i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 五 年 五 月 一 日 発 行
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 七 巻 六 〇 一 号 ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
Fuji’s Other Face Far from the peak’s madding crowds
The swim program producing record beaters
The man behind CHOP’s new libations
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE
本 体 七 七 七 円
Member Julia Spotswood and other female entrepreneurs on starting a business in Japan
Issue 601 • May 2015
There’s no place like home
And there’s no place like a brand-new Minami-Azabu Spring Court home. An easy walk from two subway stations and three train lines, this luxury detached house in one of Tokyo’s centrally located, vibrant, residential districts is available to rent.
Location: 26-17(A), 15(B), 18(C), Minamiazabu 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo Transportation Azabu Jyuban station walking distance 11 minutes Hiroo station walking distance 14 minutes Structure: 2-by-4 wooden structure; two stories above ground Completion Date: (Scheduled) April 2015 Monthly rent: ¥2.3 million~2.5 million Exclusive area: 288.49m2 (87.26 tsubo)~320.09m2 (96.82 tsubo) Deposit: four months’ rent Key money: None Management fee: None Renewal fee: None Terms & Conditions The tenant must purchase a householder’s comprehensive insurance policy. The tenant should check whether mobile phones function properly at the property. The property’s actual condition should prevail over such information, if there is any difference. Agent’s commission: equivalent to one month’s rent + consumption tax. Form of Transaction: brokerage / Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (6) 4372/ A Member of Real Estate Fair Trade Council and Fudosan Ryutsu Keiei Kyokai
International Leasing Dept. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.kencorp.com
contents 2 Contacts 4 Board of Governors 5 Management 6 Events 8 Wine & Dining 12 Arts & Entertainment 18 Recreation & Fitness 24 Feature 30 Talking Heads 32 Inside Japan 34 Out & About 36 Cultural Insight 38 Event Roundup 42 Club People 44 Back Words
FEATURE Japan’s Startup Future
10 WINE & DINING Cocktail Craftsman
22 RECREATION & FITNESS Fashion and Philanthropy
As CHOP Bar becomes the newest spot to imbibe, resident mixologist Nathan Baggs explains his passion for creating palate-pleasing cocktails that intrigue.
Ahead of her show at the Club, successful Indian fashion designer Bina Modi talks about why she has devoted her career to supporting the less fortunate.
Board of Governors
John Durkin (2016)— Representative Governor, Mary Saphin (2016)—First Vice President, Brenda Bohn (2016)—Second Vice President, Jesse Green (2016)— Secretary, Hiroshi Miyamasu (2015)—Treasurer, Ginger Griggs (2015), Mark Miller (2015), Machi Nemoto (2016), Innocent Obi (2016), Betsy Rogers (2015), Jerry Rosenberg (2016), Kazuakira Nakajima (2016)—Statutory Auditor
Compensation Mark Miller Culture, Community & Entertainment Dan Smith (Innocent Obi) Subcommittee Culture & Community JoAnn Yoneyama Entertainment Matt Krcelic Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai Video Library
Cover photo of Julia Spotswood by Benjamin Parks
While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes women hold the key to a stronger economy, the statistics for female participation in the workplace paint a grim picture. Despite outdated gender stereotypes, several entrepreneurial female Members set out to build their own businesses in Japan.
Abigail Radmilovich Finance Rodney Nussbaum (Hiroshi Miyamasu) Food & Beverage Michael Alfant (Jerry Rosenberg) Subcommittee Wine Stephen Romaine House Tomio Fukuda (Jesse Green) Subcommittee Facilities Management Group Matt Krcelic Human Resources Per Knudsen (Ginger Griggs)
32 INSIDE JAPAN Ski Sensation Overcoming linguistic and cultural challenges, young Member and avid skier Kikka Giudici found competition success on Japan’s winter slopes.
Membership Alok Rakyan (Machi Nemoto) Nominating Steven Greenberg Recreation Samuel Rogan (Mark Miller) Subcommittee Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh Fitness Samuel Rogan Golf John Patrick Vaughan Library Alaine Lee Logan Room Christa Rutter Squash Pete Juds Swim Alexander Jampel Youth Activities TBC
Follow the Club Online facebook.com/tokyoamericanclub twitter.com/TACtokyo instagram.com/tokyoamericanclub youtube.com/user/TokyoAmericanClubTV
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail Phone American Bar & Grill (03) 4588-0676 email@example.com
Banquet Sales and Reservations
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(03) 4588-0685 (03) 4588-0209
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Human Resources (03) 4588-0679 Information Technology (03) 4588-0690 Library (03) 4588-0678 firstname.lastname@example.org
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editor Editor Nick Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year’s sexist heckling of Ayaka Shiomura, a Tokyo assemblywoman, by a few male lawmakers during a session of the city’s metropolitan government illustrates the deep-seated attitudes toward women still prevalent in Japan.
Assistant Editor Nick Narigon
Women’s position in the country was reflected in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report for 2014, in which Japan was ranked 104th out of 145 countries. Despite government initiatives to encourage greater female participation in the workplace and in management, Japan has been sliding down the table in recent years.
Designers Enrique Balducci Anna Ishizuka Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki Management Anthony L Cala General Manager
It’s hardly surprising then that some women would choose to forge their own path and start a business. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor figures, for every 10 male entrepreneurs in Japan, there are six female entrepreneurs (the equivalent number is seven in the United States).
Wayne Hunter, Director GMO & Membership
Of course, attitudes to risk and entrepreneurship in the US and Japan are hugely different. While 47 percent of people in the US believe there are good opportunities for starting a business, only 8 percent of Japanese think the same about their country, which suffers from a lack of venture capital.
Business Operations Brian Marcus, Asst GM Business Operations Scott Yahiro, Director Recreation
In such an unfavorable environment, the achievements of the women profiled in this month’s cover story, “Japan’s Startup Future,” seem even more remarkable. Writer Rob Goss talks to the Club Members about their motivations for establishing a business and the challenges they encountered, and their hopes for change in Japan.
Nori Yamazaki, Director Food & Beverage Jonathan Allen, Director Member Services & Guest Studios Hettige Don Suranga, Director Revenue Management
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.
Business Support Lian Chang, Asst GM Business Support Darryl Dudley, Director Engineering Shuji Hirakawa, Director Human Resources Naoto Okutsu, Director Finance
Toby Lauer, Director Information Technology
A native of Seattle, Tamara Crawford was first a Member of the Club as a teenager in the 1970s. Now on her sixth stint in Japan, she is a perpetual student of the Japanese language. Her eclectic interests also include cycling, tennis, squash, skiing and Japanese pottery and antiques—all of which she pursues with a vengeance. A member of the Library Committee, she enjoyed learning about Haruki Murakami, one of her favorite novelists, for her profile of the writer on page 14.
Rob Goss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Time and National Geographic Traveler. Currently writing his fifth book for Tuttle Publishing, his others include the award-winning guidebook Tuttle Travel Pack Japan and the soon-to-be published Tokyo: Capital of Cool. Originally from Britain, Goss lives in Tokyo with his wife, son and pet dog. A frequent contributor to iNTOUCH, in this issue he examines the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in Japan and discovers a less-congested side of Mount Fuji.
Shane Busato, Director Communications
To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Rie Hibino: firstname.lastname@example.org 03-4588-0976
For membership information, contact Mari Hori: email@example.com 03-4588-0687
Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649 www.tokyoamericanclub.org
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Believing in Yourself by Brenda Bohn Second Vice President
n the past year, we have seen some exciting changes on the social side of our Club. In particular, the monthly First Friday gatherings in the Winter Garden have become increasingly popular (you can see photos from last month’s Hanami Night on page 41). The March event to celebrate the opening of CHOP Steakhouse proved especially successful and attracted more than 350 people. The Club staff worked tirelessly to make it an enjoyable night for everyone. Many Members enjoyed themselves so much that they lingered long after the food and drinks had disappeared. This is the kind of atmosphere we have been working to build since the Club opened its new home in 2011. Thank you to all who made the evening a memorable one. Creating a vibrant community takes everyone’s effort.
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The celebrations on International Women’s Day in March made me consider the Japanese government’s goal of increasing female participation in the workplace. This particular road is steep and full of obstacles. Women are underutilized in the workforce and underrepresented in management positions. One of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goals as part of his so-called Abenomics plan is to have at least 30 percent of executive positions in Japanese companies filled by women, with at least one female board member, by 2020. As of last year, only a handful of companies had achieved this goal.
Believing in yourself is key to any business success.”
While some organizations will struggle to reach the target, I’m happy to say that almost half of the governors on the Board are women. I am joined by Mary Saphin, Ginger Griggs, Betsy Rogers and Machi Nemoto. One of the benefits to having more women on the
Board is more balanced discussions that better reflect the needs of Members. The cover story in this issue of iNTOUCH focuses on female entrepreneurship in Japan through the experiences of a number of Members. These women have worked hard to become successful. I have started several businesses myself, so I know how much effort it requires. Believing in yourself is key to any business success. This provides the self-confidence to achieve the seemingly impossible. In order to meet the government’s goal, we need to change more than the number of women leaders, though. We need to empower women and change our vision of the future. As an illustration of what a woman can achieve, I like to use my experience in full-contact karate. At first, I had a hard time even watching a fight in the martial art. But I worked hard, earned my black belt and became an undefeated tournament champion. While once I cringed in the corner of the dojo, I was soon craving my next competition. I challenge all Members to reach outside their comfort zone and try something new. Sign up for a class, learn a language, start an exercise program, join a committee or run for the Board. Believe in yourself and take the plunge. o
Options for All by Scott Yahiro Recreation Director
he Club is as busy as I have ever seen it since we opened the doors of our new facility in January 2011, and I have noticed more and more younger families, especially with toddlers, using the Club. With this in mind, we have been increasing the number of programs and services we offer for youngsters and their parents. One of the Club’s best facilities, I believe, is the Childcare Center. Located on the first floor, near the Family Lobby, this facility is a brightly colored, welcoming and invaluable resource for so many of our Members. What I enjoy seeing every day there is how the toddlers, all from a range of countries and backgrounds, happily play with one another. Parents who use this ser vice feel comfortable and at ease while they
enjoy other areas of the Club. The Childcare Center, though, is much more than a babysitting service. The h i g h ly qu a l i f i e d and e x p e r i e nc e d staff members teach a curriculum of physical, intellectual and artistic exercises to help stimulate creativity and improve motor skills.
With this in mind, we have been increasing the number of programs and services we offer for youngsters and their parents. ”
Ages 3 months to 7 years old are welcome to use the center, which includes a separate area where infants sleep in cribs, a computer area for the more adventurous and an outside play area. The Club also offers some great, free programs, including Mommy and Toddler Time at the Childcare Center
each Friday afternoon and Toddler Time, a story- and activity-based session each Thursday at the Children’s Library on the second floor. This month, we launch Toddler Music and Art, a stimulating program at the Childcare Center, taught by Kanako Otsu. Ask the staff for details about this new program for ages 3 to 5. If you’re looking for a longer, more structured program for your child, our seasonal camps for different age groups during the spring, summer and winter holidays may be of interest. These sessions run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and feature a special performance by the children on the final day of the camp. We also accommodate toddlers and our youngest Members elsewhere around the Club. Aside from programs at the Sky Pool, we have a play area adjacent to the second-floor Recreation Desk, another, the Chill Zone, in Rainbow Café, and an outdoor jungle gym near the Bowling Center. And as an additional incentive, if you take a recreation class or a treatment at The Spa, you can receive a discount at the Childcare Center. The same goes if you dine at CHOP Steakhouse, 220° [Modern Teppan] or American Bar & Grill. And if it’s your first time using the Childcare Center, it’s free. o
ongtime Member Shizuko Tani, who makes a donation to the Club’s Jiro Matsumura Memorial Fund each year, visited the Club in March to hear the experiences of two staff members who benefited from the fund. The fund, which is named after the late Member Jiro Matsumura, is used for a staff overseas internship program. Last year, Ai Ikeshima and Misaki Nakagawa, who both work in Member Services, spent one month at the Arbutus Club in Vancouver, Canada. A reciprocal club, the Arbutus Club is a family-oriented institution with four restaurants and a wide selection of recreational programs. (l–r) Ai Ikeshima, Shizuko Tani and Misaki Nakagawa
What’s on in May 1
Pampering Specials The Spa is offering two specials this month. Turn to page 20 to find out the rejuvenating details.
Mommy and Toddler Time Meet fellow moms and toddlers while building your own support network at a fun, weekly gettogether at the Childcare Center. 2 p.m. Free. Continues every Friday.
Time Travel Art Class Kids learn how to draw, paint and sculpt at this new, hands-on Saturday morning art program for ages 6 to 12. 10 a.m. ¥17,500. Through June 13. Sign up online.
New Member Orientation The Club’s newest Members learn about the Club while forging new friendships. 10 a.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. Contact the Membership Office to reserve your spot at least one week in advance. Continues on May 27.
Boxing Breakfast: Mayweather vs Pacquiao The Club hosts a morning of boxing action with a buffet breakfast and all-you-can-drink beer. 10 a.m. New York Ballroom. Adults: ¥3,800; children (4–19 years): ¥2,000; guests: ¥3,800. Sign up online by May 1.
Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Expectant moms and dads prepare for the big day during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ¥6,700. Sign up at Member Services.
Mother’s Day Grand Buffet Treat Mom with a feast in the New York Ballroom. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4:30–7 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥5,555; juniors (4–17 years): ¥2,700; infants (3 and under): free. Sign up online.
American Craft Beer Week Ten distinctive craft beers from 10 different US states will flow from the taps at Traders’ Bar. Enjoy them along with a selection of food pairings, prizes and happy hour deals.
World Fish Experience Sample a variety of ocean-inspired dishes from across the globe at American Bar & Grill. Details on page 11.
Best of Mount Fuji Tour Experience Japan’s iconic mountain up close, as well as breathtaking waterfalls and a storied shrine. Explore Fuji’s lessvisited southern side on page 34.
From under the Yamanote Tracks to Tsukiji Andy Lunt, proprietor of Andy’s Shin Hinomoto, tells the history of his Yurakucho izakaya, and the Club’s own Brian Marcus leads a course on popular Japanese cocktails. 11:30 a.m. Details on page 23.
Language Exchange Coffee Mingle with friends and new acquaintances while practicing your language skills in a welcoming environment. 10 a.m. CHOP Steakhouse. Free. Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nearly New Sale Pick up gently worn clothes, books, baby items and more during this popular Women’s Group shopping event. 10 a.m. Manhattan II and III. Open to the public.
Toastmasters Luncheon Start losing your fear of public speaking and improve your leadership skills. 12 p.m. Members: ¥2,200; non-Members: ¥2,560. Sign up online or at the Library.
Spain’s New Wave Wine Tasting Venture into the regions of Catalonia and Galicia to sample a selection of artisanal-style wines, complemented by a suite of Iberian dishes. 7 p.m. Find out more on page 9.
Meet the Author: Sophie Richard The French author and art enthusiast discusses her book The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums. 7 p.m. Delve into her list of top museums on page 12.
Ultimate Workshop Series: No Fear Public Speaking The president of Dale Carnegie Training Japan, Greg Story, explains how to deliver clear and persuasive presentations. 6:30 p.m. Washington Room. ¥1,500. Sign up online or at Member Services.
Littorai Wines Wine Dinner with Ted Lemon Learn about the “New California” winemaking movement from the first American to run a Burgundian domaine. 7 p.m. Find out more about his passion on page 8.
All-American Friday Feast Hook up with friends at a Café Med booth for all-you-can-eat Chicago-style pizza. 5 p.m.
(Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.)
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Traders’ Bar Fight of the Century Catch boxing legends Mayweather vs Pacquiao live on the Traders’ Bar screens while enjoying a special menu and drinks for the occasion. 10 a.m.
Toddler Music and Art Enrich your child’s development at the Childcare Center’s new creative workshop. 9 a.m. ¥5,000 per class. Ages 3–5. Sign up at the Childcare Center. Continues every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Toddler Time A fun, 30-minute session of engaging stories and activities awaits preschoolers at the Children’s Library. 11:30 a.m. Free. Continues every Thursday.
Early Mom’s Day Enoshima Spa Getaway Tour Pamper yourself with a soak in a hot-spring bath overlooking the ocean during this day trip to Enoshima in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Mother’s Day Bowling Give Mom the gift of two free games at the Bowling Center. 10 a.m.
Mother’s Day Buffet Rainbow Café offers a mouthwatering spread for all mothers on this special day. 11 a.m.
Designer Bina Modi’s Couture Event The Indian designer shows her chic, original clothes at a glitzy fashion presentation. 10:30 a.m. Learn more about Modi’s inspiring story on page 22.
Gallery Exhibition: Margot Bittenbender The American printmaker brings her latest series of intaglio prints, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, to the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. Find out more about the artist on page 17.
Squash Social Night The Club’s squash players enjoy an evening of casual play and a chance to put their skills to the test against former national champion Hitoshi Ushiogi. 6:15 p.m. Continues on May 26.
First Friday: Cinco de Mayo Celebrate the heritage of America’s southern neighbor with an evening of Mexican snacks, drinks and entertainment in the Winter Garden. 6 p.m. ¥2,000.
E3 Fit Swim Program The Club kicks off another session of this popular Sky Pool program for open-water swimmers and triathlon athletes. Every Friday, from 6:30 a.m. Check the Club website for details.
Birth Preparation for Couples Expectant parents prepare for the arrival of their bundle of joy during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥34,300. Sign up at Member Services.
Taste of Asia: Indonesia and Singapore Feast on an array of Southeast Asian culinary favorites at the Family Dining Terrace. 5 p.m.
Salvation Army Charity Drive Donate clean, gently worn clothing, linens and household goods to a worthy cause. 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. B1 Parking Lot.
Library Book Group The Club’s band of book lovers meets at Café Med to discuss this month’s pick, Beneath the Marble Sky by John Shors. 11:30 a.m. For details, contact the Library.
Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or you just want to meet new people, drop by this free Women’s Group gathering. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare. 10:30 a.m.
1 Swim program registration
1 Gallery Reception: Kiiko Nakahara
3 & 17 Toastmasters Luncheon
7 Mudsharks Awards Dinner
8 Language Exchange Coffee
17–18 Taste of Asia: Indonesia and Singapore
21 Father’s Day Grand Buffet
22 Gallery Reception: Isamu Morishima
Coming up in June
The Club hosts its own traditional summer festival, complete with games, music and food.
Saturday, August 29 4–8 p.m. | Open to the public
Brewing oak bark tea
A French Revolution in California by Wendi Onuki
m p o s s i b l e ! ” Wi t h o n e w o r d , Geneviève Roulot swatted away the notion of 24-year-old native New Yorker Ted Lemon taking over wine production from her dying husband at the esteemed Domaine Guy Roulot et Fils in Burgundy. But months later, in 1983, she acquiesced and hired the fledgling winemaker as the first American to run a Burgundian domaine. Lemon left two years later for California, but his early experiences in France established the tone for the rest of his career. “The elegance of both red and white Burgundies has always been an inspiration,” says the 57-year-old. “[However,] I was not specifically drawn to producing those two varieties in California.” Rather, he and his wife, Heidi, traveled the West Coast in the early 1990s in search of potential sites that would translate into uniquely stellar wines. They settled on the extreme Sonoma Coast, intrigued by the “geologic diversity of the soils and mesoclimates.” They established Littorai Wines in 1993 as a side project. Littorai (the Latin word for “coasts”) borrowed a page from the Burgundy winemaking book and focused exclusively on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Lemon
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wanted to produce delicate, balanced wines that would reflect their terroir and age well. He had no interest in creating French wines with a California twist. “Do not measure all things against the Old World,” he told attendees at the 2013 Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration in Australia. “And above all, do not see Burgundy as a measuring stick. We must be like Odysseus, lashing ourselves to the mast of the ship in order to resist the siren song of the maidens of Burgundy.” That trailblazing mindset has pushed Lemon to the front of a revolutionary pack of California winemakers. He adorned the cover of wine writer Jon Bonné’s 2013 book, The New California Wine, and has been credited as an inspiration for the In Pursuit of Balance organization, which concentrates on promoting Burgundianstyle wines made in California.
“It certainly is wonderful to see more and more California wineries seeking to make wines of balance,” says Lemon, who will showcase his wines at a dinner at the Club this month. “In Pursuit of Balance is really a question: What is balance? How do acidity, richness and winemaking styles all come together to define a wine? How do those choices affect aging? “In addition to that, the ‘New California’ style is devoted to the renewed understanding that the genius of California’s wine comes from its unique ability to balance wonderful, intense, vibrant fruit tones with lovely acidity and moderate alcohol—wines that do not knock you over after a few glasses.” Aside from growing his own label, Lemon currently shares his winemaking philosophy (the cornerstones of which are biodynamic farming and a quality-overquantity approach) and expertise through a number of collaborations in California, Oregon, New Zealand and elsewhere. But does he dream of making French wines again one day? In a word, “Oui!” o Onuki is a Michigan-based freelance journalist.
Littorai Wines Wine Dinner with Ted Lemon Tuesday, May 26 7 p.m. CHOP Steakhouse ¥15,000* Sign up online or at Member Services *Excludes 8 percent consumption tax.
WINE & DINING
2012 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Karia” Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California
Finding the Future in the Past by David Tropp
or many wine lovers, Spain conjures up thoughts of the acclaimed Rioja region or perhaps Sherry, the country’s famous fortified wine. At this month’s tasting, I and James Dunstan, founder of Tokyo-based wine importer The Vine Ltd, will take attendees off the beaten path to discover some of the most innovative winemaking in Spain and explore a host of artisanal styles and indigenous grape varieties, complemented by a suite of dishes to highlight the wines’ distinctive flavors and aromas. Taking center stage at this tasting will be two stars of the Spanish wine scene, Catalonia and Galicia, located at the extreme northeast and northwest corners of the Iberian Peninsula. Both of these regions have cultural and linguistic identities distinct from other parts of Spain. Regional characteristics were heavily suppressed under Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Since the end of the Franco regime in the 1970s, though, there has been a great cultural revival in these regions, not least in gastronomy and viticulture. Accompanying this has been a search for authenticity in winemaking styles,
including the revival of indigenous, almost-extinct grapes. An artisanal, “back-to-the-land” philosophy underpins many elements of this story, and noninterventionist or organic viticulture is an important subplot. Growers and winemakers have had many seasons to develop their expertise, and the results are impressive. Galicia is now home to some of the finest white wines in the Iberian Peninsula, and Catalonia is known for an eclectic amalgam of artisanal styles, from light sparkling wines to fullbodied reds, following closely its leading position in world gastronomy. Prepare to unearth a whole new side of Spanish wine. o Tropp is a member of the Wine Committee and founder of Tokyo wine boutique Aux Nuages.
Taking its name from the ancient Greek word for graceful, this Karia lives up to its name. Boasting zesty fruit aromas, smoothly balanced with vanilla, light oak and a hint of clean minerality, this white wine is from a patch of Napa Valley that has grown wine grapes since the 1880s. Overseen by winemaker and Bordeaux native Christophe Paubert, Stag’s Leap is particularly well known for its winning participation in the famed 1976 Paris tasting.
Perfect partner: new spring vegetables, sushi rolls or a favorite seafood dish. Available at The Cellar (B1), opposite Member Services, for ¥4,400 a bottle. Other New Arrivals
Spain’s New Wave Wine Tasting Wednesday, May 20 7–10 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms ¥12,000* Sign up online or at Member Services
2012 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, California (¥6,800) 2012 Newton Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, California (¥5,500) 2012 Château le Puy Emilien Merlot, Bordeaux, France (¥5,800) 2013 Flowers Vineyard and Winery Chardonnay, Sonoma, California (¥6,300)
*Excludes 8 percent consumption tax.
Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
Cocktail Craftsman by Rob Goss Photos by Enrique Balducci
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athan Baggs (pictured) has come a long way since his first attempts at making a cocktail as a 21-yearold bartender at a ski resort in Idaho. “The first order that came in was for a gin and tonic,” he says. “I leaned over to the manager and said, ‘OK, but how do you make the tonic?’ They still laugh at me for that.” Despite that rookie gaffe, Baggs wasn’t a newbie to the world of food and drink. Raised in Orange County, California, by a Japanese mom and American dad, he took his first step into the restaurant business at 19, shortly after his father passed away.
WINE & DINING
“My mom was distraught and needed something to focus on. She was a great cook and so we ended up moving to Idaho, right in the Panhandle, and opening a restaurant together,” Baggs says. “I was in charge of everything, even ordering beers, despite not being old enough to drink. We actually pulled it off, and I ran it for a year and a half until we sold it.” Now CHOP Bar’s resident mixologist, the 36-year-old joined the Club last year after an eight-year stint as head mixologist and beverage director for TY Harbor’s portfolio of restaurants across Tokyo. Before that, he mixed cocktails at Fujimamas, the one-time expat favorite in Harajuku, while working at his aunt’s Japanese restaurant in Akasaka. Shaking (not stirring) a martini, Baggs explains that moving to the Club has enabled him to refocus on his passion: creating and serving drinks. “Working at CHOP gives me more freedom to source local, quality ingredients and have more fun behind the bar, creating my own things,” he says. “It gives me the chance to use more expensive, handcrafted and hard-to-source ingredients. I want to bring Members something they will struggle to find anywhere else in Tokyo.” Among CHOP Bar’s signature cocktails are gems like the Porchside Texas Punch, which features the world’s only 100 percent blue corn whiskey, along with Japanese red pepper-spiced sugar cane syrup, fresh lemon and cucumber. Another of Baggs’ distinctive creations is the Baconhattan, which, as the name suggests, is a Manhattan but served with a slice of house-cured bacon instead of the traditional olive. CHOP Bar, though, is about more than cocktails. The menu also includes a selection of fine wines, American craft beers and artisanal soft drinks, such as the house-brewed ginger ale, infused with locally sourced ginger and steeped with black peppercorns and fresh citrus. “We also serve the full dinner menu from CHOP Steakhouse here, as well as a bar menu. And we have a nice selection of cigars that guests can smoke out on the terrace,” Baggs says. “Of course, there’s also more here than you see on the menu. I always encourage guests to request things that aren’t listed. I also love to improvise based on how a guest is feeling and then create something on the spot. That’s a lot of fun.” And just what a bar should be. o Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Fish Experience Celebrate the bounty of the seven seas with two weeks of fish dishes from across the globe. From grilled Mediterranean swordfish and Jamaican jerk snapper to tikkamarinated fish wrap and Tuscan tuna panzanella, the flavors promise to be as varied as the cultures that created these exciting dishes.
May 11–24 Lunch and dinner
CHOP Bar Happy Hour Enjoy 50 percent off all wines by the glass, beer and bar food (except burgers) each weekday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Teshima Art Museum (Benesse Art Site Naoshima)
Ahead of her talk at the Club this month, Sophie Richard, the author of The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums, offers her list of best museums in Japan.
BEST MUSEUMS FOR CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima
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apan is a country of museums, and the Japanese love to visit exhibitions. In 2012, a show of Dutch Old Masters in Tokyo drew the most visitors to an exhibition in the world that year, according to The Art Newspaper. While the Japanese capital didn’t head 2013’s survey, the city still had two exhibitions in the top 10. From slickly designed national museums to modest local galleries, a remarkable variety of fun, educational and intriguing places dot the archipelago.
Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art This striking museum in Okayama Prefecture, designed by Arata Isozaki, consists of three unconventional rooms, inspired by the moon, sun and earth. Meditative, poetic and disorientating, the spaces are animated by works from three Isozaki-selected Japanese artists. www.town.nagi.okayama.jp/moca/ Towada Art Center Located in Aomori Prefecture, this unique museum is an assortment of white boxlike spaces, disseminated on a lawn along the city’s main artery. Each separate gallery houses works by a different artist, from Japan or elsewhere. http://towadaartcenter.com BEST ARTIST’S HOUSES
and Ryue Nishizawa, this exciting, playful museum is located right in the center of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, and acts as the city’s beating heart. The collection features modern and contemporary art, as well as crafts. www.kanazawa21.jp
Asakura Museum of Sculpture Recently renovated, the residence of sculptor Fumio Asakura is a stylish 1920s building. From its rooftop, there is a great view of the charming Yanaka area of Tokyo. www.taitocity.net/taito/asakura/ Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum The artist himself established the museum
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
where he lived and worked on the island of Shikoku. Everything has been preserved as it was in his lifetime, and sculptures are on display in the traditional kura storehouse turned into studios and in the garden. www.isamunoguchi.or.jp Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum The Kyoto home of the prolific potter and designer is wonderfully atmospheric. A museum without wardens or labels, it preserves Kawai’s works and furniture, as well as his studio and kiln. Tel: 075-561-3585 BEST MUSEUMS TO LEARN ABOUT JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY Nezu Museum One of the galleries contains a full-size tearoom with a display of tea ceremony artifacts that changes according to the season. In this Tokyo museum’s extensive garden, there are four old teahouses. www.nezu-muse.or.jp Raku Museum This Kyoto museum is dedicated to the Raku dynasty, which has been creating tea bowls specifically for the tea ceremony since the 16th century. It is adjacent to the house and studio where the 15th generation ceramicist still lives. www.raku-yaki.or.jp Sagawa Art Museum This museum in Shiga Prefecture displays 20th-century Japanese art, but the highlight is its two breathtaking spaces that are contemporary interpretations of the traditional tearoom. www.sagawa-artmuseum.or.jp BEST MUSEUMS TO VISIT WITH CHILDREN Edo-Tokyo Museum The museum tells the fascinating story of the city of Tokyo over several centuries. Many replicas and hands-on exhibits make it a lively experience for visitors of all ages. www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum This outdoor museum preserves 30 buildings from the Edo period to the 1940s. Ensuring the houses, villas, shops and bathhouses are well looked after, the volunteers are great sources of information,
Hakone Open-Air Museum (top); installations at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (bottom)
organize craft demonstrations and teach children old-fashioned games. http://tatemonoen.jp The Hakone Open-Air Museum Surrounded by enchanting scenery, this museum in the Kanagawa resort area of Hakone features sculptures and installations in an extensive park, parts of which have been designed as play areas for children, and one gallery houses shows with youngsters in mind. www.hakone-oam.or.jp BEST OVERALL MUSEUM EXPERIENCE Benesse Art Site Naoshima The islands of Naoshima, Inujuma and Teshima in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea are home to some of the world’s most exciting places to see contemporary
art. Amid beautiful scenery, there are several museums designed by some of Japan’s most celebrated architects, as well as installations and works of art by internationally renowned artists. Each island has its own personality and explores such notions as environmental sustainability or industrial heritage, so visiting all three is worthwhile. o www.benesse-artsite.jp
Meet the Author: Sophie Richard Monday, May 25 7–8 p.m. Toko Shinoda Classroom ¥1,500* (includes one drink) Sign up online or at the Library *Excludes 8 percent consumption tax.
Running after Haruki Murakami by Tamara Crawford
you feel differently,” he once said. While Murakami’s novels are set in Japan and the characters are Japanese, the stories have a uniquely universal quality; they seem to be taking place in a world that is not tied to a specific culture. This, no doubt, contributes to their wild international popularity (Murakami’s books have been published in more than 50 languages).
read my first Haruki Murakami novel while living in Seattle in 2012. 1Q84 had recently been published in English and was an international bestseller. The book’s opening scene takes place in a taxi stopped in traffic on the Shuto Expressway over Sangenjaya in western Tokyo. I once lived in that neighborhood and had driven in traffic on that road many times. Immediately hooked by the scene’s familiarity and the realism of the description, I was transported to a surreal dimension. I felt like I was experiencing a completely new genre of fiction. It was exciting. Jay Rubin, the translator of 1Q84 and other Murakami novels, has said that many readers report that Murakami’s work makes them feel like something has happened to their brains. “It changes you. It makes you see time differently. It makes
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Born in Kyoto in 1949, the child of two teachers of literature, Murakami grew up in Kobe and attended Tokyo’s Waseda University. Deeply interested in Western novels, particularly American, he spent many years abroad and returned to Japan after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Music, especially jazz, has had a big
influence on the author, who now lives on the Kanagawa coast. Between 1974 and 1981, he ran a Tokyo jazz café and bar, Peter Cat, with his wife. Murakami says that when he decided to become a writer, a sedentary occupation, he realized he would need to make a change in his lifestyle to stay healthy. Picking up running, he became an avid marathoner and his 2009 memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, explains how running affects his creativity and life. If you are new to Murakami and are wondering where to begin, visit his information-packed website (harukimurakami.com), where you can read book extracts, browse photographs of Murakami’s writing space, listen to his favorite music and find out what makes him tick. Murakami is a deeply private person and rarely gives interviews, but the BBC documentary “Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer,” provides an interesting introduction to the man and his work. o Crawford is a member of the Library Committee. 1Q84 and a number of other books by Murakami are available at the Library.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
reads buried treasures
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James Though the story revolves around the attempted assassination of reggae legend Bob Marley, James’ book sets ablaze the turbulent past of Jamaica and the dozens of raw, vigorous and uncompromising characters glutted within. AK
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby Set in the 1960s, Barbara Parker dreams of becoming a TV star. Fleeing her northern England seaside town, she moves to London, where she charms two writers into writing a sitcom for her. She sheds her name to become Sophie Straw, and a star is born. AK
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng The story follows a Chinese-American family in a small Ohio town in the 1970s. Lydia is the favorite of her parents, so when her body is found in a lake, the family is broken. As they try to restore their lives, they realize they never knew Lydia at all. AK
Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century by the Kyoto Costume Institute Rococo ruffles, extravagant bustles, Chanel pearls and chainmail dresses are just some of the delights to be sampled in this sumptuous two-volume set. The Kyoto Costume Institute was established in 1978 to collect, research, and exhibit Western fashion, and these books are crammed with high-quality photographs of just some of the more than 12,000 items. The first volume deals with 18th- and 19thcentury fashion, while the second covers the 20th century. These books are a great source of inspiration to anyone interested in textiles and design or who simply loves clothes. Compiled by senior librarian Sarah Takahashi.
You Are Not Special...and Other Encouragements by David McCullough Jr In this book, McCullough expands on his commencement speech that took the Internet by storm. With humor, he explores the pressures on kids to excel and hopes that if children acknowledge that the world is indifferent to them, they will be free to take chances, fail and learn empathy. EK Half Bad by Sally Green In modern-day England, witches do exist, and Nathan is the son of a good witch and the world’s most terrifying witch, Marcus. Kept in captivity, Nathan must escape and track down his father to receive his own magical powers before it’s too late. EK
The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson After her father is assassinated, Laila flees her homeland for the suburbs of Washington, DC, with her family. The newspapers are filled with stories that her king father was a cruel tyrant. Unsure what to believe, she also has to deal with her mother, who is plotting her revenge. EK Reviews compiled by librarians Alison Kanegae and Erica Kawamura.
Library & Children’s Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tel: 03-4588-0678 E-mail: email@example.com
Mom-Friendly Movies by Preeti Kothari
new movies Selma This Oscar-nominated movie chronicles the epic 1965 march, led by Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo), from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to secure equal voting rights.
Big Eyes A drama about true-life American painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), her phenomenal success in the 1950s and the subsequent legal battles with her husband (Christoph Waltz), who claimed credit for her works.
od could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” Those words of the British writer Rudyard Kipling are particularly fitting this month. With Mother’s Day on May 10, the Club is sure to be crowded with pampered moms, enjoying a treatment at The Spa or sitting down to a sumptuous lunch spread. You might also want to consider treating Mom to a special movie night at home. The Video Library is a treasure trove of ideas, and one of my favorites is Terms of Endearment (1983), a comedy tearjerker, starring Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger. The movie won five Oscars, including for best picture and best actress (MacLaine). Another weepie is 1989’s Steel Magnolias, which celebrates the relationships between a mother, her daughter and a close-knit group of friends who frequent the local beauty parlor in a small, Louisiana town. In the 2008 comedy Mamma Mia!, Meryl Streep is the mother of a bride-to-be in search of her father. Set on a Greek island, the story is told through the hits of the popular 1970s group ABBA. The timeless musical classic The Sound of Music (1965) is also a good choice for a relaxing evening. Full of warmth and memorable songs, this Oscar winner is about a nun (Julie Andrews) who becomes a governess for the children of a stern, Austrian widower (Christopher Plummer). Erin Brockovich (2000), which is based on a true story, is also worth mentioning. Julia Roberts won the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of a single mom battling a California power company that is accused of polluting a city’s water supply. Mothers with younger children might want to curl up with the 1941 Disney classic Dumbo, about a young, large-eared circus elephant who finds his entertainment potential with the help of a mouse. These are just a few recommendations, but the Video Library staff can offer plenty more ideas. If you can’t decide, rent them all, and make it a Mother’s Day movie marathon. Happy Mother’s Day! o
Paddington Adapted from Michael Bond’s famous books, this whimsical and quirky children’s tale follows the adventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to London and is taken in by the kindly Brown family. Tracks A visually striking film that chronicles the true story of a young woman’s (Mia Wasikowska) 2,700-kilometer, nine-month trek across the deserts of Western Australia, accompanied by four camels and a dog. Maps to the Stars A twisted and compelling satire, directed by David Cronenburg (The Fly, A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis), of Hollywood royalty and hangers-on, chasing fame and running from ghosts.
Cake Jennifer Aniston plays a woman grappling with a personal tragedy who becomes obsessed with the suicide of a woman in her chronic-pain support group.
Kothari is a member of the Video Library Committee. Video Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tel: 03-4588-0686 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Reviews compiled by Nick Narigon.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
by Nick Narigon During her two stints living in Japan, American artist Margot Bittenbender saw characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland everywhere. From manga comics to advertisements to the work of other artists, Alice and co appeared prominently in the country’s pop culture. “[Alice] even appears in a junior high English language textbook, falling ‘down, down, down,’” says Bittenbender, a retired elementary school art teacher. “I began to imagine Alice’s further adventures if her wonderland had been in Japan rather than England.” Connecticut native Bittenbender appropriately titled her latest series of intaglio prints, set to be exhibited at the Frederick Harris Gallery this month along with her other works, “Alice in Japan.” In her work, Bittenbender uses several methods of intaglio, in which an image is etched or engraved in a metal (in this case, copper) plate. Ink is applied to the surface of the plate and pushed into the recessed lines, and the print is impressed into paper. Bittenbender uses Japanese gampi and kozo paper to add color and texture to the prints. “Intaglio provides a surprisingly fluid and changeable process that alters the initial image and feeling, despite the hardness and seemingly unyielding surface of the metal plate itself,” says Bittenbender. “My art tells stories through memories, experiences and emotion, from my observations of objects— often toys—and places within cultures.”
Exhibition May 11–31
Monday, May 11 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Adults only Open to invitees and Members only All exhibits in the Frederick Harris Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at Member Services. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.
Sky Pool Companions While many people kick off the day with a caffeine jolt, one band of Members prefers a few lung-bursting lengths of the Sky Pool. by Nick Narigon Photos opposite by Enrique Balducci
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RECREATION & FITNESS
ncreased endurance, toned muscles and healthier heart and lungs. It’s often said that swimming is the complete workout, minus the wear and tear that high-impact exercise can inflict. For adult swimmers looking for challenging, structured swim sessions that produce results, the Sky Pool offers Masters and Masters Advanced classes, led four days a week by experienced coach Masa Hamanaka. Three members of the program explain how they have benefited from the early-morning watery workouts. Steve DeCosse, 56 About six or seven years ago when TAC was still at Takanawa, I saw the Masters squad training in the morning from time to time. I saw the steam coming off the [outdoor] pool and it conjured memories from the past. I took the plunge and started swimming again.
A lot has changed in the last 30 years. I swam at Princeton University and qualified for the NCAA championship meet in the 100-yard backstroke. Training used to be you just get in the water and swim a long way. Now you swim less, but with more sets and with more quality. If you watch today’s Olympics, you see the swimmers dive in and kick for a long way underwater, which helps your body accelerate. I haven’t mastered the underwater piece, but Masa is very insightful about stroke correction and is up to date on training regimens and techniques. As I got back into shape, I started
competing again. The Masters Advanced training program has helped me improve my times. Last summer, I won the 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke in the Japan Masters Nationals in Yokohama. I swam my best times during a masters meet last fall in Tokyo. I was happy to learn that my short-course times ranked me sixth in the world in the 50 meter and seventh in the world in the 100 meter for my age group. Agnes Ouellette, 43 I swam in high school competitively and then at the University of Toronto I played water polo for a little while on the varsity team. I hadn’t swum at all for about 15 years, and then three years ago I joined the Club’s Swim Fit group. I started out in the slowest lane and eventually you get faster. I started leading the faster group because the fastest person left. Then I…wasn’t getting that much better. In swimming, to get better you have to be pushed. So, a few months ago, I started going to the Saturday session of the Masters group. I was nervous because obviously they swim faster, but I started doing it and I found out that I can keep up, and everyone is supportive. Obviously, I’m not the fastest, but it’s really nice to be able to get that extra training and I’ve seen the results. In these past few months, I have dropped 3 seconds off a 50-meter lap, which for me is huge, and I am more consistently coming in faster for the longer distances. I am even thinking about doing some open-water swims this summer.
Bruce Pomer, 59 Seven or eight years ago, I lost about 20 kilos. I’m a big guy. I was running every day and that started taking a toll on my shins and this and that. Swimming is much easier on the body and so that was part of the reason why I joined the Masters program. Before that, I could swim, but I never swam competitively. People have this idea that swimming is really boring, and I guess if you just go back and forth, it is monotonous. In the Masters program, we do drill sets. You learn breathing techniques, kicking and we swim against the clock. There is a TAC Masters blog and we can look at our past times to compare how we did, which is cool. We all work out and then we have breakfast together. Over breakfast, we talk about swimming. We talk about world politics. Whatever it is, it is a lively conversation. There’s a special kind of vibe and camaraderie. My personal goal is to try and not get slower. What I have learned is if you do anything for five years consistently, you can get pretty good at it, relative to the rest of the world. I was in Karuizawa and I swam 4,000 meters on my own in an hour and a half. People are blown away by that, and it’s kind of cool we are able to do this. o
Visit the Aquatics page of the Club website or the Sky Pool Office to learn more about the Masters and the Masters Advanced classes.
RECREATION & FITNESS
FAMILY YO U T H
Club Recital Club students of the piano, violin, viola and voice—and their instructors—take to the stage for an entertaining morning of music.
Spring Family Outings Kids soak up the great weather while playing a variety of sports and games, including kickball, flag football and soccer. May 3–31 (Sundays) 1–5 p.m. American School in Japan Ages 5–13 Sign up at the Recreation Desk
Mother’s Day Hobby Show Moms and kids try their hand at various arts and crafts, including greeting card and bouquet making, at a number of creative booths. The Club welcomes Setagaya-based florist Bloom & Stripes to this inaugural event. Saturday, May 9 1:30–3:30 p.m. Gymnasium and The Studio Mother and child pair: ¥3,500 yen (¥1,000 per additional child) Guests and walk-ins: ¥4,200 Sign up online
Sunday, May 17 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms Adults: ¥1,800 Children (4–12 years): ¥700 Infants (3 and under): free Sign up online
To the Stars and Beyond Strap yourself in and prepare to blast off for the International Space Station (ISS) and the depths of space at a fascinating talk for all ages by Club Member and NASA Asia representative Christopher Blackerby. Saturday, May 23 7–8 p.m. Toko Shinoda Classroom Adults: ¥1,500 (guests and walk-ins: ¥1,800) Children (6–15 years): ¥1,000 (guests and walkins: ¥1,200) Sign up online
June 15–August 21 (10 sessions) | Weekdays Big Kid (6–12 years) | Preschool (3–5 years) Big Kid Camp: ¥45,000 for Members (¥54,000 for non-Members) Preschool Camp: ¥40,000 for Members (¥48,000 for non-Members) Summer All-Star Sports Kids try their hand at the likes of soccer, Brazilian martial art capoeira, taiko drumming and hiphop dance. June 15–August 21 | Weekdays 3:30–4:30 p.m. (Thursday: 5–6 p.m.) Gymnasium and The Studio Members: ¥13,500 per session Non-Members: ¥16,200 per session Ages 5–12
FITNESS YO U T H
Kings of the Court Basketball Tourney Forget the NBA Finals. Put together a team of five to seven players and prepare to battle it out for Club b-ball bragging rights.
The Club is brimming with exciting activities for kids over the summer months. Sign up online.
Sunday, May 24 4–6 p.m. Gymnasium ¥2,000 | Ages 16+ Sign up online
Camp Discovery Summer camp sessions of games, sports, crafts, day trips and fun.
Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
Pampering Specials For all of May, book one of the three packages below and receive a coupon for unlimited drinks at the Café Med or Rainbow Café drink bar. • 75-minute Manicure + 30-minute Head Massage: ¥9,500 (original price ¥11,500) • 60-minute Radiance Facial + 30-minute Reflexology: ¥15,100 (original price: ¥18,500) • 90-minute Swedish Massage + 30-minute Aroma Facial: ¥16,700 (original price: ¥20,500) Mother’s Day Special Until May 10, enjoy 15 percent off any treatment* gift certificate for Mom. (*The treatment must be on the regular menu.) Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax. The Spa proudly uses products by
To book a treatment, contact The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or email@example.com Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. | Sunday and national holidays: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
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Club discovery made easy Make finding out event details or signing up for a program simpler by using the QR codes on promotions around the Club.
1 Download a QR code reader app to your smartphone or tablet. 2 Open the app and hold your device over the QR code. 3 Let your device scan the code and automatically open the particular Club website page. 4 Read the event or program details and sign up.
by Nick Narigon
Set to show her eye-catching designs at the Club this month, fashion creator Bina Modi explains her charitable approach to business.
s Bina Modi walked to her car outside her home near New Delhi, India, some 20 years ago, she noticed a man desperately attempting to hawk a bundle of fabrics to passersby. “In India, you don’t stop for anybody,” says Modi, sitting in one of the Club’s meeting rooms. “But I stopped him and I said, ‘What is it that you have in that bundle?’ So he said, ‘I have these eight saris I want to sell and I am really desperate for money.’ So I said, ‘Come into my house. Let’s see what you have.’” Not only did Modi buy his saris, she also gave him a job producing her own designs. That was the beginning of
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Bina Fashions, and today Modi is one of India’s foremost fashion designers. She brings her unique creations to the Club this month for a fashion expo, cosponsored by the Women’s Group. “I have been having shows [in Tokyo] now for 10 years, so you always have to deliver something different,” says Modi, adding that Japan and Hong Kong are her top markets. “The same format, the same embroidery, but with something new, with a different twist. That is the biggest challenge.” Modi married future tobacco magnate Krishan Kumar Modi in 1961 after graduating from boarding school at the age of 16, where she was taught needlework by German nuns. Modi’s role at home,
which was shared by a large extended family, was limited. It was forbidden for a woman of her social standing to earn a salary. To pass the time, she embroidered garments for the Modi children. The day she met the stranger on the street proved a turning point. She decided to start a business whose profits would go back to the workers. Modi would never pocket a dime. “I knew I could do it. I had the confidence. The only reason [my family] let me do it was because I was rehabilitating the poor,” says the mother of three. “I had so many people watching me in my family for me to fail. I couldn’t afford that. For my ego I couldn’t afford it. I had to prove that I could do the job just as well as a man.” Today, Bina Fashions employs around 400 people. Modi covers the full cost of her employees’ medical bills and children’s education and even provides employment to family members.
Fashion and Philanthropy
RECREATION & FITNESS
Member Alok Ra kyan, who organized the upcoming event at the Club, says Modi ’s ability to succeed i n such a ma le-dom i nated societ y ma kes her achievements even more i nspi rat iona l. He descr ibes her a s a mu lt ita lented “ent repreneu r who has also managed her home, who has managed successf u l businesses and who follows her passion.” For her designs, Modi revived the elaborate but painstaking gara embroidery techniques. This ancient art often features highly detailed, natureinspired motifs. Typically, between four and six gara artisans work on one loom, and one square-inch contains about 1,000 stitches. The labor-intensive style died out in the 20th century with the advent of machines. With the help of skilled craftsmen, Bina resurrected the forgotten embroideries and introduced a modern twist, producing white or brightly colored gara jackets and shirts. Modi has not restricted herself to philanthropic fashion, though. She founded a chain of high-end restaurants and has dabbled in the beauty and travel industries. But Bina Fashions is her first love. She has presented her designs in more than 40 countries, including at shows at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Saatchi Gallery in London. “I get inspiration from something I see,” says Modi. “If I am in Portobello [Market in London] or if I’m in an antique market in China, a small piece of fabric will inspire me and I will create a whole story around it.” o
Fishy Business by Nick Narigon
Designer Bina Modi’s Couture Event Trunk Show Sunday, May 10 10:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Brooklyn rooms Monday, May 11 10:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. CHOP Steakhouse Bina Modi Morning Talk Show Monday, May 11 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. CHOP Steakhouse Free Open to the public No sign-up necessary
or nearly three decades, Andy Lunt (pictured) has been making early-morning runs to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market to hand-select fish for his traditional izakaya restaurant under the Yamanote Line tracks near Yurakucho Station. Possibly the most well-known and well-respected non-Japanese izakaya operator in Tokyo, the Briton has forged close relationships with Tsukiji’s vendors, who set aside their best product for Andy’s Shin Hinomoto, a longtime expat hangout, known colloquially as Andy’s Tavern. Opened in 1945, the establishment has been in Lunt’s wife’s family for three generations. The feeling of optimism at the time was reflected in the name Shin Hinomoto, which loosely translates as “new Japan.” During his Women’s Grouporganized presentation at the Club this month, Lunt will talk about the family business, offer tales and adventures from Tsukiji and “give a very personal guide to life in Japan.”
From under the Yamanote Tracks to Tsukiji Thursday, May 14 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. | Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥3,000 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,000 | Adults only | Sign up online or at Member Services Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
Mikiko Tago Andersen
JAPAN’S STARTUP FUTURE Traditionally underappreciated in Japan’s business environment, some women are choosing to strike out on their own. by Rob Goss
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t at i s t ic s on fema le employment in Japan make painful reading. Last year’s report by banking giant Goldman Sachs, “Womenomics 4.0: Time to Walk the Talk,” is a prime example. Although Japan now has a recordhigh female labor participation rate of 62.5 percent, this figure, the report says, remains among the lowest in the developed world. In Scandinavia and large parts of Europe, the numbers hover around the 70 percent mark. Then there are the leadership stats. Less than 2 percent of board directors in Japan are women, compared with almost 35 percent in Norway and an average 15 percent in much of Europe. It’s a similar situation in politics, where, after the Lower House elections in December 2012, just 8 percent of parliamentarians were female. Figures from Iraq (25 percent) and Saudi Arabia (20 percent) offer some sobering context. Such data helps to explain why some women feel their only option for a fulfilling career is to launch their own business. Women like Dr Hitomi Hayashi, whose decision to become a business owner was prompted by a lack of opportunity to progress as an employee. Although Hayashi had established and run a successful international, Englishspeaking department within a large dental clinic in Tokyo, the Club Member says she became disheartened at her lack of advancement after more than a decade. “I realized that in Japanese society the people at the top are all guys, and I was feeling less appreciated year by year,” says Hayashi. “I saw so many guys getting promotions ahead of me. I was just one of the workers, even though I was a specialist and offered different things to anyone else there. I wanted to prove to myself that I’m a good dentist, so I decided I had to start my own business.” In 2013, Hayashi, who is in her 40s, opened her own English-speaking clinic. Her professional license enabled her to secure government subsidies. The clinic’s success, she says, has been down to her range of treatments and patient loyalty. She also says she has benefited greatly from the support of her family.
“I realized that in Japanese society the people at the top are all guys, and I was feeling less appreciated year by year.” Hayashi now employs two Englishspeaking dentists and is planning to open a second clinic in central Tokyo. Even as a successful business owner, however, she hasn’t been immune to deep-seated attitudes toward women. “Shortly after setting up my clinic, I joined a dental association in the hope of gaining some support and advice to help my new business. They invited me to a New Year party, and I turned up after work in casual clothes, like the ones I’m wearing now,” says Hayashi, dressed in black plants, black boots and an ivorycolored blouse. “During the evening, one male dentist told me off in front of other people for not dressing conservatively enough for a female dentist. But for that, he said he would have introduced me to some people who could have helped me. The dental world is still very old-fashioned.” More progressive, says fellow Club Member Mikiko Tago Andersen, 42, is the children’s clothing industry.
Tago Andersen’s company, Kodomark, i mpor t s S c a nd i nav ia n ch i ld ren’s clot h i ng a nd sel ls items on l i ne, wholesale and through an outlet in a Tokyo department store. “Before I started my own business, I worked in a Japanese, an American and a Danish company in Japan, all with lots of local hires [so the culture was still Japanese]. I felt disadvantaged being female in my previous career,” Tago Andersen says. While the kids’ clothing industry is populated with lots of women, larger companies tend to be conservative, with male-dominated managements, according to Tago Andersen. “That’s difficult at times,” she says. “I am an owner, but [as a woman], I struggle, as I have no political power in that industry, even if my business is growing.” Noriko Silvester, who founded and heads PR and marketing consultancy Candlewick, says she faces similar issues in her industry. “Dealing with clients, there is no gender discrimination for me, but it is still rare to see many other female leaders at networking events. Japanese society is still male-dominated,” the Club Member says. “This causes issues for me sometimes. When it comes to something like the cosmetics business, women are well represented. But in some governmental authorities, it is predominantly male and their approach can make it difficult for me to work with them.”
In Japan, in particular, societal change can be painfully slow. But driven by a need to exploit under-utilized resources to cope with the economic implications of Japan’s aging society, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set clear goals for Japan to reach by 2020. The government wants a 30 percent female-representation rate in leadership positions (currently under 15 percent) and a female labor-participation rate for ages 25 to 44 of 73 percent (now 68 percent). It
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is also aiming for 55 percent of women to return to work after their first child (now only 38 percent) and 13 percent of fathers to take paternity leave (currently 3 percent). Pointing to these targets, Club Member Noriko Nakamura says she is confident of improvements in the work environment for women, including in business ownership. As the founder of the Japanese Association of Female Executives and the founder and CEO of Poppins, which operates almost 150
nurseries in Japan and one in Hawaii, Nakamura is well placed to comment. “Prime Minister Abe’s appeal to promote women in the workforce is succeeding. With support from organizations like the Keidanren [Japan Business Federation], there will be many new female executives, officers and unaffiliated directors debuting at corporations in a wide variety of industries,” she says. “Additionally, there is now good childcare support for
women not to have to quit working after childbirth, and support measures, such as the ability to work from home and flexible work hours, are beginning to be offered [to mothers].” Since starting her business in 1987, Nakamura, who turns 66 this month, has witnessed many positive changes in the childcare industry, allowing more women to continue careers or take on part-time work while raising families. Up until 2000, for example, the government wouldn’t authorize private nurseries. Through a combination of private and public facilities, there are now 24,000 authorized childcare facilities in Japan. Another step forward is the recent decision by Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward to subsidize nanny services to encourage women to work, something Nakamura believes will be adopted by more local governments. But there is still work to be done when it comes to female entrepreneurship, according to Nakamura, who says there are few prominent female role models and their success is limited to certain industries. “When starting up businesses, women tend to be successful in the service industry. There are many examples in people services, such as care work, and also education, public relations and fashionrelated industries. On the other hand, there are fewer examples of female success in the manufacturing and IT industries. This begins at an early age, as there are very few girls interested in studying science subjects at school. One challenge is to change that,” Nakamura says. Although female-run businesses in Japan often survive longer than those run by men, they usually remain smaller enterprises, she adds. “Women are more inclined to start a business based on actual life experiences and their current resources. They are more inclined to run their businesses to suit their current scope, rather than expanding, while men tend to take on challenges with goals that have a higher risk of failure, such as expansion and getting to an IPO, so they fail more as a result. “However, many women also go into business ownership without a general business or management background
and often don’t have the business skill sets, such as marketing skills or business mentality, needed to grow into big businesses,” Nakamura says. One solution, says Silvester, 53, is mentorship. “It’s very important to have access to business advice,” she says. “I set up my business by myself, but also had help from a mentor in the PR industry, who gave me advice on things, such as pricing and so on.”
“In one sense, women have more opportunities if they have a specific talent and the timing is right, because we aren’t expected to stay in a company.” Despite improvements, childcare remains a hurdle for many women and is a major reason why they don’t pursue careers after childbirth, says Tago Andersen. “Now my kids are 9 and 6, but when they were small, we had to have babysitters and my parents would help out so I could run my business. My husband also works from home often, so he can often do school runs. Not everyone has that or easy access to childcare, and childcare can be very expensive,” she says. To tackle the problem, the government wants to be able to provide childcare for another 400,000 children by 2017. That’s good news, says Nakamura, but it means the country needs an additional 70,000 trained nursery teachers. “We say that there are about 1 million qualified nursery teachers but that only 40 percent are working. The reason that 60 percent choose not to work is because the hours are often long, the salary low and the job hard. My fight now is to improve that,” Nakamura says. Of course, many issues apply to both male and female entrepreneurs. Countless
reports have highlighted Japan’s ingrained fear of failure that is partly stifling entrepreneurship, as well as a lack of venture capital and the dominance of large companies. The regulation-ridden process of launching a business can also deter many would-be entrepreneurs. For Club Member Julia Spotswood, who owns Jet Set, a blow dry bar in Hiroo, where customers can have their hair styled while unwinding with a glass of Champagne, the challenges starting her business last year related to introducing a new concept to the Japanese market and dealing with red tape, not gender. “I don’t think it’s a case of male or female when starting a business; it’s more about who you know or don’t know,” says Spotswood, 40, who took a year to turn her business plan into an up-and-running venture. “It can be a slow and, at times, frustrating process, but the people you meet along the way and experiences you gain make every day exciting.” Hayashi says there are even certain advantages to being a female business owner. “In one sense, women have more opportunities if they have a specific talent and the timing is right, because we aren’t expected to stay in a company,” she says. Nakamura says another benefit is that female business leaders stand out, so are more memorable. Silvester agrees. “Being a woman is certainly a differentiating point. As a customer, for example, in comparison to men, we are the more experienced consumer, and that is something we can draw upon,” she says. If Japan is to benefit from the talents of its female population, the final responsibility lies with women, says Tago Andersen. “I know that not everyone can do what they want, but I don’t like the mentality of women who make excuses for not trying because it is difficult. Women have to think about what they really want to do: business or non-business. Both paths are equally valid,” she says. “If you are in business, you have to cope with all kinds of issues and friction professionally, and you have to make a profit as well as finding self-fulfillment. You have to commit to it all. Ultimately, the key is within ourselves.” o Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Distinctive T Living In Cebu
he Philippines has been dubbed one of the greatest comeback stories in recent years, thanks to its stellar economic performance. Bolstered by good governance, sound economic fundamentals, investment grade and a strong domestic market, the country has become a priority market for investment and trade. The Philippines’ continued economic growth also sets the context for rising real estate value and rental opportunities for properties in the country’s central business district areas. While Makati City and Bonifacio Global City – two of the countries leading financial districts
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home. Among the telling indicators of this growing trend are the increase in the number of airline companies opening direct flights from Cebu to Japan (Tokyo is just 4 hours and 30 minutes away), and the mushrooming of Japanese restaurants in Cebu. What makes Cebu an ideal place to live or retire for Japanese nationals is not just its proximity to Japan, but also attractions like world-class beach resorts and leisure estates; a modern, urban infrastructure; sophisticated medical facilities and well-trained medical professionals; and Filipino hospitality. With a proven track record and significant progress in all key sectors, it’s not hard to see why the big buzz is behind the country’s second largest metropolis as a target for investment and retirement.
– have been keeping land values rising and rental yields among the highest in the region, another city is emerging as the next big thing. Known as the “Island in the Pacific,” Cebu has long established itself as the country’s premier tourist and business destination. Its rich culture, progressive economy and first-rate quality of life continue to attract not just travellers, BPO (business processing outsourcing) companies and investors, but also foreign residents and retirees. In recent years, the city has seen an influx of Japanese nationals investing in real estate and calling Cebu their
In Cebu, Ayala Land has developed the Cebu District Park as a large-scale, integrated, mixed-use hub whose overall blueprint embodies the company’s livework-play vision. Demand continues to be high in this community, not only from the local market, but also from the international segment, especially from Japan. It’s therefore not surprising that property values in this area center are also on the rise, thus investors are keen in owning an Ayala Land property. In the same vein, the success of Ayala Land Premier’s pioneer residential projects, Park Point Residences and 1016 Residences, within the park’s vicinity, have sparked a great demand for distinctive and exclusive premier developments from the company.
PRIME INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
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The good news is that Ayala Land Premier is creating a new elegant address at the heart of Cebu Park District.
As one of the Philippines’ most respected developers, and part of the country’s oldest conglomerate, Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has been instrumental in shaping the country’s economic and urban landscapes for many generations. It is the only company in the country with a rich history of building large-scale, masterplanned, mixed-use and sustainable communities. These developments have become the centers of commerce and growth across the country, such as the Makati Central Business District, Bonifacio Global City, Alabang Business District, Bonifacio Global City, NUVALI township and Cebu Park District.
The Alcoves is creating sensible luxury living by offering carefully thoughtout and flexible units, which can be combined. Its prime location offers incomparable access to retail, dining and leisure amenities. For its future residents, a myriad of choices right in the heart of Cebu’s masterplanned metropolis awaits.
Carrying on Ayala Land’s heritage of vision and pioneering in the highend real estate market is its “flagship carrier,” Ayala Land Premier. Over the years, the brand has built a reputation for high standards of construction and maintenance and excellent locations within Ayala Land’s master-planned mixed-use developments. This same reputation and track record has allowed it to continue to command premium pricing, despite fierce market competition and saturation.
Whether for work, play or just living the good life, there are few better places now than Cebu. And for distinctive, luxury living experiences in Cebu, there is no better place than The Alcoves.
New Cebu Project Launch Learn more about this excellent investment and retirement opportunity and speak with an adviser.
Tuesday, May 19 7 p.m. | Manhattan room To join this event, please contact Waseda Frontiermind at 03-6426-5148 firstname.lastname@example.org frontiermind.com
Japan’s Green Power Plans
hen Japan decided to shut down all its nuclear power plants in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, the country faced serious questions over how it was going to meet its future energy needs. To make up the energy shortfall, Japan’s utility companies were forced to import more liquefied natural gas and oil and even restart mothballed coal-fired power stations. In 2012, meanwhile, the government adopted a generous feed-in tariff program for new renewable energy projects. As part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s (METI) energy mix plan, renewable energy sources are projected to supply between 20 and 25 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030. In 2013, renewable energy, including hydro, accounted for around 6 percent of Japan’s total power consumption, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Adam B allin (pictured) is the representative director of Nippon Renewable Energy, which builds, operates and owns solar farms in Japan. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones visited the Club Member at his Kamiyacho office to discuss Japan’s renewable energy future. Excerpts:
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iNTOUCH: What are your thoughts on the 2030 renewable energy targets? Ballin: Today, they’re running around 30 terawatt hours of renewable energy, which represents probably around 5 percent of the grid. To get to their 20 percent target, they’re going to have to increase that to 241 terawatt hours. I think that’s going to be almost impossible in the current landscape because one of the issues we face with utility-scale solar powergeneration is suitable land. We cannot use agricultural land, which is barred, so you can use forestry land, golf courses or unused industrial land. And a lot of that is
no longer available. The second problem for solar is it’s getting harder and harder to get good construction teams to build plants quickly and efficiently. iNTOUCH: Why is that? Ballin: Japanese construction companies can’t mobilize large workforces for short periods of time, whereas in the Philippines, we can mobilize a workforce of around 2,000 or 3,000 to build a facility. The Japanese companies can’t employ people for six- or 12-month stints, so they tend to rely on subcontractors for their labor force. And there are limited itinerant employees in Japan who are willing to do short-term work for very small gains. On top of that, a lot of the solar and wind [facilities] are being built in the northern or southern regions, which are not as populous. But some of that can be overcome with technology, by using preassembled PV [photovoltaic] boxes, which is what we do. Today, roughly 70 gigawatts of solar has been approved by METI and the utility companies. Of that, the total installed capacity is around 15 gigawatts. If we’re lucky, we may get another 15 gigawatts. iNTOUCH: What are the other renewable energy options? Ballin: Wind is being actively developed, but it’s small. In terms of the totals, wind is 5 gigawatts. Biomass is possible in Japan. That’s burning wood and other waste, but that’s only around 2 gigawatts. So wind, solar and hydro altogether would be around 10 percent of the approved
wind, you’re dealing with fishermen’s associations, and with solar, it’s agricultural committees, who are in charge of rezoning some agricultural land. Japan’s agriculture is viewed as a national treasure and the fundamental question is whether one should replace agriculture with solar facilities, given that the former is a precious resource. iNTOUCH: Some power companies have claimed that they’re unable to deal with the unpredictability of solar energy. Is that a fair statement?
solar capacity. Japan has actually been at the forefront of solar technology and construction for a long time, and it’s one of the leading markets for rooftop solar. It’s been one of the largest hydro markets for a long time and has almost tapped out the capacity there. Japan was also one of the leaders in wind energy for quite a long time, so now they’ll have to pick that up and do offshore wind power generation. So they need another energy revolution, in a way. Another challenge is improving the construction cost, which is far too high. As an example of that, when I’m building a solar farm in the India, it costs me around $1 per watt to build. When I build in the Philippines, it’s around $1.40 per watt. If I build in France or England, it’s around $1.30 to $1.50 per watt. When I build in Japan, it costs me $2.50 to $3 per watt.
much the same. Japanese construction companies, however, are very conservative in how they price things, in the timing of delivery and structurally how they build things. So rather than putting in a reasonably simple foundation, the construction companies here will put in a big concrete foundation and spend a lot of time getting the site perfectly flat, putting in retention walls and making everything looking nice.
iNTOUCH: What is the effect of this in terms of investment?
iNTOUCH: Why not?
Ballin: That’s the reason why the METI tariff is so high. It’s an attractive option because it used to be around ¥40 but [gradually] came down to about ¥29 now. But ¥29 is still two and a half times what we get in India. If you want to make renewable energy more competitive, you have to bring your construction costs down, which means you can bring down the tariff. iNTOUCH: How do you make construction costs cheaper? Ballin: The components to build a solar farm anywhere in the world are pretty
iNTOUCH: What is the potential of wind power in Japan? Ballin: They’re currently working hard to develop offshore wind [power]. Unfortunately, some of the regulations here mean that they’re never going to get the most cost-effective offshore wind [power].
Ballin: There’s a lot of offshore wind capacity being installed around Europe and in the North Sea because there’s deep experience in offshore marine installations. Japan has a rule that only locally licensed companies are allowed to build offshore, so it’s difficult for international players to come and build offshore platforms for wind turbines. iNTOUCH: To what degree are regulations stifling the development of renewable energy projects? Ballin: It’s legal issues surrounding the permitting and the process, but then it’s also interest groups. For offshore
Ballin: I think it is. Solar is a very good [energy] source as part of your grid, but you don’t want it to be a dominant part because solar works on an energy curve: you produce less power in the morning, it ramps up throughout the day to get to a peak before tailing off. And it’s very intermittent in cloudy weather. What power companies like is a nice baseload of energy to supply their everyday needs. Then they want peaking power. Solar is good to blend into that base mix, where you can regulate it, but you don’t want it as your major power source. So places like Germany have big issues, where, on a particularly sunny day, they have to shed energy back out into other countries. iNTOUCH: Critics complain that the problem is also about Japan’s antiquated power grid. Is that correct? Ballin: Japan doesn’t have the most robust grid to distribute power across. But solar can be good for a country in a lot of ways. So rather than building a nuclear power plant and distributing the energy a long way, you can build a series of solar farms, which minimizes line and transmission losses along the way. But there have been announcements about debundling some of that transmission infrastructure and modernizing it. And with advances in battery and storage technology, energy efficiency and smart grids, managing renewable energy into the main grid will become much easier. iNTOUCH: How will renewable energy look in Japan’s energy mix in 2030? Ballin: I think Japan will get close to half the renewable energy target. That’s barring a step change in technology, which could push them even closer. o
One young Member has found competition success on Japan’s snowy slopes. by Nick Narigon
espite cruising to victory at the Southern Kanto Plain alpine ski competition in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture last February, Kikka Giudici missed the awards presentation. “One time, before a race, I inspected the wrong course,” says 12-year-old Club Member Giudici, highlighting the problems of not being able to speak Japanese. “When I started in Italy, it was with a team. They bring you and they manage your stuff. Here, you have to manage everything yourself.” Mariachiara Giudici, who has gone by Kikka since childhood, began competing in slalom and giant slalom ski events at the age of 9, when she won her first race. Two years ago, she finished the season in second place at St Moritz in Switzerland. Then she moved to Tokyo.
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“She and her brother are the only foreign alpine ski racers [in Japan], basically,” says her mother, Michaela Küster. “If you can’t Google in katakana or hiragana, you can’t find anything. It took us a year to feel it out and know what’s going on.” This past winter, Giudici trained every weekend with Doug Ito, a Canadian-
Japanese ski coach in Nagano. Ito says Giudici’s strong athletic build, agility and aggressiveness on the slopes make her an elite skier for her age. And at 1.67 meters, she is almost a head taller than her Japanese cohorts. “One of the people on the Tokyo team, her thigh was as big as my calf,” says Giudici during an interview at the Club. By triumphing in her age group in Tokyo, Giudici qualified to race against Japan’s top skiers at March’s Junior Olympics at Honoki Daira ski resort in Gifu Prefecture. A week before the competition, she traveled with her Tokyo teammates to the area. Besides the language, the 5 a.m. starts also proved a challenge. “I have never skied that early,” she says. “In Italy, we were on the slopes maybe by 9 a.m. If you told the Italians the race starts at 7, maybe no one would come.” On day one of the Junior Olympics, Giudici competed in the super giant slalom, or super-G, event for the first time in her life. In this intense alpine skiing discipline, top racers can reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. At the half-way point of her one run, Giudici was two-hundredths of a second behind the leader. Then she miscalculated the location of a gate. She was disqualified. Stewing over her loss, she returned to action two days later and placed second in the slalom. “I was happy, a lot happier than two days before,” says Giudici. “But I am also competitive. I want to get first place.” This summer, Giudici will train for a week in Italy, before heading to New Zealand for a month at a ski school. Such trips, along with new sets of skis every year, make the sport far from cheap, according to her parents. “What is heavier on the family is that you have to give up your entire social life for the winter,” says Küster. “Still, it is good for kids to do if they like it. It’s a nice way to spend a little bit of time outside and get fresh air.” Next year, Giudici hopes to represent Japan at the famed Trofeo Topolino competition back home in Italy. She’s also keen to take on the super-G again. “I like that feeling of speed,” says Giudici. “It’s a feeling only skiing gives you.” o
Take a Walk on the South Side Mount Fuji draws thousands of climbers to its flanks each summer, but a Club tour this month promises more off-the-beaten-track views of Japan’s famous peak. by Rob Goss
Mount Fuji from Asagiri Plateau
conic. Inspirational. Captivating. Mount Fuji has received many labels. What is indisputable is the influence of the dormant volcano on Japanese culture and society throughout history. From the likes of print artist Hokusai, whose obsession with Fuji manifested itself in a series of “views” of the mountain, to religious leaders like Hasegawa Kakugyo, who in the 16th century founded the Fujiworshipping Fujiko Shinto sect, Fuji-san has held many it its conical-shaped sway over the centuries. While tourists from across Japan and the world now crowd the 3,776-meter mountain’s trails during the summer, climbing Fuji was once a sacred act for pilgrims. For the majority of contemporary travelers to Fuji, a visit either means views from the east while on the well-worn tourist trail around the Hakone area, or closer views from the Fuji Five Lakes area to the mountain’s north in Yamanashi Prefecture. But, as Club Member Kazuko Morio
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explains, the often-overlooked southern side of Fuji has much to offer. “This is the side from where people would usually approach Mount Fuji when Kyoto was the capital, but the route on the north side became more popular after Edo became the capital,” says Morio, who will lead a Club tour, organized by the Women’s Group, to the mountain this month. “There is a lot of history and beauty on the Shizuoka [south] side, and it is much less crowded than the northern and eastern sides.” Fuji’s long-established place in Japanese folklore and culture is best represented by the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine, which can supposedly trace its roots back more than 2,000 years to the legendary 11th emperor, Suijin, who is said to have enshrined the deity Asama no Okami at the foot of Mount Fuji to calm the mountain’s then calamitous eruptions. Skip forward to the ninth century and the 51st emperor, Heizei, and Suijin’s shrine was replaced by a new sanctuary on the
site of the current Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine. Since then, it has served as the main shrine for what now amounts to 1,300 Sengen shrines nationwide. After being ravaged by numerous earthquakes and fires over the years, Fujisan Hongu Sengen’s oldest structures today date back to the early Edo era, when, under the patronage of the Tokugawa family, the current two-story inner shrine building, tower gateway and outer shrine (all of which are thatched with white cedar) were built. When the shrine’s 1,500 or so cherry blossom trees are in bloom, the delicate pink buds combine with the vermilioncolored edifice and Fuji’s snow-covered cap in the background to create a striking sight. Other spots on Fuji’s south side are just as impressive. The Asagiri Plateau, which like Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine is one of the stops on this month’s tour, feels almost out of place in the shadow of Fuji, as if a slice of rural Hokkaido has been transplanted to Shizuoka. At an elevation of 800 to
OUT & ABOUT
TOKYO MT FUJI
Fujisan Hongu Sengen
1,000 meters, the plateau is home to rich and verdant pastureland that’s dotted with dairy farms and grazing cattle. The idyllic surrounds are one of Japan’s most popular sites for paragliding and hang-gliding (not part of the tour this time!). Shiraito and Otodome waterfalls are on the itinerary, however. Regarded as sacred by many Shinto groups, the 20-meter-high Shiraito Falls have also been recognized for their beauty (in typically Japanese fashion) on a number of top 100 lists over the years. The chilly waters are used by some Shinto devotees for ascetic practices, and the falls are mentioned as part of Fuji’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage cultural site. While Shiraito is characterized by streams that pour fairly serenely over a wide mass of picturesque, tree-lined bedrock, Otodome Falls, five minutes away, are famously more dramatic. The deafening noise from Otodome’s 25-meter drop is apparently the reason for the name (otodome means “sound-stopping”
waterfall), which relates to an episode that supposedly occurred in the Kamakura era. Two brothers, plotting to kill a retainer of then-ruler Minamoto Yoritomo to avenge their father’s murder, would discuss the deed beside the falls to stop their meetings from being overheard. Tour participants are free to try out the falls’ conversation-masking qualities with more innocent chatter. o Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Best of Mount Fuji Tour Tuesday, May 12 7:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Women’s Group members: ¥9,000 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥9,900 Cost includes buffet lunch and a priest-led tour of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine. Sign up online or at Member Services
Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine www.fuji-hongu.or.jp Asagiri Plateau Paraglider School www.asagirikougen-para.jimdo.com
Shizuoka Guide www.shizuoka-guide.com Shizuoka Prefecture www.pref.shizuoka.jp
Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
Fading Ink In this age of digital transactions and touch screens, Japan’s version of the signature somehow lives on. by Efrot Weiss
ith increasing levels of forgery and identity theft in today’s world, identity protection is a serious concern for individuals and organizations alike. In Japan, where official documents often require a personal seal, or inkan, there is risk of theft as well as forgery. An inkan, or hanko, is used in lieu of a signature and became the norm in Japan following legislation in the early 1870s, requiring seals to be registered and used on important documents. This circular engraved stamp can be custom-made or bought readymade, and some people keep several. A jitsuin seal is considered to have the highest level of security, as it is custommade and registered at a person’s local ward office. When stamped in the standard vermilion ink and imprinted on important documents, the papers become legally binding.
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Ginkoin seals are used for bank accounts, and the bank itself maintains a copy of the impression of the seal imprint. Mitomein are informal seals that are used for receipt of parcels and other routine transactions. Stamps with common surnames are readily available in regular stationery stores and even ¥100 stores. The materials used to make hanko range from plastic to wood to ox horn. During the bubble economy of the 1980s, ivory hanko were regarded as status symbols. In fact, Japan was a large importer of Africanpoached ivory during this decade. Crimes arising from hanko theft abound, however. A stolen bankbook with a ginkoin hanko enables the holder to withdraw funds from the account. Properties have been stolen and false contracts and unlawful loans have been sealed. Even divorces and child-custody battles have been won by fraudulent use of hanko. Current technology also enables hanko to be forged from a sample seal imprint. “I’m paranoid about losing my hanko,” says Club Member Chisa Fujita. “I always worry about remembering to put it back
in the same drawer when I get home.” Modern advances have impacted hanko use. Some delivery services use digital tablets, which require a signature on a touch screen, rather than a personal seal. Online banking is upending longstanding customs. No longer do bank customers visit their branch for everyday routine transactions. Much of this is done online. “I’m using my hanko less and less, as I do more of my banking online,” says Fujita. Although hanko making is a dying craft (machine-made hanko are becoming increasingly common), the personal seal lives on. In the same way that Western banks have enhanced their security protocols with PIN codes and security questions, Japanese firms are developing biometric identification systems for use with hanko, and Mitsubishi Pencil developed a hanko with antifraud features. With digital hanko now available, the personal stamp refuses to go gently into the night. o Weiss has been a Club Member since 2002.
Make your second home a holiday
This summer, enjoy a one-night stay, including breakfast, at one of the Guest Studios for just ¥28,000, or stay for three nights or more for only ¥25,000 a night.
mac zen spa fitness oasis den for two
Club Getaway Specials June 1–August 31 This offer is based on double occupancy. Children accepted. Prices exclude consumption and accommodation taxes.
Reservations: 03-4588-0381 | email@example.com www.tokyoamericanclub.org
Mudsharks Winter Sprinter March 8
The Club’s youth swim team, the Mudsharks, hosted an energy-infused afternoon of all-ages swim action at the Sky Pool, which was followed by an awards ceremony. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki 3
1. (l–r) Aaryavi Sarvaiya, Sabrina Satterwhite and Nathalie Kerrigan 2. (l–r) Ren Makino, James Hathaway, Michael Chu, Leo Mizuno, Timo Bierer and Elliott Danielson 3. (l–r) Emma Liu, Erin McConnell, Seah Yu, Annika Skorski, Elina Greenberg and Quennah Wightman 4. (l–r) Sky Pool manager Haldane Henry, Erin McConnell and Annika Skorski 5. (l–r) Brandon Sato, Aren Mizuno, James Hill and Tasuku Sekine 6. (l–r) Agnes Ouellette, Wolfgang Bierer, Eugene Lau and James Shortis 4
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Geisha Experience: Beyond the Myth March 10
A packed New York Ballroom enjoyed an exclusive insight into the culture and customs of Japan’s “floating world,” when geisha from the Tokyo district of Asakusa performed, entertained and posed for photos. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki
Leonetti Cellar Wine Dinner with Chris Figgins April 2
At an intimate dinner at CHOP Steakhouse’s New York Bridge, winemaker Chris Figgins of Washington winery Leonetti Cellar guided diners through a vertical tasting of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve.
Photos by Yuuki Ide
1. Chris Figgins 2. Jean-Noel Coster and Jeff Renshow 3. Joseph and Nancy Pitra 4. (l–r) George Maffeo, Michael Popov, Sherwin Faden, Barbara Maffeo and Women’s Group President Linda Schnetzer
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First Friday: Hanami Night April 3
The Club, supported by Shizuoka Prefecture, paid tribute to Japanâ€™s fleeting cherry blossom season with an evening of Japanese food, drinks and entertainment in the Winter Garden. Photos by Yuuki Ide
yokoso Jeffrey & Allison Cross United States—Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Franz Pachl United States—Enzo Co., Ltd. Tatsuya Kamoi Japan—Mercer Japan Ltd. Ayano & Daisuke Kobayashi Japan—Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. Yumi & Masaki Takahashi Japan—Mokumeganeya Co., Ltd. Jesus Perezagua Spain—Fox International Channels (Japan) Yasunori & Miwako Takeuchi Japan—Standard Chartered Bank Shigeyuki & Keiko Tomomatsu Japan—MarketShare K.K. Eriko & Yoshiharu Matsushita Japan—Pewters, Inc. Nicholas Brown United Kingdom—Zurich Insurance Co., Ltd. Lee M & Stephanie Norsted United States—Caterpillar Japan Ltd. Timothy & Jody Stagg United States—3M Japan Ltd. Fulvio Guarneri & Elena Belloni Guarneri Italy—Unilever Japan Customer Market K.K. Jan & Christiane Scheld Germany—Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim Co., Ltd. Makoto Inoue Japan—ORIX Corporation Hiroyuki & Rie Shimizu Japan—KKR Capital Markets Japan Ltd. Takaki Hamasaki Japan—All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
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Nils & Nana Plett United States—KK Gerson Lehrman Group Hiroshi & Junko Miyashita Japan—Endo Perio Specialist Dental Clinic Brajeshwar Banerjee & Pui Ha Chan India—KPMG Tax Corporation Fitri Othman & Azilah Fitri Malaysia—PNB Asset Management (Japan) Co., Ltd. Takehiko & Kumiko Fukuoka Japan—Sansei Trust Tax and Accounting Jonathan Stuart-Smith & Rungrawee Wisetpheng United Kingdom—Ernst & Young Tax Co. Kevin & Stephanie Lee United States—Lone Star Japan Acquisition Ltd. Francis Lee & Kaoru Ogihara Lee United States—Nike Japan Group Jeffery & Juliet Dove United States—Abbott Vascular Japan Co., Ltd.
Kakuichiro & Asako Fujiyama Nobuko Nagatani Yoshifumi Ito Jean-Louis & Stephanie Laurent-Josi Clive & Julie Heath Eugene Hong & Catherine Ho Mike & Teresa Linder Thomas & Anne Triomphe Mark Fecteau & Lori Slonim David & Barbara Murphy
Guest Registration Reminder Members are required to register any guests at the first-floor Family or Formal entrance or at Member Services (B1). All the details on registering and penalties for failing to register guests can be found on the Member Services page of the Club website.
of the month
Junko Usami by Nick Jones
ne of Junko Usami’s indelible memories of her year in the United States is meeting Russians for the first time. She was struck by their forthrightness. It contrasted, she thought, with the way people learned to separate their public and private feelings back home in Japan. “They are who they are,” she says of the Russian friends she made while staying in San Francisco. “That’s what I really liked about them. They’re very straight and honest.” It was an enlightening encounter after months of studying among students from across the Americas at the University of California, Riverside, about 100 kilometers east of LA, in 2005.
Subsequent trips to Moscow to visit her friends have reinforced her fondness for the Russian character and culture, Usami says. Traveling across the Pacific in her junior year at Rikkyo University, Usami was determined to make the most of her time abroad. “It was experience-packed and I met many people,” the 30-year-old says. “I tried anything that came my way and took every opportunity and class.” Each journey since she left her hometown in Aichi Prefecture for college in Tokyo has proved transformative, she says. As an 18-year-old, she backpacked around Europe. “I was more closeminded. Something opened in me,” she says of that summer month.
After graduating with a degree in tourism in 2008, Usami secured a position (perhaps fittingly) with Delta Air Lines at Narita Airport. She worked there for four years. “It was always unpredictable and you had to be ready for any unknown situation,” she says. “It was stressful but fun and you never got bored.” Joining the Club in 2013, she worked at Member Services until last October, when she transferred to the newly created Club Reservations Center. The Employee of the Month for March says she’s appreciative of all the people she has worked alongside. “They’re all very honest,” she says of her coworkers. “They’re the Russians of the Club.” o
New Member Profile
New Member Profile
Why did you decide to join the Club?
Why did you decide to join the Club?
“We recently relocated to Tokyo because my company increased its shareholdings in a Japanese building materials manufacturer. The Club provides us with a third place, aside from work and home, to spend time and socialize. TAC’s high number of cosmopolitan, hardworking and family-loving Members impressed us. The Club features an unrivaled infrastructure and range of activities.”
“From the first day we moved to Tokyo, we kept hearing ‘You must join Tokyo American Club.’ After visiting the Club, we understood why. We have already met many wonderful people and look forward to meeting many more. TAC is a place where your family can stay active, have fun, meet new friends, enjoy wonderful cuisine and truly feel at home.”
(l–r) Frederick, Taro, Nagiko and Keiko Knauf
(l–r) Sunday, Grace, William, Troy and David Morgan
Frederick & Keiko Knauf Germany—Knauf International
Troy & Sunday Morgan United States—Biogen Idec Japan Ltd.
The World’s Cautious Outlier by Dave McCaughan
apan is often portrayed as different. This was a reinforced in a recent worldwide study I read by McCann Central, titled “The Truth about Global Brands.” More than 30,000 people in 31 countries responded to statements relating to globalization. While nearly half the respondents agreed that “everyone wants to marry for love,” only a fifth of Japanese thought so. Given Japan’s low marriage rate and recent reported attitudes of young people to relationships, the response might not come as a surprise. This aligns with the finding that the Japanese tell someone they love them about once a week—the lowest number among the particular 29 countries
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surveyed. Apparently, the Argentines declare their love the most at 14 times a week on average. As for travel, the Japanese appear more enthused than many other nationalities. More than 70 percent of Japanese respondents agreed with the assumption that everyone wants to travel. A little more than 40 percent of other Asians felt the same way—the same figure as the global average. Of course, a desire to travel might be common, but the ability to do so is becoming tougher. While today’s retirees and young, female office workers have the means to explore the world, a lot of young Japanese are restricted by the costs of daily life.
The Japanese in the sur vey were also more open to ideas from beyond t hei r home c ou nt r y, w it h ne a rly two-thirds saying that it was more important to allow “the outside world to inf luence my beliefs” than for them to “inf luence others.” Most people in Western countries thought the opposite. When you consider Japan’s culture of conformity and people’s reluctance to stand out, this seems about right. This is partly explained by Japan’s emphasis on stability, and 89 percent of Japanese said they would prefer to live in a stable country rather than one that was changing. The global average was 60 percent. In a nation that is so susceptible to natural disaster, the Japanese (perhaps instinctively) agreed that it is always better to be prepared for the worst than expect something positive. This cautious approach extended to another area. More than two-thirds of Japanese (versus a global average of 40 percent) answered that they believed the truth could be flexible, depending on the situation, and not that it’s important to put the truth above all else. It’s obvious that by global standards, the Japanese remain pretty guarded. Yes, they’re changing, but at a moderate, conservative pace. o Club Member Dave McCaughan builds stories for brands.
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
Step right up for a family-friendly July Fourth of food, games, entertainment and fun to celebrate America’s birthday. kids’ games live music American BBQ buffet 3-on-3 basketball tourney pie-eating contest chili cook-off petting zoo ceremony and color guard fun run
Saturday, July 4 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 五 年 五 月 一 日 発 行
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 七 巻 六 〇 一 号 ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
Fuji’s Other Face Far from the peak’s madding crowds
The swim program producing record beaters
The man behind CHOP’s new libations
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE
本 体 七 七 七 円
Member Julia Spotswood and other female entrepreneurs on starting a business in Japan
Issue 601 • May 2015
Tokyo American Club's Monthly Member Magazine