-Defense Course
Youth Volleyball Kickoff
Gain the personal confidence you need to maintain presence of mind during emergencies and acquire an ability to protect yourself—and others—during this weekly class taught by expert Chuck Wilson. Peace of mind: priceless.
Coach Takashi Watanabe leads junior and senior high school students through energyinfused sessions of volleyball training and fun competition. Learn to serve, spike and work up a sweat while enjoying the excitement of prolonged rallies.
April 5–May 10 Every Thursday 7–8 p.m. Activity Room 1 Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk
Flowering Fun for Spring Children design their own whimsical springtime keepsakes in celebration of the awakening of Mother Nature and warmer weather at a special fun-packed session of creativity. Saturday, March 31 10–11:15 a.m. ¥3,675 Ages 3–10 (children ages 6 and under require parental supervision) Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk
April 6–June 3 Every Friday and Sunday For more information, visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website or contact Reina Collins at reina.collins @tac-club.org.
Family Spring Festival Families and youngsters are invited to the Club to celebrate the arrival of spring with an exciting egg hunt, Easter Bunny meet and greet, craft making, sweet treats, a scholastic book fair and numerous opportunities for photo keepsakes. Sunday, April 8 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥1,575 Recommended for ages 6 and above Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk
Endurance Contest Put your stamina to the test in the Club’s oneday Fitness Biathlon this month. Flaunt your staying power through back-to-back run and cycling bouts totaling six kilometers. Sign up and gear up to sweat to the finish. Saturday, March 3 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Fitness Center Sign up online or at the Fitness Center
Skincare Coaching Discover the essentials of beauty and how to protect your skin from daily pollution and pollen to reveal a radiant youthful complexion at an insightful spring seminar. Led by professionals from the French skincare company Ella Baché, this 90-minute session will cover at-home beauty-care basics and insider secrets that will leave a lasting impression. Ella Baché Beauty Seminar Friday, March 9 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Washington Room ¥1,680 Sign up online or at The Spa
Fitness and well-being 21
style of playing and blend of Japanese and Western sounds, the two virtuoso musicians are reinvigorating classical Japanese music and, in particular, the tsugaru-jamisen, the shamisen style of music from northern Japan. Originally studying the piano and Western classical music, Kimura took a life-changing trip around Japan after high school. Traveling to rural pockets of the archipelago, he was inspired to study the local music, instruments and rituals after encountering their “beauty and eloquence.”
Shamisen Rock! by Nick Jones
ith eyes closed and brow knitted, Shunsuke Kimura nods his head in time with the frenetic clacks, slaps and twangs bursting from his threestringed shamisen. The fingers of his right hand dart along the long, slim neck of the instrument while he strikes the strings with his oversized plectrum in a blur of wrist. Seated next to this Japanese Jimi Hendrix, Etsuro Ono energetically works the length of his shamisen neck like a jamming blues guitarist. It’s all a world away from demure geisha delicately plucking their shamisen in tatami-floored rooms of ryotei restaurants— the image often associated with this traditional Japanese instrument. Through their dynamic, semi-improvised
At this month’s luncheon, attendees will be able to hear the duo’s innovative music for themselves, when Kimura and Ono perform a mix of older folk pieces with original compositions. “It’s a big honor for me to play tsugaru-jamisen at the Club,” says Kimura, who also plays the Japanese flute. “I’m really looking forward to it.” Formed in 2009, the award-winning pair frequently perform around Japan and abroad, traveling to festivals and concert halls in the likes of Turkey, Portugal, Britain and South Korea. “I feel so lucky because I have been able to transform this thing that I love into my business,” Kimura says. o
Monthly Luncheon: Shunsuke Kimura and Etsuro Ono Concert Monday, March 12 11:30 a.m. (doors open: 11 a.m.) Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥3,150 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,200 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Etsuro Ono and Shunsuke Kimura
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Mentoring Young Minds by Catherine Makino
hild prodigy turned successful businessman is the term William Saito’s publisher uses to describe him, although the American author doesn’t see it that way. While he may have appeared precocious as a 10-year-old in LA, writing financial programs for the likes of banking giant Merrill Lynch, or as a 16-year-old biomedical science freshman at the University of California, Riverside, or as a 19-year-old college kid, incorporating the software business he ran with his buddy, as far as Saito is concerned, he was just doing what he loved. With a passion for problem solving, Saito was focused on finishing school as quickly as possible. He had plenty of other things he wanted to accomplish. In his recently published book, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur, Saito reveals,
matter-of-factly, how he became an IT security specialist, working for the FBI and US Department of Defense, and how he managed to secure clients like NEC, Sony and Microsoft so early in his career. “There was no roadmap to what we did in starting I/O Software [the company he sold to Microsoft in 2004],” Saito writes. “When opportunities were introduced to us, we said, why not, and just tried to figure out how to solve the problems given to us. We learned as much from our many failures as from any successes.” NetMeeting, the first videoconferencing system for Windows, was one of those stutters. Released in the 1990s, it was superseded by other video services. Now based in Tokyo, Saito, who will speak at the Club and turn 41 this month, describes himself as a professional volunteer. He lectures on entrepreneurship and innovation at Keio University, where he says he hopes to instill risk taking and global thinking among young Japanese. Identifying young innovators and leaders is central to much of Saito’s work, including in his role as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, as an investor in startups and as the founder of Intecur, which helps companies develop applications for innovative technologies. o Makino is a Women’s Group member and Tokyobased journalist.
William Saito Lecture Wednesday, March 14 7 p.m. Committee Rooms ¥1,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
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26 March 2012 iNTOUCH
Rebuilding Lives by Maria Bromley
A year after a devastating earthquake struck off the coast of Japan’s Tohoku region, iNTOUCH finds out how the three main projects supported by the Club are progressing.
or ceramic artist Ken Matsuzaki, March 11, 2011, began like any other day. After drinking some tea with his wife at their home in the town of Mashiko, in Tochigi Prefecture, he set about preparing for an exhibition of his work in Britain in the summer. In fact, he had already shipped more than a hundred of his pieces to England—a fortuitous action for which he would soon be thankful. He was in his house that afternoon when the shelves, filled with his hand-crafted pottery, started rattling. He and his wife rushed to hold the sturdy wooden cupboards steady as the rocking and swaying became more violent. As they ran outside to safety, the jagged sound of smashing ceramics pierced the still air. When the ground finally stopped shifting, the climbing kilns Matsuzaki had used for 30 years to fire his highly regarded ash-glazed works were destroyed. The brick “womb,” where he had spent so many fervid days and nights, was reduced to rubble. With his thick thatch of wavy gray hair, the 62-year-old son of a painter explains that while he also lost his creative style and art that day, he sees an opportunity from the destruction. “It’s no use trying to make
the same [works] as I did before,” he says, sitting at his dining table on a chilly January afternoon. “It is an opportunity to try something new.” Across town, gallery owner Kazumi Otsuka was setting up 300 pieces of pottery for an exhibition that Friday afternoon last March. As the earthquake began to jolt the shelves, he and his staff tried in vain to stop the pieces from falling. Outside, a crowd of shopkeepers gathered on the undulating road and listened to the cacophony of crashing earthenware. Returning to his gallery, Otsuka found around 70 percent of his pottery in pieces. Mangokuura Elementary School lies east of Ishinomaki, in Miyagi Prefecture, and around two kilometers from Ishinomaki Bay. That early spring day, American Taylor Anderson was teaching at the school, sharing her enthusiasm for reading with her students. “I feel she had a real love for the students,” says the principal of the school, Kazuo Aizawa. A colleague of Taylor’s, Rie Abe, agrees. “She had a passion for teaching English,” she says. Anderson, a 24-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, had been working as an English teacher on the JET program since 2008. According to her coworkers, after the earthquake struck, Anderson helped to evacuate the students from the school and then waited for parents to pick up their children. It was a cold and snowy day, but she decided to cycle back to her apartment. Soon after, the tsunami warning sirens started to wail. Jeanne and Andy Anderson awoke to the news that a tsunami had hit Hawaii. Jeanne immediately thought about her daughter, who she knew was planning a vacation to the Pacific islands two days later. But when she discovered that the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake had struck off Japan’s Tohoku coast, she ran upstairs to her husband and together they began frantically trying to reach Taylor. It would be 10 days before the news that every parent fears came. Taylor was the first confirmed American victim of the earthquake and tsunami. “It was a 10-day, 24/7 search for Taylor,” explains Andy Anderson in a video chat interview. “It felt like war. It’s nothing you’d ever wish for
Rebuilding Lives 27
anyone to go through.” Shortly afterwards, the Anderson family established the Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund. “Taylor loved the people of Japan, the country, how grateful they are for the little things in life,” Jeanne Anderson says. “We set up the fund and chose projects with an eye to what Taylor would have wanted to do,” Andy explains. “We want to help schools, students and families and pinpoint exactly where they need help most. In the longer term, we are committed to scholarships and exchange programs.”
28 March 2012 iNTOUCH
As the full extent of the disaster along Japan’s northeastern coastline was revealed, former Women’s Group President Barbara Hancock sat down with a number of other Members, including Miki Ohyama, Ginger Griggs, Elaine Williams and Najia Malik, to talk about how the Club could help those in need. A relief fund was immediately set up and the Club became a hub for donations of necessities like clothes and food. Under the direction of Ohyama and Nobuko Hirata, dozens of Women’s Group members spent more than
three weeks collecting and packing donated items. Club Member Scott McCaskie, who is managing director of the moving company Allied Pickfords Japan, says that his team delivered goods worth around $1 million. “Allied went to TAC on a daily basis to pick up the items and send them to different locations in Tohoku,” he says. “Seventeen two-ton truckloads were finally delivered.” In May, the Club hosted Jammin’ for Japan, a fundraising evening of musical entertainment. The event, which featured the likes of American
hip-hop artist Speech and opera singer John Ken Nuzzo, contributed greatly to the Club’s fundraising efforts and the final tally of ¥16 million. (A follow-up event, with an opera and fashion theme, is set for next month.) Hancock and her committee then had to decide how to distribute the funds. After donating a portion to charities like the Tyler Foundation, Tokyo English Life Line (TELL), All Hands Japan and the Konishiki Kids Foundation, Hancock says the committee selected three main projects: two in Tohoku and one in Mashiko, a town that the Women’s
Group runs a popular tour to each year. “All the projects were selected from the research that we did and research that other organizations like ACCJ [American Chamber of Commerce in Japan] had done,” she says. “The committee also took into account organizations that our Members are involved with and that the Women’s Group has a special relationship with.” Of the remaining money, ¥4 million was donated to a project in memory of Taylor Anderson, called Taylor’s Corners. Each of the seven schools in Ishinomaki where the
young American taught will have a Taylor’s Corner, a library section that will house a collection of English and Japanese children’s books. “Taylor devoured books,” says Taylor’s mother, Jeanne. “She loved reading to the kids. Her first toys were books. When she was young, for a punishment, I would take away her library card.” “We read to our kids every night,” Andy says with a smile. “It was one of my favorite times.” Located on the upper floor of Mangokuura Elementary School, the first Taylor’s Corner
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30 March 2012 iNTOUCH
library, with its foam-tiled floor, has evolved into a cozy spot. Sunlight streams in through the windows one weekday lunchtime in early February, as children smile shyly and try out new English words. The reading corner, whose shelves are stocked with about 60 books, was built by Shinichi Endo, 42, a local carpenter who lost his three children in the tsunami. Two of his children were taught by Taylor at another elementary school. Endo, who says he thought about Taylor’s bright and cheerful personality while making the shelves, attended a dedication ceremony together with Taylor’s family in early September. Hancock, Ohyama and Griggs were also there. “It was wonderful to see the first Taylor’s Corner come to fruition and to be there with her family and all those connected with her,” says Hancock. “It was a very moving ceremony and, I thought, a positive step in moving forward for all of those who had experienced great personal loss in the tsunami. The funds donated will have a direct, positive impact now and in the future, and this is exactly what our TAC Members wanted.” Ahead of the trip to Ishinomaki, where more than 3,000 people died on that fateful day last year and another almost 580 remain missing, Ohyama says that she was apprehensive about how emotional it might be to meet the Anderson family. “However, rather than being emotional, I was encouraged by the energetic children whom Taylor actually taught,” she says. “I felt that Taylor’s spirit [lives on] in the children.”
Children in the city of Fukushima have also benefited from the generosity of Members. Another ¥4 million was donated to the local education board to buy brass band instruments for three junior high schools. According to Masahiro Sato, a former city council member and the coordinator of the project, with the new instruments, the recipient schools would be able to compete in regional music competitions. A win, he adds, would be a huge boost for the community. “Parents in the region are very sensitive to the radiation issue and largely limit the outdoor activities of the children,” Sato says. “Today, it is improving but we still have many hurdles to overcome.” The Tochigi town of Mashiko faces challenges, too, but the Club’s donation of ¥3.7 million is helping its pottery industry recover. “The economy of Mashiko has not yet recovered completely, if compared with what it was before the 11th of March,” says gallery owner Otsuka. “However, it is getting better very slowly. The number of visitors to Mashiko is increasing in small steps, but the entire Mashiko business result is still very severe.” From its humble beginnings in the mid-19th century, Mashiko grew into one of Japan’s preeminent ceramic centers, attracting more than 500,000 visitors to its spring pottery festivals and about 200,000 to the fall festivals. The likes of Otsuka, though, fear that the town may only draw around half those numbers this year. The damage to Mashiko’s livelihood was severe. All of the 50 climbing kilns were destroyed and Otsuka estimates that pottery worth around ¥800 million was lost that day. About 20 percent of the climbing kilns have been rebuilt, and the Club’s contribution is being used to reconstruct a special kiln in the museum dedicated to the late Shoji Hamada, a Mashiko potter and living national treasure who pioneered salt glazing in Japan. Since the majority of the area’s gas- and electricpowered kilns are still working, local artisans can continue to create and craft—a testament to the resilience of the community, says Otsuka. “It is not about the individual,” he says. “Each [gallery] owner wants to help Mashiko become strong. The pottery world has grown tighter and we want to rebuild together.” Award-winning artisan Matsuzaki says that the hundreds of e-mails of support he received from around the world and the arrival of volunteers in Mashiko to help clean up after the quake motivated him to move forward. And that’s exactly what he’s doing. His works and those of four other Mashiko potters are on display at the Club’s Frederick Harris Gallery until March 25. o Bromley is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Jammin’ for Japan II An evening of glamour, opera and fashion from top Japanese designer Junko Koshino. Friday, April 27 6:30 p.m. New York Ballroom Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
Rebuilding Lives 31
32 March 2012 iNTOUCH
iNTOUCH: What kinds of exhibitions are popular in Japan? Yamazaki: There are a lot of large, popular exhibitions of foreign art, but Japanese art exhibitions [traditionally] have been smaller in scale or promoted less. In addition, at junior high schools and high schools in Japan, there are not so many teachers who have the skills to teach about nihonga and the [painting] techniques, so there are many children who have never seen traditional Japanese nihonga in their daily lives. Moreover, not many people can hang their own nihonga at home because of the paintings’ fragility and the lack of tokonoma alcoves in modern Japanese homes. iNTOUCH: Is Western art more popular than Japanese art with museumgoers in Japan? Yamazaki: In 2000, a large retrospective exhibition of the Japanese painter Ito Jakuchu in Kyoto proved a great success. This triggered a revaluation of Japanese paintings and old masters, especially among younger Japanese. Before that, nihonga was considered to be out of fashion or difficult to understand. Some Japanese musicians then used Jakuchu’s works on CD covers and in videos, which gave Japanese art a cool image. In general, however, I would say most young Japanese still prefer contemporary art or photography. iNTOUCH: What kind of person visits art museums in Japan? Yamazaki: In general, most visitors are middle-aged females or retired couples because they have time and money. But since our museum moved to Hiroo, we have received more young visitors. I hope more Japanese people and foreign visitors visit museums specializing in Japanese art.
Four hundred years after his death, Hasegawa Tohaku (1539–1610) attracted more people to an exhibition of his work than any other art show in the world that year. According to The Art Newspaper, the one-month exhibition of the artist’s paintings at the Tokyo National Museum in 2010 drew more than 12,000 visitors a day. To further illustrate the Japanese public’s appetite for art, the annual survey placed an exhibition on postimpressionism at Tokyo’s National Art Center in second spot, with almost 11,000 daily visitors. The most popular museums, however, remain outside Japan. With the likes of the Louvre in Paris and London’s British Museum drawing the largest crowds, Tokyo’s National Art Center, in 17th place, was the most popular museum in Japan. “Japan has some world-class galleries and museums—private and public—with wonderful collections that could rival those in many other countries,” says Club Member and Time magazine’s Tokyo correspondent Lucy Birmingham Fujii. “But because of very limited funding, most museums are acquiring a bare minimum of works to add to their collections.” Taeko Yamazaki is director of the Yamatane Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan’s first museum specializing in nihonga (Japanese-style painting). iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to talk about the business of displaying art. Excerpts: iNTOUCH: There was an explosion of new art museums during the economic bubble period in Japan. What has happened since then? Yamazaki: During the bubble era, a lot of prefectures were enthusiastic about constructing architecturally striking museums, sometimes designed by famous architects. There are around 1,000 art museums now in Japan, which is, I think, a very large number. However, many of them haven’t focused on enriching their collections, so it may be difficult to put on quality exhibitions without borrowing works from other collectors, which requires larger budgets. In fact, some private museums have closed because of limited visitor numbers. iNTOUCH: So art museums are not buying new works? Yamazaki: It’s more difficult, especially for public museums, with limited budgets. And budgets for buying new artworks tend to be cut during difficult financial times. I believe museums still accept donated artworks, but even then donations to private institutions may be taxed to some extent, and some museums might be hesitant about accepting them. iNTOUCH: What more would you like the government to do in its support of the arts? Yamazaki: It is a pity that a lot of Japanese feel rather indifferent about traditional Japanese culture and paintings, particularly compared to Western or contemporary art or photography. But once people have a chance to experience it or learn about it properly, they may become more interested. I would like the government to promote school visits to museums or educate teachers through the help of museum experts.
iNTOUCH: The idea of people supporting the arts and organizing fundraisers doesn’t seem to exist so much in Japan. Why not? Yamazaki: Mainly because of the tax system in Japan. Unlike in the West, museum supporters in Japan don’t receive many tax breaks when they donate money or works to museums. Japanese museums create membership programs to supplement their funds, and some companies become significant supporters of certain museums, but these cases are not very common. iNTOUCH: Is it difficult to donate artworks to museums? Yamazaki: Even if the family of an artist wants to donate works to a private museum, they have to pay tax on the donation. If they donate to a museum in a specific category, they can receive a tax break, but it’s a complicated procedure. Therefore, both donors and museums are not very positive about donations. I hear the tax system will be changed, so I hope this situation will be improved in the near future. iNTOUCH: There was a great deal of expensive art bought by Japanese collectors during the 1980s. What is the scene like now? Yamazaki: Compared to the ’80s, buying expensive artwork is not so popular now. While the time to buy is now, people no longer see artwork as an effective investment. iNTOUCH: Do ordinary Japanese buy art? Yamazaki: I hear that art fairs and auctions receive quite a few visitors, most of whom are ordinary people. It seems that interest in owning art is growing, but usually it’s decorative art or less expensive paintings, which they can enjoy in their daily lives. o Member insights on Japan 33
FREDERICK HARRIS GALLERY All exhibits in the Frederick Harris Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.
by Erika Woodward Zhu Wei, most famous for marrying ancient ink-and-wash works with modern political satire, argues that art should be devoid of labels, hierarchies and impossible-to-understand musings of artists and critics. “Frankly, I think painting becomes complicated after being discussed by people. It’s actually very simple,” he writes on his website. “If my paintings, other than decorative functions, can express my thoughts to the audiences, move the audiences, I’d be satisfied.” The 46-year-old, Beijing-born artist came of age during China’s Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong attempted to affirm his authority by purging the country of “impure” elements. Wei says that accessible art is vital to a vibrant society and can be a vehicle for the promotion of civil rights, specifically in China. “Chinese society is still power oriented…Justice, openness, a fair legal system, as well as democracy should be put in place as priorities…What artists can do is only give these aspects a boost, and to do so, what artists should do is to express what’s happened in an accurate way,” he said in an interview last year. A graduate of the China Academy of Art and the Beijing Film Academy, Wei says he disagrees with the superfluous use of Chinese symbols and categorizations, or what he calls “superficial art without profound meaning.” “I always revolt against using the term ‘contemporary art’ [at] every turn…When you study art or academic trends you need to have in-depth understanding, but does such in-depth understanding help one with his creation or one with his appreciation?” Decide for yourself at the Frederick Harris Gallery this month, when the internationally acclaimed talent showcases a stunning selection of his thought-provoking paintings, prints, sculptures and more. Expert and (especially) amateur art lovers are welcome.
March 26–April 8
Monday, March 26 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to invitees and Members only
34 March 2012 iNTOUCH
yokoso Jerry & Sayuri Black United States—Aeon Co., Ltd.
Ryo & Aya Tominaga Japan—Nihon Keisou Co., Ltd.
Eric & Severine Douilhet France— Estée Lauder K.K.
John & Keiko Shanahan United States—Atsumi and Sakai
Yoichi Takasaki Japan—Roche Diagnostics K.K.
Samuel Lee United States—MetLife Alico
Rosario Ciancimino & Melodie Ann Nakhle United States—Nihon Tetra Pak K.K.
Ruriko Mano Japan—Ruriko LDN, Inc.
Amar Zahid United Kingdom—Nihon Tetra Pak K.K.
Shinji & Yuka Igarashi Japan—Accenture Japan Ltd.
Hitoshi & Takako Inada Japan—Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Bernard & Lily van Bunnik Netherlands—GE Capital
Stuart & Daniela Farrell United Kingdom—Harley-Davidson Japan
Jason & Emma Murney New Zealand—Fonterra (Japan) Ltd.
Masanori & Emi Imabayashi Japan—Imabayashi Hospital for Orthopaedic Surgery
Joerg & Eriko Duppenthaler Switzerland—Straumann Japan K.K.
Simon Tross Youle United Kingdom—Aon Benfield Japan Ltd.
Jae & Misook Paik United States—MetLife Alico
Ichiyo Matsuzaki Japan—University of Tsukuba Medical School
Shelley De Villiers & Michael Ulliman South Africa—Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.
Tomofumi & Mari Oda Japan—SC Advisors (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
Johan & Hanna Stahlberg Sweden—Wilhelmsen Logistics
Mayumi Kato Japan
Alex & Rachel Young United States—Nike Japan Group LLC
Shinichi Matsuo Japan—Amnis Co., Ltd.
Kanji Nishiura Japan—Mitsubishi Corporation
sayonara Simon Michael James Aram Stefan & Jill Boll Christophe & Carolyn Cadiou Gregory & Katherine Clark Frederic Coppieters & Adrienne Scheich Rajeev Das & Muriel Charreton-Das Alice Donnelly & Eric Carter Kathleen & Robert Dyer Ikuko Eguchi Jon Steven & Adriene Gingrich Guy & Jane Gostling Martin & Lucy Guest Abdul Halilullah Roger & Michele Heinzelmann Shinya & Hiromi Hirano Randall & Kari Hyer Yukihiko Itabashi Wei Jin & Wen Zhang
36 March 2012 iNTOUCH
Skip & Marianne P Kiil Gavin & Crista Lindberg K Lingam Brent MacGregor & Kimberly Burgoyne David & Virginia Malinas Carlos & Adriana Medeiros François & Fumie Meunier Toshiro Michael & Kyoko Mochizuki Mark Vincent & Kate Murphy Leopoldo Nanni & Graciela Silvia Savio de Nanni Mark & Chantal Bray Nebelung Thomas & Julie Nelson Imran & Zareen Niazi Aaron Nutsford & Carol Beaudin Wataru Ogawa Tatsuo & Yoko Ohbora Raul Paredes Mercado & Yumar Castro
Sebastian & Ancy Pariath Edward J W & Abigail Peel Ron Phillips & Kelly Heath Anthony & Kiki Pierotti Monica Pinto & Luc Torre François-Xavier Pustoc’h Michael Robbins Gary & Gaby Sheldon Emily C Simon & Thomas Herman Lynne Sly & William R Nauss Hideaki Tatebayashi Edson Teramae & Patricia Obara Frederique & Jean Pierre Thomas Aureliano Torres Fenollar & Marta Marques Hiroshi Uchikoga Michael Irwin & Kyoko Waitze Howard & Julie Yu
of the month
Sayaka Nakamoto by Nick Jones
love you like a fat kid love cake,” the American rap artist 50 Cent once sang, but that’s usually about as far as hip-hop music ventures into the world of delicately crafted pastries. For around six years, however, Sayaka Nakamoto passionately pursued her love of making cakes and sweet treats while practicing hip-hop moves at a dance school in her free time. She has since switched to the frenetic gyrations of belly dance, but her devotion to creating tantalizingly delicious puddings, cakes, pies and tarts hasn’t waned. Nakamoto’s career as a pâtissier started eight years ago after something of a false start. Moving to Shikoku to attend Kochi
Women’s University in 2002, she soon discovered that she didn’t have much interest in her nursing course. “I didn’t want to study because making cakes was my dream,” she says. Returning to her hometown of Iwakuni, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, she eventually found a job at a company producing cakes and pastries. “My coworkers were so kind to me,” the 28-year-old says. “I didn’t know anything about making cakes professionally.” She immersed herself in her work as a pâtissier, moving to Tokyo—and its “amazing” cakes—in 2006. After stints at a famous pâtisserie in Komazawa, where she worked grueling 18-hour days, and an
Aoyama Italian restaurant, she joined the Club a year ago. “American sweets were new to me. I’m learning many things here,” says Nakamoto of her introduction to such Club favorites as apple pie, Mississippi mud pie and bread pudding. January’s Employee of the Month is now part of the team that supplies a wide range of mouthwatering desserts to the Club’s restaurants, as well as to private parties and events held in the function rooms. And when she’s not perfecting flavors in the kitchen, she can be found sampling pastries and cakes at shops around town or working off those sugarcoated calories at a hip-shaking session. o
New Member Profile
New Member Profile
Why did you decide to join the Club?
Why did you decide to join the Club?
(l–r) Peter, Waris, Iwona, Khanya and Keenan Mills
(l–r) Miki Motegi-Hall and Misha, Miranda and Darrell Hall
Peter & Iwona Mills United Kingdom—Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.
“TAC is truly a purpose-built, world-class club that incorporates all the facilities that we could hope for in a club for our family to enjoy: sports, family entertainment and the opportunity to meet a wide variety of foreign and local people living and working in Tokyo. We are fortunate that the company I work for has a long and close relationship with TAC, so we have the opportunity to join.”
Darrell Hall & Miki Motegi-Hall United States—MetLife Alico
“We joined TAC to enjoy the great facilities and to have a place to get together with our friends here in Tokyo. It seems like almost everyone we know here is a Member. The first day we went to TAC as a family, we ran into old friends we had not seen in months. It is already becoming our home away from home.”
Services and benefits for Members 37
With a penchant for running and an unquenchable thirst for beer, the Hash House Harriers take to the streets most nights of the week. 38 March 2012 iNTOUCH
by Maria Bromley Photos by Irwin Wong
he Shinjuku red light district of Kabukicho is used to strange sights, but sweaty runners, bounding through back alleys in black Lycra tights, is generally not one of them. These “hashers” are not your average group of runners, though. As members of the Tokyo chapter of the Hash House Harriers, they are a unique collection of hearty souls who brave the biting wind on cold winter nights to follow chalk marks on the ground as they tear around the city streets, yelling indecipherable terms like “on-on,” “checkback” and “beer near” at each other. Jogging past the area’s numerous garish love hotels, new member Matthew
Sitting in a Korean barbecue restaurant, a post-hash beer before him, Kuwaiti Yasin Alyasin, 59, explains what attracted him to “hashing,” which is based on the old English game of hare and hounds. “I hate only to exercise,” he says. “This is a social club—we spend one hour running and two hours drinking. I have been doing it for 24 years now.” The Hash House Harriers, typically described as “a drinking group with a running problem,” was started in 1938 in colonial Kuala Lumpur, when a group of British officers and expats began running together on Monday evenings to rid themselves of the excesses of the weekend.
Endo explains why he decided to join this particular running group. “It’s more interesting than running up and down the same street,” says the 43-year-old Los Angeles native. “You have to find the trail, to concentrate, and everyone can run at their own pace.” Over the course of an hour, Endo, complaining of a sore knee and bringing up the rear, catches up with the front-runners (FRBs, in group parlance) several times as they map out the trail for the pack. Some of the quicker runners blow whistles to keep everyone together and on course to allow for more social interaction along the way.
The group was named after the unofficial moniker given to a local expat dining club, renowned for its monotonous food. Hashing, so a 1950 “constitution” states, was designed to promote physical fitness, get rid of weekend hangovers, satisfy induced thirsts with beer and persuade older runners that they weren’t as old as they felt. The Tokyo chapter (one of almost 2,000 groups around the world) organizes hashes almost every day of the week, and each hash has its own flavor, such as a hash for ladies on Wednesdays and the Finally Friday Fukov hash at the end of
the working week. There are even family hashes on weekends, with some of the group’s traditions adapted to make them more appropriate for youngsters. Several Club Members are regular hashers, including Chris Lewis, who says that he enjoys combining his regular running with the social aspect of the group. “You’ve got to want to do some exercise, have a sense of humor and like beer,” says the 57-year-old Welshman, adding that the hash provides a great way to explore new parts of the city or new areas when you travel abroad. The banter and joking are evident this January night, as the group wraps up the run at a parking lot next to the Korean restaurant. Members who have to leave early (“F-off ”) have to present their reasons for not being able to stay and socialize, announcements are given and the “leaving song” is sung. The remaining runners then head inside for the allimportant dinner and drinks. After food and several libations, the “meeting” part of the evening begins. The “grand mistress” addresses the crowd of 15, a mixed group of men and women, Japanese and foreigners. Reminiscent of a college fraternity, attendees have to “down-down” drinks for “infractions,” such as finishing last, wearing new shoes or listening to music and not socializing on the run. The next item on the agenda is a naming ceremony. Hash names, which are the nicknames used by members with one another, are given to newbies after they prove themselves over the course of several runs. This evening’s rookie is introduced and interviewed in front of an increasingly raucous gaggle of hashers. The person is then asked to step outside while an appropriate name is chosen. Tomo Katsuwata, 43, has been attending these weekly get-togethers for four years. “I was busy at work and couldn’t exercise,” he says. “So I wanted to incorporate exercise into my social life.” He says he’s glad he joined. He met his wife on the annual Christmas run and now they hash together. o
Tokyo Hash House Harriers www.tokyohash.org
A look at culture and society 39
hether you are battling it out for premium real estate under the cherry blossoms in Inokashira Park or are more inclined to peruse the colorful shops of Sun Road, Kichijoji, in western Tokyo, offers a little slice of weekend paradise. Located just a short jaunt on the Chuo Line from Shinjuku or the Inokashira Line from Shibuya, the town is brimming with a bohemian charm and vibrant character that make for a perfect solo or family expedition for the day. The main attraction is Inokashira Park, with its abundance of shady cherry trees and tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a weekend arts and crafts fair (except during hanami cherry blossomviewing season), visit the shrine, take advantage of the children’s play and fitness areas dotted throughout the park or rent a boat and venture out on the pond. A persistent local legend, though, warns that a jealous female spirit casts a curse on couples who trek onto the water together and destines them for heartbreak. A small zoo tucked inside the center of the park contains such creatures as squirrels, birds, monkeys and a lone elephant, but the small menagerie is probably enough to fascinate young children.
A branch of Kichijoji’s well-trafficked Peppermint Café, a colorful Thai restaurant located just down the main pedestrian thoroughfare, treats diners to an alfresco meal right in the park, and there are noodle, tea and ice cream shops scattered about, too. Park visitors often make the mistake of sticking to the main circuit surrounding the pond, but wandering a bit farther can yield thinner crowds, grassy lawns and splendid scenery. On occasion, special events take place in the park, such as outdoor movie screenings, break-dancing competitions and late-night carnivals. At the southwest edge of Inokashira Park sits the beloved Ghibli Museum. The museum houses interactive displays based on Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpieces, such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, to delight all ages, as well as a small green space, café and gift shop. Tickets, however, must be purchased in advance at a Lawson convenience store. Between the park and Kichijoji Station, a dizzying array of restaurants, cafés, clothing stores and home décor boutiques line the streets. Iseya is perhaps the area’s most famous food outlet of all, with the smoke from its succulent yakitori skewers obscuring
Charm beyond the Cherry Blossoms by Wendi Onuki
Flush with artistic exuberance, delightful eateries and greenery, the Tokyo neighborhood of Kichijoji is the ideal spot to get lost. 40 March 2012 iNTOUCH
OUT & ABOUT
Peppermint Café www.peppermintcafe.com (Japanese only) Hammock Café and Gallery Mahika Mano http://mahikamano.com (Japanese only) Iseya www.iseya-kichijoji.jp (Japanese only)
Ghibli Museum www.ghibli-museum.jp
KICHIJOJI ART MUSEUM
Kichijoji Art Museum www.musashino-culture.or.jp/a_museum/ SATOU (Japanese only) STEAKHOUSE Tokyo Bowling Center www.kichijoji.d-h.co.jp/info/general/
KICHIJOJI STATION ISEYA
SU NR OA D
Fourteen minutes by rapid express on the Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Kichijoji Station or 20 minutes by express on the Inokashira Line from Shibuya Station.
HAMMOCK CAFÉ AND GALLERY MAHIKA MANO PEPPERMINT CAFÉ ISEYA
Satou Steakhouse www.shop-satou.com (Japanese only) IN A OK RA
I SH N LI
the footpath and a long but fast-moving line of hungry patrons waiting at the door at nearly all hours of the day. Paired with a cold beer, it can make for a divine picnic. And the gelato shop nearby makes the perfect accompanying dessert. Separated by the station, Kichijoji’s south side boasts an effervescent personality of its own. Wander the covered arcade of Sun Road and its jumble of connected alleyways. Tiny eateries, markets, bars and shops are juxtaposed against big, gleaming department stores, tempting passersby with everything from sweets and tea accessories to kimono and shoes. On this side of town, another Tokyo meat institution reigns supreme. Follow the scent—or the snaking queue—to Satou and pick up a steaming-hot beef croquette made from Matsuzaka wagyu beef, or head upstairs to the cozy steakhouse. Those suffering from food and fashion overload have a number of entertainment options. Stroll over to the basement level of Loft department store for a sprawling
game arcade largely populated by high school students, opt for 10 frames of bowling at the retro-minded Tokyo Bowling Center or peruse the small but alluring cultural haven that is Kichijoji Art Museum, on the top floor of the Coppice department store. For a caffeinated pick-me-up, forgo the myriad chain coffee shops and try Hammock Café in the east part of town. The laid-back café features comfy hammocks in place of chairs and serves a range of delectable coffees, teas, juices and herbal cocktails. A selection of artwork is also on display, making it the perfect midday spot to recharge your senses. Whatever the itinerary, from cherry blossoms to chicken skewers, Kichijoji is a fabulous, lighthearted city of endless attractions best discovered by serendipity. Wear your walking shoes and don’t be afraid to take a wrong turn—you could find yourself in front of the bestkept secret in town. o Onuki is a Chicago-based freelance journalist.
Explorations beyond the Club 41
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
Michael Bumgardner’s Farewell Party December 19
Members and staff bid farewell to the Club’s former general manager, Michael Bumgardner, and his wife, Ok Hui, with an evening of speeches, drinks and eats in honor of the retiree’s nearly two decades of service to the Club. 1
Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. (l–r) David Ueno, Minjee Roh, Ok Hui Bumgardner, Daisuke Yuki, Michael Bumgardner, Kazunari Tsubouchi, Lindsay Gray, Etsuo Sakurai and Noriki Matsui 2. (l–r) Elaine Williams, Miki Ohyama, Michael Bumgardner, Kazumasa Ohyama, Joanne Yoneyama, Yumiko Sai and Women's Group President Ginger Griggs 3. (l–r) Food & Beverage Director Brian Marcus, Ernfred Olsen, Michael Bumgardner and Dan Herlihy 4. (l–r) Club President Lance E Lee and Ok Hui and Michael Bumgardner 5. (l–r) Michael Bumgardner, Taeko and Masanori Hirata and Ok Hui Bumgardner 6. (l–r) Toshiaki and Hitomi Yokozawa, Seo Ochi, Mari Saijo, Ok Hui and Michael Bumgardner, Georgia Iwabuchi, Kasumi Hatori and Michael Hill 7. (l–r) Craig Saphin, Ok Hui and Michael Bumgardner and Mary Saphin
42 March 2012 iNTOUCH
Club Staff End-of-Year Party December 26
Club staff shed their uniforms and work attire for a much-deserved evening of fun at the Club during the annual end-of-year bonenkai celebration. Photos by Ken Katsurayama
1. (l–r) Chizuka Yamakita, Rai Nawin, David Escalante, Yuri Hasegawa, Cynthia Usui, Jo Ezaki, Maiko Manetakis, Food & Beverage Director Brian Marcus, Kota Arai, Brian Ashenfelder and Ashley Thredgold 2. (l–r) Steve Romaine, former General Manager Michael Bumgardner and Club President Lance E Lee 3. (l–r) Ayumi Kawai, Mariko Nishihama, David Escalante, Susana Higa, Michiyo Yamada and Rabindra Ranzitkar 4. (l–r) Kunio Abe Jr, Sapta Aria, Witchen Sanguansree, David Ishido, Nyoman Sundra and Tsutomu Saito 5. (l–r) Tomoaki Mizukawa, Ok Hui Bumgardner, Antonio Villasmil and Miki Sato 6. (l–r) Joseph Bushell, Hitomi Yoshimura, Laura Mayumi Ohno, Liron Leb, Vasile Neagu and Makiko Hosokawa 7. (l–r) Finance Director Mitsuhiko Kumano, Marina Borovikova, Michael Hill and Yasunari Takeda
Snapshots from Club occasions 43
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
Shuzenji Historic Village and Winery Tour December 8
More than 20 Members and their guests journeyed to Shuzenji in Izu for a lavish wine tasting and gourmet lunch at the Naka Izu Winery, followed by a hot-spring dip. Photo supplied by Sandy Isaka Back row (l–r): Maki Engen, Sheryl LaScala, Anna Zarifi, Lotta Merlino, Jackye Lawless, Polly Filson, Cheryl Lachowicz, Christa Rutter, Susan Horner, Beth Mittelstaedt, Jennifer Moncrieff, Andrea Nicole Hudson, Genia Lifschitz, Ed Holdaway, Jane Hughes-Hallett and Cheryl Cook Front row (l–r): Heidi Sanford, Yoko Aoyama, Ikuko Ozawa, Simmi Mehra, Deb Wenig, Kathryn Temple and Nancy Davis
Seven Lucky Gods Walking Tour January 8
With sunshine on their shoulders, 32 Members and their guests amassed good fortune for 2012 on this annual Women’s Group tour to the temples of the seven lucky gods in Tokyo’s Yanaka district. Photo supplied by Miki Ohyama Back row (l–r): Yoichi Oshima, Kazumasa Ohyama, Ginger Griggs, Christian Howes, Reiko Oshima, Faith Noyes, Oded Lifschitz, Genia Lifschitz, Catherine Noyes, Thomas Fisher, Polly Filson, Primoz Klemencic, Tim Rooney, Elaine Williams, Dieter Haberl, Shinyoku Sai, Ichibi Uehara, Tomoko Ueno, Jill and Mark Kupeski and Shizuo Daigo Front row (l–r): Kathryn Temple, Teiko Smith, Roan Kang, Yumiko Sai, Nicole Hudson, Heidi Sanford, Masako Uehara and Miki Ohyama
Gala Yuzawa One-Day Ski Tour January 19
Thirteen Members escaped to the winter wonderland of Gala Yuzawa resort in Niigata Prefecture for a day of downhill fun and breathtaking mountain views on this Women’s Group outing. Photo supplied by Heidi Sanford
Back row (l–r): Ionah Hilton-Smith, Lotta Merlino, Jackye Lawless, Elaine Williams, Primoz Klemencic, Françoise Durand, Emily Cannell and Heidi Sanford Front row (l–r): Susan Pieper-Bailey, Christa Wallington, Ann Marie Skalecki, Nancy Davis and Susan Townsley
44 March 2012 iNTOUCH
CrossFit Challenge January 21
Ahead of the start of a new fitness program, instructor and former karate champion Nicholas Pettas hosted an introduction to Reebok CrossFit in the Gymnasium, where 27 Members of all fitness levels worked up a sweat during innovative workouts. Photos by Ayano Sato 1
1. (lâ€“r) Wayne Jarm, Erin Benton, Jeff Benton, Thane Camus, Rosemarie Hyson and Agnes Ouellette 2. (lâ€“r) Robert Daoust, Nicholas Pettas and Thane Camus 3. Yosuke Yabe and Nicholas Pettas
Snapshots from Club occasions 45
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
Japanese Daruma Doll-Making Class January 28
At this wildly popular event and Japanese New Year tradition, more than 35 Members of all ages tapped their creativity and crafted their own colorful, rotund daruma dolls in the hope of a lucky year to come. Photos by Yuuki Ide
1. Will, Ben and Jake Grice 2. Gabby and Gilbert Marcus 3. Therese Cowled and Benjamin Maury 4. Olivia Kong 5. Sasha Wertime 6. Cole Ramos 7. Yang Sook Kum and Sera Jeemin 8. Amy Brandt and Veronica Mittino
46 March 2012 iNTOUCH
Snapshots from Club occasions 47
Whatever the story, anecdote, fictitious tale, rant, cultural observation or Club commentary, now’s your chance to take it to the world…well, Membership, anyway. E-mail your submission (no more than 700 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
am American. But having spent a quarter of my life in Japan, does that make me a quarter Japanese, culturally? My 8-year-old son recently pondered the same thing. “I was born in Japan, I speak Japanese, I eat Japanese food and I have lots of Japanese friends,” he said. I told him that physically and anthropologically he would never be Japanese, but that culturally he could consider himself to be part Japanese. I wondered about this many times in the
to reverse culture shock, I have a special rule: no public comments on the size of meal portions or people, food quality, packaging, service or the car-sized grocery carts for at least the first three weeks. I know my family and friends are tired of hearing my “in Japan” diatribes. Last fall, however, I had a hard time controlling myself and wondered whether my Japanese quarter had been swallowed whole by the culture in which I was living. My experience volunteering for my boys’
Culture Clash by Betsy Rogers
fall when our young family of six moved temporarily to New Jersey. Since we are long-term residents of Tokyo, with three of our four children having been born in Japan and two of them having only attended Japanese public schools, we thought living in the US would be an opportunity for them to learn in their native language and spend more time with relatives. For me, I wanted to feel like an American again and be able to drive a gasguzzling SUV on freeways, pick up size-10 shoes anywhere, not feel underdressed in my gym clothes and spend Christmas at home without jetlag. Having spent my entire 30s in Japan, I was excited about experiencing America as a family, rather than on a whistle-stop tour of relatives. Since I’m accustomed
48 March 2012 iNTOUCH
soccer team illustrated multiple facets of suburban America culture today. I signed up my boys for the local eightweek soccer league, with its one-hour practice and Saturday game. In Japan, students commit to an activity for an entire year, so the American idea of soccer in the fall, ice hockey in the winter and baseball in the spring just isn’t possible. Soon after signing up, I received an e-mail asking for volunteers to assist with coaching. After multiple requests to parents, I offered my services. Since I would have to wait at the practices anyway, I thought I could lend a hand, as I had been conditioned to do in Japanese schools. Surprise, surprise, I got the job and was immediately sent four forms to sign. Quietly dreading the questions about
my soccer coaching experience as I opened the documents, I convinced myself that I could handle a team of 8-year-olds for an hour. While there was no probe into my soccer past, I was introduced to a new fear: I had to give my permission for the state of New Jersey to do a criminal background check and attest that I didn’t have a police record and that I had not been arrested for any child-related crimes. I was also required by law to attend a three-hour seminar before I could step foot on the field. The law, it turns out, was introduced after the family of a boy who fielded a fly with his eye and had to undergo $25,000 surgery sued. Incredibly, the boy’s father was one of the team coaches. Such administrative hurdles were an eye-opener but they didn’t detract from the boys’ enjoyment of the game. Outfitted in my sweats and cleats, I turned up at the first practice and introduced myself to the coach. I presumed that I would be the assistant coach. Wrong. My role was simply legal. A designated parent had to be on the field at all times. The boys, though, loved playing on green stretches of grass and the lack of a formal structure. In Japan, at the start of each session of sport, the participants, no matter how young, must do 10 minutes of stretching. As far as American coaches are concerned, supple kids don’t need to waste time stretching. And while children in Japan can drink water or tea on the field, eating is not allowed. In the US, Dunkin’ Donuts and Capri Sun juices run supreme. In Japan, everyone cleans up their trash and belongings and puts everything away. On the other side of the Pacific, the field resembles a yard sale at the end. Someone else will clean it up later. At the end of practice, children in Japan line up to bow and thank the teacher before bowing and thanking their parents. American kids are more likely to line up, shake hands, grab another snack and run off. Don’t get me wrong, I played soccer, ate donuts at halftime and loved the anticipation of snack time. Things haven’t changed in the States, just a part of me has, and that could simply be age. o Rogers and her family return to Tokyo, and the Club, at the end of this month.
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 七 巻 五 六 三 号
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 二 年 三 月 一 日 発 行
Road to Recovery
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
A year after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Club’s relief fund helps communities rebuild
本 体 七 七 七 円
Issue 563 • March 2012
From the Vine to the Vessel
The Club hosts evenings of wine and wineglass appreciation
State of the Art
Kichijoji: a Tokyo pocket One Member reveals the of bohemian charm challenges of running art museums