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November 2011

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

Disaster Ready Club Member and former Kobe resident John Delp and earthquake experts ponder the possibility of a Tokyo catastrophe i N T O U C H

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 一 年 十 一 月 一 日 発 行 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 七 巻 五 五 九 号 

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 本 体 七 七 七 円

Issue 559 • November 2011

Uncorked at the Club

A month of holidayinspired grape celebrations

Behind the Lines

One Club Member finds satisfaction on stage

International Bazaar

Global shopping converges on the Club


18

recreation

Pushing Through the Pain

Discover what drives a man to trek for seven days across 250 kilometers of China’s arid hinterland when one Club Member tells his inspiring tale.

talking heads

32

contents

Urban Ideas Club Member and architect Paul Noritaka Tange contemplates the design future of Tokyo, a city better known for its organized chaos than stirring skylines. out & about

Riding Autumn’s Rails

40

2 Contacts

4 Events

6 Board of Governors

7 Management

8 Food & Beverage

12 Library 14 DVD Library

All aboard Japan’s signature locomotives for breathtaking trips through autumn’s fiery hues in the country that does the season so well.

16 Committees 18 Recreation 22 Women’s Group

26

26 Feature

Seismic City

32 Talking Heads

Ever since Tokyo was razed by a massive earthquake in 1923, residents of the Japanese capital and seismologists have been bracing for the so-called “Big One.” Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, the speculation and debate were given renewed impetus. But how worried should Tokyoites be about an imminent quake? iNTOUCH finds out.

34 Frederick Harris Gallery

36 Member Services

38 Inside Japan

40 Out & About

feature

iNTOUCH To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara: marketing@tac-club.org 03-4588-0976

For membership information, contact Mari Hori:

Editor Nick Jones editor@tac-club.org

Designers Ryan Mundt Nagisa Mochizuki Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki

mari.hori@tac-club.org 03-4588-0687

Assistant Editor Erika Woodward

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

Communications Manager Matthew Roberts

www.tokyoamericanclub.org Cover photo of John Delp by Kayo Yamawaki

Management

42 Event Roundup

47 Back Words

Michael Bumgardner General Manager gm@tac-club.org

Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director hum_res@tac-club.org

Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager agm@tac-club.org

Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director finance@tac-club.org

Lian Chang Information Technology Director itdir@tac-club.org

Scott Yahiro Recreation Director recdirector@tac-club.org

Darryl Dudley Engineering Director eng@tac-club.org


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

(03) 4588-0676

american.bg@tac-club.org

Banquet Sales and Reservations

(03) 4588-0977

banquet@tac-club.org

Beauty Salon

(03) 4588-0685

Bowling Center

(03) 4588-0683

bowling@tac-club.org

Café Med

(03) 4588-0978

cafe.med@tac-club.org

Catering

(03) 4588-0307

banquet@tac-club.org

Childcare Center

(03) 4588-0701

childcare@tac-club.org

Communications

(03) 4588-0262

comms@tac-club.org

DVD Library

(03) 4588-0686

dvd.library@tac-club.org

Engineering

(03) 4588-0699

eng@tac-club.org

Finance

(03) 4588-0222

acct@tac-club.org

Fitness Center

(03) 4588-0266

fitness@tac-club.org

Food & Beverage Office

(03) 4588-0245

fboffice@tac-club.org

Foreign Traders’ Bar

(03) 4588-0677

traders.bar@tac-club.org

Guest Studios

(03) 4588-0734

guest.relations@tac-club.org

Human Resources

(03) 4588-0679

Information Technology

(03) 4588-0690

Library

(03) 4588-0678

library@tac-club.org

Management Office

(03) 4588-0674

gmoffice@tac-club.org

Membership Office

(03) 4588-0687

membership@tac-club.org

Member Services Desk

(03) 4588-0670

tac@tac-club.org

Pool Office

(03) 4588-0700

pool@tac-club.org

Rainbow Café

(03) 4588-0705

rainbow.cafe@tac-club.org

Recreation Desk

(03) 4588-0681

rec@tac-club.org

Redevelopment Office

(03) 4588-0223

redevelopment@tac-club.org

The Cellar

(03) 4588-0744

the.cellar@tac-club.org

The Spa

(03) 4588-0714

spa@tac-club.org

Weddings

(03) 4588-0671

banquet@tac-club.org

Women’s Group Office wg@tac-club.org

2 November 2011 iNTOUCH

(03) 4588-0691


from the

editor

So much of the world revolves around pondering the future. From traders assessing how the world’s money markets are going to shift to punters at the racetrack choosing a horse to back to all of us wondering how an e-mail or comment might be interpreted. We are forever contemplating outcomes and events around the corner. It’s hardly surprising then that fortune tellers, astrologers and the prophecies of Nostradamus receive so much attention. If it’s a pseudo-science or the ancient Maya calendar issuing the unsubstantiated warning or forecast, we can’t help ourselves but listen. Even in the sober environment of an established academic field like seismology, vast amounts of time and resources have been sunk into predicting the future. With so much at stake, earthquake prediction has become the holy grail of seismology. But the events of March this year reaffirmed how little we still know about what goes on beneath the Earth’s surface. Since all eyes had been on the Tokai region, south of Tokyo, not many believed that a quake of such severity would hit anywhere else. Still, it didn’t take many weeks for the media and online forums to return to their pet subject: the long-overdue “Big One.” Tokyo’s next deadly temblor has long been the topic of furious debate in academic circles as well, and in this month’s cover story, “Seismic City,” Brian Publicover finds out what the scientists have to say about the search for tectonic precursors and whether Tokyoites should be worried about an imminent quake. Meanwhile, on page 47, Club Member Brian Salsberg offers his advice to those who were caught up in September’s online panic-rousing whispers about a forthcoming earthquake that was supposedly set to strike Tokyo. Spend too much time obsessing about the things that can’t be predicted, he warns, and you might find yourself observing life instead of living it. If you have any comments about anything you read in iNTOUCH, please e-mail them to editor@tac-club.org, putting “Letter to the Editor” in the subject title of the mail.

contributors Maria Bromley

Brian Publicover

A native of Canada, Maria Bromley arrived in Japan with her family in 2006. Having worked as a financial adviser in her home country for 10 years, she decided that she wanted to make less money and work more hours in journalism and television production. She specializes in financial news and was a producer for BNN in Canada and Bloomberg Television in Tokyo. The Club Member is also a Roppongi denizen, and it is here that she has found her calling as a nightlife guru to lost American and British souls looking for a “Tokyo experience.” In this month’s issue of iNTOUCH, on pages 18 and 19, she finds out why one Member signed up to race through the desert of eastern China for a week.

After a sojourn in Japan sparked his interest in travel, Canadian Brian Publicover headed to Melbourne to attend graduate school and pursue his love of hiking and scuba diving. Following a brief stint as a copy editor at a state newspaper in Beijing, he helped start a weekly newsmagazine in Hong Kong, dabbled in automotive journalism in Shanghai and wrote about intellectual property for the European Chamber of Commerce in China. In between, he worked in Seoul as a copywriter and edited the business section of a daily newspaper start-up in Jakarta. He now works at The Nikkei Weekly in Tokyo. In this month’s cover story, “Seismic City,” Publicover examines whether Tokyoites should be bracing themselves for the so-called “Big One.”

Find Us on Facebook and Twitter

Join the Club’s social network and keep tabs on news, photos from events and announcements, take part in lively dialogues and so much more. Look for the Tokyo American Club page on Facebook and Twitter and discover endless ways to connect with your fellow Members! Words from the editor 3


What’s happening in November 1

Tuesday

1

Tuesday

1

Tuesday

1

Tuesday

Silent Auction Place your bid for a sleek-looking Yonex driver signed by Japanese golfing star Ryo Ishikawa. Proceeds benefit the Club’s Tohoku relief fund. Runs through December 9. Details on page 17.

Angel Campaign Help those in need this holiday season with a donation to the annual Women’s Group fundraiser. Check online for details. Runs through January 31.

Welcome Winter Packages at The Spa Chase away those cold weather blues this month with luxurious treatments bundled warmly together by our expert Spa staff for your maximum pampering pleasure. Flip to page 21 for the details.

Toddler Time A fun half hour session of engaging stories and activities awaits preschoolers at the Children’s Library. 4 p.m. Free. Continues November 8, 15, 22 and 29.

4

5–6

8–9

9

Friday

Saturday– Sunday

Tuesday– Wednesday

Wednesday

A Day at Atsugi: Run for the Cure Golf Tournament Enjoy a day of golfing fun to raise awareness about breast cancer. 7:30 a.m. ¥25,000. Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk. Supported by the Programs and Events Committee.

Birth Preparation for Couples Expecting couples get expert help to develop their own choices and styles for labor. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥36,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

International Bazaar Pick up a myriad of world finds just in time for the gift-giving season at this annual Women’s Group fundraiser and shopping extravaganza. Flip to page 22 to read all about it.

Meet the Candidates Night Find out about the candidates running in this year’s Board of Governors election at this casual gathering in the Winter Garden. 6:30 p.m.

13

14

14

15

Sunday

Monday

Monday

Tuesday

Children’s Traditional Japanese Music Workshop Musical maestros in the making learn about the Japanese instruments the shamisen and koto and craft an ensemble performance at this hands-on event. 2 p.m. Find out more on page 16.

Monthly Luncheon: Mix and Mingle Attendees at this lively Women’s Group luncheon learn the ins and outs of cocktails before concocting their own. 11:30 a.m. For the details, turn to page 24.

Meet the Candidates Night Find out about the candidates running in this year’s Board of Governors election at this casual gathering in the Winter Garden. 6:30 p.m.

Odawara Castle and Fall Harvest Tour Wander the grounds of this historyinfused landmark and take in Kanagawa Prefecture’s rich harvest together with good company. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

18

19

19

21

Friday

Saturday

Saturday

Monday

Club Election Deadline Be sure to cast your vote in the annual Board of Governors election. Ballots must be received by midnight. More on page 17.

Hakkaisan Sake Brewery Tour Sample Japan’s signature drink during this exclusive tour of a family-run brewery in Niigata Prefecture that is typically closed to the public. Turn to page 16 for the details.

Letters to Santa He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice. So be sure to get your wish list into Santa before he sets off on his round-the-world journey. Turn to page 21 to find out where to drop your letters.

Gallery Reception Photographer Taka Kobayashi launches the exhibition of his exquisitely unusual images of geisha with a casual soirée. 6:30 p.m. Read more about the artist on page 34.

25

26

28

28

Friday

Duval-Leroy Champagne Dinner Enjoy an evening of exquisite bubbles as Thomas Bégault of the storied Champagne house DuvalLeroy pops some corks at an unforgettable dinner. 7 p.m. Page 10 has more.

4 November 2011 iNTOUCH

Saturday

Run for the Cure/Walk for Life Join this family-friendly march around the Imperial Palace to help raise awareness about breast cancer. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk. Supported by the Programs and Events Committee.

Monday

Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or want to meet new people, drop by this relaxed Women’s Group gathering. 9:30 a.m. Beate Sirota Gordon Classroom. Contact the Women's Group Office to organize free childcare. Free.

Monday

Sapporo Snow Festival Tour Registration Sign up for the Women’s Group hugely popular annual excursion to Hokkaido for three days of snow sculptures, skiing and fresh seafood. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.


EVENTS

1

Tuesday

4

Friday

Youth Badminton A six-week evening course of shuttlecock action for budding young badminton players kicks off in the Gymnasium. Learn more on page 21.

Mashiko Pottery Festival Tour Shop for inspiring ceramic pieces produced in kilns reconstructed after the March 11 earthquake in this famous pottery town in Tochigi Prefecture on this Women’s Group tour. 8:30 a.m. ¥4,600. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.

11

12

Friday

Saturday

Domaine Serene Wine Dinner Allan Carter, the general manager of the lauded Oregon winery Domaine Serene, hosts a delectable dinner of award-winning Pinot Noir and other varietals. 7 p.m. Get the scoop on page 9.

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

16

18

Wednesday

Friday

Rhône Wine Tasting Embark on a quaffer’s voyage to southern France when the famous wine-producing region of Rhône takes center stage at this Wine Committee sampling session. 7 p.m. Flip to page 11 to find out the tasting tour details.

Sanyukai Charity Drive Help the city’s homeless by donating gently used clothing and household goods to the Sanyukai Homeless Men’s Shelter at this Women’s Group drive. 9 a.m. More on page 24.

22

24

Tuesday

Annual General Meeting The Club holds its Annual General Meeting for all Members and honors the hard work of its volunteer leadership. 6:30 p.m. Manhattan I and II.

29

Tuesday

Family Christmas Dinner Show Find out what happens when Marvin the Monster visits the North Pole at this fun-packed performance and dinner for the holiday season. 6 p.m. Details on page 17. Runs through December 1.

Thursday

Thanksgiving Buffet Celebrate this American holiday with a spread of traditional favorites. New York Ballroom. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–8:30 p.m. Adults: ¥7,000; juniors (7–17 years): ¥3,250; children (3–6 years): ¥1,050; infants (2 and under): free. Reserve at 03-4588-0977.

Coming up in December 3 An Evening with Geisha 3 & 10 Visit with Santa 8 Shuzenji Historic Village and Winery Tour

Noteworthy dates for the month 5


BOARD OF GOVERNORS

A Solid Start by John Durkin Board of Governors

A

s a governor, the most frequent questions I get asked are “Is the Club in financial trouble?” and “Are we in financial distress?” The answer to both these questions is that the Club is in good financial condition and not in financial distress. While we are enjoying the new facilities, it’s helpful to review how they were funded. The total cost to build the Club was ¥27 billion. Of that total, ¥12 billion was raised by leasing part of the Club’s land for 53 years for the purpose of building a luxury condominium complex. An additional ¥4 billion came from the Club’s cash reserves, and the remaining cost of ¥11 billion was borrowed over a 25-year term. In 2008 and 2009, we were all impacted by the global financial crisis, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the followon crisis in the financial services industry. The Club was severely impacted due to an unprecedented decline in Membership, as many of our colleagues either transferred to other locations or were unable to remain Members. As the financial crisis progressed through 2009 and 2010, we were finishing the construction of our facilities and preparing to move from our temporary quarters in Takanawa. The loss of Members meant that we had to review the cost of running the Club and think of original ways to align the Club’s cost structure with the new realities of the market. Many Members volunteered their time to participate in committees and task forces to review the Club’s operations, work with management to prepare an operating budget and implement new processes and initiatives to reduce costs and increase membership. Many of these initiatives are having a positive impact. The Club has the resources to sustain a stable financial outlook and further improve Member benefits. For example, fine dining has just been reintroduced in the form of Decanter restaurant and is better than ever. The result has been a great start at our Azabudai home. The

6 November 2011 iNTOUCH

Lance E Lee (2012)—President Brian Nelson (2012)—Vice President Mary Saphin (2011)—Vice President Steve Romaine (2012)—Treasurer Deb Wenig (2011)—Secretary Kavin C Bloomer (2012), John Durkin (2012), Norman J Green (2011), Hiroyuki Kamano (2012), Charlotte Kennedy Takahashi (2012), Per Knudsen (2012), Jeff McNeill (2011), Amane Nakashima (2011), Jerry Rosenberg (2011), Ann Marie Skalecki (2012), Dan Stakoe (2011), Ira Wolf (2011), Shizuo Daigoh— Statutory Auditor (2012), Barbara Hancock—Women’s Group President

launch would have been even better if not for the events of March 11. However, the Club, whose solid, well-engineered facilities sustained no damage that day, is now experiencing a high rate of usage of all facilities and is attracting many new Members. Although we are on the right track, there is still a way to go. We need to further settle into our home, listen to Member feedback and make adjustments as necessary. We must constantly innovate and introduce new events, programs, dining options, services and benefits for our Members while keeping an eye on costs and continually optimizing, particularly with regard to back-of-house costs that are invisible to Members. We also need to attract new Members with innovative, fair and appealing plans to ensure we maintain and grow our Membership base. Finally, we have to build fresh cash reserves to further strengthen our financial foundation. Members interested in the ongoing financial condition of the Club can find monthly financial results in the Board of Governors section of the Club website. From time to time, other documents are posted, such as the Club’s official credit rating. I also invite comments, suggestions and questions from Members at any time. Feel free to approach me at the Club or e-mail me at john@durkin.com. Finally, let’s all welcome the appointment of our new general manager and wish Mike Bumgardner best wishes for success in the future. o


MANAGEMENT

Your Club Needs You by Michael Bumgardner Michael Bumgardner General Manager

T

his is the season of change—and not just in Mother Nature. November marks the annual change in the governance of your Club when Members have the opportunity to vote in the Board of Governors election. The results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the New York Ballroom on Tuesday, November 22. It is each Member’s responsibility to participate in the Club’s yearly election. Your vote is critical in determining the leadership of the Club. You should be receiving your election brochure in the mail soon. Be sure to read it and then attend a Meet the Candidates Night, on either November 9 or 14, so you can be certain to vote for the candidate who best represents how you feel the Club should be run. Don’t forget to cast your ballot and proxy prior to the AGM (the final date for voting in the election is November 18). Your vote is important and will determine which of your fellow Members will guide your Club through the crucial year ahead. It is, therefore, vital that you elect those who you believe will be able to take on this challenge. Besides the results of the election, the outcome of the vote on the proposed changes to the Club’s Articles of Association will be announced at the AGM. These revisions are significant this

year as they have been drafted to comply with the new Japanese nonprofit organization laws and pave the way to our application for recertification as a nonprofit organization. Additionally, the evening will be a celebration in honor of all the Members who volunteer their time to serve on the Club’s various committees and help organize all the events and programs. Join us to recognize those Members who help us work toward our goal of making the Club the premier international club in Asia. The upcoming holiday season is a particularly busy time around the Club. From American Thanksgiving this month to the various seasonal events in December, there are plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy the holidays at the Club. The annual Family Christmas Dinner Show kicks off on November 29 for a three-day run and heralds the start of the busy holiday season, which continues through January when many Members host various New Year shinnenkai parties at the Club. Since this is a hectic period and the facilities will be in high demand, we encourage you to book your end-of-year bonenkai bash or shinnenkai as early as possible. Turn to page 8 to learn more about the function packages available. o

Executive remarks 7


food &

beverage

Events to Remember by Erika Woodward

W

hen Club Member Matthew Krcelic decided to throw a retirement party for the chairman of his firm and longtime colleague, he knew only one venue would do. From unique dining bridges to hightech meeting rooms to a cavernous ballroom, the Club offered him a vast array of spaces and services to meet his needs. “I have used the Club a couple of times in the past for both off-site catering and private parties and always had very positive feedback from my colleagues with regards to the food and service,” Krcelic says, “so Tokyo American Club was the first place I thought of when planning this event.” But this time around things were different. With its breathtaking cityscape view and bold yet sophisticated Las Vegas-inspired décor, Decanter was the spot chosen by Krcelic to throw his celebration. In fact, the private party of 50-plus guests was one of only a handful of functions held in the avant-garde space

8 November 2011 iNTOUCH

before it prepared to open as the Club’s new fine-dining venue. Krcelic says everything from the provisions to the place impressed, and many family members of the guest of honor, friends and business associates in attendance told him so. “What really made this event unforgettable for everyone was the attention of the staff in preparing a superb menu and allowing us to use Decanter as the venue,” he says. “The food was excellent. Brian Ashenfelder, our contact in the [Banquet Sales and Reservations team], did a fantastic job of listening to our needs and then working with the chef to come up with a menu that people in the office are still talking about. During the event, the service we received was also outstanding. And this was all done within our budget.” That’s exactly the kind of reaction Food & Beverage Director Brian Marcus wants to elicit from everybody who uses the Club and its range of modern, relevant

function packages. “I have brought the latest and greatest American concepts to the Club’s [events and functions service], including rightsized, healthier, lighter and fun foods and a best-price-in-town guarantee,” Marcus says. “[Also], we have put the customer back in the driver’s seat. We are looking at [this service] as an extension of a restaurant and offering more personalized service…Matt’s event in Decanter completely embraced all aspects of this new direction.” So while the Club professionals work their magic behind the scenes, the likes of Krcelic can get on with ensuring their guests enjoy a memorable evening in Azabudai. And how did the privileged partygoers describe Krcelic’s event? “‘Perfect’ was the word the majority of those in attendance used,” he says. o For more information or to book your next event at the Club, whether for business or pleasure, e-mail banquet@tac-club.org or call 03-4588-0977.


FOOD & BEVERAGE

wine

dinner

I

n such a highly competitive wine world, it’s not easy to be a trendsetter. But one fresh 21-year-old Oregon winery has been making history since it produced its first Pinot Noir, with a memorable triumph over a French powerhouse in a blind tasting and the crafting of a first-of-its-kind wine. Domaine Serene, a winery nestled in 450 acres of the Willamette Valley, has one main ambition: to craft the world’s best Pinot Noir. “It’s a bold claim but a noble goal, and we feel that vintage after vintage we make strides towards it,” said Allan Carter, the winery’s general manager, in an interview with iNTOUCH earlier this year. “At the end of the day, if we can put a great wine in a bottle that we are proud of and that our customers will proudly serve to friends and family, then I feel we’ve achieved it.” This year, the winery’s 2008 Grace Vineyard Pinot Noir received 97 points from Wine Spectator—the highest score ever given by the prestigious publication to an Oregon wine, moving it one step closer to accomplishing its goal. Founded by Ken and Grace Evenstad (and named after the couple’s daughter), Domaine Serene has racked up accolades that include six 90-plus ratings from Robert Parker. The winery has blossomed

into one of the state’s leading producers of Pinot Noir and turns out just shy of 25,000 cases each year, with Pinot Noir poured into 90 percent of the bottles; Chardonnay and Syrah make up the rest. Just seven years ago, the winery shocked industry insiders when it beat the prestigious Burgundy estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in a blind tasting. Then, in 2004, it released its inaugural bottle of gently pressed Coeur Blanc, America’s first white Pinot Noir. “Pinot Noir is a fickle grape, and there are only a handful of places in the world where it can be grown successfully,” Carter said. “You can count them on one hand. Oregon is fortunate to be one of those locations…We’re very lucky in that regard.” Members may partake in this good fortune this month at the Club when Carter uncorks a selection of complex, elegant wines as evidence of how far Domaine Serene has come to realizing its dream. o

First in a Glass

by Erika Woodward

Domaine Serene Wine Dinner Friday, November 11 7 p.m. Brooklyn I, II and III ¥17,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

Club wining and dining 9


wine

dinner

Bottled Elegance by Nick Jones

Duval-Leroy Champagne Dinner Friday, November 25 7 p.m. Brooklyn I and II ¥13,500 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Carol Duval-Leroy

10 November 2011 iNTOUCH

I

n the testosterone-saturated world of wine, Duval-Leroy is an island of femininity. Run by the businessminded Carol Duval-Leroy, who took over as president of the Champagne house after the sudden death of her husband in 1991, the 152-year-old business also boasts a female winemaker. “The winemaker at Duval-Leroy is a woman, Sandrine Logette Jardin, which gives our Champagne a special, elegant and feminine touch,” says Thomas Bégault, Champagne Duval-Leroy’s Asia Pacific export manager, who will be popping corks at the Club this month. Duval-Leroy seems tailor-made for Japan. In this increasingly important wine market (Japan is the fifth-largest importer of Champagne in the world), women are enthusiastic drinkers of bubbly. This was acknowledged in a US government wine report for Japan earlier this year: “While sparkling wine was mainly consumed on special occasions and holidays, the market has expanded to regular consumption, especially among women.” Praising the sophistication and maturity of the highly competitive Japanese market, Bégault says that consumers here are particular in their preferences. “They want more precise Champagne and higher-end Champagne,” he says. “Femme de

Champagne, of which we have released the 2000 vintage this year, is widely appreciated in Japan. Japanese people appreciate Champagne and that could not make us happier!” According to the Belgian, DuvalLeroy’s female fans have their favorites. “The Design Paris cuvée is a no-brainer because the Champagne is great and the pack is appealing to women,” says Bégault, referring to the distinctive artwork by the American artist LeRoy Neiman on the bottle. Located in the premier cru village of Vertus, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs region, Duval-Leroy is one of the few fully independent, family-owned Champagne houses remaining. Among its 200 hectares of vineyards, DuvalLeroy focuses, in particular, on growing superior-quality Chardonnay grapes. “This allows Duval-Leroy to create, aside from its brut NV cuvées, micro cuvées—single grape, single vineyard, organic cuvées—and appeal to a greater number of people,” explains Bégault, who will showcase the range of wines produced by Duval-Leroy when he visits Azabudai to host an evening of pairings of fine food and Champagne. “The cuvées that we will be sampling will be very diverse and surprising,” he says. So, whether you’re a man or woman, the bubbles are sure to satisfy. o


FOOD & BEVERAGE

wine

tasting

O

riginating in Switzerland, the Rhône empties into the Mediterranean Sea 813 kilometers later. In the stretch of the river valley between the French cities of Lyon and Avignon, some of the world’s most famous wines are made. In the northern part of this region, long-lived reds are crafted, based largely on the Syrah grape, along with aromatic Viognier whites. Travel south and you’ll find reds dominated by the Grenache grape in a blend that also includes Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsaut. While the wines here are generally ordinary but hearty, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is renowned for its high-alcohol, full wines. A lot of wine is produced on southern Rhône’s flat, dry plains and Châteauneufdu-Pape is the most famous area. Here, the vintners can grow up to 13 varieties of grape, so they are able to utilize different types each year depending on the harvest. Most years, however, Châteauneuf-duPape wines are made up of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Also worth trying are the Vacqueyras and Gigondas wines, which are similar in style and quality to those of Châteauneufdu-Pape, but much less expensive. More ordinary wines include the Grenachedominated Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages reds, frequently made using carbonic maceration, a technique typically associated with Beaujolais.

Whites in the south, meanwhile, are generally blends of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier—all fascinating grapes that are not as well known by wine drinkers as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The steep valleys and granite hillsides of northern Rhône are home to the acclaimed reds of Hermitage, which takes its name from a hill outside the town of Tain l’Hermitage. Larger than life, these tannic wines are often cellared for decades and develop great finesse and complexity. The north is also well regarded for its Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, SaintJoseph and Cornas reds. As for white wines, these are less common, but the extraordinarily elegant, aromatic and fullbodied wines of Condrieu and ChâteauGrillet are highly recommended. Attendees at this month’s tasting will enjoy a tour of both northern and southern Rhône, sampling a variety of quality reds and whites from this celebrated winemaking region. o Gilbert is a member of the Wine Committee.

Roaming in Rhône by Ed Gilbert LYON FRANCE DIOIS CÔTES DU VENTOUX COTEAUX DU TRICASTIN

CROZES-HERMITAGE HERMITAGE

CÔTES DU LUBERON COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES

VALANCE

CÔTES DU RHÔNE

GIGONDAS CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE AVIGNON

Rhône Wine Tasting Wednesday, November 16 7 p.m. Manhattan III Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

MARSEILLE

Club wining and dining 11


off the

shelf

Bits, Bytes and Books by Erica Kawamura

E

ven though I am a librarian and believe that nothing beats having a book in your hands, I do own a Kindle e-book reader. In fact, I haven’t bought a paper copy of a book in more than a year. I love “real” books, but I have little storage space. And since I’m on the train a lot, I can carry around numerous books, magazines and newspapers without having to actually carry them around. I do, however, miss book covers, which make it easier for me when checking which titles to reread. I continue to buy regular books for my daughter, though. I want her to experience them and understand that not all literature is read via a touch screen. Evolving technology for reading books is one thing, but is technology changing the way authors write? Lauren Myracle’s

12 November 2011 iNTOUCH

series of books (l8r, g8r; ttfn; ttyl) for young teens, for example, is written in instant messaging format. I find reading instant messages almost as difficult as deciphering another language, but it’s maybe natural for most youngsters. A new book, Starting from Happy, has been written in a format that the author, Patricia Marx, calls “chaplettes,” which are longer than tweets but shorter than many blog posts. Does this reflect a change in readers’ attention spans? Do people want shorter stories and bite-sized chapters? In Japan, technology has led to a generation of writers of cell phone novels. These shorter works have even been picked up by some publishers. Hitori Nakano’s Train Man, for instance, was originally chronicled on the Japanese Internet

forum 2channel. It subsequently became a bestseller and spawned movie, manga and TV series versions. An English translation was published in 2004. Technology has also brought authors, who before might never have been discovered, to the world. I have a number of favorite writers who self-published e-books before being noticed by publishing houses. The Internet age has meant that English books are readily available here in Japan. Plus, tracking authors, new releases and bestsellers is now just a click or touch away. It all means that we can stay up to date for users of the Library, and it makes life here in Japan feel not so removed from our lives back home. o Kawamura is a librarian at the Hal Roberts Library.


LIBRARY

new

reads The Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

This new mom’s cooking bible is replete with more than 90 recipes and chock-full of nutritional information and tips on how to store food to snag a bit more muchdeserved free time. It also takes the guesswork out of finding baby food in supermarkets.

Paul and Lacey find a headless body on their front lawn. Instead of calling 911, they move it. What else should these 20-something pot-dealing siblings do? But when the body reappears, they decide to solve the case themselves in this humorous, stylish crime novel.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

This critically acclaimed book by the author of When the Emperor Was Divine follows the intimate stories of early Japanese mail-order brides who travel to San Francisco to meet their husbands for the first time and are later caught up in the fallout of World War II.

Get inspired to jump-start that Internet career you’ve been dreaming about. Learn how to choose a blog topic, promote it and earn revenue through step-bystep practical lessons in blogging in this motivating how-to book. A life working in pajamas awaits.

A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

The long-awaited fifth book in the Song of Fire and Ice series is here! The future of the seven kingdoms hangs in the balance in this Lord of the Rings-inspired novel by a prolific American author some critics claim is more stirring than JRR Tolkien.

In this twist on Shakespeare’s classic play, Romeo murders Juliet, unknowingly ensuring their immortality. Find out if the storied pair’s love can finally overcome a tragic end in this imaginative romance novel.

Reviews compiled by Erica Kawamura.

member’s choice Member: Aya Tange Title: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

What’s the book about? The story is about African American maids working in white households in Mississippi in the early 1960s. It describes the various relationships among the white families and domestic workers, and highlights the bigotry and closed-mindedness of some people in the community.

What did you like about it? I like that the story is told from the perspective of three characters. It gives the reader the chance to consider the story from different angles. The book touches on not only racial divisions, but class and educational ones, and shows how much or little these mean to different people.

Why did you choose it? The book describes the relationships that formed between white children and the maids who cared for them. They were deep and complex relationships, based on love, care and devotion, but never disregarded the distinction between the white child and black maid.

What other books would you recommend? The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

Literary gems at the Library 13


critics’

corner

I

n the famous 1983 flick that has come to represent the quintessence of the hilarity, absurdity and jollity of the holiday season in America, A Christmas Story, Ralphie says it best: “The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey hash! Turkey à la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, all gone!” So, this month, as many Americans

prepare to languish in a tryptophaninduced haze from gobbling Thanksgiving bird (and leftovers), before diving into the nation’s Christmas cookie-giving bonanza in December, our Club film critics share their picks for cinema’s best holiday seasonthemed films to watch while cozying up with family, friends and, of course, your favorite snack this time of year. Season’s greetings! o

“The 1984 version of A Christmas Carol, starring George C Scott, is probably the best adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. This retelling of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from a mean old man to a generous and loveable character after being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come on Christmas Eve should keep both parents and children captivated. Some classic movie lovers might prefer the 1939 or 1951 versions, but Scott’s performance and the addition of color make this a superior movie. A Christmas Carol should be on everyone’s must-see list, and it’s a wonderful movie to share together with your family.”

“Home Alone made Macaulay Culkin a household name back in 1990. When 14 members of 8-year-old Kevin’s suburban Chicago family oversleep then fly off to Paris without him, he is left alone for the holidays. As his mother struggles to get back any way she can, Kevin manages to find some cash, goes sledding on the steps, defends his home against a pair of bumbling burglars and discovers how much he truly loves his family. And he even provides counseling to a neighbor. My son was 10 when this movie came out, and Kevin was his hero. He watched it over and over, eyes gleaming, and dreaming of the day when he might be home alone.”

“The award-winning A Christmas Story (1983) is a classic tale, set in the 1940s, about a young Indiana boy, Ralphie Parker, who dreams of getting an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifle for Christmas. The movie is narrated by Ralphie as an adult, as he details a childhood of school bullies, triple dog dares, humorous parental feuds and a comical leg lamp his father wants to display in the window. Christmas does arrive, along with hand-sewn bunny pajamas for Ralphie and a crazy disaster that lands the family at the local Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner. This is a family favorite that we watch every year.”

Best holiday season-themed movie: A Christmas Carol

Best holiday season-themed movie: Home Alone

Best holiday season-themed movie: A Christmas Story

Club critic: David Fujii

Club critic: Sara Sakamoto

Club critic: Diane Harris

Seasonal Cinema

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

14 November 2011 iNTOUCH


DVD LIBRARY

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

abort

The elegant and mesmerizing Gong Li gives a promising performance in this story of espionage set in 1940s Shanghai. The easy-to-follow tale is told through captivating scenes, without redundant storylines, and expertly delves into the idea of trust and the associated emotions.

•••

A truly brilliant wildlife documentary that is perfect family viewing. Taking four years to produce, the film is an astounding achievement, with a quality of photography that exemplifies the BBC’s excellence in the field of wildlife movies.

smokin’

This 1940s period piece about an American (John Cusack) who set outs to investigate the death of his friend in Shanghai simply didn’t live up to my expectations. Despite the starstudded cast (Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe), there is no depth to the story (a poor script, perhaps?) and the talented actors are wasted.

••

This amazing film about survival in the natural world by BBC Earth is narrated by British actor Daniel Craig. The cinematography is beautiful. Recommended for all ages.

•••

•••

•••

••

There are some fantastic performances in this charming Japanese tale about what it takes to raise a child. With its tearjerking moments, this flick would appeal to people thinking about having children. It also might make parents reevaluate their lives and the importance of spending quality time with their children.

give it a go

This cinematic adaptation of a best-selling Japanese manga comic is about a 27-year-old bachelor (Kenichi Matsuyama) who takes in his late grandfather’s illegitimate 6-year-old daughter, Rin (Mana Ashida), and does his best to raise her. An unusual but heartwarming story.

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

TV and film selections 15


Harmonious Revelry

T

he Club plays host to a jamboree of traditional Japanese music this month as talented musician Kodai Minoda conducts a hands-on workshop for kids. After being introduced to the basics of playing the shamisen, a kind of three-stringed banjo, and koto, a long, harp-like instrument that is played on the floor, melody-loving youngsters and future songsters will have the opportunity to practice playing the instruments and show their musical prowess during a short ensemble performance. o Children’s Traditional Japanese Music Workshop Sunday, November 13 2–4 p.m. Women’s Group Classrooms ¥2,500 Recommended for ages 5 through 12 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

E

xplore the intricacies of Japan’s iconic drink during an exclusive trip to the Hakkaisan Sake Brewery in Niigata Prefecture. Members and their guests will tour the familyrun brewery, which is typically closed to the public, sample a selection of its internationally lauded sake and enjoy a lunch of local cuisine. Hakkaisan’s founder, Koichi Nagumo, produced the brewery’s first batch of fermented rice wine in 1922, and since then the brand has become synonymous with premium sake, derived from the combination of superior-quality local rice and pristine groundwater. The second part of this fascinating day will take in the beautifully rustic Untoan Temple, the largest Zen sanctuary in the prefecture. Set amid slender cedar trees, the tranquil temple was used as a backdrop for a samurai TV drama in 2009. o Hakkaisan Brewery www.hakkaisan.com

16 November 2011 iNTOUCH

Sake Brewery Sojourn Hakkaisan Sake Brewery Tour Saturday, November 19 8:10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. ¥18,000 (includes transportation and lunch) Adults only (limited to two guests per membership) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee


COMMITTEES

Santa’s Hair-Raising Helper

P

oor old Rudolf was teased because of his red shiny nose. So imagine how Marvin feels as the only monster at the North Pole. Find out if Marvin’s otherworldliness frightens the jolly out of old Saint Nick or if he becomes one of the yuletide crew when the Tokyo International Players present “Marvin the Monster’s Merry Monstermas” at the Club. This annual tradition features a lively evening of song, dance, delightful storytelling and an array of festive treats for the start of the holiday season. Ho, ho, ho! o

Family Christmas Dinner Show Tuesday, November 29–Thursday, December 1 6–8 p.m. Manhattan II and III Adults: ¥5,800 Children (3–14 years): ¥2,600 Infants (2 and under): free All ages welcome (recommended for 10 years and above) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk by November 25 Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the General Manager’s Office.

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

Driver Auction Silent Auction Tuesday, November 1 (12 p.m.)–Friday, December 9 (12 p.m.) Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee

W

hat do you give the man who has everything? The Club has the perfect present: a state-ofthe-art Yonex Ezone 380 driver, signed by Japanese golfing star Ryo Ishikawa. Used by Ishikawa in the 19th Hole, the Club’s golf simulator, the ¥84,000 driver, is being auctioned off in aid of the Club’s Tohoku disaster relief fund. Members can place their bids for the club in person at the Member Services Desk (B1). The starting bid is ¥40,000 and offers in increments of ¥2,000 are accepted. Let the bidding begin! o

Compensation Brian Nelson

Finance Gregory Davis (Steve Romaine)

Food & Beverage Craig Saphin (Amane Nakashima) Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter

Programs & Events Barbara Hancock (Ann Marie Skalecki) Programs Community Relations Stan Yukevich Culture Miki Ohyama Entertainment Matthew Krcelic Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai

Road to the Boardroom Board of Governors Election Members are reminded to vote in this month’s Board of Governors election. You should receive voting information in the mail soon, so please take a few minutes to look over the information and then cast your vote. Final date for voting: Friday, November 18

Meet the Candidates Night Come and quiz those Members who are running to serve on the Club’s Board of Governors in this month’s annual election. November 9 and 14 6:30 p.m. Winter Garden Open to all Members

Official Notice of the Annual General Meeting for all regular Tokyo American Club Members Pursuant to Chapter VII, article 37(a) of the Articles of Association of the shadan hojin Tokyo American Club, the Annual General Meeting will be held on: Tuesday, November 22 6:30 p.m. Manhattan I and II

House Jesse Green (Charlotte Kennedy Takahashi) House Subcommittee Architectural Michael Miller

Human Resources Jon Sparks (Barbara Hancock)

Membership Alok Rakyan (Mary Saphin) Membership Subcommittee Branding Mark Ferris

Nominating Nick Masee

By order of the Board of Governors Lance E Lee (President) Deborah Wenig (Secretary)

Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons.

Cornerstone of the Club 17


Pushing Through the Pain What kind of person would compete in a weeklong, 250-kilometer race through some of the harshest terrain on the planet? One Club Member explains. by Maria Bromley

Alex Johnson

18 November 2011 iNTOUCH

www.racingtheplanet.com

W

aking at 7 in the morning, Alex Johnson had a long day ahead of him. But it wouldn’t be at his high-stress job as a trader in Tokyo. He was about to set out on a 40-kilometer trek through parched sand dunes, inhospitable salt flats and dry riverbeds. As he sat in his tent with eight other competitors from around the world at the start of day four of the seven-day, 250-kilometer Gobi March in June, he contemplated the hours to come. One hundred and fifty runners had started the race, but not everyone would finish. “This race was more strategy than straight-out running,” says Johnson, sitting in the comfort of the Winter


RECREATION

Garden one evening in September. “You’re faced with 700-meter-tall sand dunes in the hottest part of the desert.” After a breakfast of thick oatmeal and coffee (one of the few luxuries he allowed himself) each morning, Johnson, sporting an uncharacteristic beard, would tape up his swollen feet, red and raw from the constant pounding in the heat, and don a legionnaire’s hat, long-sleeved shirt and running tights to protect his skin from the blistering sun. Then, grabbing his rucksack containing his food and equipment (since it was a self-supported race, competitors were provided only with drinking water and a place to rest each night), he would head out into the desert wilderness of western China. But what motivates someone to do such a thing? “I live a bull market lifestyle, [so] the last thing I want to do on vacation is sit by the pool at the Four Seasons. After the earthquake, I reevaluated my lifestyle: too many burgers at Hooters—it’s close to the office,” he says with a smile. “Things were too comfortable. Living life in Tokyo, there are no real challenges. Perhaps it was a mid-life crisis and it was cheaper than a Ferrari or a mistress.” According to race organizers, Racing the Planet, the annual Gobi March event, which started in 2003, is one of the

world’s leading rough-country endurance footraces. The other grueling races in the 4 Deserts series take in Chile’s Atacama Desert, the Sahara and Antarctica. Besides challenging himself, Johnson says he wanted to inspire his two young children, although perhaps differently from the way he was “inspired” by his running-mad father. After Johnson’s dad caught him smoking in high school, he signed him up for the Pikes Peak Marathon, a renowned mountain race in Colorado. Although he has completed marathons in London and Washington, DC, and the 100-kilometer Oxfam Trailwalker in Hong Kong, Johnson, 37, says that he was not in top shape when he applied for the Gobi March. Most people train for up to a year for an ultramarathon, but he had just a few months to prepare. He credits his wife with encouraging him during the training and, of course, for taking care of the family. Running between 70 and 80 kilometers a week, the Arkansas native would carry 10-kilogram bags of rice in his pack to prepare for the race. Making it back to camp in the early afternoon of the fourth day, Johnson rested up and readied himself for the double marathon the next day. That punishing fifth stage, with checkpoints every 10 kilometers, had the competitors racing through the

darkness of the desert, glow sticks lighting their way. Johnson completed his 80 kilometers at about 4 a.m. “It becomes more of a mental challenge toward the end than a physical one,” he says. “Everyone who dropped [out] later said that they probably could have finished if they had just pushed through the pain.” Praising the camaraderie around the camp at night, Johnson explains how the runners who dropped out or who were forced out for medical reasons stayed on to encourage those still in the race. The last day consisted of a relatively short 10-kilometer section and a celebration for the finishers like Johnson and those who made an attempt. Of the 150 competitors who started, 115 made it to the end. “My dad said that no one will ever remember your time or even that you finished, but that you tried,” Johnson says. “Ninety percent of people are too afraid to try.” Now an ultramarathon devotee, Johnson says he has his sights set on a race in Jordan next May, and he’s looking for partners with whom to share the pain. o Bromley is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Gobi March www.4deserts.com/gobimarch

Fitness and well-being 19


class

focus Toddler Soccer Toddler Soccer is a fun and distinctive introduction to the sport for preschoolers. The program promotes intellectual and physical development through soccer and other ball sports in a friendly and non-competitive setting. Tots graduate from the program self-assured and proficient in a range of skills, including basic ball control, kicking, timing, balance and agility. This exciting course helps improve motor skills and is an excellent precursor to the Try Soccer Clinic. Classes run on Mondays (3–3:45 p.m.) and Thursdays (3–3:45 p.m.) for ages 2 to 3 and Thursdays (4–4:50 p.m.) for ages 3 to 4. Find out more by visiting the Club website or Recreation Desk.

Mariko Kawamura

The Instructor

As a former nursery school teacher, Mariko Kawamura has a nurturing disposition and patient manner when working with youngsters, which she thoroughly enjoys. “I used to teach kindergarten for six years,” she says. “I love playing with children.” As an instructor, Kawamura combines her passion for teaching with her love of rugby, which she played for 14 years, to inspire enthusiasm for sports.

Mark Stevens

The Student

“Mark really enjoys the class. It helps improve his balance and coordination, while he is making friends and learning the fundamentals of soccer.” (Mark Stevens’ father, Morgan)

20 November 2011 iNTOUCH


RECREATION

what’s

on

A League of Their Own Letters to Santa

Visit with Santa

Join the Club’s enthusiastic group of female keglers when they hit the lanes weekly for friendly competition and good-humored fun.

Ahead of his frenzied sleigh ride around the globe, Santa makes his annual trip to the Club to visit with holiday-enthused mini Members for sessions of yuletide jollity and photo keepsakes.

Wednesdays (through December 14) 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Bowling Center For more information, visit the Bowling Center or e-mail bowling@tac-club.org.

The Making of Maestros Learn to play the guitar, violin or piano with the finesse you always wanted during fun and challenging one-on-one music lessons. Visit the Recreation Desk or e-mail rec@tac-club.org for more information on music lessons in the Club’s state-of-the-art Music Rooms.

He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice. So be sure to pen your wish-list for Santa and drop it off at the Club for express delivery to the North Pole before he heads off on his annual transworld journey. Santa’s Mailbox Saturday, November 19–Sunday, December 4 Family Lobby (B1) ¥525 (for a personal reply)

Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 10 2–2:45 p.m. and 3–3:45 p.m. Find out more information and sign up at the Member Services Desk.

Winter Warmers

Youth Badminton

Chase away those cold weather blues all this month with luxurious treatments bundled warmly together by the expert staff in The Spa.

Shigeru Kondoh teaches the rudiments of badminton to novices while offering more experienced players tips on skills and strategy. For ages 10 to 18.

90-Minute Sabai Hot Stone Massage + Complimentary Foot Bath: ¥16,800 90-Minute Detox and Slimming Body Wrap + Complimentary Head Massage: ¥28,350 60-Minute Deep-Pore Cleansing Facial + Complimentary Eyebrow Shaping: ¥11,550 Visit the Spa section of the Club website or the fourth-floor haven of relaxation to find out more.

November 1–December 6 (six weeks) Every Tuesday Beginners: 5:15–6 p.m. Intermediate/advanced: 6–6:45 p.m. Gymnasium ¥12,600 (includes shuttlecocks) Visit the Recreation Desk or e-mail erika.hara@tac-club.org to find out more.

Fitness and well-being 21


Shopping Spectacle With more than 60 purveyors of exquisite art, crafts and antiques from across the world, the annual International Bazaar returns to the Club this month for a two-day shopping extravaganza.

International Bazaar November 8, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. November 9, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Manhattan I and II and Brooklyn Suite Free Open to the public

F

rom Japanese handicrafts and Asian silks to eye-catching jewelry and fashionable bags, this gathering of unique merchants and sellers offers eager shoppers a wealth of ideas for holiday gifts or keepsakes. In addition, 20 percent of all proceeds will benefit Japanese charities, the disasterhit Tohoku region and Women’s Groupsupported projects. o

Jewelry casting by Atelier Shinji Jewelry

Helping Hands

W

omen’s Group members Andrea Thomas and Michelle Swick chat about why they became involved with the International Bazaar. Why did you choose to volunteer at last year’s International Bazaar? Thomas: Soon after moving to Tokyo in May 2010, I went to Coffee Connections in the hope of meeting people and getting involved. There, I met Deb Wenig, who subsequently contacted me about volunteering for the bazaar.

Michelle Swick and Andrea Thomas

22 November 2011 iNTOUCH

Swick: I chose to volunteer for last year’s International Bazaar to get to know other


WOMEN’S GROUP

Purveyor Picks This year’s organizers welcome several new vendors and are grateful to the numerous sellers that donated items for the lucky draw.

Treasure of the Earth Attractive hand-painted Arita ceramics from the famous porcelain center in Saga Prefecture.

Virina Maternity A collection of beautiful dresses and tops for expecting mothers.

Hasu no Ito

Alaffia

Elegant dresses and tops with kimonoinspired designs.

Handwoven Fair Trade baskets, made from sustainable harvested grass, from Ghana and Togo.

Las Cholas

Fleur d’Huytesa

South American-inspired knitwear from this new vendor.

Beautiful hand-painted tableware by French artist Florence Roca.

Shanghai Trio

Atelier Shinji Jewelry

Beautiful bags that combine traditional Chinese craftsmanship with innovative materials.

Innovative handcrafted jewelry from this Ginzabased producer.

Tobin Ohashi Gallery

Atelier Yukiko

Japanese and Asian art and ceramics from this bazaar newcomer.

Exquisitely unique bags made from obi sash material.

Yamada Heiando Founded in 1919, this renowned lacquerware producer supplies its products to the imperial family.

Annah Stretton Creative fashion from this lauded New Zealand designer.

Shibamura Antique, traditionally patterned obi sashes for kimono.

Wally Yonamine Pearls This Roppongi institution sells a vast array of quality pearls.

expats and to spend time at the Club with them. What were your experiences of the event? Thomas: Volunteering with the Women’s Group not only allowed me to contribute to our new community in a meaningful way, but also proved to be a great way to meet new people. Many of those that I met through volunteering have become dear friends. Swick: I was a greeter for the two days and I volunteered to help register shoppers for the lucky draw. How did you benefit from volunteering at the event? Thomas: At the time of the earthquake,

Thanks also to M Ishii & Sons, Michelle Herring, Mugen & Co., Original Japanese Woodblock and Pamela Jenkinson (Chabako International) for their kind donations.

I was 38 weeks pregnant, and my husband and I decided to take the precautionary measure of relocating to Hong Kong, where our son, Dillon, was born. We received so many kind offers of assistance and support from friends in Tokyo, many of whom I met through volunteering. Swick: I made new friends and was able to spend time with others who had experienced the Tokyo: Here & Now program. What would you recommend about volunteering? Thomas: Volunteering is a great way to give back, meet new people, put your professional talents to good use and develop new skills for future endeavors.

Basket by Alaffia

Jewelry by Atelier Shinji Jewelry

Shopping Guide Do bring your Membership or credit card. Do bring your friends. Do come by taxi or train. Do come in the afternoon—the sale is on all day. Do enter the lucky draw. Do have fun. Do help support the Women’s Group charities. Do bring extra shopping bags. Don’t bring children under 12 years old. Don’t come by car. Don’t bring food and drinks into the sale.

Swick: It gives you a sense of the Club and expat community, and it’s a great way to be involved and meet new friends. How was the shopping? Thomas: After getting a preview of the merchandise last year, I was disappointed to miss the event. I’m looking forward to both volunteering and shopping this year. Swick: I enjoyed being able to shop for various items for gifts as well as for myself. The variety of products is vast and there’s something for everyone, whether you are looking for Japanese treasures or Western items. o

Interested in volunteering? Drop us a mail at wgvolunteers@hotmail.com.

An interactive community 23


women’s

group

Mixing It Up by Erika Woodward

E

njoy a sinfully tasty liquid lunch that packs a competitive punch at this month’s Women’s Group luncheon. After a cocktail-infused meal, the Club’s resident gastronomic guru Food & Beverage Director Brian Marcus will enlighten attendees with secrets of the cocktail shaker. Then, emboldened Women’s Group members and their guests will be spilt into teams for a cocktail challenge in which they will have to craft their own drinks from the array of ingredients provided. A panel of judges will have the pleasure of sampling the beautifully blended beverages, grading taste, creativity and use of ingredients before selecting the winning team. On your mark, get set, mix and mingle! o Women’s Group Monthly Luncheon: Mix and Mingle Monday, November 14 11:30 a.m. (doors open: 11 a.m.) Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥3,150 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,200 Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk

B

y some estimates, Japan has more than 24,000 people living on its streets. Since 1984, one charity in Tokyo has sought to change that, but the road has not been easy. Sanyukai Homeless Men’s Shelter first opened in a two-story wooden building with a single heater in the old Sanya district of eastern Tokyo. There, it ran a health clinic on the second floor and provided meals on the first floor. It was a good start, but it needed more. “Gradually, the number of patients seeking treatment at the Sanyukai clinic increased, as did the number of volunteer doctors and nurses,” the center explains on its website. In 1989, Sanyukai moved into a new three-story building. Shortly after, Japan’s economic bubble burst, leading to further hardship for the already cash-strapped day laborers and an influx of men to the center. According to Sanyukai reports, the number of people seeking its services, which range from medical checkups to meals to job placement help, continues to grow. In addition to managing the increasing demand for its services, Sanyukai has faced other challenges. In 2009, the Japanese government asked the organization to stop giving free meals to the homeless living along the Sumida River, citing complaints from local residents and legal issues. Today, the nonprofit’s 10 staff are supported by around 175 volunteers, as well as the generosity of local ward offices, hospitals, welfare facilities and private groups, such as the Women’s Group, which kicks off its annual charity drive this month. With winter on the way, those faced with the prospect of spending a freezing season outside would benefit from gently worn men’s clothes, particularly winter items, as well as household and food items. o

24 November 2011 iNTOUCH

Street Support by Erika Woodward

Sanyukai Charity Drive Friday, November 18 9–11:30 a.m. and 2–3:30 p.m. Parking Lot (B1) Check the Women’s Group section of the website for details


As if you needed an excuse for staying at the Club. Whether you’re planning a girls’ getaway, romantic break or just want to take a little time out, check out our array of exciting overnight packages to suit every occasion.

mac zen spa fitness oasis For more details, visit the Guest Studios page under the Activities & Amenities section of the Club website.

Tel: 03-4588-0734 | E-mail: guest.studios@tac-club.org

www.tokyoamericanclub.org

den for two


SEISMIC CITY by Brian Publicover

For many Tokyo residents, the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year highlighted the possibility of the so-called “Big One” hitting the capital. But is there any real cause for alarm?

A

n unusually warm breeze was blowing across the Kanto Plain on September 1, 1923, when a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck at 11:58 in the morning. With its epicenter near the island of Oshima in Sagami Bay, the quake laid waste to Tokyo, Yokohama and large swaths of the surrounding area. More than 140,000 people died that Saturday, many of them perishing in blazes fanned by strong winds. By most accounts, the firestorm—one of the largest urban conflagrations in world history— caused the majority of the destruction in the following days. Millions were left homeless. And as Tokyo and Yokohama started to burn, tsunami waves up to 6 meters high—triggered by the collision of immense chunks of the Philippine oceanic plate and the Eurasian continental plate—pounded the Boso, Miura and Izu peninsulas. American journalist Henry W Kinney, who was in Tokyo at the time, wrote a gripping account of the harrowing event for the 1924 issue of The Atlantic magazine in the United States. In it, he chronicled his long trek by foot from Omori Station in Tokyo’s Ota Ward to Kamakura via Yokohama, which was “utterly ruined.” Looking back toward the fires of Tokyo from Yokohama, where “entire blocks were burning,” Kinney could see that “vast clouds were curling and spiraling into the sky, miles high.” Amid the chaos, he was scathing of what he saw as the “general inefficiency” of the Japanese authorities. In the decades since that calamitous day, the Japanese government has emphasized earthquake education, building standards and preparation. Officials have also been absorbed with trying to predict when the capital might next be struck by a large temblor, and their focus has been on the Tokai region, which roughly spans Mie, Gifu, Aichi and Shizuoka prefectures, and the northward-moving Philippine plate. But one American geophysicist at the University

26 November 2011 iNTOUCH

of Tokyo suggests that the Japanese authorities may need to reconsider their priorities. As the notion of a Tokai earthquake has entered the national discourse, Robert Geller says that many Japanese have been led to believe that such a quake can be foreseen. “We shouldn’t kid the public into believing quakes can be predicted,” he says. “It’s impossible now and for the foreseeable future.” Major earthquakes have hit the region south of Kanto every 100 to 150 years since 1498. Speculation that the area was long overdue for another one took hold in 1969, when noted seismologist Kiyoo Mogi, a man who decades later would call for the closure of the Hamaoka nuclear

power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture because of its precarious location near fault lines, hypothesized that a temblor of at least magnitude 8 was imminent in the region. This “seismic gap” theory was based on the historical frequency of the Tokai quakes and the fact that the last one occurred in 1854, a full 154 years prior. The government’s Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction was soon set up to analyze seismic data. Five years earlier, in 1964, Japanese seismologists published the country’s first quake prediction strategy, and, by the mid-1970s, the Tokai region had been identified as an area in need of close attention.

ugh

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Tro i a k n a


FEATURE

Eurasian Plate

Jap

an

Tre

nch

North American Plate

Sag

ami

Tren

ch

Pacific Plate Tectonic Shuffle

Philippine Sea Plate

Lying along the seismically volatile Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is the meeting point of four major tectonic plates. As these giant slabs of the Earth’s crust grind up against one another, they trigger hundreds of tremors and quakes each year.

Seismic City 27


Around this time, a researcher at Kobe University, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, warned that the Suruga Trough, a Tokai subduction zone where the Philippine and Eurasian plates meet, was due for a massive rupture. By the late ’70s, the perceived threat of a large Tokai quake had become entrenched in the public consciousness. The passage of the Large-Scale Earthquake Countermeasures Act established a comprehensive set of guidelines and related set of national and local entities to handle earthquake preparations. The legislation included a new system under which the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) could alert the prime minister if it believed a quake was imminent. Today, quake-monitoring methods focus on such elements as seismic activity, crustal expansion and tidal fluctuations. But Geller says JMA efforts to anticipate a Tokai quake are flawed. “There are no known phenomena that can be specifically identified as precursors in advance,” he says, arguing that although many quakes are preceded by foreshocks, there is no way to distinguish them from random unrelated quakes. “So unless you’re willing to be like the boy who cried wolf, it’s hopeless. All kinds of wacky theories—clouds, animal behavior—have been proposed, but none is statistically significant.” Geller says the Tokai scenario is based on the erroneous idea that the area represents a larger seismic threat than the rest of Japan’s Pacific coastline. “Somehow the mistaken idea that Tokai was much more dangerous than anyplace else caught on and has become a kind of urban myth,” he says. Yet public concerns over a pending “Big One” linger, and JMA officials continue to closely monitor the region from a large room lined with screens, computers and digital maps in Tokyo. “We simply cannot deny the possibility of an earthquake in the Tokai region,” says Takeyasu Yamamoto, assistant director of the JMA’s earthquake prediction division. “The JMA knows that some people claim that Tokai won’t happen. There is no doubt that stress remains there. The JMA believes that this accumulation of stress has a high potential to trigger a quake.” Since the northern part of Japan sits at the intersection of four slabs of the Earth’s crust, quakes at the points where the plates grind against one another are frequent. In a possible Tokai scenario, the Philippine Sea plate would subduct, or slip, beneath the continental plate, forcing it and the seafloor up. The result would be an explosion of seismic energy and potentially the displacement of huge amounts of water, leading to a tsunami, similar to what happened on March 11 this year. JMA scientists think that it might be possible to detect such an event. As the Philippine plate subducts under the continental plate, an area that firmly bonds the two plates together would, theoretically, begin to slip. The agency says that if it is able to measure the strain associated with this pre-slip stage, it may be able to provide advance warning of a quake. While critics like Geller remain unconvinced, the JMA continues to monitor. “We can’t deny the possibility of a quake [there],” says Yamamoto, pointing to a JMA document, “National Earthquake Prediction Report on

28 November 2011 iNTOUCH

the Probability of a Tokai Earthquake,” that claims an 87 percent chance of a major earthquake in the Tokai region within the next 30 years. One presumption since March is that the quake off the Tohoku coast may have created more seismic pressure along the boundaries where the Philippine, Eurasian, Pacific and North American plates converge, ratcheting up the chance of a quake striking Tokyo. Geller says that such assumptions are baseless. “There’s no such thing as a predetermined ‘Big One,’” he explains. “Tokyo has been hit by damaging quakes in the past and will undoubtedly be hit again in the future, but probably on a different fault than the last few big quakes.” Although critics like Geller assert that quakes cannot be predicted, others believe that historical data can still be useful. “I do not think that earthquakes are predictable,” says the University of Tokyo’s Yasutaka Ikeda. “But I think that the sizes and recurrence intervals of earthquakes, including a rare and gigantic one, such as the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, from each fault or fault zone can be evaluated. Recurrence intervals of magnitude 9.0 earthquakes off Tohoku may be 400 to 1,100 years, which is beyond the duration of our instrumental observations. Therefore, geological information is necessary to forecast magnitude 9 [quakes].” Japan has dealt with the results of tectonic shifts for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the nation focused its attention on preparing for the worst. A tsunami warning system was established around that time, with hundreds of monitoring points set up throughout the country. Private and public groups also began holding regular earthquake drills in the early part of the decade to standardize responses to a catastrophe. Then, in 1959, after a major typhoon slammed into the Nagoya area, a comprehensive system for dealing with all natural disasters was put in place. This led to the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act in 1961, which outlined a national prevention, relief and recovery system. Meanwhile, September 1 (the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake) was designated as Disaster Prevention Day, and drills are conducted nationwide on this day each year. The Japanese government also urges people to be ready for a disaster that could strike without warning. Eiji Matsumoto of the urban developer Mori Building advises residents to prepare a generator and water. “The storage of everyday necessities, such as food and medical supplies, is essential,” he says. Stockpiling water is something Geller suggests, too, as well as maintaining a supply of batteries and flashlights. He also says that families should put together a plan on where to meet in the event of a disaster. “Don’t assume your cell phone will work,” he warns. Schools play a critical role in disaster preparedness as well, with earthquake education starting early in Japan. “The March 11 quake demonstrated to us that our earthquake plan and procedures do work,” says Rachel Hirano, director at ABC International School in Minato Ward. “But what we did find, though, was that we could have had potential problems contacting families due to some phone lines being down.”

9.5 Chile 1960 9.3 Sumatra 2004 9.0 Tohoku 2011

Great

9

Can cause major destruction over areas several hundred kilometers across


FEATURE 8.8 Chile 2010

7.9 Kanto 1923

6.9 San Francisco 1989

8.1 Hokkaido 2003

7.9 China 2008

6.4 Los Angeles 1994

7.3 Kobe 1995

6.3 Italy 2009

7.0 Haiti 2010

8

Major

Strong

Moderate

Serious damage over larger areas

Affects areas up to 100 kilometers across

Affects small regions, causing slight damage

7

6

3 4 5

Micro Only recorded locally

Minor Recorded though not generally felt

Light Often felt, rarely causes damage

Measuring the Shakes, Jolts and Shudders Developed by American seismologist Charles F Richter in 1935, the Richter magnitude scale measures earthquakes in terms of the energy they release. Since the scale is logarithmic, a magnitude 6 earthquake, for example, has 32 times more energy than a magnitude 5 quake. This dramatic rise in the scale means that earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and above tend to be the most destructive. In Japan, the “shindo� scale is used to measure the intensity of earthquakes. This system describes the level of shaking from 0 to 7.

Seismic City 29


28

Locations of severe train track damage

9,161

Useful Resources

Stopped elevators

Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Disaster Prevention Information www.bousai.metro.tokyo.jp/english/index.html

Number of buildings destroyed by liquefaction

13,356

US Embassy’s Disaster Preparedness Checklist http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-7111.html

Casualties

167,831

Teachers at Tamagawa International Preschool encountered similar problems with contacting parents. “After the earthquake, we decided Dead to use the 117 web service, Twitter and Facebook as our communication tools with Injured family members,” says Mee Saito, director of the preschool in Setagaya Ward. Naturally, the ability of buildings to withstand the shockwaves that cause the ground to tremble is of primary concern for authorities. Amendments to Japan’s Building Standard Law in 1981 established a new code for building design and construction. The importance of this legislation was brought home during the Kobe earthquake in 1995. “Almost all buildings that met this new seismic code suffered only slight or no damage at Homeless all,” Matsumoto says. For those people looking to buy a home in Tokyo, Matsumoto advises making a thorough check of the property’s foundations. And following incidents of liquefaction—when the extreme shaking of the ground turns the soil into a watery mass—in parts of the city near Tokyo Bay in March, residents are encouraged to consult the Tokyo government’s liquefaction hazard map. in or around In the case of high-rise apartment buildings, Japan, but Matsumoto recommends choosing a place with it didn’t go quake-resistant mechanisms. “Seek buildings up enough to with cutting-edge seismic-damping structural justify any special technologies or seismic-isolation technologies,” he precautions,” he says. says. “Seismic dampers absorb seismic energy, As for the reducing building sway.” government, he says that Yet despite the government’s extensive officials should focus less on preparation measures, the Tohoku earthquake and quake prediction and more on tsunami severely shook the public’s trust in official “common-sense precautions,” such bodies. In a recent Associated Press poll, more than as clearly identifying chains of command in 80 percent of respondents said they did not believe the self-defense forces and emergency services that the government was adequately prepared to and ensuring the quake-preparedness of critical help them in the event of a major catastrophe. facilities like nuclear power plants. Roughly three-quarters of the respondents also “As far as peace of mind [goes], if you’re prepared, reported feeling less safe since March 11. then you’ve done the best you can,” Geller says. But Geller says that there is no cause for “That’s all you can do.” o unnecessary worry. “The probability is somewhat higher than normal of another big quake somewhere Publicover is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.

Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/index.html

4,530

163,301

2,872,413

30 November 2011 iNTOUCH


FEATURE

LESSONS FROM KOBE On the morning of January 17, 1995, the earth beneath the city of Kobe violently shook. The powerful earthquake flattened buildings and killed almost 6,500 people. Club Member John Delp, who was a Kobe resident at the time, recalls the chaos.

T

he phone roused me from my sleep. My daughter, Keiko, was on the line, telling me to turn on the TV. The news was of an earthquake that had struck Kobe. Since I was in Tokyo after returning from a trip to North Korea, I tried to call my wife, Kikuko. Finally getting through, she told me that everything in the house was in shambles. The pictures on TV revealed the extent of the damage as fires raged out of control. I could see our home, just two blocks from downtown Kobe. That evening, it became clear that the events of that terrible day were more serious than anyone could possibly have imagined. I knew I had to get to Kobe, and by the following

night I had arrived in Osaka. Meanwhile, I heard that the 10-story concreteand-steel staircase on the side of our apartment building had collapsed. There was no water or gas, and it was freezing cold. The next day, carrying a backpack with water, food and batteries, I set out to walk the more than 30 kilometers to Kobe. Luckily, the weather was bright and sunny. Soon I met the flow of thousands of people, including wheelchair-bound elderly men and women, fleeing Kobe. They walked silently along the side of road, carrying whatever possessions they had managed to grab—a blanket or futon, a bottle of water or the family dog. Eventually arriving in the city, I saw that the destruction was total. It seemed as if the buildings had been bulldozed, and there was a peculiar smell of burned toast in the air from the fires. But it was touching to see everyone offering a helping hand to one another in such terrible conditions. I won’t forget those scenes in Kobe, and I now know the importance of being prepared. Experience tells us that power and water will most likely be cut in a large earthquake, so keep your bathtub and water bottles filled at all times. Water is heavy to carry up stairs, and you’ll need it not just for drinking, but for flushing toilets or simple washing as well. Since the gas supply will probably be knocked out, be sure to keep a camping stove for cooking and boiling water. Other items to have handy in a backpack include candles, flashlights, batteries, coins for pay phones (the cell phone network will likely be down), cash, toilet paper, a change of clothes, including warm items, plastic cups, plates and cutlery, medicine and copies of passports and important documents. o

Epicenter: Tokyo In a series of reports in May 2006, the Tokyo government predicted the consequences of different earthquakes hitting the city at various times of the day and year. The figures shown here are for a hypothetical magnitude 7.3 earthquake striking directly under the northern reaches of Tokyo Bay at 6 p.m. on a winter’s evening, with a moderate breeze blowing.

¥112 trillion

Estimated total cost of disaster

Seismic City 31


Koji Horiuchi

Urban Ideas

32 November 2011 iNTOUCH


TALKING HEADS This year, for the first time in almost a decade, Vancouver was nudged off the top spot in the annual Global Liveability Survey. Australia’s Melbourne was heralded as the best place to reside, followed by Vienna, the Austrian capital, and then Canada’s Pacific metropolis. Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the survey assesses cities across the world in five areas: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. At number 12, Osaka was the highest-ranked Asian city, with Tokyo at 18. While the Japanese capital has a population of around 13 million people, the Tokyo sprawl runs uninterrupted for kilometers into surrounding prefectures. The architect Edward Suzuki called the city “overdeveloped” in an interview last year. “Cities ought to have an optimum size to be livable; Kyoto is an example of a perfect size,” he said. Paul Noritaka Tange is president of the architectural firm Tange Associates and the son of the late Kenzo Tange, the architect of such buildings as the Yoyogi National Gymnasium and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to glean his thoughts on the design of Tokyo. Excerpts: Paul Tange

Tange: I think Tokyo is a very livable city, a fantastic city; everything works. And it’s one of the best organized cities in the world for comfort, safety and everything that you take for granted but might not find so easily outside of Japan.

Tange: Of course, to create a city, you have to have a healthy economy and, unfortunately, we have been in a recession for 20 years. If we had had constant growth, I think the waterfront area would have developed differently. With the scarcity of land, we could have 50 percent more land on the water than we have now and literally create another center.

iNTOUCH: What about in terms of urban design?

iNTOUCH: Is it possible to switch the model of a city after such a long time?

Tange: Urban design is not one of Tokyo’s strong points. It’s a rather chaotic city. It goes back to the Edo period when it was created as the new capital and things grew in a radial way. This kind of urban structure has a limit and the center will be a problem. If you think of a growing city like Beijing, it’s a similar thing. Now they’re on the sixth ring road and the center is jammed. This is the reason why my father, Kenzo Tange, proposed linear cities in the 1960s. He already saw that radially growing city formation was not suitable for industrial-oriented societies, so he created a [plan for] a linear city going towards the waterfront.

Tange: I think it’s very possible if we create the right kind of transport system. The trouble with sub-centers is there is not much connectivity, so we have to think of the transport system as a whole. In Tokyo, you can see where all the main [transport] arteries are because that’s where the tall buildings are, but it’s usually just one street. But if you’re only connecting sub-centers with each other, you end up with a limited transportation network that leaves out the areas in between.

iNTOUCH: How livable a city is Tokyo?

iNTOUCH: Despite Tokyo being by the sea, it’s not regarded as a waterfront city.

iNTOUCH: I understand that central Tokyo’s nighttime population is about a third of its daytime population. Should more people be living in the center?

Tange: A big mistake. This is a very sad phenomenon. In the Edo period, the rivers and waterfronts were really active gathering places, but industrialization from the Meiji period on destroyed everything. The city was opened to the world, and the first thing they did was create these warehouses on the waterfront.

Tange: The ideal city [model is a place to] live, work and play, and Manhattan is one of the successful cases. But the history of Tokyo is not like that. That’s why many wards are trying to bring people back to the center. So when they build office buildings in Chiyoda and Minato wards and a few other places, [the local governments] require the owners to build residences on the site or somewhere within the ward.

iNTOUCH: The Tokyo Bay development of Odaiba has had its critics. What are your thoughts?

iNTOUCH: So are multiuse developments like Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown the answer?

Tange: I think everything should be multifunctional. Most of the city’s land-use plan is wrong. The Edo period was very good because nobody owned the land. The government owned the land and the users borrowed it. Once land became available to own, people wanted to protect their land. Unfortunately, the history of Tokyo made it very difficult to consolidate these [private] plots [for other uses]. That’s the reason it took Mr [Minoru] Mori 25 years to consolidate the land [for Roppongi Hills]. And the reason why Shinjuku has such a high number of skyscrapers is because it used to be a reservoir, so it was a large parcel of land available for development. iNTOUCH: Presumably then it will be difficult to build similar multiuse developments unless the law is changed. Tange: Even [leased] land rights are very strong here. And so widening of streets is a problem because the government cannot force people to give up the land and then compensate them. iNTOUCH: How is Tokyo likely to develop? Tange: I think we have to…change the [land] regulations and laws. Another policy I strongly recommend is deciding what to preserve in the city of Tokyo, not only the temples and similar kinds of buildings, but modern architecture as well. We need to balance growth and preservation of the city character. iNTOUCH: Tokyo is not regarded as a classically beautiful city, but what are its redeeming features? Tange: Visually, it’s the energy of the street. That is something we should keep: the exciting street life and inspiring little gathering spaces. o Member insights on Japan 33


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

Taka Kobayashi

by Erika Woodward They’re demure, educated and dedicated artists of conversation and the traditional arts, who, since the 17th century, have captured the affections of Japan’s elite and, subsequently, have come to represent the quintessence of Japanese female beauty. But times are changing. As recently as the 1920s, they numbered around 80,000 in Japan. Now, as centuries-old teahouses give way to modern-day hostess bars, only a small number of geisha remain. But one enterprising lensman has set out to revive interest in the “flower and willow world” by taking photos of the entertainers in high-fashion poses. Taka Kobayashi, a 60-year-old fashion photographer with more than three decades of experience, will show his cutting-edge snapshots of young geisha in training, or maiko, this month at the Frederick Harris Gallery. Inspired by the rich floral prints on kimono, the Fashion Institute of Technology graduate considers his work as much a tribute to the beauty of Japanese women as to the maiko themselves. “I believe that Japanese women are modest and blessed with a profound, dignified beauty,” Kobayashi says. “This beauty is not fleeting, but matures and is preserved through the special language, dress, manners and artistic talents of maiko. My goal is to bring a new view of maiko to my modern world.” Kobayashi says he achieves his aim by stripping everything but the classically dressed woman from the frame, ditching traditional stances and settings in favor of a “modern, stark silhouette undisturbed on a pure white background.” Simply put, he’s in awe of his subjects. “My immense respect for their rigorous training and admiration for their beauty and talent inspired me to examine this traditional lifestyle,” he says.

Exhibition

November 21–December 4

Gallery Reception

Monday, November 21 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to invitees and Members only

34 November 2011 iNTOUCH


FREDERICK HARRIS GALLERY

Exhibitions of Art 35


yokoso

John & Ayako Irvine United Kingdom—General Electric International, Inc.

Mario & Laura Aron Germany—Giorgio Gori Srl

Shigeyuki & Yoshiko Masukawa Japan—Boston Scientific Japan K.K.

John Adair & Kimberlee Carr United States—Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.

Eric & Jessie Champion France—Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Nobu Koshiba Japan—JSR Corporation

Jonathan & Emma Knight United Kingdom—Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.

Nobu Mutaguchi Japan—Trans Pacific Partners, Inc.

Alex Boezeman & Hitomi Hida United States—Callaway Golf K.K.

Kumahiro & Chiaki Miyama Japan—Raica Co., Ltd.

Alessandra & John Collier United States—Mars Japan Ltd.

Ryotaro & Emi Fujii Japan—Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Inhyang Chung & Kenichi Mizoguchi South Korea—NK Trading

Kiichiro Ikeura Japan—Mitsuhama Co., Ltd.

Ian & Christianne Wilson United States—Dow Corning Toray Co., Ltd.

Stewart & Emiko Flanders Australia—Meitan Tradition Co., Ltd.

Tamio & Mami Honma Japan—Deutsche Securities, Inc.

Katsuya Debari Japan—Odyssey Communications, Inc.

Philip & Naomi Rowe United States—Capital International K.K.

Rie Tai Japan—Rakuten, Inc.

Shaun Henry United Kingdom—Novartis Pharma K.K.

Christopher & Adonica Marquez United States—Dell Computer Corporation Jonathan & Alisha Glaser United States—Hartford Life Insurance K.K. Andrew Whan & Michelle Whitehead Australia—Clifford Chance Law Office Christopher & Chika Wu Hong Kong—Iris Capital Partners Ltd. Damion & Mika Witten New Zealand—Totan Capital Markets Co., Ltd. C Todd & Judith Withers United States—Accenture Corporation Kosaku & Mily Yada United States—Big Tree Global K.K. Corey Gustin & Yasuko Ogasawara United States—UBS Securities Japan Ltd. Micah & Fumiko Wightman United States—Aeon Demonstration Services, Inc. Santiago Pardo & Antonia Sanin Colombia—National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia

sayonara Masahiro & Megumi Asami Edgar & Eriko Barksdale Robert Berardy & Shan Cui David & Charlotte Carr Prabhu Chandramohan & Anna Przeplasko Alice Chen & Li-Hsin Lee Luke & Tomoko Clayton Neil Davies & Lucy Twigger Yoshio & Diane Endo David & Valerie Gueundjian Randy Hendricks & Janet Stone

Toyoaki & Miyuki Ishikawa Carina & Donald Markel Robert Marti & Catherine Henrard Charles & Atsuko Martin John Merrifield & Sumiko Mitsui Vishal & Maohu Mirpuri Brendan & Sarah Norman Volker Reinert & Astrid Fontaine Adrian & Angela Ridge Naresh & Asha Sethi Scott & Megumi Shenk

Martin & Patricia Tabard Kenneth & Caroline Taheny Shuzo Tanaka James Thomas & Gaynor Niumata Patrick Welter & Ann Desmyter Susumu Uehara Bruce Wu & Stella Yamada-Wu Shoichi & Yoshie Yoshikawa Jeff Xue Jian Zhang

stacks of services at the Club

JTB Sunrise Tours

Spica

Go Mobile Phone Rental

MyToyota.jp

André Bernard Beauty Salon

FedEx

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

The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 The Cellar (B1) Sat: 1–4:30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Weekday drop-off: Member Services Desk

Need a rental mobile phone or help with translation? Want to find useful English mobile sites? Go Mobile—more than just a phone. www.gomobile.co.jp

English support for all your Toyota and Lexus needs. Available services: Q&A by e-mail; dealer visit assistance; and translation of estimates, contracts and other related documents. www.mytoyota.jp/ english

Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (B1) Tue–Sun 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

To find out more about the range of services and Member discounts, visit the FedEx counter. The Cellar (B1) Mon–Fri: 1–5 p.m. (closed Sun and national holidays) Sat: 12 p.m. (pickup only)

36 November 2011 iNTOUCH


MEMBER SERVICES

employee

of the month

Chiyono Ikeda by Nick Jones

C

hiyono Ikeda had been living and studying in the United States for a year, but she was far from happy with her English-speaking ability. “I had difficulty meeting people and making close friends,” she explains of her year attending a community college in Denver, Colorado, in 2003. “And my English wasn’t getting better.” Following advice from her brother, who was also studying in the state, she moved to the picturesque town of Steamboat Springs in the Yampa Valley, a three-hour drive west of Denver. With its hot springs and world-class ski runs, the town had plenty to offer the Chiba Prefecture native when she wasn’t taking classes at Colorado

Mountain College. “I had a great time there and still keep in touch with people I met there,” she says. “Everybody came from outside the state, so everybody tried to be friends with everybody else.” Within such a tight-knit community, Ikeda’s English quickly improved. Two years later, she started a course in business at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I did more studying in Boulder than skiing,” she says, referring to the hours she enjoyed on the piste in Steamboat Springs. Returning to Japan with a bachelor’s degree and a second language in 2008, Ikeda, 27, joined the Club last year.

Initially, she worked in the Pool Office, organizing swim classes and programs, before moving to the Recreation Office, where she now coordinates the array of enrichment classes on offer, as well as children’s parties. The Employee of the Month for September says she enjoys working in the Club’s multinational environment. “I think you can learn a lot of things from different people here,” she says. And after a year of complying with the maxims and occasionally archaic customs of a typical Japanese office in Tokyo, she says she feels comfortable at the Club. “I like working here,” she says. “I feel like I get to be myself more.” o

New Member Profile

New Member Profile

Why did you decide to join the Club?

Why did you decide to join the Club?

“We arrived in Tokyo in August after living in Switzerland for the past four years. We were primarily looking for a place to meet new friends and families. We also wanted a place where our children could pursue interests and we would enjoy spending time together as a family. The facilities are amazing and certainly were an initial draw. In the end, we felt we would enjoy becoming active members of the TAC community.”

“We are both busy working parents, so the idea of having so many things for the whole family under one roof was one of the biggest attractions. Although we have both lived in Japan for many years, we finally joined after seeing the fantastic new facilities and realizing what a great place TAC is for meeting new and existing friends. After only a few weeks, we are already wondering how we managed for so long without it.”

(l–r) Michael, Evan, Olivia and Linda Border

(l–r) Isabelle, Therese, Benjamin and François Maury

Michael & Linda Border United States—Novartis Pharma K.K.

François Maury & Therese Cowled France—Crédit Agricole CIB

Services and benefits for Members 37


Stage Delight One Club Member explains her passion for Tokyo’s English-language amateur theater scene.

Kayo Yamawaki

by Erika Woodward

Carey Storin

38 November 2011 iNTOUCH


INSIDE JAPAN

S

tanding on a well-trafficked corner of a Miami barrio, the young working girl is not going to fall for that old trick. The flirtatious guy in the loud floral-patterned shirt, sitting in a white van, is obviously an undercover vice cop. She shoos him away with a toss of her blonde bangs and a flick of her wrist, before making a break for it in black pumps that expertly complement her form-hugging dress. That was 1985, when Carey Storin, then 21, made her debut on America’s hit TV series “Miami Vice.” Now, the 47-yearold amateur actress and mother of two is gearing up for another first: directing Tokyo Theatre for Children’s “The Little Mermaid,” which opens at Samsa Asagaya Theater this month. “I can use my creativity, I can use my ideas and I have the control to do it now,” says the native Floridian who has performed with the English-language theater and the Tokyo International Players since moving to Japan in 2004. “It’s really cool to see what you have in your head come alive.” Storin explains that those ideas, often centered on adding physical comedy to the Disney-inspired underwater-themed play, frequently coalesce during the early hours of the morning. One rainy September afternoon, she imparts these nocturnal thoughts to the cast while standing on a chair in her warmly hued dining room in Shibuya. Cradling a script in her left arm, she gestures wildly with her right arm, directing the actors’ movements and encouraging them with her childlike infectious laughter. “OK, that’s cute, that’s good,” says Storin, after instructing one of the characters to jump into another’s arms during one playful scene. Despite being committed to threehour-long rehearsals at least three days a week for nearly three months, Storin, who graduated from homespun productions in her parents’ backyard as a young girl to TV commercials, including one for

Sunstar toothpaste, “Miami Vice” and a role as an extra in the 2008 movie Ramen Girl, is enjoying the challenge. “It’s just fun!” she says. But it wasn’t until she saw the Tokyo International Players perform “The Pied Piper” last year at the Club that she seriously started to think about directing a production. “After watching ‘The Pied Piper’ in the audience, there was a voice inside me that said, ‘You’re ready, you can do this.’ I thought about directing before but just didn’t have the confidence,” she says. “I had a lot of experience with Tokyo Theatre for Children and knew the people really well, so I felt I’d have the support. I knew immediately I wanted to direct ‘The Little Mermaid’ because the story is so well known [and it] would appeal to both Japanese and American children.” Storin gave up showbiz for more than a decade to pursue a degree in education at the University of Florida then teach elementary school and, finally, to care for her young children, Jack and Jessica, now 12 and 19. But her return to her passion was set in motion when her husband, Edward, who professed his love for her more than 20 years ago over a romantic dinner at Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World in Orlando, was transferred to Tokyo. Watching Tokyo Theatre for Children perform at her son’s kindergarten inspired her. “I just don’t think I would’ve gotten involved with theater if I was still living in the States,” she says. “Moving to Tokyo, I had to find something to do. It just came to me so beautifully.” While community theater might not be quite as glamorous as sharing a set with a white-suited Don Johnson, Storin is clear about what she loves about it. “I can be goofy,” she says. “I can roll around on the floor and be a complete idiot and I can laugh at myself, and that’s what I like about it.” o Tokyo Theatre for Children www.tokyotheatreforchildren.blogspot.com

A look at culture and society 39


Riding Autumn’s Rails As Mother Nature dons her cloak of red and gold, hop on board a train to take in the colorful seasonal spectacle. by Tim Hornyak

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he English poet John Donne once wrote: “No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.” While many would agree that cherry blossoms make spring the most beautiful season in Japan, autumn has its own visual splendor. One of the most stunning fall panoramas I’ve seen was in a taxi driving up to the rambling Nakabusa Onsen in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture. The twisting valley was ablaze with yellow, orange and crimson leaves, 40 November 2011 iNTOUCH

above which towered the snow-capped Hida Mountains. One of the best ways to appreciate Japan’s fall wardrobe, however, is by train. The country’s excellent rail network is perfect for quickly shuttling people from station to station, but its slow, single-track lines that meander through spectacular gorges, rice fields and coastlines are so much more enjoyable. The Hida range is also home to one of the most popular narrow-gauge

tracks in Japan, one that’s perfect for koyo, or autumn leaves. In Toyama Prefecture, the Kurobe Gorge Railway follows the Kurobe River through one of the deepest ravines in Japan. Originally built for the construction of the huge Kurobe Dam in the 1950s and ’60s, the railway runs for 20 kilometers from the hot-spring town of Unazuki to Keyakidaira, passing through 41 tunnels and crossing 21 bridges, including the striking Atobiki Bridge. Electric and diesel locomotives pull passenger cars of various classes, from standard open coaches to glassroofed luxury “panorama” carriages, along soaring cliffs above the emerald Kurobe River. The gorge is covered with virgin forests, and Japan’s environment ministry has recognized the Atobiki valley as having one of the 100 best fragrances in the country. The train


OUT & ABOUT Kurobe Gorge Railway www.kurotetu.co.jp Sagano Railway www.sagano-kanko.co.jp Oigawa Railway www.oigawa-railway.co.jp

KEYAKIDAIRA

Sagano Railway KAMEOKA

SAGA-ARASHIYAMA

UNAZUKI Kurobe Gorge Railway

TOKYO Oigawa Railway IKAWA KANAYA

ride takes about 80 minutes, and the best time to view the fall foliage here is from mid-October to mid-November. A touch of autumn always enhances the beauty of Kyoto’s temples and shrines, but the ancient capital has its own mini railway that’s perfect for fall colors, too. The Arashiyama district is famed for the elegant Togetsukyo Bridge and the otherworldly bamboo grove nearby. Less well known, though, is the Sagano Scenic Railway, a 7.3-kilometer single track that follows the breathtaking Hozu River gorge. Diesel locomotives depart from Saga Torokko Station alongside Saga Arashiyama on the JR Sagano Line and haul open-air carriages through mountainsides lit by an intense maple palette. Although the journey to Kameoka Torokko Station is short (25 minutes), passengers are often treated to a song or two by the conductors. The ride can also be combined with a stroll in the nearby bamboo grove or a twohour boat ride back down the Hozu River to Arashiyama. Mid-November to early December is the ideal period to take in the maples here. If you’re lucky and your timing is right, you can ride an old-school steam locomotive (“SL” in Japanese) when the leaves are at their peak. A good bet for this is the Oigawa Railway in Shizuoka Prefecture. Opened 80 years ago, it begins among deep green tea plantations and rises through precipitous valleys to Ikawa, a mountainous hot-spring area with hiking paths and suspension bridges.

The railway is divided into the Oigawa Main Line, from Kanaya on the JR Tokaido Line to Senzu, and the 25.5-kilometer continuation to Ikawa. The latter is best for both autumn enthusiasts and rail fans. The Ikawa Line climbs the steepest rail incline in Japan at 9 degrees and is thus a rack-and-pinion line, a toothed rail gripping the train on a sloping track. It’s particularly thrilling to hear the steam whistle and see the belching smoke as the locomotive tackles the hills. Visit here from late October to mid-November for the most impressive colors. Other railways that are ideal for autumnal observations include the well-known Hakone Tozan Railway between Hakone Yumoto and Sounzan in Kanagawa, Hokkaido’s Senmo Line between Abashiri and Toya, and the Tadami Line that runs through Fukushima and Niigata prefectures. This is a four-hour milk-run service that serves Aizuwakamatsu to Koide and dazzles with exploding crimsongold hues along the Tadami River. There are few services along this line, however, so passengers should check return schedules carefully. Since Japanese fully appreciate the scenic combo of trains and trees, it’s always best to reserve seats in advance at a travel agency. Open-air carriages can be chilly, so bring warm clothing. All aboard! o

Hornyak is a Montreal-based freelance journalist.

Explorations beyond the Club 41


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

Welcome Back Party: Kickin’ It with Konishiki September 10

All that was missing was the hypnotic sound of the surf at the Club’s party in paradise in September. The New York Ballroom was transformed into a piece of Polynesia as more than 160 Members and their guests enjoyed an evening of Hawaiian food, entertainment, including hula dance performances and the music of Hawaiian-born former sumo wrestler Konishiki and his band, and raffle prizes in aid of Konishiki’s charity, Konishiki Kids Foundation.

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Photos by Yuuki Ide

1. (l–r) Jean Hurpe, Angel Chen, Eriko Furuwatari and Martin Fluck 2. Konishiki and his band 3. (l–r) Lyn Hall, Ginger Griggs, Hiroko Morohashi and Mikako Inamasu 4. (l–r) Hiroko Yahata, Caroline Kennedy and Yumiko Ichikawa 5. (l–r) Will and Sachiyo Freund and Mark and Kanya Saft 6. Candice and Doug Reay 7. John Evensen 8. Konishiki 9. (l–r) Chie Konishiki, Scott and Kanako McCaskie and Konishiki 10. Hideaki Azuma 2

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EVENT ROUNDUP

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Snapshots from Club occasions 43


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

Wine Vendor Sale September 30

Grape lovers and gourmands descended on the New York Ballroom for the Club’s annual wine extravaganza. Around 130 people enjoyed sampling a wide range of varietals and vintages, including the Club’s own series of California wine labels, from 10 wine purveyors. Photos by Yuuki Ide 1. Bill Campbell 2. William and Keiko Rahn 3. Patrick Floody

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EVENT ROUNDUP

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Snapshots from Club occasions 45


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

Fuji Hike Tour September 8

While the official Mount Fuji climbing season had finished, 20 members of the Women’s Group headed to the lower flanks of Japan’s iconic mountain for a gentle hike hosted by Mari Futsuki of the Whole Earth Nature School. The trek was rounded off with some enthusiastic souvenir buying at the Fuji Rest Center. Photos provided by Heidi Sanford

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1. Back row (l–r): Susan Townsley, Gail Lee, Primoz Klemencic, Lotta Merlino, Ann Marie Skalecki, Christy Ramos and Pamela Molinaro Middle row (l–r): Heidi Sanford, Linda Border, Corinne Thygeson, Alaine Lee, Susan Morgan and Michelle Swick Front row (l–r): Karen White, Cindy McCaffrey, Alicia Joyce, Julie Ennis, Denise Kennerley, Carolyn Cadiou and Kaitlyn Maa

Preferred provider for

46 November 2011 iNTOUCH


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

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redicting earthquakes is a challenge, especially given that they can’t be predicted. But don’t try to convince the hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Tokyo (understandably) dealing with March 11-related post-traumatic stress of this. These individuals remain quite vulnerable to each and every creak and aftershock, and are receptive to anything that appears to make the unpredictable a bit more predictable. This September, I witnessed an all-toocommon example of post-crisis human behavior: a rumor made the rounds in the Tokyo expat and domestic helper communities that a group of Japanese seismologists had predicted a massive earthquake to strike Tokyo within the following 48 hours and those in the know were quietly but frantically making plans to evacuate. Lively discussions on Facebook ensued. This was the second quake prophecy since March 11, and I found the episode troubling, in part, because of its absurdity,

BACK WORDS

In the weeks and months after September 11, 2001, similar rumors circulated (albeit via e-mail rather than Facebook or Twitter) in New York City, suggesting that an attack on the Lincoln Tunnel or George Washington Bridge was imminent. Of course, these by their nature were more credible than the earthquake myth because terrorist attacks in some dimension can be foreseen. But this rant is not so much about urban legend as it is about life and death. In the 1903 Henry James novella The Beast in the Jungle, which I read as a literature major in college, John Marcher, the protagonist, is seized with the belief that his life is to be defined by some catastrophic event, lying in wait for him like a beast in the jungle. Haunted by this thought, the young man refuses to do much of anything during his life, shunning close relationships and marriage. The best years of his life pass him by as he waits for something bad to happen. Nothing does happen, of course;

Urban Legends of the Fall by Brian Salsberg

but also because of how it had all the characteristics of an urban myth or legend. As Wikipedia defines it, urban legends are stories, passed on within communities and usually believed by their tellers to be true (in fact, the teller often claims to know the source or someone related). As with all folklore, the designation as an urban legend suggests nothing about the story’s veracity, but merely that it is in circulation, exhibits variation over time and carries some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it. In this particular case, the storytellers often alleged to have some kind of privileged access to one of the quakepredicting seismologists. And people were motivated to propagate the story because those suffering from anxiety often find comfort in sharing their concerns with others.

the beast in the jungle doesn’t pounce. Finally, in his old age, Marcher learns that the great misfortune of his life was actually to throw it all away in anticipation of a disaster that never materialized and a beast that never pounced (a beast that could so easily be an earthquake, terrorist attack or even a plane crash). For me, the message from all of this is clear. And for those who prefer a film reference to one from literature, the words of Morgan Freeman’s character in the near-flawless Shawshank Redemption are worth noting: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Stop trying to predict the unpredictable—and stop looking for the beast in the jungle to pounce. o Salsberg is a Club Member. You can follow him on Twitter (@briansalsberg) or via his blog at http:// briansalsberg.wordpress.com.

Members have their say 47


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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

48 November 2011 iNTOUCH

After a year of adjusting to a new culture, a different language and a tough strike zone, Tokyo Yakult Swallows reliever Tony Barnette was ready to kick off his second year with a fresh start. But he was in for a shock—quite literally. He was at a spring game in Yokohama on March 11 when the ground began to shift. “I was in the shower,” says the lanky 28-year-old right-hander. “I was still a starter then, and I had thrown in the bullpen and done my workouts. All of a sudden, [reliever Kenichi] Matsuoka poked his head in—he had a quake warning app on his phone—and was looking for the words to say but didn’t understand how to say ‘earthquake.’ The next thing I knew the water in the nearby tub was flying out.” Returning safely to Tokyo, the native of Alaska, who was raised near Seattle, went on to have a breakout 2011 campaign in the Swallows bullpen, settling in with an ERA under 3.00 after a challenging first year as a starting pitcher. Finding success on the mound meant understanding the Japanese approach to the game and a philosophy that stresses teamwork under the guidance of the manager and the psychological


ADVERTORIAL

importance of the first run. Barnette explains that, for example, if there is a runner on third in the first inning and fewer than two outs, the tendency in the United States is to let the run score in exchange for an out; that’s not the case in Japan. “Here, they’ll bring the infield in [to cut off the run at the plate],” he says. “That was a shock to me at first.” Slowly, though, he grew to understand that thinking. “You make the adjustment on the fly,” says Barnette, who previously spent time in AAA ball with the Arizona Diamondbacks before receiving a call from the Swallows. “Now in my second year, I’ve come to expect certain things and been able to cope.” That was also true of the mysterious location of the strike zone. “Sometimes it just floats around,” he says. “Of course, it is up to the umpire’s discretion as to what he thinks is a ball or a strike, but here it is harder to key in as a pitcher.” There was also the matter of learning to communicate with catcher Ryoji Aikawa in a language that is not necessarily English or Japanese. “Catching and pitching is kind of an international language,” he says. “Aikawa is great.

There is not a lot of interaction between us, but through body language and a few words that I know in Japanese and the few words he may know in English we can communicate.” At the start of this season, the Swallows’ management asked Barnette if he would be interested in switching from starter to reliever. “I said I’d do whatever’s best,” he recalls. “It kind of allowed me to focus a little bit more. Instead of having five pitches as a starter and going six, seven or eight innings, it allowed me to focus on a couple pitches I had going good at the time, to throw a little harder and to air it out a little bit. It’s worked out well for me.” For Barnette, who makes his home just two blocks from Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, the greatest part of playing in Japan is the enthusiasm of the fans. “Back home, everyone sits in their seats, gives a little clap and then when something happens, they’ll yell,” he says. “But in Japan, it is constant music, constant noise, constant everything.” What’s more, he greatly appreciates their unconditional support. “They want you to do so well,” he says. “If you’ve had a bad day, they’ll be the first ones at the gate yelling, ‘Go get ’em tomorrow!’” o

Tony Barnette

Season Tickets Catch all the exciting action of the Swallows’ regular season home games from the comfort of your own designated seat in Meiji Jingu Stadium. Season-ticket holders enjoy a range of other benefits, too, including invitations to exclusive events to mingle with the players, access to preseason games, three pairs of tickets to regular season home games, official Swallows goods and priority booking for tickets should the Swallows advance to the Climax Series and Japan Series. Special Offer for Tokyo American Club Members Buy a 2012 season ticket and receive a free bat autographed by one of the Swallows’ foreign players.

STAR SEAT

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BULLPEN SEAT

¥147,000 Entrance 15

MOON SEAT

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HOMERUN SEAT

Center Entrance 16

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3-1, Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0013 For more details about season tickets, e-mail (in English or Japanese) swallows-s.seat@y-swallows.com.

Entrance 4 & 5

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Entrance 6 Main Entrance 7

Advertorial 49


November 2011

ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ 

Disaster Ready Club Member and former Kobe resident John Delp and earthquake experts ponder the possibility of a Tokyo catastrophe i N T O U C H

イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 一 年 十 一 月 一 日 発 行 

TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB

第 四 十 七 巻 五 五 九 号 

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 本 体 七 七 七 円

Issue 559 • November 2011

Uncorked at the Club

A month of holidayinspired grape celebrations

Behind the Lines

One Club Member finds satisfaction on stage

International Bazaar

Global shopping converges on the Club


iNTOUCH Nov 2011