TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
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TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
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i N T O U C H
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Growing Our Home Governors discuss new beginnings at the Club
Issue 570 • October 2012
The Club parties through the decades
CWAJ Print Show
Printmaking excellence on display at the Club
Wakayama’s trails draw pilgrims and hikers alike
food & beverage
2 4 6 7 8 12 14 16 18 22 24 30 32 34
Member David Estrada samples the unique creations of the FLATiRON culinary “lab” and offers his assessment on the Club’s newest dining experience.
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Enthusiastic exercisers, amateur athletes and hardworking execs are all making the most of the Club’s new sports aromatherapy massage service. inside japan
Lending an Ear
36 38 40 42 47
Tokyo English Life Line has been offering counseling services to Japan’s international community for almost 40 years. Member Jonathan Kushner explains why he got involved. feature
contents Contacts Events Board of Governors Management Food & Beverage Library DVD Library Committees Recreation Women’s Group Feature Talking Heads Frederick Harris Gallery Member Services CWAJ Print Show Inside Japan Out & About Event Roundup Back Words
A New Lease on Club Life As part of the Club’s new nonprofit organization status, which takes effect this month, the annual Board of Governors election process has received an overhaul. Three governors talk to iNTOUCH about what the changes mean for the Club and how improving the way the Club communicates can help it flourish.
iNTOUCH To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Rie Hibino: firstname.lastname@example.org 03-4588-0976
For membership information, contact Mari Hori:
Editor Nick Jones email@example.com
Designers Ryan Mundt Nagisa Mochizuki
Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki
Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649
Assistant Editor Erika Woodward
Cover photos of Club governors: 1. John Durkin 2. Lance E Lee 3. Brian Nelson 4. Mary Saphin 5. Deb Wenig 6. Dan Stakoe 7. Hiroshi Miyamasu 8. Ginger Griggs 9. Edward Rogers 10. Shizuo Daigoh 11. Paul Hoff 12. Kavin C Bloomer 13. Gregory Lyon 14. Per Knudsen 15. Hiroyuki Kamano (Turn to page 7 to read about the cover design.)
Communications Manager Matthew Roberts
Management Lian Chang Information Technology Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director email@example.com
Darryl Dudley Engineering Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director email@example.com
Brian Marcus Food & Beverage Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Yahiro Recreation Director email@example.com
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail Phone American Bar & Grill
Banquet Sales and Reservations
Food & Beverage Office
Foreign Traders’ Bar
Member Services Desk
Women’s Group Office firstname.lastname@example.org
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Flipping through old copies of the Club’s newsletter, The Tokyo American, from more than 30 years ago is always fascinating. Aside from reinforcing what a terrible decade the 1980s were for fashion and hairstyles, the pages present the Club as a busy, vibrant place. They also reflect a very different Tokyo from today. With the Japanese economy ramping up, expats were arriving in the Japanese capital in their droves. But compared to the metropolis that welcomes new arrivals today, Tokyo was a far less cosmopolitan city 30 years ago. Naturally, that meant that the Club became a hub for enjoying home comforts, whether that was American food, sports or social events. Although the facilities, parties and trends in eyewear have changed hugely over the years, some elements have remained constant through the many issues of the various Club publications. One of those is the annual appeal for Members to vote in the Board of Governors election and to attend the Annual General Meeting. It’s a perennial battle that typically results in only around 10 percent of the Membership marking a ballot. But with changes to the Club’s official nonprofit status taking effect from this month, that entreaty takes on a more serious tone. Through interviews with a number of Club governors for this month’s cover story, “A New Lease on Club Life,” my colleague, Erika Woodward, explains that Members will now have to register to vote. And those who don’t vote will forfeit the right to run for the Board the following year. As the Club continues to find its feet in a vastly altered economic environment from even five years ago, governors also explain what needs to be done to ensure that that vibrancy on display in the pages of past issues continues for decades to come.
If you have any comments about anything you read in iNTOUCH, please e-mail them to email@example.com, putting “Letter to the Editor” in the subject title of the mail.
contributors Jon Sparks
When not confined by the dictates of working life in Tokyo, Australian Jon Sparks can be found pursuing his passion for outdoor sports and big motorbikes around what he describes as his “idyllic home,” in rural Gunma Prefecture. In addition, he is a trustee of Hope International, a charity that works with the world’s poorest communities, and writes opinion pieces on Japan for online publications. With a lifelong interest in wine, Sparks serves on the Club’s Wine Committee. Ahead of this month’s wine tasting that he will co-host at the Club, he offers some tips, on page 9, on how to find wines that will please the palate but won’t break the bank. Emily Cannell and her husband moved with their teenagers to Tokyo from the United States two years ago. Making a career of moving after leaving her home state of Alabama 25 years ago, she managed to stay employed with a large pharmaceutical company during most of that time. She eventually left to dedicate herself to relocation. During her downtime, she can be found disguised and spying on her children in Roppongi or touring the Japanese countryside, providing the locals with a poor example of a typical American. She writes about it all in her blog, Hey From Japan—Notes on Moving. In “Kitchen Queen,” on pages 22 and 23, she explores Japanese cuisine with longtime resident Elizabeth Andoh.
Words from the editor 3
What’s happening in October 1
October Spa Special For friends or couples thinking about pairing up for a pampering session this fall, The Spa has the perfect offer for October on page 21.
Café Med Weekday Dinner Launch Now, at workday’s end, Members and their guests can unwind over tapas, wine or a feast of favorites at Café Med. 5–9 p.m. (last orders: 8:30 p.m.).
Party Packages Whatever the bash, let the Club’s expert coordinators help make your event one to remember. Get the party started on page 20.
Toddler Time A fun half-hour session of engaging stories and activities await preschoolers at the Children's Library. 4 pm. Free. Continues October 9, 16, 23 and 30.
Kamakura Samurai Archery Ceremony Tour The martial art of yabusame equestrian archery has been performed annually in Kamakura since the 12th century. Secure a seat close to the action on this Women’s Group tour. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Gallery Reception Ahead of the annual CWAJ Print Show later this month, the CWAJ Associate Show kicks off with a casual reception. 6:30 p.m. Details on page 32.
Tokyo: Here & Now This orientation program from the Women’s Group provides a valuable insight to ease the transition to living abroad for Japan newcomers. 8:45 a.m. Page 23 has more.
Tokyo: Here & Now Cocktail Party Tokyo rookies celebrate their newfound knowledge of city living and toast to new friendships at this conclusion of the orientation program. 6 p.m. Flip to page 23 for details.
Value Buys Wine Tasting Join the Club’s wine aficionados for a celebration of wines that are as easy on the palate as they are on the wallet. 7 p.m. Tips and details on page 9.
CWAJ Print Show Preview Ahead of the official opening of this popular exhibition, Members are invited to an exclusive preview. 8 p.m. More on page 36.
17th Annual TELL Connoisseurs’ Auction Wine lovers and Tokyo’s philanthropic community gather in support of the respected Englishlanguage counseling center. Find out about one Member’s involvement with the organization on page 38.
CWAJ Print Show The Club hosts this annual threeday exhibition of highly regarded printmaking talent. 11 a.m. Enter the fantastical world of this year’s catalog cover artist on page 36.
Halloween Spooktacular Youngsters enjoy a day of frighteningly fun activities in celebration of this festival of ghouls and ghosts. 10 a.m. Get all the grisly details on page 20.
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Monster Makeup Once you’ve donned your creepy costume, let our Halloween beauty experts complete your thrilling look. 10 a.m. Flip to page 21 for more.
“Feasting on Ceramics” with Elizabeth Andoh Anthropologist, chef and culinary guru Elizabeth Andoh explains the relationship between pottery and food in Japan. 11:30 a.m. More on page 22.
Library Book Group The Club’s band of literary enthusiasts meet at Café Med to discuss Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. 12 p.m.
Kilikanoon Wine Dinner with Nathan Waks Discover why this Australian winery’s signature Shiraz has twice been crowned the world’s best at a scrumptious dinner, hosted by Kilikanoon’s Nathan Waks. 7 p.m. Page 8 has the details.
President’s Ball: Solid Gold Dance the night away to live vibes while celebrating the charttopping hits and memorable fashions of the 60s, 70s and 80s. 7:30 p.m. More on page 16.
Crabfest Grand Buffet Feast on a mouthwatering selection of crustaceans. Brunch: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner: 5–8 p.m. Adults: ¥5,600; juniors (12–17 years): ¥2,900; children (7–11 years): ¥2,000; kids (4–6 years): ¥1,050; infants (3 and under): free. (Drinks not included.) Reserve at 03-4588-0977.
Open Mic Night Member Jiro Makino and his band host an evening of raw musical talent, guitars and gumption at Traders’ Bar. Free. Adults only.
Handwriting Workshop With 35 years’ experience in education, Library Committee member Julie Ennis helps parents support their children, as they learn to write their first letters. 10 a.m. More on page 12.
An Evening with Geisha Experience Japan’s famed “flower and willow world” firsthand during an evening of kaiseki cuisine and geisha entertainment at an exclusive Tokyo restaurant. 7 p.m. To learn more, turn to page 17.
Youth Athlete Training Budding basketball, football and volleyball players receive useful tips and coaching during this new program. Learn more about these sessions for high school students on page 21.
Disaster Awareness Day This family-oriented event that teaches emergency preparedness in simulated reallife scenarios leaves participants equipped to deal with disaster. 3 p.m. Parking Lot (B1).
Gallery Reception A casual reception at the Frederick Harris Gallery kicks off an exhibition of striking portraits by artist Maitreyi Tanase. 6:30 p.m. Learn about the artist on page 33.
Decanted! Wine Spectator Selection Next up in Decanter’s Decanted! program is a celebration of supreme Wine Spectator-lauded wines, paired with exquisite cuisine. Through November 3. Reserve your table at 03-45880675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seoul Shopping and Spa Tour Experience the best of the South Korean capital’s culture, food, shopping and pampering on this Women’s Group tour. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Voter Registration Deadline Under new Club election rules, to participate in November’s Annual General Meeting and Board of Governors election, Members must register to vote by October 25. Turn to page 24 for the full story.
Coming up in November
New Seasonal Menus American Bar & Grill and Traders’ Bar roll out their selection of tasty fall offerings from today.
3–4 3–4 5 7–8
Birth Preparation for Couples Family Photos Mashiko Pottery Festival Tour International Bazaar and Asian Home Furnishings Sale
10 Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning 15 Chrysanthemum Festival and Ueno Tour 16 Sanyukai Charity Drive
Noteworthy dates for the month 5
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
The Club’s Unsung Volunteers by Mary Saphin
ne of the responsibilities—nay, privileges—of being a governor is the opportunity to serve as a Board liaison on the Club’s standing committees. As the conduit between the Board, committees and management team, we work to ensure Member needs are met within the framework of the direction of the Board, Club policy, Member rules and regulations and finances. For many Members, the workings of the standing committees might be somewhat obscure. But, in this my last article as a governor, I would like to praise the work of those approximately 150 committee and Board members. The job can often be a thankless task, which entails long volunteer hours and, occasionally, harsh criticism. And the rewards can be small: a note of thanks via a Tell TAC, the sight of Members enjoying an event or the smooth operation of the Club. Thank you to all those volunteers on the committees and subcommittees. Without your tireless work and enthusiasm, many of the innovations and changes at the Club would never take place. As a third-term governor, I have been privileged to serve on three standing committees. First, as chair of the House Committee for more than three years, I was part of the team that oversaw many of the changes in rules and organization during the move from Azabudai to Takanawa and then back to Azabudai. The move to our new building, with its separation of family and adult sides, was a time of tremendous transformation. The work of the House Committee is endless, as it endeavors to ensure our new facility is well maintained and that Members respect both the premises and their Member rights and responsibilities. I also served as the Board liaison on the Membership Committee for a number of years. This is another committee of hardworking volunteers, who are often the first people new Members meet at the Club after the Membership Office staff. This committee vets new
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Board of Governors Lance E Lee (2012)—President Brian Nelson (2012)—Vice President Mary Saphin (2013)—Vice President John Durkin (2012)—Treasurer Deb Wenig (2013)—Secretary
Kavin C Bloomer (2012), Norman J Green (2013), Paul Hoff (2013), Hiroyuki Kamano (2012), Per Knudsen (2012), Gregory Lyon (2012), Jeff McNeill (2013), Hiroshi Miyamasu (2013), Edward Rogers (2012), Steve Romaine (2012), Dan Stakoe (2013), Ira Wolf (2013), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2012), Ginger Griggs—Women’s Group President
Members, oversees the makeup of the Membership and has been challenged to adapt to the post-financial crisis, post-earthquake reality of Tokyo, with its changing expatriate landscape. Currently, I am the liaison to the Food & Beverage Committee. If there were ever a committee in the firing line, this is it! Since the vast majority of Members use the dining facilities on a regular basis, the amount of feedback the committee receives is enormous. This then is analyzed and debated, before decisions are made. The challenge of meeting the demand for well-priced, innovative and delicious menus, within the budgetary constraints set by the Board and Finance Committee, is always discussed. Recent price reductions in various outlets are a direct reflection of the work of the committee and the Food & Beverage team. The committee has challenged the Food & Beverage staff to produce positive financial results, and selling the Club’s event and meeting services to the wider Tokyo community is one way to help reach that goal. Therefore, I ask Members to introduce colleagues and associates to the Club’s function facilities, particularly for the upcoming bonenkai and shinnenkai party season. When the Club’s services are used, all Members benefit. When you come along to the Annual General Meeting and committee recognition event next month, take the time to read the information around the room on the achievements of each committee in 2012. You may just feel inspired to join one. o
Kids, Kids, Kids by Brian Marcus
o much has happened since the new Club opened almost two years ago. We have learned to adapt to our new surroundings while providing the best possible service and services for the Membership. Naturally, we are always looking at how we can improve. There are a few issues, including smoking in the Club, dining venues and age limits and children’s behavior, that continue to be discussed by committees and Club management. None of these issues have clear-cut, unemotional solutions, though. As the proud father of three school-age children, the subject of kids and restaurants is near and dear to my heart, and providing a premium, good-value experience for our younger Members has become a major focus for us over the past several months. It’s challenging to satisfy all of our families at the Club, and the Food & Beverage management team, together with the Food & Beverage Committee, has been increasing the offerings, events and frequency of menu changes in Rainbow Café and Café Med. For example, Minjee Roh and his team put on 16 themed food nights over the summer and the Club’s kids can look forward to more of the same in the fall, with special curry, Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday nights. We have also turned our attention to Café Med. Having opened Café Med on weekday nights from this month, it is now the threemeal restaurant for families during the week. Meanwhile, our Pizza Fridays have made Café Med Minato Ward’s teen hangout on Friday evenings, and the restaurant’s Family Sunday Night Out promotion is now in its second year and growing more popular each week.
Food & Beverage Director
If your children are 8 years old or above and you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, remember that Decanter welcomes families every Saturday night. It’s the perfect spot for a more “grown-up” family dinner out. Always aware of the importance of value, we recently lowered prices on all menu items in a number of our outlets, including Café Med and Rainbow Café. Additionally, we update the menus in these restaurants more now than ever before. Since we moved into our Azabudai home last year, one question the Food & Beverage Committee has consistently fielded is “Why can’t my children go to American Bar & Grill?” While not a perfect arrangement, a large number of Members appreciate the importance of having a space in which to conduct business or enjoy a quiet meal. Attaining this balance in the Club is something that we constantly struggle with and is why we will continue to provide kid-friendly and affordable dining opportunities. When my partner and I adopted our three children, my mother told me that raising kids would be the best and most difficult part of my life. She was correct, and that sentiment rings true for family dining at the Club, too. o
Our Vibrant Community by Lance E Lee Lance E Lee Club President
n a departure from our usual practice of having each issue’s cover relate to the main feature story inside, this month’s cover features a selection of photos of your fellow Members, elected by you to serve on the Board of Governors. The snapshots are intended to illustrate the very character of the Club, namely that it’s a community, made up of people from different backgrounds. So much of what is done by these Members is largely unknown and yet essential to the Club. The cover story, “A New Lease on Club Life,” is about the future of governance and communications at the Club and the governors who helped the Club in its substantial task of transitioning to its new nonprofit organization status. But the work isn’t limited to governors. Member Gary Thomas and others spent countless hours negotiating with the relevant government
agency and then rewrote the Club’s Articles of Association and General Rules to insure compliance. Others have contributed, too. Governor John Durkin negotiated a complicated agreement with the owners of the neighboring condominium complex. This resulted in our receiving a substantial cash payment that will allow us to pay down our debt. He also worked on a refinancing project that will benefit the Club. So many Members give so much of their time for the Club, including those involved in the many Women’s Group programs and the organizers of the annual TAC Premier Classic squash tournament and other competitions. Participation is the lifeblood of any private club, and we encourage our Members to enjoy the facilities and programs and participate. The photos of the governors on the cover are a reflection of the Membership, which is composed of a remarkable mix of people, achievements and passions. Meet this wonderful variety of individuals by making the most of the Club. o
Executive remarks 7
Liquid Storytelling by Wendi Onuki
ilikanoon could have stopped with its flagship Oracle Shiraz, which has been bottled each year since the winery’s inaugural release in 1998 and has twice been named the world’s best Shiraz. Instead, the winery has boldly gone on to produce nine versions of the iconic Australian varietal. “Each one has a story and a reason for being which makes it different from each of its [peers],” says Nathan Waks, the personable proprietor and executive director of the South Australia winery. What’s in the bottle of each unique label varies by place, including the renowned Clare and Barossa valleys, as well as whether the grapes are blended from a single vineyard or given the superior reserve status. Alongside Shiraz, Kilikanoon produces variations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Semillon and Riesling. “We have found that our approach to what the French call terroir—the sense of place of the wine…is what makes the whole business interesting for us,” says 61-year-old Waks, who will bring a bevy of showstopping Shiraz and other wines to the Club in October. “And so that’s why we’ve ended up developing so many different wines.” To ease confusion about the myriad choices, the winery relies, in part, on in-person tastings, online wine reviews and the hefty amount of information accessible on its website and social media pages to help people find a wine to suit their tastes. In addition, Waks notes, just a selection of the wines are typically sold in shops. While he concedes that it would be simpler to make fewer wines, Kilikanoon’s owners and winemakers are intent on expressing the unique qualities of their vines (some
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of which are a century old) and terroir much in the way the Burgundy region of France celebrates its distinctive parcels. “That process is one that we find fascinating, so we’re not really ruling out more Kilikanoon wines,” says Waks, a former principal cellist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In fact, Kilikanoon, which was recently named winery of the year by James Halliday, Australia’s answer to Robert Parker, has kicked off an experimental project in which it will bottle batches of wine by the single barrel. “It’s a very purist way of winemaking. Every barrel is different,” Waks says. “That’s just part of the artistic side of winemaking, as opposed to the commercial side. It’s a fine balance.” And it’s this well-crafted equilibrium that Members will be invited to sample when Waks introduces a selection of Kilikanoon wines and their unique stories this month. o Onuki is a Chicago-based freelance journalist.
Kilikanoon Wine Dinner with Nathan Waks Saturday, October 6 7 p.m. American Bar & Grill ¥14,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
FOOD & BEVERAGE
hey may not be wines that command your attention, but they are wines that reward it. Simply, good-value wines are those that offer superior flavor and quality at a better price than comparable wines. While such wines are always available, they are, almost by definition, not well known. Their relative anonymity may be due to their place of origin, poor marketing or because they’re unfashionable varietals. There are also the “fallen angel” wines that were well received but are now available at a more modest price. In addition, exceptional value can be found when wines compete with newer vintages or when a distributor needs cellar space or cash. This month’s tasting will focus on wines that cost less than ¥2,500 a bottle. While wines in this price range represent more than 90 percent of all wines sold in the United States, only 1 or 2 percent are truly good value. The evening will showcase more than a dozen great-value wines, all of which meet the Wine Committee’s criteria of superior quality, inexpensive pricing and availability in Tokyo. Included in the lineup will be Veramonte “La Gloria” Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz from Australia, La Carraia Sangiovese Umbria from Italy, Graham’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Port and even two unlabelled wines. During this relaxed tasting, tables of eight or so participants will be able to sample the wines and share their views with the room, while three superbly paired food courses will ensure this is an occasion too good to miss. o
Bargain Bottles by Jon Sparks
Sparks is a member of the Wine Committee. Value Buys Wine Tasting Wednesday, October 17 7 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms ¥8,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
Club wining and dining 9
The Taste of Terroir by Kelley Michael Schaefer
ave you ever heard an oenophile wax poetic about wine showing “steely minerality,” “forest floor” or “clay and loam,” and wondered what on earth they were talking about? The French have a lovely term to describe such characteristics. Terroir is best defined as a “sense of place” and refers to the uniqueness of an area’s geographical attributes that combine to make one wine taste different from another. These terroir influences can include soil
type, climate, local geography, elevation, topography and even human decisions, such as whether cultured or wild yeasts are used in the winemaking process. All these factors work together to form a wine’s identity and personality. For example, a Chardonnay grape grown in the calcareous Kimmeridgian limestone soil of France’s cool Chablis region will yield a wine distinctively different from the same varietal grown in the sun-drenched, volcanic soils of the eastern slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. When visiting a wine-growing region, I first walk through the vineyards to smell the earth and get a feel for the lay of the land. I vividly recall a sunny spring afternoon in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, where I first became familiar with the schist-based Galestro soil, which is so important to the success of the ubiquitous Sangiovese grape of the area. The Galestro that day was slick and sodden with spring rain and several times
I nearly slipped. My shoes were caked in that magic mud for long after I returned home. Now, whenever I smell the aromas of Chianti and the subtle whiff of Galestro, I am taken back to that lovely afternoon. A sense of place, indeed. But not everyone subscribes to the concept of terroir. In Australia, it’s common for larger producers to source grapes from a variety of locations. For example, one area might supply spicy fruit while another area’s grapes might be renowned for their acidity. This practice of “flavor layering” is done to create a more complex wine. Some winemakers in Australia favor the Old World approach, though, and in their quest for a sense of place they are often referred to as Aussie “terroirists.” For me, no fruit is able to exemplify the individuality of terroir like the grape, and when my wine smells like dirt, that’s just the way I like it. o Schaefer is the Club’s wine program manager.
Kelley’s Cellar Selection 2006 Continuum Napa Valley, California
Tim Mondavi’s Continuum is a true California classic in the tradition of excellence pioneered by his late father Robert Mondavi. Featuring fruit sourced from the heart of the Oakville Bench in Napa, its opaque purple color is followed by a rich, sumptuous bouquet of blackberries, crème de cassis, incense, graphite and a hint of burning embers. This full-bodied Meritage blend of 59 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Cabernet Franc and 16 percent Petit Verdot exudes power and grace, so much so that critic Robert Parker awarded the wine a whopping 96 points. You’ll have to taste it to find out why. ¥28,200 per bottle at Decanter.
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FOOD & BEVERAGE
Showstopping Spectacle by Nick Jones Photos by Kayo Yamawaki
Noriyuki Matsuda and David Estrada
ith a sizzle of seared meat and a waft of liquid nitrogen, the Club launched its newest dining experience at the end of August. Located in Decanter, FLATiRON offers diners a two-hour, interactive spectacle that melds molecular gastronomy and sensory cooking. Members David Estrada and Noriyuki Matsuda were among the first to experience the 11 courses of eye-popping cuisine and paired wines. “I loved the entire experience at FLATiRON, with the added entertainment element,” Estrada says. “I’m also impressed with the entire team for thinking outside the box and coming up with creative names for the dishes served.” Applying an array of cutting-edge preparation techniques, including thermal immersion cooking and flash freezing, FLATiRON also has diners whisk, pour and even inject their own ingredients for a oneof-a-kind experience. “I thought I’ve seen it all in terms of culinary art,” Estrada says, “but this one tops them all!” o Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, FLATiRON hosts just two “shows” a night, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. To reserve your seat, contact Decanter at 03-4588-0675 or email@example.com.
Club wining and dining 11
Pacific Ties by Jen Goswami
hrough my training as a social scientist, I have come to value an outsider’s perspective on a particular society or culture. When my study of standard Japanese history became a bit dry, I began a search of the Library’s shelves for books by Americans on past and present Japan. I was surprised, for example, to learn that some American Members were unfamiliar with Jake Adelstein’s 2009 book, Tokyo Vice. So I decided to compile a short list of reads for others interested in the same topic. If you know of any titles that should be added to this list, please leave a note with one of the librarians.
American Fuji by Sara Backer A comical and insightful love story involving an American professor, desperate to stay in Japan, who comes to the aid of an American father, searching for answers related to his expat son’s death in Japan. The first American and first woman to be appointed a visiting professor at Shizuoka University, Backer has a good grasp of the many subtleties of Japanese culture.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
Written by Tennessee native Golden, this novel tells the story of Sayuri, a young girl who transforms herself from an indentured servant in a geisha house to one of the most famous geisha in Kyoto. A beautiful must-read before a visit to the ancient capital.
A nonfiction account of Adelstein’s experiences as a crime beat reporter for the Yomuri Shimbun newspaper. A Missouri native and Sophia University grad, Adelstein was the first American reporter at the paper. His adventures portray a side of Tokyo few expats see and will give you a few things to think about the next time you walk through Roppongi!
his workshop will help parents support their children to recognize and draw the different letters of the alphabet. Using a range of activities, Library Committee member Julie Ennis, who has more than 35 years’ experience in education, will show parents how to help their children become better, more confident writers. Since this session will include paint and glue, attendees should dress accordingly. The workshop is limited to 15 parentchild pairs, so sign up early. o Handwriting Workshop Saturday, October 13 10–11:30 a.m. Women’s Group classrooms ¥2,100 (includes materials and juice) For parents and children ages 3 to 6 Sign up online or at the Library
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The Ronin’s Mistress by Laura Joh Rowland
The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey
Part of a series of mystery novels set in feudal Japan, featuring samurai investigator Sano Ichiro, this story is a fictionalized retelling of the legend of the 47 ronin samurai. In these books, Rowland presents a colorful picture of early 18th-century Japan. A new novel in the series, The Incense Game, was released last month.
This is the first in a series of mystery novels written by Baltimore resident Massey. The heroine, Rei Shimura, is an English teacher in Japan whose life is changed when she discovers a murder. This award-winning book is rich in detail about Japanese urban life while describing the challenges faced by JapaneseAmerican Rei because of her multiracial background.
You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting An account of Japanese baseball and how it differs from the American version. New Jersey-born Whiting, who graduated from Sophia University, has written several books on Japanese baseball and has provided commentary for the likes of NPR and The Japan Times. Even if you’re not a big fan of the game, you’ll glean insights about the cultural differences between America and Japan. In Tokyo Underworld, Whiting explores organized crime in Japan through the story of American Nick Zappetti.
Other notable books about Japan by foreign authors include the Tales of the Otori fantasy series by British-born Australian resident Lian Hearn; Hokkaido Highway Blues by Canadian Will Ferguson; Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through A Vanishing Japan by British author Alan Booth; Rashomon Gate and other Sugawara Akitada mysteries by German-born author IJ Parker; Shogun by James Clavell; and Getting Genki in Japan by American author Karen Pond, with illustrations by the Club’s own Akiko Saito. o Goswami is a member of the Library Committee
member’s choice Member: Leah Glaser Title: The View from Saturday by EL Konigsburg
What’s the book about? This book is about Mrs Olinski’s Academic Bowl team. Within the book, there is a story about each member. Their names are Nadia, Noah, Ethan and Julian. This is a heartwarming story about the challenges and rewards this group of sixth graders go through while practicing and competing for the big event.
What did you like about it? I really liked each character’s different story and waiting to see whether or not Mrs Olinski’s team would win.
Why did you choose it? I chose this book because it was an interesting read. I also highly recommend it to a lot of young readers.
What other books would you recommend? The Allegra Biscotti Collection by Olivia Bennet, Close to Famous by Joan Bauer, Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher and 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass.
Literary gems at the Library 13
The Fear Factor
t might have been a low-budget slasher flick, but when Halloween was released in 1978, it reduced audiences to terrified screams and shocked gasps. Now regarded as a horror classic, director John Carpenter’s masterful movie tells the story of Michael Myers, a psychiatric hospital escapee, who returns to his hometown one October 31 and sets out on a killing spree. In a 2008 interview with British film critic Mark Kermode, Carpenter, who also wrote the chilling film score for Halloween, explained what it took to induce fear in cinemagoers.
“Once you establish the suspense, then you can do your shocks along the way, and that will scare the hell out of people. They’ll go completely crazy,” he said. “They know something’s going to happen. In a horror movie, you go and you know something’s going to happen. The question is when.” In showing a whimpering Jamie Lee Curtis (in her movie debut), cowering in the corner of an empty closet, Carpenter forces audiences to share her fear. Ahead of Halloween, which movie scene would our Club critics choose as their scariest? o
“In this 1973 horror, based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) begins to exhibit inexplicable, bizarre behavior. Seeking an answer to her daughter’s problems, her mother consults a Georgetown priest, who believes she is possessed by the devil. One of the most horrifying scenes in the movie is when Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Damian (Jason Miller) are attempting to exorcise the demon within Regan. She is restrained in her padded bed, the walls crackle, the room becomes freezing cold and the door slams on its own. Regan suddenly sits bolt upright, her head rotates and she growls in an unforgettable demonic roar.”
“Directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, The Thing (1982) is about an alien that slowly kills off the researchers of an Antarctic research station. I remember going to the theater in Shibuya and staying the entire day to watch the same scary scene over and over again. After the researchers realize they can detect the alien by checking everyone’s blood, they begin testing each vial, and the intense paranoia is ramped up. The Thing is simply one of the best horror movies ever made. If you watched the 2011 remake, do yourself a favor and see Carpenter’s original. The only thing scarier was watching those damn monkeys in The Wizard of Oz when I was 5.”
“Hear the words ‘They’re here’ and you instantly think of the 1982 creepy classic Poltergeist. Carol Anne, the young and beautiful child of a suburban family, becomes fixated with the static on the TV. Eventually an apparition emerges from the screen and strange things begin to happen: furniture moves on its own and items bend or break of their own accord. Carol Anne is then sucked through a portal in her closet to another dimension. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Poltergeist was named the 20th scariest movie of all time by the Chicago Film Critics Association. This Academy Awardnominated film would be a great pick for your Halloween party, so ‘Run to the light, baby,’ and rent this movie today.”
Cinema's scariest scene:
Cinema's scariest scene:
Cinema's scariest scene:
Club critic: Alaine Lee
Club critic: David Fujii
Club critic: Diane Harris
All titles mentioned are either available at the DVD Library or on order.
14 October 2012 iNTOUCH
DVD LIBRARY He is Club President Lance E Lee. She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the DVD Library.
HE SAYS, SHE SAYS abort
give it a go
The Dark Knight Rises A perfect and gripping end-of-a-trilogy film that keeps you transfixed from the start. With rich performances and special effects, the movie’s action is enhanced by an exciting score. It might be a good idea to watch Christian Bale’s first two Batman films to fully appreciate this masterpiece.
Gotham’s Dark Knight (Christian Bale) returns to take on a powerful, new terrorist, Bane (Tom Hardy), in what is the best Batman flick of the trilogy. A long film, but the story’s unpredictability and great ending ensure that it doesn’t drag.
The Lady Entertaining and watchable, but this film seems unauthentic, perhaps because it’s directed by a Westerner (Luc Besson) and the role of Aung San Suu Kyi is played by a non-Burmese actress (Michelle Yeoh). The scenes with the Burmese generals unintentionally end up being comedic because of the ominous Darth Vader-like background music.
Not knowing much about Myanmar, I learned so much from this educational film about Aung San Suu Kyi and her involvement in her country’s struggle for democracy. Michelle Yeoh (Memoirs of a Geisha, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) delivers a superb performances as the protagonist.
Princess Kaiulani Feeling more like a TV movie, this production is almost embarrassing in its amateurism. Aside from the fairly competent acting, the movie’s other saving grace is its somewhat accurate portrayal of the annexation of Hawaii by the United States. The scenes of the picturesque islands are good.
In this true story, a Hawaiian princess (Q’orianka Kilcher) returns from Victorian England to wage a fight against the impending American colonization of her homeland. I enjoyed learning about the history of Hawaii.
Brave Although the storyline is an unexpected one, there are a few things that seem a little off. Since there is no act of bravery by Merida, whose archery skills are nonexistent, the title is misleading. In fact, it’s really all about Mordu the bear. The ending is too simplistic.
While not a huge fan of computer-animated movies, I think most of Pixar’s films are enjoyable—and this is one of them. Set in Scotland, the story is about Merida, a princess and skilled archer, who must undo a curse that she has brought on her kingdom.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta! In this Disney flick, Chihuahuas Papi and Chloe have just moved into a luxurious pad. But with all the hoopla, their youngest pup Rosa feels neglected. Now they’re planning a wild fiesta in her honor.
H OR R O R
The Cabin in the Woods In Friday the 13th fashion, a group of teenagers head to the middle of nowhere for a weekend of unsupervised fun. But when they accidentally awake zombies in the cellar, it really does become a killer party. Stars Kristen Connolly and Chris Hemsworth.
Hysteria Struggling to make a name for himself, young Dr Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) discovers a remedy for female hysteria that’s got even his mentor’s daughters flocking to him for his uniquely stimulating treatment. Stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Lamenting life changes that come with retirement, seven British seniors shake things up by escaping to India. They arrive to find their luxury accommodations are far from such, leading to a test of wills and humor. Stars Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith.
other new titles...
Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap A full length feature exploring how a musical genre, born in urban neighborhoods and once thought to be a passing craze, has sustained its prominence on the global stage. Directed by Ice T. Stars Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Eminem.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Hollywood comedic gems, from Cameron Diaz to Chris Rock, star in this hilarious adaptation of the bestselling book about five New York couples whose lives are turned upside down when they become parents.
All movies reviewed are either available at the DVD Library or on order.
TV and film selections 15
ust off those bell-bottoms, platforms or parachute pants and prepare to relive the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s with a fun evening of live music, dance, food and nostalgia. o
16 October 2012 iNTOUCH
Saturday, October 6 7:30 p.m. (dinner packages from 5:30 p.m.) New York Ballroom ¥8,500 (includes light buffet) American Bar & Grill dinner and event package: ¥14,000 Decanter dinner (with dessert) and event package: ¥16,000 Decanter dinner (without dessert) and event package: ¥15,000 Dress code: black tie Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Programs and Events Committee
Elegant Entertainment by Nick Jones
ressed in her eye-catching kimono and iconic wig, the white-faced geisha is an enduring symbol of Japan. And although the number of these traditional entertainers has steadily declined over the years, they continue to work in parts of Tokyo. This month, Members will have an opportunity to experience their hospitality and well-honed skills firsthand at a traditional ozashiki party at an upscale ryotei restaurant in the Mukojima district of the city. This not-to-be-missed foray into Japan’s rarefied “flower and willow world” will feature traditional games, music and fine kaiseki cuisine. o An Evening with Geisha Saturday, October 13 7– 9 p.m. Mizunoto, Mukojima ¥16,800 Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk 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 Management Office. Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons. Compensation Brian Nelson Finance Gregory Davis (John Durkin) Food & Beverage Joe Purcell (Mary Saphin)
Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter House Jesse Green (Gregory Lyon) House Subcommittee Facilities Management Group Elaine Williams Human Resources Jon Sparks (Steve Romaine)
Membership Craig Saphin (Deb Wenig) Membership Subcommittee Branding TBD Nominating Nick Masee Programs & Events Barbara Hancock Programs & Events Subcommittee Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai
Recreation Tim Griffen (Ira Wolf) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh DVD Abby Radmilovich Fitness Sam Rogan Golf Steven Thomas Library Melanie Chetley Logan Room Diane Dooley Squash Martin Fluck Swim Jesse Green & Alexander Jampel Youth Activities Narissara March
Cornerstone of the Club 17
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Matthew McGuire and Hideaki Hongo
18 October 2012 iNTOUCH
by Nick Jones
aving broken his back after falling out of a tree about two years ago, Matthew McGuire takes his massages seriously. “I still have a titanium rod in my spine,” he says. “The reason I get massages is somewhat for muscle soreness when I work out, but more to relax my back after the surgery.” The 46-year-old American typically visits therapists near his office or home for a simple shiatsu-style massage. “It’s quite no-frills,” he explains, “a neighborhood guy who works out the knots in your back or wherever you’re sore.” But one Sunday in August, McGuire headed to the Club for a new massage treatment being offered at The Spa. Met by personal trainer and massage therapist Hideaki Hongo, McGuire spent the next hour receiving a sports aromatherapy massage treatment. Launched in August, the treatment came about after a number of swimmers from the Sky Pool’s masters swim program, including McGuire, were breakfasting together at the Club after a training session in June. “Most of the swimmers have some kind of routine where they get a massage on a regular basis,” McGuire says. “Everyone has got a different place and shares tips about what’s cheap and good. And somebody at the breakfast table one day said, ‘Don’t they have a sports massage at The Spa here?’”
and mental benefits of combining a massage with essential oils, he also works with athletes, including professional marathoners and cyclists. A treatment begins with a consultation to find out a person’s lifestyle and condition. Once Hongo, 29, knows what ailments or aches he’s dealing with, he blends the necessary oils, which are inhaled and absorbed through the skin. For McGuire, he says he used nutmeg to stimulate the circulation and warm up the muscles, rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon for pain relief and to boost the immune system and a little ginger to help loosen McGuire’s back. “For example, in food, if you marinate meat with nutmeg, basil or rosemary, these kinds of herbs, [the meat] gets softer,” Hongo says. “I can see when I give a massage that the muscles are already warm, which means that the blood is circulating and the muscles get softer immediately. And for the clients, it’s easier to feel [the difference] and move afterwards.” Once the oils have been mixed, Hongo begins the full-body massage, starting from the feet. Aromatherapy massage, he explains, can soothe, relax, enable the body to heal itself and leave a person feeling positive and energized. “It was good,” McGuire says of the treatment. “The service here is much more akin to the quality you’d get in a six-star hotel. I was very surprised. I had never been behind the front door there. It’s a terrific setup there—the views are beautiful, the rooms are beautiful.” A keen sportsman and a fan of deep-tissue massages, Member Russell Anderson received his treatment after an intense weekend of golf. “The ambience was good and the approach was professional,” he says. But the treatment isn’t just for fitness fanatics. Hongo says he can also help those suffering from stiff shoulders, headaches and other symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle. “I like to help these kinds of problems,” he says. o
Whether you’re recovering from a muscle-burning workout or are suffering from too many hours at the keyboard, The Spa has the ultimate treatment. After discovering that there wasn’t such a service at the Club, McGuire contacted Recreation Assistant Director Susanna Yung and proposed the idea. Hongo, who has practiced Japanese seitai massage for a number of years, began studying aromatherapy massage about three years ago. Aside from introducing Members to the physical
To book a sports aromatherapy massage treatment, contact The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fitness and well-being 19
Halloween at the Club
errifying tricks, tasty treats and spooky fun and games await little partygoers this Halloween at the Club. Don’t be afraid to dress up and join in the ghoulish festivities. o
Halloween Spooktacular Saturday, October 27 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Gymnasium ¥2,520 Sign up at the Member Services Desk For more information, contact Reina Collins at email@example.com.
Party Time Whether you’re throwing a sweet 16 birthday bash, baby shower, bachelorette party or activitypacked team-building session, look to the Club’s expert coordinators to help make your event one to remember. From themed parties and high-energy sports events to creative craft sessions and interactive scavenger hunts, our range of value-for-money party packages will meet your budget and exceed your expectations. Contact Chiyono Ikeda at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
20 October 2012 iNTOUCH
While ghosts, goblins and other monstrous creatures skulk, creep, lurch and slither into the Club for Halloween, let our beauty experts make you up for the frighteningly fun affair. Monster Makeup Saturday, October 27 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The Studio Sign up at the Recreation Desk For more information, contact Reina Collins at email@example.com.
Meet the Author
This November, the author of the popular children’s book Harry and Horsie, Katie Van Camp, returns to the Club for another inspiring reading. Children ages 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult. ¥1,050 For more information, contact Reina Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons in Lifeguarding
Help people enjoy the water as a certified lifeguard. This course at the Sky Pool will cover vital lifesaving skills, water safety and working as part of a lifeguarding team. American Red Cross Lifeguarding Course For ages 15 and above For more information, contact the Sky Pool Office at email@example.com.
Top Athletic Tips
Youth Athlete Training From October 14 Every Sunday Basketball: 2–3 p.m. Football: 3–4 p.m. Volleyball: 4–5 p.m. ¥10,500 (four sessions per month) For ages 14–18 For more information, contact Reina Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Photos Saturday, November 3, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday, November 4, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ¥25,000 Sign up at the Member Services Desk For more information, contact Reina Collins at email@example.com.
The Club kicks off a new program for high school athletes looking to improve their game. For this season, experienced Club personal trainers Air Chen and Zoltan Jozsa will offer specialized training sessions for budding basketball, football and volleyball players.
Ahead of the holiday season, professional photographer Ken Katsurayama returns to the Club to take family portraits. Sit or stand for five or six poses and around 30 digital shots. A Christmas tree will be available to use as a backdrop.
Treatment for Two Every weekday this month, at a special discount, The Spa is offering luxuriating 90-minute massages for couples, so you and your companion can share a great escape. Couple’s Weekday Massage: ¥22,050 Offer valid through October 31. To book your next pampering session, contact The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fitness and well-being 21
Kitchen Queen Ahead of her appearances at the Club this month, longtime Japan resident Elizabeth Andoh explains how her love of the local cuisine grew.
Shopping Extravaganza by Linda Schnetzer
22 October 2012 iNTOUCH
by Emily Cannell
hen hearing about my family’s move to Tokyo two years ago, a friend said, “I could never live there. I couldn’t eat the food.” Obviously, he had never met Elizabeth Andoh. The American’s ability to entice the most discriminating of palettes by intertwining Japanese cultural history with masterful preparation has earned her fans in Japan and abroad. Forty-six years ago, Andoh left her native New York to study anthropology in a small town on the island of Shikoku.
WOMEN’S GROUP Living in a suburban setting for the first time, she made a discovery while eating the food prepared by her host family. “Food is the best way of exploring culture,” she says. She also realized that she had been eating a substantial amount of mediocre food up to her arrival in Japan. Amazed at the difference between good food and bad, she says that she “became more than curious as to what made the difference.” A yearlong scholarship stretched into a prolific career of almost half a century. Andoh enrolled in the prestigious Yanagihara Kinsaryu School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine. Encouraged by the school’s founder, Toshio Yanagihara, she received a grounding in traditional Japanese cooking techniques. “I learned the story of food is as important as being able to make it,” she says. In Andoh’s first cookbook, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (2005), she explains the principles of cooking flavorful, nutritious food though a cultural lens. While washoku means Japanese food, it can also be translated as the harmony of food, which is achieved, according to Andoh, through the application of five elements: five colors, five tastes, five cooking techniques, five senses and five outlooks. Her second book, Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions (2010), introduces the idea of kansha, which Andoh describes as “the appreciation of nature’s provisions.” By using home chefs all over the world to test her recipes, she says she is able to ensure that her dishes can be easily duplicated, regardless of cooking expertise. For a number of years now, as part of the Club’s Tokyo: Here & Now orientation program, Andoh has been explaining Japanese cuisine and ingredients to new arrivals. And at this month’s Women’s Group luncheon, she will explain the relationship between pottery and food in Japan—an ideal event for those joining next month’s tour to the Mashiko Pottery Festival. Although consumers in the United States have only recently begun demanding products that are grown locally and harvested at their peak, Andoh has long been a proponent of eating seasonally. Since the early 1970s, she has been writing a column, “The Seasonal Japanese Kitchen,” for Gourmet magazine about regional specialties and seasonal produce. Her latest project, an e-book titled Kibo (the Japanese word for hope), was written in response to last year’s Tohoku disaster. Focusing on the culinary heritage of the three most
affected areas—Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate—she says she hopes to contribute to the long-term recovery of the area. A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the recovery effort. For picky eaters delving into Japanese food, Andoh has plenty of tips: try items you enjoy cooked several different ways; keep a food diary, complete with photos and names, noting what you liked and what you didn’t; and be proactive with the local produce by sampling and ranking varieties of items and ingredients. It’s through such advice, as well as lectures, books and workshops, that Andoh has been able to impart her passion for Japanese cuisine and its diverse culture with the rest of the world. o Cannell is a member of the Women’s Group. Elizabeth Andoh www.tasteofculture.com
“Feasting on Ceramics” with Elizabeth Andoh Monday, October 29 Doors open: 11:30 a.m. Program begins: 12 p.m. Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥3,150 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,200 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Tokyo: Here & Now October 10–11 8:45 a.m.–3 p.m. Members: ¥20,000 (non-Members: ¥22,000) Cocktail Party Friday, October 12 6–9 p.m. Members: ¥5,000 (non-Members: ¥7,000) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
Mark your calendar for this year’s International Bazaar and Asian Home Furnishings Sale. For the first time, these two popular sales will be combined for one fabulous event. These annual events help the Women’s Group raise funds for local charities and Japan-based projects. Last year, most of the money raised was directed to recovery efforts in the earthquake-affected Tohoku region. Members’ shopping and generosity at April’s Still Jammin’ for Japan fundraiser helped to send 72 children from Fukushima to summer camp in Chiba. We hope that we can do something similar again. Shoppers can expect the perennially popular range of vendors, selling everything from artwork and antiques to furniture and accent pieces. This is the perfect place to pick up Christmas gifts or a few mementos of Japan.
Meanwhile, a café and lucky draw will offer shoppers the chance to rest, refuel and possibly win. o Schnetzer is a member of the Women’s Group. International Bazaar and Asian Home Furnishings Sale Wednesday, November 7, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thursday, November 8, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. New York Ballroom and Brooklyn rooms Open to the public Volunteers Wanted Volunteer at this year’s sale and enjoy early shopping and the chance to make new friends. No experience necessary. To sign up, e-mail email@example.com.
An interactive community 23
A New Lease N on Club Life In its new nonprofit status, the Club is set to change the way it votes—and sells itself. by Erika Woodward
24 October 2012 iNTOUCH
early four years ago next month, taking to the polls in a historic presidential election, an unprecedented number of Americans voted. This November, when it comes to the Club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Board of Governors election, Deb Wenig wants more Members than ever to exercise that same right. “I’m a political scientist by trade, so, of course, I think voting is very important,” says the governor. “I think it’s important for everybody to vote, every year for every election. It’s no different in a private club.” Unfortunately, when it comes to getting out the vote, the Club has struggled. “Historically, we’ve only required 20 percent of Members for quorum,” says Wenig, seated in the Winter Garden on a July weekday morning. “But we’ve only gotten 10 percent.”
A New Lease on Club Life 25
Starting next month, that kind of figure won’t do. Under revisions to the Club’s Articles of Association that were adopted at last November’s AGM, a majority of voting Members, or 50 percent, must participate in the AGM through attendance or by proxy. This new election procedure is one of a number of changes that officially take effect from October 1, as part of the Club’s new nonprofit organization (NPO) status. To participate in the election process, though, Members must register to vote by October 25. “I see it as [Members] are going to be taking a step positively and proactively to guarantee their right to vote,” says Wenig. “So I think that in some respects this may be really good for the democratic process in the Club, because Members are going to have to pay more attention to the fact that we have elections coming up and the fact that there are issues that the Membership is going to be asked to vote on.” If Members do not participate in the AGM (and any Extraordinary General Meeting), they forfeit their right to do so for 13 months following the missed vote. For governor candidates, who must have voting status for at least one year immediately prior to assuming office, not voting could render them ineligible to run for two years. “Harsh or not, that is arguable,” says Hiroyuki Kamano, a governor who was instrumental in guiding the Club through the process of NPO status change. “The point is under the new NPO law the quorum requirement has become stricter, so as an organization we must establish a quorum for each general meeting for that purpose. Or if, as in the past, most Members don’t vote, this institution will become paralyzed. In order to avoid that kind of situation, we have created a system of voting Members and Club Members. So as long as you vote, you don’t face any penalty.” Kamano hopes this change will inspire more Members to become engaged in Club life. “This Club is not just a hotel or restaurant, so I hope every Member feels they are a part of the Club and, as such, they should vote. This is [the] first priority.”
Looking to quell public outcry against objectionable running of Japanese NPOs at taxpayers’ expense, in 2006, the government enacted laws requiring nonprofit organizations to meet new standards by 2013 and receive authorization by the recently established Public Interest Corporation Committee. Granting NPOs five years to complete any transition, the laws provided the Club with three options: become a private corporation or continue as a nonprofit, either as an ippan shadan hojin (general members’ association)
“I think it’s important for everybody to vote, every year for every election. It’s no different in a private club.” or a koeki shadan hojin (public interest members’ association). Having launched a special task force about three years ago to research and propose the best way forward, the Board of Governors took its findings to the Membership last November. “The principle difference is that koeki hojin will remain under the scrutiny of a relevant government ministry, while ippan shadan hojin will enjoy no direct supervision by the government,” reported the task force. “The quid pro quo for accepting direct government supervision is that donations made to a koeki hojin are tax deductible, whereas donations made to an ippan shadan hojin are not. More importantly, a koeki hojin must devote at least 50 percent of its annual expenditures to the public good. An ippan shadan hojin does not have this obligation. The Board, the NPO Task Force and the professional advisers of the Club all believe that the ippan shadan hojin status is the most appropriate for a private members’ club.” In other changes, Members will be able to vote online from this upcoming Board election but will no longer vote directly for the Club president. The Board will choose a “representative director” from among its members to serve at the Club’s helm. “Theoretically, if all Members can elect the president by themselves, that is very nice,” says Kamano. “But, in reality, only a small number
26 October 2012 iNTOUCH
A New Lease on Club Life 27
28 October 2012 iNTOUCH
of Members have voted in the past. So, if the presidential candidate could get a small number of supporters, he or she could be elected president. But under the new article, the president will be elected among [and by the] governors, and, in such a case, governors [will] closely pay attention [to] the qualifications of a [potential] president.” Wenig says the Board will evaluate a presidential candidate based on how his or her area of expertise would best serve the specific needs of the Club at the time. “For example, maybe we need a strong leader financially, [then] perhaps the choice of president will lean more towards financial capability,” she explains. “Perhaps in another year or two, you might need someone who is stronger with respect to governance, and so the Board might want to decide to choose a president based on that score.” Bottom line: every vote counts, says Wenig. “Because
events better, people are going to know about them and they’re going to want to participate. Improving in both these areas concurrently will lead to increased revenues, which are a must for long-term sustainability,” says Griggs. Griggs, who co-chaired the task force with Terry White and was supported by Club governor Paul Hoff, former Membership Committee chair Mark Ferris, management adviser Bob Sexton and ex-officio task force member Club President Lance E Lee, says it’s all about getting “the right messages to the right people in the right way.” Since the Club moved into its much larger home last year, communicating with Members has become more complicated, according to Griggs. “We have huge potential here. However, we also have enormous challenges. One of those is the increased revenue needed to pay off our loan. That’s something the extent of which we’ve never had before,” she says. “Also, although the facilities are absolutely superb, a lot of Members have noticed that from a communications standpoint, it’s more difficult for us to bump into each other. We have corridors and cubbyholes and walkways, so the contact points, communication and the way we market things internally need to change. We also really need to work on creating a sense of community.” And when it comes to growing that community, Griggs says that in today’s climate of increased competition and decreased spending, the Club needs to market itself as companies do. Successful businesses clearly identify their brand, target markets and what distinguishes their offerings in the marketplace, and then, as part of an overall strategy, they deliver targeted marketing messages, she says. “The Club must be recognized as so much more than just a fantastic facility. This is a very dynamic city and, before you know it, another fantastic facility could come along,” Griggs says. “We need people to feel that Tokyo American Club is the place to be in Tokyo, not only for its outstanding facilities and superb service, but also for a sense of community that brings together internationally minded people. Whether it’s to enjoy a great meal, relax over a drink with friends, work up a sweat, take a culture class, browse through the Library, indulge in The Spa or just hang out, the Club is where to come. For our Members, it’s a home away from home.” o
“We need people to feel that Tokyo American Club is the place to be in Tokyo.” it’s a members’ club, it’s our club,” she says. “We’re the ones who deliberate and recommend budgets. We don’t just vote for the Board of Governors. We have a full club of many standing committees, lots of volunteer participation and I think voting is just one more step in that process of assuring more Member participation.” Just as the Membership can improve its voting record, the Board also recognizes that as part of an overall initiative to enhance Club communications, it, too, can better exchange ideas with Members. “In the past, there were occasions when some Members felt there was a communication gap that left them either surprised or questioning certain Club decisions, whether those decisions had been made at the committee, Board or management level,” says Ginger Griggs, a governor and the president of the Women’s Group. “Understanding, feeling in the know, being educated and having a voice— those all make us feel like we are contributing Members in the direction of our Club.” With that in mind, early this year, the Board set up a marketing and communications task force. Its mandate was twofold: to make recommendations to improve the exchange of ideas throughout the Club and to improve the Club’s internal and external marketing. After weeks of interviews with the Club’s standing committees, management and Women’s Group board, including an analysis of strategies, structures, processes, strengths and technology, the task force delivered its recommendations on how the Club could better engage Members and court new ones to the Board in April. “From the marketing aspect, externally, the more professionally and effectively we market ourselves, the more Members we’ll have. Internally, if we market
Register to vote To vote in next month’s Annual General Meeting and Board of Governors election, Members must register first. Completed registration forms, which can be downloaded from the Election 2012 page of the Club website, should be submitted to the Member Services Desk by October 25.
A New Lease on Club Life 29
Building another Boom Japan is a country that embraces fads and trends. And in the 1990s, the country went wine crazy. A combination of factors, including media reports about the health benefits of red wine and the triumph of a Japanese sommelier, Shinya Tasaki, at the 1995 sommelier world championships, fueled a boom that saw wine
consumption treble between 1995 and 1998. In fact, in 1998, Japan became the largest export market by value for wines from both Bordeaux and California, according to a 1999 report by The Economist magazine. Although wine imports to Japan continue to steadily grow, the grape-based beverage accounts for only around 3.2 percent of all
alcohol consumed. The likes of beer, chuhai highballs and shochu liquor are the preferred drinks of choice. Bill Campbell is the founder and CEO of Hotei Wines, a Tokyo-based importer of premium California wines. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to discuss the rise of wine in Japan. Excerpts:
iNTOUCH: Will the level of wine consumption in Japan ever reach the amounts drunk in countries like France?
coming in. And the younger generation have often gone overseas as students or on their honeymoons and they see people drinking wine, try it and some come back and say, “Well, I’d actually like to drink wine more often.”
the shelf at ¥500. It’s not the stuff that a longtime wine drinker would necessarily want to drink, but it’s the entry-level vehicle for giving people experience.
Campbell: It could certainly be multiples of where it is now: 2.6 liters of wine per person, per year—three bottles of wine. Japan’s a wealthy country, people love to drink and they’re really just discovering wine. iNTOUCH: So is wine in its infancy here? Campbell: Japan’s been making wine for 150 years. It’s not like it’s never been here, but in one sense it’s early days. What’s happening is you’re getting this generational shift. The older generation are drinking shochu, whiskey, brandy, spirits and sake, and as they get too old to drink or pass away, those drinkers are moving off the peak spending part of the demographic curve and the new guys are
30 October 2012 iNTOUCH
iNTOUCH: So we can expect a steady rise in wine consumption then. Campbell: One of the trends is the increase in bulk wine, where they bring it here in a tanker and bottle it in a local bottling plant, so the transport is more efficient and the import taxes are much lower. Bringing wine into Japan in bulk means that you can end up with wine in a bottle at a much cheaper price. Traditionally, the wine market was a fine wine market—¥3,000, ¥5,000, ¥10,000 a bottle—but when you want to get out to all 120 million people, you need stuff on
iNTOUCH: Although French wines no longer completely dominate, they still make up 35 percent of the market. Why do they still have such a strong presence? Campbell: Mainly for historical reasons. The JSA [Japan Sommelier Association] study guide is almost entirely about France and so for every sommelier who has gone through that [training], serving French wine is easier than something that you may not have heard of before. iNTOUCH: Why then have French wines lost their stranglehold on the market? Campbell: That’s easy: the French got
lazy. They are selling a lot of poorly made wine in Japan, and so, as the market becomes more sophisticated, people will no longer accept a bottle of subpar wine just because it’s French. People got wise. Of course, high-end Burgundy and highend Bordeaux are unique products in the world, but the other 49 million liters of imported [French] wine is going to be just village-level wine, and there’s a lot of competition. You know, we’ve seen this huge increase in quality out of the New World, and there’s more willingness to drink off piste [in Japan], and there are much better options.
Second was Yellow Tail [wine]. Decades ago, we saw Blue Nun destroy German wine. It was a global fad, but then everyone thought that German wines should be sweet, kind of nasty and cheap. And now everyone thinks that Aussie wine should be super cheap because of Yellow Tail. The third thing was [wine critic] Robert Parker was giving out 98-plus scores for Shiraz. Suddenly, every other Shiraz was yet another 100-point wine. It was overkill.
iNTOUCH: Imports of Australian wines were significantly down last year from previous years. Why?
Campbell: Just the demographic issue of the younger generation, which is better traveled and more wine knowledgeable. Then the world sommelier championship finals will be held in Japan next year, so there’s hope that a Japanese might
Campbell: It was a one, two, three punch. First, the Aussie dollar was very strong.
iNTOUCH: What is going to drive wine consumption in Japan over the coming years?
win again and that would excite people. Also, there’s been a big boom towards publicizing Japanese wine. There’s a whole generation of Japanese that have gone overseas and worked at wineries and are coming back with expertise, [and] there’s a move for 100 percent grapes grown in Japan and wine made in Japan. iNTOUCH: How good are the local wines? Campbell: It’s a difficult environment to grow grapes. There are some German white varieties that are cold hardy that do really well in Hokkaido and there are other hybrid varieties. People are learning how to grow them and where to grow them. The move to promote Japanese wine and get people to start drinking wine will bring in a whole new generation of drinkers, which we can all certainly raise a glass to! o
Member insights on Japan 31
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.
CWAJ Associate Show by Kendra Lerner In conjunction with the 57th annual CWAJ (College Women’s Association of Japan) Print Show, this year’s CWAJ Associate Show, titled “Singular Visions: The Art of Monotype,” features the works of four gifted young artists: Yumeka Fujita, Tomohiko Maeno, Naoto Okuyama and Kouseki Ono. Monotyping represents a fascinating variation on traditional printmaking technique. Starting with an image transferred from a plate, a monotype artist, rather than pulling multiple, identical images to create an edition, manipulates each printed image to produce individual works. Although the method is centuries old, it didn’t develop its own traditions, and each artist endows this art form with his or her own style, technique and aspirations. Fujita incorporates photography and prints images on a variety of surfaces. “To me, silkscreen is one of the drawing techniques,” she says. “I am so excited about the world that emerges only through the silkscreen process, a world made up of the expected and the unexpected.” Maeno brings texture to his works as a means of exploration. “Sometimes I see a glimmer of possibility that unknown islands exist and I wonder if they are hidden beneath other islands,” he says. “I start with this question and create maps to reconnect the islands as if they were engaged in an abstract turf war game.” Meanwhile, Okuyama, whose series of prints is called “Blood,” examines variations in color, shape and positive and negative space. “Blood is symbolic of the energy, which, although invisible, definitely exists and drives everything forward into action,” he says. “I create my prints to resonate with the viewer's inner energy.” Using a technique called ink pillar scraping and transplantation, Ono draws multiple dots on a plate and silk-screens them repeatedly to form ink pillars, which he then transplants onto canvas in different patterns. “In this process, I use the combination and distribution of colors that powerfully appeal to the human mind,” he says. “The real joy of my artwork is that I search for myself while making it.”
Exhibition October 9–21
Tuesday, October 9 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to Members and invitees only
32 October 2012 iNTOUCH
FREDERICK HARRIS GALLERY
by Erika Woodward “There is no longer room for doubt that the photographer has ousted the painter in the performance of the basic task of portraiture,” wrote the renowned British artist Robin Ironside in The London Magazine in 1961. But 37-year-old painter Maitreyi Tanase, who will exhibit an engaging collection of emotive portraits at the Frederick Harris Gallery this month, takes a different view. “Although I acknowledge that the role of portraiture has changed, I do not believe that it has in any way declined,” she writes. “On the contrary, in this modern age, where everything is achieved with the click of a switch, it can be very gratifying to go back to the ancient, unhurried process of portrait painting.” Growing up in Mumbai, India, Tanase began art lessons at 11, around the same age she began copying paintings in art books her father would bring home from his travels abroad. Sidelining her passion to earn a degree in architecture and later work for a Japanese construction company (where she met her husband), Tanase took up painting again when she relocated to New York. Enrolling in the Art Students League there, she studied portraiture with greats like Harvey Dinnerstein and began exhibiting her work. Moving from the Big Apple to London, then back to Japan two years ago, the mother of three’s latest collection is a tribute to the captivating history of her current home. “I had always been attracted to the beauty of the Japan of olden times. So I took this opportunity to put my love of Japan down on the canvas. My exhibition, ‘Portraits of Japanese Women and Other Paintings,’ at the Fredrick Harris Gallery is a result of this endeavor,” she says. No lensman required.
October 22–November 4
Monday, October 22 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free Open to invitees and Members only
Exhibitions of Art 33
sayonara Takahiro & Ayako Ando Mario & Laura Aron George & Susan Bailey David & Amy Brandt Alessandra & John Collier Janet Corstorphin Ken Foo & Anne Ong Akio Fukuda Hiroshi Fukushima Aziz & Sajda Gdihi Alex Guizzetti & Annemarie McNamara Magnus & Keeko Gythfeldt Hisaaki & Masuko Izawa Peter & Janick Jenkins Shin & Kimiko Kayahara Mark & Denise Kennerley Robert & Cristina Klemm Mark & Claire Law Chieko Matsushita Timothy Francis McCarthy Matthew & Veronica Mittino Christopher & Ya-hui Monteilh James & Marsha Ann Moran Yohei & Yu Nakamoto Maulik & Nina Nanavaty Craig & Sharon Naylor Peter & Makie Ohler James & Stephanie Quinnild Jesse & Linda Singh Simon & Ria Sinha Derek & Theresa Sliworsky Jun & Jo Koliski Sochi Nicholas Stearn & Penny Austin Isao & Atsuko Sugiura Jay Wang & Vincy Chik John Wilkinson Matthew & Corina Wood Paul & Tomoko Worthy Luis & Laura Zenteno Marco & Petra Camathias Ziegler
New Member Profile Jim & Mary Kocis United States—IBM Japan Ltd.
Why did you decide to join the Club?
“As recent arrivals from New York City, we were initially drawn to TAC to help transition to our new life in Japan. It soon become clear that there could be no better place for us to make new friends, enroll in fitness and cultural classes and enjoy world-class cuisine. Our young sons also give a definitive two thumbs-up to the pool, bowling alley, library, DVD selection and child-friendly menu options.” (l–r) Jim, James, Mary and Jude Kocis
New Member Profile Rajeev Kannan & Puja Rajeev India—Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Why did you decide to join the Club?
“We’ve just moved to Tokyo from Singapore, where we were expats for 14-odd years. After having experienced life amidst a well-established network of friends that was more like family, we felt TAC would be the perfect starting point for us in Tokyo to meet like-minded people and would serve as a gentle introduction to Japan for the whole family. We’re really looking forward to interacting with other Members and exploring the Club’s different activities, and our two children can’t wait to try out the pool!” (l–r) Aryaman, Puja, Tanvi and Rajeev Kannan
Stacks of Services at the Club
JTB Sunrise Tours
André Bernard Beauty Salon
Enjoy a 5 percent discount on all package tours and start making unforgettable memories. Tel: 03-5796-5454 (9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jtb-sunrisetours.jp
The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 The Cellar (B1) Sat: 1–4:30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Weekday drop-off: Member Services Desk
To find out more about the range of services and Member discounts, visit the FedEx counter. The Cellar (B1) Mon–Fri: 1–5 p.m. (closed Sun and national holidays) Sat: 12 p.m. (pickup only)
Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (B1) Tue–Sun 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
34 October 2012 iNTOUCH
of the month
Joe & Suzanne Masuzawa United States—Invito Designs Eric & Hazel Yaptangco United States—Chartis Companies Donald & Grace McCauley United States—Oracle Corporation Japan Seiji & Satoko Kiyohara Japan—Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Peter & Martha Jennings United States—Dow Chemical Japan Ltd. Takakazu Ando Japan—Kanefuji., Co., Ltd. Akiko Terada Japan—State Street Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. Ajay & Deepa Asrani India—British American Tobacco Japan Ltd. Don & Jane Stokes Ireland—Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Andreas Schwartz & Olga Pastor Germany—Philip Morris Japan K.K. Archie & Bridget McEachern United States—Nike Japan Group LLC
Yoshiko Ban Japan—Haruta Tax & Computer Office
by Nick Jones
by Nick Jones
Tetsu & Mikiko Nishiyama Japan—Gonzo, Inc. Scott Bourn United States—American Home Assurance Company Dean & Meralee Fredenburgh United States—Teradata Japan Ltd. Craig & Esther Blackmun United States—Caterpillar Japan Ltd. Catherine Ohura & David Joyner United States—Bristol-Myers K.K. Yoshimasa & Kazumi Inoue Japan—Swear Co. Edward & Kaori Higase Japan—KVH Co., Ltd. John & Tonia Welling United States—Wal-Mart/Seiyu Reinhard Bertele & Claudia Lozano Germany—Roche Diagnostics K.K. Prachetas & Sharmila Raykar India—Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd.
t was an entirely new environment, but Shigeru Sugiyama and his coworkers from the Club’s maintenance and engineering section were gradually finding their way around the yet-to-open facility’s high-tech heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems, as well as numerous new pieces of equipment. Then a massive earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. During the subsequent power shortage in Tokyo, Sugiyama and his team had to work out ways to conserve energy around the Club. But then solving problems is what he enjoys the most about his job as a maintenance technician. “I’m happiest when I’m fixing things,” he says. Inquisitive as a child, he was forever taking apart and reassembling objects around the house. “I wondered how things worked and how they were made,” says Sugiyama, 36. Unfortunately, his early electrical tinkering also resulted in some short-circuited heaters and lights. Now, with the relevant qualifications and years of experience, the Employee of the Month for August can indulge in his passion…safely. o
hen her father was transferred with his job to Chile, Marie Nagata opted to enter international school rather than a Japanese one. It was a gutsy decision for a 12-yearold who spoke only Japanese. “It was the sink or swim method [of learning English],” she says. “When you’re a kid, you try things out. I don’t remember struggling too much.” Four years later, when the family returned to Japan, she was not only fluent in English, but could chat quite contentedly in Spanish, too. In fact, she had a harder time in her homeland. “It was more difficult to readjust to Japan than move to Chile,” says Nagata, who turns 25 this month. Her further studies in sociolinguistics at the International Christian University in Tokyo, which included a year at UCLA, prepared her well for the Club’s multinational environment. After joining the Decanter team last October, July’s Employee of the Month now uses her skills in the Food & Beverage Office. o
Services and benefits for Members 35
by Michiko Okubo
36 October 2012 iNTOUCH
An array of mesmerizing artwork will be on display at the Club this month, as the annual CWAJ Print Show returns.
CWAJ PRINT SHOW unbidden, one at a time. Oh, and some would jump the queue and catch me by surprise,” says the artist, rolling his eyes. “So, I’d say, ‘What? You’re here already? I thought you were way in the back.’ People often ask me if I intend to make a print that captures the mood of the times. I don’t. I can’t…when I have no control over what idea will pop out next.” Once he started working on the angel, the image began to take shape. A black box of nesting cubes encased the angel, who later broke out. Yoshida admits that he puts a lot of thought into artwork titles, which often precede the stories that lead to prints. Equating his printmaking with producing a sci-fi film, Yoshida says he dreams up an entire story for each print, even though he can depict only one scene. Leaving nothing to chance, the artist then plans every meticulous detail. Since he portrays the fantasy world, this is all the more important, he says. He constructs three-dimensional models of the characters and objects that will appear in his works to see how they cast shadows and how they look from different angles. They can be as elaborate as an imaginative vehicle with moving parts or as simple as a piece of carefully kneaded putty. Complicated models can take weeks to build, but Yoshida says he enjoys the process of getting to know his subjects. For months, as Yoshida develops a print, he becomes immersed in his work. He admits to feeling wistful when he finishes engraving, one of his favorite parts of the entire printmaking process. “I start with a block, inked black,” he explains. “As I engrave, I see my world emerging, little by
little, like a town after a blackout.” Born in 1968, Yoshida loved creating precise pencil drawings as a boy, but disliked the feel of a brush on paper. While at elementary school, he made his first woodcut to print New Year’s cards. The exacting craftsmanship appealed to him. By the time he was 15, he says, he knew he wanted to be a woodblock printmaker. Although Yoshida has realized that dream, he says he wishes he could devote more time to his art. With a full-time job, printmaking is reserved for evenings and weekends. “I’m used to it,” he says with a shrug. “I majored in English literature at college while studying wood engraving at night school.” A creative combination, indeed. o Okubo is a Tokyo-based writer. Hideshi Yoshida www.agnahue.com College Women’s Association of Japan www.cwaj.org
CWAJ Print Show Thursday, October 18, 8–9 p.m. (preview and sale for Club Members only) Friday, October 19, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday, October 21, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. New York Ballroom and Frederick Harris Gallery Free Open to the public Print Show catalogs can be purchased at the Member Services Desk.
wish you’d come in May,” says Hideshi Yoshida, leading us to the gate of his house in Setagaya Ward. I look up in awe at the rose vines that cover the front and side walls, their leaves gleaming in the July morning sun. It’s an impressive sight, even without the flowers. “My wife is the gardener,” the artist says, as we climb the steps to the front door. Mikiko, his green-fingered wife, with a passion for England, opens the door. “It’s a pity the roses are gone,” she says, inviting us inside. Their home’s décor is as English as the garden outside. In stark contrast to the downstairs rooms, Yoshida’s studio upstairs bears almost no stamp of the owner, except for a framed print on an easel in the corner. Titled “The Strength to Destroy This Restraint,” the striking print graces the catalog cover of the 57th CWAJ (College Women’s Association of Japan) Print Show, which takes place this month at the Club. Although Yoshida has won many prestigious awards for his work, he had never submitted any of his prints to the show before. In his cover print, a winged knight soars out of his prison, his lance thrust high, as an impaled monster tumbles backwards below. The warrior, originally an armorless angel, was confined in a “hypercubic prison,” when the artist discovered him in 1993 in a nonfiction book, The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality, by Rudy Rucker. Inspired, Yoshida added the trapped angel image to his list of ideas. Like cellared bottles of wine, Yoshida’s ideas mature with age and emerge after many years of gestation. “They come
CWAJ Print Show 37
Lending an Ear by Brian Publicover
Ahead of TELLâ€™s annual wine auction fundraiser, one Club Member explains the importance of the counseling service in Japan.
38 October 2012 iNTOUCH
in Maryland and New York. “It was an outgrowth of the need in Japan to have a Western approach to mental health, in English,” he says. “Anything like this tends to spring from a demand, and the provision of counseling and mental health services in Japan in Japanese is very different.” Kushner first learned about TELL’s work at the organization’s annual wine event several years ago. “The wine auction opened my eyes to the valuable work that TELL is providing to the community, helping people deal with their problems and saving lives,” he says. “I was impressed with the presentation and the quality of the work that it does.” A communications professional, Kushner says he thought he could use his expertise to help TELL. “As part of TELL, I’ve been able to bring my professional advice and perspective…to help the organization grow and reach a changing demographic in Japan,” he says. TELL partly subsidizes the cost of its counseling services, with fees based on a person’s ability to pay. “The top rates would be comparable to what you would get in the market in the West,” Kushner says. “There is a sliding scale and the ability to pay determines the cost of the service.” Like any nonprofit group, fundraising is crucial to TELL’s existence. “The fundraising, the donations program, the events like the wine auction are critical to ensuring the ability to continue to serve, not just the Life Line, but the professional face-to-face counseling services, too,” he says. With this in mind, Kushner is focused on the upcoming Connoisseurs’ Auction. “You can drink great wine and eat fabulous food, at an embassy, outside in a beautiful setting,” he says. “So it’s a great event and a great opportunity to mix and meet people while participating in a fabulous cause.” o Publicover is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Tokyo English Life Line www.telljp.com
17th Annual TELL Connoisseurs’ Auction Friday, October 19 5:30–9 p.m. Australian Embassy, Tokyo ¥18,000 (tickets available at www.telljp.com) Adults only Supported by the Programs and Events Committee
n the days, weeks and months after tsunami waves roared ashore along hundreds of kilometers of Japan’s northeastern coastline, wiping out entire towns and leaving thousands dead, the survivors of last year’s disaster faced a different set of challenges. Often living in makeshift shelters, many began to suffer extreme mental stress and feelings of isolation and uncertainty. Meanwhile, the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant created further anxiety. As Western media reports painted apocalyptic pictures of the situation and some embassies started to advise their citizens to leave Japan, increasing numbers of people, both foreign and Japanese, headed west from Tokyo or out of the country. Naturally, many anxious non-Japanese residents in the capital and elsewhere sought a friendly ear during that unsettled period. The professionally trained counselors of Tokyo English Life Line (TELL), a Tokyo-based nonprofit counseling service and free, confidential telephone hotline, were much in demand. “[Those] were exceptionally stressful times for everyone,” says Jonathan Kushner, a vice chairman of TELL. “I’m extremely proud of how TELL rose to the occasion.” The Club Member says TELL’s volunteer phone counselors, who normally field more than 6,000 calls a year, handled a surge in calls after the quake. “Our counseling center was able to deal calmly and professionally with all of the anxieties that the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat brought,” Kushner, 41, explains. The organization also quickly set up a program to prepare volunteers for the traumatic scenes they were about to witness on their trips to the disaster-hit areas of Tohoku. “This shows that TELL has an enormous impact on people through our work, not just in Tokyo, but across Japan,” he says. Established in 1973 to support Japan’s international community, TELL also offers face-to-face counseling services and assistance for children and families and regularly hosts talks and workshops to raise awareness about mental health issues in Japan. It addresses a range of issues, from depression and substance abuse to eating disorders and suicide. Nowadays, Kushner says, TELL has broadened its focus to include the “internationalized community” and receives demand for its services from the likes of returnees, struggling to readjust to their home country, and individuals in interracial marriages. “There is usually some component that involves English and foreign experience,” Kushner says. “Either a foreigner in Japan or a Japanese dealing with international issues, or problems related to internationalization.” The expansion of TELL’s services over the years has been a natural one, says Kushner, who grew up
A look at culture and society 39
Wakayamaâ€™s Spiritual Pathways by Tim Hornyak
With its breathtaking mountainous scenery, ancient pilgrimage trails and spiritual spots, Wakayama is an enchanting getaway.
To reach Mount Koya, take the bullet train from Tokyo Station to Shin Osaka Station (2 hours, 30 minutes), then take the Midosuji Subway Line to Namba Station and transfer to the Nankai Line. From there, take a rapid express train for approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes to Gokurakubashi Station. The last leg of the trip is a five-minute cable car ride from Gokurakubashi to Koyasan. For Shingu, the Kuroshio No 9 express from Tennoji takes around 3 hours, 40 minutes. Koyasan Tourist Association and Shukubo Temple Lodging Association www.shukubo.jp
Koyasan Shingon Buddhism and Visitor Information www.koyasan.or.jp Nankai Koya Hot Net www.nankaikoya.jp Koyasan Cross-Cultural Communication Network www.koyasan-ccn.com
Kumano Hongu Tourist Association www.hongu.jp Nachikatsuura Town Tourist Association www.nachikan.jp Shingu City Tourist Association http://kumano-shingu.com
Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau www.tb-kumano.jp
Temple Lodging in Japan http://templelodging.com Explore Wakayama www.wakayama-kanko.or.jp
40 September 2012 iNTOUCH
OUT & ABOUT
uring typhoon season, one name you’ll often hear on Japanese weather reports is the Kii Peninsula. It’s a chunk of Honshu near Osaka that juts out into the Pacific and bears the brunt of lashings from storms curling northward. It’s small wonder then that this wild land of mountains and rainforests has long been associated with Shinto gods and spirits. For centuries, it has hosted one of the most important pilgrimage routes in the archipelago, linking holy sites with ancient trails cutting through majestic cedar forests. The Kumano Kodo is, in a real sense, a gateway to another world. Wakayama Prefecture makes up the bulk of southern Kii, stretching from Osaka Bay to the Pacific Ocean. It has easy rail access to Osaka itself, and the draw for most rail travelers here is Mount Koya, a mountaintop monastic complex that is the headquarters of Shingon esoteric Buddhism in Japan. The calligrapher-monk Kukai (aka Kobo Daishi) founded this sanctuary in the early 9th century after studying in China. Over the centuries, it attracted myriad devotees and grew to more than 100 temples. Its most colorful is the Konpon Daito, a crimson pagoda dating to the 1930s that’s said to be at the center of a giant lotus mandala formed by the surrounding eight mountain peaks. East of the Daito is the atmospheric Oku no In cemetery—something right out of a Hayao Miyazaki animated adventure. Skyscraping cedars overhang more than 200,000 gravestones, many ancient and in states of gorgeous, mossy decay. Emperors, courtiers, and samurai are interred here, but the most important grave is that of the Great Teacher himself, who entered “eternal meditation” in 835. Believers maintain that when Miroku, the Buddha of the future, shows up on earth, Kobo Daishi will act as an interpreter of his messages. What makes Koya unique is not only its bracing mountain air and grand temples, but the many monastic lodgings (shukubo) that welcome visitors. Some will rouse you at dawn and usher you to morning prayers, at which a bonfire and chanting substitute for coffee and toast. Meals are vegetarian, Buddhist and a great chance to detox, if only a little. Koyasan is also a gateway to the 1,000-year-old pilgrimage routes in southern Wakayama. This region is known as Kumano and has long been linked to Yomi, the Shinto land of the dead, which is thought to lie over the sea. Pilgrims walked the Kumano Kodo trails to purify themselves along the way and at the region’s three shrines, collectively known as the Kumano Sanzan. Today, this trio of stately sanctuaries—Hongu, Hayatama and Nachi shrines—appeal to Shinto enthusiasts and hikers
alike. Getting there is half the fun, and there are multiple routes to hike. From Mount Koya, the Kohechi trail cuts through 70 kilometers of mountains and is the most arduous route, but you can often see troupes of white-robed shugendo ascetics, also known as yamabushi, tramping through the mist and blowing their conches. Far more popular is the way favored by emperors of old: the Nakahechi, which runs from Tanabe on the west coast. It’s easier on the legs and features numerous small oji roadside shrines. Both paths run to Hongu, a collection of grand, thatched-roof shrines not far from the largest torii gate in the world, at 34 meters tall. Three excellent onsen hot springs (Yunomine, Watarase and Kawayu) near Hongu provide a soothing relief, and if you don’t fancy getting there by shank’s mare, two-hour buses run to Hongu from Kii Tanabe Station. At the mouth of the Kumano River to the southeast lies Hayatama Shrine. Smartly painted in vermilion and white, this sanctuary in the town of Shingu hosts the remarkable Oto Festival in February each year, when thousands of men in white carry blazing torches down a mountainside in a spectacle that resembles an enormous dragon of fire. Meanwhile, the annual Mifune Festival, a colorful ritual and ancient boat race around an island in the Kumano River, is held on October 15 and 16. The most impressive shrine of the trio, though, is Nachi Shrine along the JR Kisei Line. It’s best approached by Daimonzaka, a fantastic 600meter cobblestone staircase snaking up Mount Nachi through centuriesold evergreens. Even more stunning is the view at the top of Nachi Falls, 133 meters of mist-shrouded, cascading water that is testament to the Kii Peninsula’s heavy rainfall. Astounding natural phenomena like this are thought to house Shinto gods, or kami, and so Nachi Shrine was built to worship the local deity. Today, many younger Japanese might refer to it as a “power spot,” thrumming with spiritual force. Paying a ¥200 fee will give you access to a trail that leads to a superb view of the falls, so long as the weather cooperates. The classic photo, however, is with Seiganto Temple, a threestoried vermilion pagoda, in the foreground and the falls behind. Made UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2004, Kumano’s three great shrines, pilgrimage trails and Koyasan offer a wonderful opportunity for escape from city living and an immersion in Japan’s mysterious spiritual world. 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.
Recreation Open House August 25
Ahead of the start of another semester of fitness and recreational classes, around 70 Members dropped by the Gymnasium to chat with instructors and watch demonstrations of the various skills that could be learned over the coming months. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki 1
1. Rajay Mahthani 2. Monica Martin (right) 3. (lâ€“r) Steve Myers, Ricky Sanford, David Nichols and Ian Johansen 4. Haldane Henry (right) 5. (lâ€“r) Nadia and Jun Qazi and Sanae Takahata 6. Erik Schamisso and Joyce Mensah 7. Kana Mikogami 8. Robert Daoust 9. Misao Ikushima 10. Allen Krissman and Geoff Bowman
42 October 2012 iNTOUCH
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.
Hawaiian Luau Night August 25–26
More than 850 Members soaked up Rainbow Café’s weekend of aloha spirit while enjoying Hawaiian-themed food and drinks and two evenings of entertainment by bands of Polynesian hula dancers. Photos by Kayo Yamawaki
1. (l–r) Sara Escalante, Munmi Kanazawa and Luna Escalante 2. Eri Kido 3. Munmi Kanazawa and Luna Escalante 4. (l–r) Maiko Morino, Jun Escalante and Asami Hanyuuda 5. Masatsugu Shiroi 6. (l–r) Aki Shima, Chika Matsumoto, Kei Akiyama and Taeko Takayama 7. (l–r) Chika Matsumoto, Taeko Takayama, Maki Namba and Sachiko Arima 8. (l–r) Sachiko Kobana, Maiko Morino, Yuko Shimadera, Jun Escalante and Asami Hanyuuda 9. Sara and Luna Escalante
44 October 2012 iNTOUCH
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.
Employee Recognition Day August 9
At the Club’s annual staff party, attended by a number of governors and Members, employees enjoyed a casual sports competition, mouthwatering buffet, the presentation of staff awards and the chance to show off their dance moves. Photos by Ken Katsurayama 1. (l–r) Katsuhiko Shirota, Shigeru Nakamura, Toshihiko Wada, Takeshi Takaya, Masayuki Tamaki, Mikio Kondo and Tomoyoshi Kishi 2. (l–r) Shuji
Hirakawa, Tatsuya Sakurai, Mike Hill, Yuji Hara, Tadashi Yokoyama, Mikio Kondo, Satoko Tamura, Akira Yoshihara, Satoru Kojima, Jason Dominici, Toru Maruyama, Yasuharu Nakajima and Club President Lance E Lee 3. Waka Kobayashi, Armando Luna, Chad Cooper, Shan Shiming, Jose Salazar, Toby Lauer, Miwako Sakamoto, Teruyuki Nakajima, Miki Sato and David Ishido 4. Mei Mikawa, Masako Taguchi, Miho Horie, Wayne Hunter, Momoe Nakaya, Minette Nakamichi and Mariko Takahashi 5. Chika Matsumoto, Nyoman Sundra, Wichien Sanguansree, Midori Sudo, Yae Kitahara, Mei Kamiyama, Eri Kido, Ai Takahashi, Jennifer Yorac, Yasunori Kato, Nobue Kamiya, Satoko Tamura, Mina Kure, Kunio Abe, Sanae Murayama and Atsuhiko Zoshima 2
46 October 2012 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 email@example.com.
Sniffing Out the World by Dave McCaughan
ecently, I was stopped in the Club, twice in one hour, by Members who had seen my TEDxTokyo talk about today’s youth and were amazed when I said that more than 50 percent of young people had told my research team that they would give up their nose before their mobile phone. Is that finding really surprising? Our research last year explored the motivations of 16- to 29-year-olds in some 20-odd countries. Parents will, no doubt, be interested to learn that we discovered three common drivers behind the attitudes and behavior of youth. First is the need to commune. While the desire to be part of a group or popular isn’t new, today’s young adults are more likely to belong to multiple physical and virtual groups, and each group requires some form of expertise and social worth. Secondly, the need to see the world in
terms of absolutes drives the motivation to look for justice in everything. This, in turn, is linked to the third common characteristic: the constant search for authenticity and to see things as they are. Naturally, all are powered by continuous access to the Internet and social media through personal technology. The idea that mobile devices are a real fifth sense doesn’t seem far-fetched to a generation that can’t remember life without uninterrupted access to realtime advice, answers, entertainment and education. “I take my phone to the bath with me in a special rubber bag, so I don’t lose touch,” one Japanese girl told us. Like most Japanese young people, she has probably had an Internet-connected phone since the age of 11. When we asked our young interviewees to choose two items from a long list,
personal technology and their sense of smell were the most common answers. And when asked to select just one, 53 percent said they would sacrifice their sense of smell before their ability to “sense the world through their technology.” In countries like India, that figure rose to more than 70 percent. Among Japanese young people, it was taken for granted that a mobile phone was necessary for understanding the world. But this shouldn’t be so surprising. Nearly 20 years ago, I was doing research in a number of Asian cities on what 12- to 13-year-olds thought about technology. In Tokyo, one 13-year-old boy said, “My computer is just an extension of my brain.” That comment was shocking until we realized that most kids at that time devoured Gundam, the popular manga series about giant robots piloted by boys. Can you really imagine understanding the world today without access to the Internet and social media? In a recent study on moms, we found that more than 70 percent of mothers in Japan and the United States use their smartphones to check prices, peer reviews and product facts while shopping. And one of those gents who stopped me at the Club was searching for my YouTube clip while talking to me. In fact, he was just putting his digital fifth sense to good use. o Club Member McCaughan is director of strategic planning with the advertising agency McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific.
Members have their say 47
Comfort, Convenience and Imperial Neighbors 48 October 2012 iNTOUCH
hen residents move into Park Court Chiyoda Fujimi The Tower, a mixed-use development consisting of two towers, from July 2014, they will enjoy unparalleled convenience in a green, historically rich setting in central Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. “You still get the feeling that you live in central Tokyo, without missing all the green and nature,” says Soichi Makino, project leader at Mitsui Fudosan Residential, the firm that is developing the site. “As a place to live, the development has a lot to offer. The central location is unbeatable.” The towers will occupy a prime site between the inner and outer moats of the Imperial Palace, near Iidabashi Station’s west exit. The station sits at the confluence of the Sobu, Tozai, Yurakucho, Namboku and Toei Oedo lines, making this complex an ideal place for foreign professionals who work in key commercial districts, such as Marunouchi. Makino says the lushness of the storied Fujimi area, as the neighborhood that lies between Iidabashi and Kudanshita stations is known, will attract tenants. “The natural surroundings change with the seasons, as the area’s maple trees bloom in the fall and the cherry blossoms appear in the spring,” he says. Fujimi gained prominence as the favored address of Japanese elites, including politicians, bankers and artists, during the Edo era. Then, during the Meiji Era, scores of French expatriates began to settle in the area. As the community grew, so schools, shops and restaurants appeared. This legacy is still evident today, with Fujimi still popular with French expats. “The area has maintained its French flavor ever since,” says Makino. The residential side of the development
will contain a selection of 505 different units, with apartments ranging in size from 42 to 180 square meters. “The average unit size will be about 70 to 80 square meters,” says Makino. “There will be 46 different types of apartments, which is a lot for a building this size.” The complex will feature offices and three floors of retail space. The residential tower will also include three guest rooms for residents to use. Other facilities include conference spaces, party rooms, a cafe, music room, private gym, children’s playroom and a selection of restaurants. The development will also include a study area with free wireless Internet access for residents. “One guest room was designed by famed architect Rie Azuma, who designed the famous Hoshinoya ryokan,” says Makino, referring to the famed Japanese-style inns near Kyoto and Karuizawa. Many of the project’s most visually distinctive interior spaces will be designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), a global interior design firm that specializes in the hospitality industry. It will design all of the project’s common areas, including the front lobby, lounge and library of the residential tower. HBA is renowned for its work on the interiors of the St Regis Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Paris and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. The residential tower’s spacious lobby, with a grand staircase at its center, will be fitted with chandeliers and soft lighting. Edo-era patterns on the floor and lighting fixtures will infuse these spaces with a distinctive mix of modernity and tradition. With residents able to customize some condominiums, future homeowners can start the journey by visiting Mitsui Fudosan’s showroom from October 6. o
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Growing Our Home Governors discuss new beginnings at the Club
Issue 570 • October 2012
The Club parties through the decades
CWAJ Print Show
Printmaking excellence on display at the Club
Wakayama’s trails draw pilgrims and hikers alike