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TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 三 巻 三 十 四 号
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i N T
The Future of Japan’s Fairways Club Members in the know share their thoughts on the country’s evolving golf scene
O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 〇 年 九 月 一 日 発 行
iNTOUCH TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円 本 体 七 七 七 円
Issue 546 • September 2010
Classic Japanese cinema comes to the Club
A sneak peek at the culinary lineup in Azabudai
The Club hosts an epic month of alluring wines
Summit to Sea recreation
Rejecting the traditional means of transport between Gunma Prefecture and Tokyo, three Members chose to raft their way to the capital.
Early Language Learners
Nine-year Tokyo resident and Member Betsy Rogers shares the experience of giving her children a native education—and a cultural boost.
6 Board of Governors 7 Management 8 Food & Beverage
Japan’s Untapped Resource
14 Video Library
With Japan yet to embrace women as an integral part of the workforce, Member and entrepreneur Kumi Sato offers her thoughts on the country’s gender predicament.
16 Committees 18 Recreation
22 Women’s Group 26 Feature
32 Talking Heads 34 Redevelopment
State of Play Cheaper rounds, flexible tee times and the pop-star images of sensational young pros have conjured up a revival of golf enthusiasts hitting the greens across the country. Club Members with an inside scoop discuss the stale salaryman image, surfacing trends and the outlook of 18 holes in Japan.
36 Genkan Gallery
37 Member Services 40 Inside Japan 42 Out & About 44 Event Roundup 48 Tokyo Moments
Editor Nick Jones
To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara: firstname.lastname@example.org 03-4588-0976
Designers Ryan Mundt Jasmine Lai
For Membership information, contact Mari Hori: email@example.com 03-4588-0687 Tokyo American Club 4-25-46 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0074
Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki Assistant Editor Wendi Hailey Design Assistant Miki Amano Communications Manager Matthew Roberts
Management Michael Bumgardner General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuji Hirakawa Human Resources Director email@example.com
Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Joseph Administrative Services Director email@example.com
Lian Chang Information Technology Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutsuhiko Kumano Finance Director email@example.com
Darryl Dudley Engineering Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Marlay Food & Beverage Director email@example.com
Alistair Gough Redevelopment Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Yahiro Recreation Director email@example.com
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail
Banquet Sales and Reservations
Food & Beverage Office
Foreign Traders’ Bar
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Youth Activities firstname.lastname@example.org
2 September 2010 iNTOUCH
Forget unruly soccer supporters or boozed-up baseball fans. Golf is the sport that breeds antisocial behavior, apparently. As part of Tokyo Metro’s recent poster campaign urging passengers to mind their manners while riding the subway, one of the targeted etiquette infractions was the umbrella golf swing. The illustration shows a jacketed salaryman on the platform practicing his drive with his umbrella and so spraying rain droplets over the walls and onto innocent bystanders. While I don’t know exactly how serious a crime the umbrella swing is, I think the poster reflects just how intertwined golf is with Japanese corporate culture. Even without the umbrella, middle-aged salarymen can be seen teeing up shots in all sorts of incongruous urban settings, from bus stop queues to smoking spots outside the front of office buildings. It’s not surprising that golf became the game of choice for salarymen. It’s perfect for reinforcing so many of the salaryman maxims. It calls for ritualized practice (see umbrella golf swings) in much the same way that karate students have to execute kata, or forms, over and over again. That’s why Japan has so many driving ranges—full of slicing and swearing businessmen. They are the golf equivalent of Zen monasteries, where “monks” come to be humbled by a small white ball. The day-long outings to courses on weekends, meanwhile, ensure that workers spend even more time with one another (aside from the hours of overtime during the week) and the boss. The breaks every few holes and for lunch allow everyone to partake in the other popular salaryman pursuit: drinking. It seems, though, that this well-worn image of golf in Japan is slowly changing. In this month’s cover story, “State of Play,” Rob Goss discovers that the game is attracting new followers, including young women and children. If this trend continues, I wonder if we’ll see an epidemic of umbrella swinging in subway stations across Tokyo. 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 Rob Goss
Originally from Dartmoor in southwest England, Rob Goss is a freelance journalist and editor. His work has appeared in more than 40 publications around the world and on the Internet. He writes on a range of subjects but has a special interest in Japanese society and travel. Most recently, he worked on the latest version of The Rough Guide to Japan. Goss arrived in Japan in 1999 after a spell in Oslo and now lives in Tokyo with his wife and young son. For this month’s cover story, “State of Play,” on pages 26 to 31, he assesses the popularity of golf in Japan after the peak years of the 1980s and early 1990s, when the game was regarded largely as a pastime for salarymen. After a sojourn in Japan sparked his interest in travel, Canadian editor and writer Brian Publicover headed to Melbourne to attend graduate school and pursue his love of hiking and scuba diving. Following a brief stint as a copy editor at a state newspaper in Beijing, he helped start a weekly newsmagazine in Hong Kong, dabbled in automotive journalism in Shanghai and wrote about intellectual property for the European Chamber of Commerce in China. In between, he worked in Seoul as a copywriter and edited the business section of a daily newspaper start-up in Jakarta. He now works in Tokyo as a business communication specialist. Ahead of an evening of classic Japanese cinema at the Club this month, Publicover explores the art of katsudo benshi movie narration in Inside Japan.
www.tokyoamericanclub.org For the latest Club news, schedule of events, class registration and more, check out the Tokyo American Club website. And remember, you can read this month’s iNTOUCH there, as well as previous issues, too. Words from the editor 3
1 What’s happening in
Pub Points Score points with every ¥500 spent on drinks and food at Traders’ Bar and redeem them for fantastic prizes. Through December 25. Visit the outlet or Club website for details.
Happy Hour for Kids! Quench your thirst with halfpriced, kid-sized fountain drinks, chilled juices, milkshakes and smoothies every weekday at Garden Cafe. 4–5 p.m.
Sayonara, Summer! Treat skin to a revitalizing postsummer manicure and pedicure combo at The Spa and receive a free paraffin mask. Flip to page 20 for more.
SuperKid Combo The tasty new weekend lunch set meal at Garden Café is sure to please even the pickiest pint-sized diners with its freshly made, bite-sized cuisine. ¥1,375. Garden Café. Weekends in September.
Japanese Fare Sunday Buffet Diners feast on fresh Hokkaido delicacies, before the lip-smacking journey heads to Shikoku (12th), Kyushu (19th) and Hokkaido and Kyushu (26th). Brunch: 11:30 a.m.– 3 p.m. Dinner: 5–9 p.m. Reserve at 03-4588-0977.
Aloha Experience Savor the tropical tastes of summer a little longer when Mixed Grille welcomes Members back with a feast of Hawaiian treats for lunch and dinner.
Group Swim Dive into two exciting group swim classes this fall for ages 4 to 7. Flip to page 21 to find out more.
Bollywood Beat The Masala Bhangra Workout combines energetic Punjabi dance moves with easy-to-follow cardio exercises for a fun, highly effective workout. 10:45–11:45 a.m. More on page 21.
Sokol Blosser Wine Dinner Alex Sokol Blosser wows wine lovers with stellar Pinot Noir from his pioneering family’s renowned Oregon winery. Learn more on page 9.
Fall Footy The Club kicks off a new season of its popular soccer program for players ages 3 to 12 and of all skill levels. Check out the details on page 21.
Birth Preparation for Couples Two invaluable days that will get you ready for labor, birth and beyond. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥36,000. Sign up for this Women’s Group class at the Member Services Desk.
Fuji Day Hike An easier way to explore Japan’s iconic monolith has arrived! Learn more about this intriguing outing and a bevy of exciting tours on the horizon from the Women’s Group on page 25.
Tasty Tutoring Find out how to whip up traditional Japanese cuisine at home with seasoned instructor Mika Takaki. 11 a.m. Head to page 21 for details.
Fall Classes Registration Sixty stimulating activities are at your fingertips this fall, including brand-new classes and long-standing favorites from the Women’s Group. Open to all Members. Flip to page 24 for details.
Kimono and Obi Shopping in Ningyocho Tour A fascinating jaunt takes participants around a charming shopping enclave in Tokyo, where they will get the chance to snap up traditional garments. Head to the online Club calendar for more.
Welcome Back Party This year’s themed bash, Nights in White Satin, promises to be a sizzling affair as partygoers celebrate the return from their summer jaunts with food, drinks and dancing. 6:30 p.m. Flip to page 16 for details.
4 September 2010 iNTOUCH
Bye-Bye Summer Pool Party Soak up the final dog days with plenty of Pool games and hotweather vibes for the entire family. Flip to page 21 for details.
Coffee Connections Meet new people and learn about the Women’s Group at this relaxed gathering. 10:30 a.m. Banquet Rooms. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare.
Fall Classes Begin Stimulating sessions of arts, crafts, cooking and culture from the Women’s Group begin. Sign up on September 16. Flip to page 24 for more.
Garden Café Club Earn a free meal the easy way with Garden Café’s new customer loyalty card. For every ¥1,000 spent, get one stamp. Collect 10 stamps for a free meal valued up to ¥1,000.
Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Qualified nurse Ann Tanaka helps parents-to-be prepare for the arrival of their bundles of joy during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ¥7,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Toddler Time The Library hosts a free, weekly session of fun activities for preschoolers every Tuesday this month, except September 28. 4 p.m. Library. No sign-up necessary.
New Moms and Babies Get-Together Qualified nurse Ann Tanaka explains the ins and outs of the first years of motherhood at this informative Women’s Group session. 3:45–5:15 p.m. ¥2,000. Sign up at the Member Services Desk.
Talking Silent Night Classic Japanese cinema and the art of live movie narration come to the Club with an English-subtitled screening of the 1925 samurai silent film Orochi. 6:30 p.m. Turn to pages 16 and 40 to learn more.
Bubbles, Japanese Wine and Beyond Wine lovers learn about the history of bubbly and Japan’s own winemaking scene during this Women’s Group luncheon hosted by grape guru Bill Campbell. 11 a.m. Flip to page 24 for more.
CWAJ Associate Show Reception This year’s exhibition, “In Search of Serenity,” featuring the captivating works of up-and-coming print artists Yoshiaki Mokutani and Toshinori Tanuma, kicks off with a wine and cheese soirée. 6:30 p.m. Turn to page 36 for more.
Kilikanoon and Majella Decadent Dinner Two acclaimed Aussie wineries unlock their finest cellar offerings for an unforgettable night of culinary indulgence at the Club. 7 p.m. Flip to page 8 for more.
Zin and ’Za Tasting The fiery flavors of Zinfandel complemented by “flights” of gourmet pizza are sure to make this enlightening Wine Committee tasting hard to beat. Check out page 9 for the lowdown.
Coming up in
October 2–3 Family Photos 3 Women’s Group Panel: Educating Your Child in Japan 6–7 Tokyo: Here & Now 15–17 CWAJ Print Show 30 Halloween at the Club
Bad Parking Day
Noteworthy dates for the month 5
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
of a Governor
Board of Governors
by Dan Stakoe
he Club used to be a place where I played volleyball and enjoyed a burger. Now I play TAC three-ring rollerball as treasurer, governor and member of the Transition Working Group (TWG). It may not require painkillers, but it is as intense as any contact sport. It’s all good fun, but if you want to get things done at a Board of Governors meeting, you have to be prepared to throw down your gloves, quote a General Rule, get buy-in for any motion you plan to propose and rally related committees. This is democracy in action, and you better bring your “A” game. While all three rings of Club government (the Board, committees and management) want to build a better TAC, sometimes breakdowns occur due to communication difficulties, ambiguity over responsibility and differing interpretations of rules or motions. In all of this, the general manager takes on the unenviable role of ringmaster, overseeing the flow of information and negotiations between the various groups. Since I was appointed treasurer in the middle of the budget season, I have had to up my rollerball game. My job is to ensure a solid budget process. Theoretically, after the Finance Committee and management have prepared the budget for the coming year, they present it to the Board for approval. In recent memory, however, there has been little oversight. It took a few body checks, but this year, through the Board, Finance and Food & Beverage committees and TWG, the Membership has retaken control of the budget. The Board set conservative operating cash requirements, the Finance Committee reacted positively to its newfound authority and the Food & Beverage Committee chair is confident that the committee can deal with the financial challenges ahead. The TWG, meanwhile, is providing analysis to support restructuring efforts.
Lance E Lee (2010)—President Amane Nakashima (2011)—Vice President Jerry Rosenberg (2011)—Vice President Norman J Green (2011)—Secretary Dan Stakoe (2011)—Treasurer Tim Griffen (2010), William Ireton (2010), Hiroyuki Kamano (2010), Per Knudsen (2010), Jeff McNeill (2011), Brian Nelson (2010), Rod Nussbaum (2010), Mary Saphin (2011), Dan Thomas (2010), Deborah Wenig (2011), Ira Wolf (2011), Shizuo Daigoh—Statutory Auditor (2010), Barbara Hancock—Women’s Group President
In one of my favorite books on business, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, the authors, James Collins and Jerry Porras, say that one common element in great organizations is leaders who set “Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG).” Whether or not you voted for the redevelopment of TAC, I hope we can come together as a club to achieve our BHAG. To achieve that goal, a different kind of collaboration between Members and management is necessary. Since the Club’s directors have to grapple with the day-to-day issues, they are bound to have different perspectives than part-time volunteers. We need to listen carefully and genuinely consider their opinions while maintaining our objectivity. Everyone involved in the budgeting process is working hard to ensure that the benefit proposition for Members isn’t diminished while restructuring measures are taken. Hiccups during this transition period should be expected, though. It is up to us as Members to keep the Club feeling like a special oasis in Japan and to preserve its 82-year legacy of goodwill and grassroots diplomacy. Yes, the job of being a governor has its challenges, but the more you get involved in the running of the Club, the more fun and rewarding it becomes. At that point, the Club appears less like a place with restaurants and a gym and more like the tree fort you built as a kid: it’s ours and everyone in it is cool. ®
by Wendi Hailey
A mere four months out from the opening of the new facility, around 500 contractors are now bustling about the massive workplace as progress chugs swiftly along. “September 12 will mark two years since we broke ground on the construction and only two months before the start of the final inspections,” says Redevelopment Director Alistair Gough. With the final pieces of the building façade in place, carpets on the lower levels have been installed and work on the indoor finishes continues to rise from the basement up. New trees and bushes have arrived as landscaping starts to take shape as well. “The scaffolding has all but been removed, revealing the exterior of the new clubhouse,” says Gough. “[It] has created a visible level of excitement amongst the Membership.” ®
6 September 2010 iNTOUCH
To learn about the tantalizing array of restaurants to be unveiled in the new Club, turn to page 34.
Listening by Bob Sexton Bob Sexton Assistant General Manager
e always value feedback and suggestions from Members because they allow us to constantly improve and refine the Club’s facilities and services. After listening to such comments and ideas, we have launched some new elements that we think will benefit the Membership. The Club website has a number of new features, including a comment function called The Heard. Members can now read and post comments on a number of subjects. Similarly, an upcoming forum feature will mean that members of particular Club groups, such as committees or golfers, will be able to communicate with one another and exchange information online. While you can already reserve a squash court online, from later this month you will be able to sign up for the huge selection of Women’s Group fall classes (available to all Members) online, too. Turn to page 24 for the details. You’ll need to log into the site to access these kinds of features. And don’t worry if you have forgotten your password, just click on “Forgot Password?” next to the sign-in button. While you are browsing the site, you might want to take a look at the Event Image Gallery in the News & Info section. Here, you’ll be able to view a selection of photos from past
Club events. Of course, these also appear each month in the Event Roundup section of this magazine, which can be accessed online; just click on iNTOUCH magazine in the Activities & Amenities section to read the current issue and back issues. Watch out on the website for information on the new Club in Azabudai. We will be uploading floor plans, opening hours and other details of the facility as the move approaches. Monthly bill payment is another area that has received quite a lot of feedback from Members in the past. Many people will be pleased to learn in a separate announcement later that the Board of Governors approved the use of credit cards to pay monthly bills from January 1, 2011. Not only will this make settling bills easier for Members, it will allow the Club to reduce the number of cash transactions and wire transfers it handles. Finally, we appreciate the efforts of Members to supply their photos for the new Membership cards. You will need to carry your Membership card at all times in Azabudai to access certain areas, such as the fitness facilities or pool early in the morning when there are fewer staff on duty. And if you ever forget to bring your card, having your photo in our system will help us verify your Membership number. ®
Executive remarks 7
Too Much of a Good Thing? by Wendi Hailey
ith as many as 100 million cases of unsold wine in the stockpile and a 21 percent dive in the value of its bottles overseas, Australia’s wine industry has grabbed headlines in recent months as it grapples to stem an oversupply of grapes. The stories detail accounts of farmers leaving grapes to rot in the fields unpicked, as others tear up their vines. While mass-produced brands like Yellow Tail and Jacob’s Creek may be feeling the strain of this fruit surplus, some premium and small-scale wineries are experiencing the contrary. “The importance of the oversupply of wine grapes on the Australian market has been blown out of all proportion by the popular and industry press,” says Brian Lynn, director of Majella Wines in Coonawarra, South Australia. “Many of the surplus grapes are not those of exceptional quality. If anything, there is a shortage of really good grapes.” The country possesses a distinctive reserve of old vines, some of which predate the massive phylloxera outbreak that ravaged European grapevines in the late
8 September 2010 iNTOUCH
19th century. “The grapes from these vines have always been in short supply,” says Nathan Waks of Kilikanoon Wines in South Australia’s Clare Valley, “as, by definition, old vines take an awfully long time to become old and then slowly produce fewer and fewer grapes of increasing intensity.” The grape-growing industry is subject to the same “boom-and-bust cycles” that affect most agricultural undertakings, notes Lynn. After a similar surplus in the 1970s, local governments were paying growers to pull out vines. “They replanted everything—and a bit more—in the ’90s,” says the viticulturist, who first deposited vines on his family’s property in 1968, “and once again there is an oversupply. It seems to be the way this industry works!” Lynn and Waks will set the minds of worried fans of Aussie vintages at ease during an evening of wine, food and fun at the Club this month. They will share a unique lineup of their prized labels, including 2003 Rieslings, Majella’s sparkling Shiraz and the spectacular Kilikanoon M Reserve 2003 from the 13-year-old winery. Australia’s current wine woes, from
the grape glut to the impact of the global economy, have a positive upshot. “Terroirfocused wineries making high-quality wines have been able to take a more prominent position,” says Waks. “We have seen this as an opportunity to source ever better fruit to ensure that Kilikanoon’s quality is not compromised—maybe even improved at the base level.” “Australia has become very much a large player in the world wine market,” says Lynn. “That will continue in the future, although I think we will see an emphasis on ‘regionality’ and on premium labels, rather than just branding all our wine ‘Australian.’” Members at this fine vintage fête will find out why these regional wines also make headlines for all the right reasons. ®
Kilikanoon and Majella Decadent Dinner Thursday, September 30 7 p.m. American Room ¥15,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Zesty Pairings by Ernie Olsen
oin the Wine Committee this month for a quintessentially American food and wine pairing, as we once and for all toss away the label of wine snobs and shout from the rooftops, “We love Zinfandel and pizza!” Hosted by myself and Chuck Doherty, this first tasting after the summer break promises to be an enlightening experience that will introduce attendees to the sassy aromas, versatility, spicy flavors and sheer range of styles of the underappreciated Zinfandel grape. Expect to fall for its enticing scents of chocolate, tobacco and cedar and its lush flavors of berries, plums, licorice, black pepper and spice. Zinfandel can be made in an elegant, medium-alcohol style or can develop
a huge, jammy, extracted flavor with alcohol levels near 17 percent (lateharvest Zinfandel even makes for a great dessert wine). What’s more, the spices in Zinfandel stand up to most zesty foods and bring out the best in such typical pizza ingredients as pepper, garlic, tomato sauce and Italian sausage. Much like our last similar tasting in 2007, we plan to have three “flights” of pizza, delivered in 30-minute intervals from three top Tokyo pizza makers. These will be matched with a selection of Zinfandel styles. We will then appraise all the Zins and ’za, crowning the winners at the end of the evening. We look forward to seeing you there. ® Olsen is a member of the Wine Committee.
Pinot by Nick Jones
I Alex Sokol Blosser Sokol Blosser Wine Dinner Friday, September 10 7 p.m. Vineyards ¥9,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
t was a David and Goliath showdown like no other. How could Pinot Noir from lowly Oregon in America’s Pacific Northwest possibly be regarded in the same league as France’s Burgundy stars? It was almost a preposterous proposition. But at the 1985 Burgundy Challenge in New York, 15 of Oregon’s top 1983 Pinot Noirs were pitted against a similar number of Burgundies of the same vintage in a blind tasting. The results rocked the wine world. Not only did the judges struggle to tell the two regions apart, but the five top-rated wines all hailed from the Beaver State. The second- and third-placed Pinots were produced by Sokol Blosser, a small winery in the Willamette Valley started by Stanford grads Bill Blosser
Zin and ’Za Tasting Wednesday, September 22 7 p.m. Banquet Rooms ¥10,000 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
and Susan Sokol Blosser in 1971. The winery has continued to earn accolades and awards, and this month sees the founders’ son, Alex Sokol Blosser, host an indulgent evening of his family’s vintages at the Club. “Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir and maybe some Pinot Noir!” the 36-year-old says of what Members can expect to drink. “I love feedback and these events are always fun for everybody.” Just as Bill and Susan made sustainability central to the way they went about producing wine, so Alex and his sister, Alison, who together run Sokol Blosser, have continued their parents’ “good to the earth” approach to farming. In fact, in 2002, Sokol Blosser became the first winery in the United States to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Much like 25 years ago, it seems that the kind of dedication to making stellar Pinot displayed by Sokol Blosser is statewide. “Oregon is close to reaching its potential for Pinot Noir,” he says, “and now our challenge is to make enough so the world can enjoy it.” ®
Club wining and dining
Images courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
Designer and writer Lisa Parramore explains how a love of Japanese design and aesthetics led to her book, Japan Home.
s former residents of Japan, Many of our clients also once lived Chadine Flood Gong and I once in Japan and dream about making their immersed ourselves in many current homes reflect that time in some aspects of traditional Japanese culture; way, and it is primarily for them that she while living in the guest house of this book was written. This could be a a large Tokyo estate and I in the wild, simple matter, such as how to display natural beauty of Fukushima Prefecture. After these profound and defining experiences, we resumed our lives in America, taking with us the desire to incorporate our taste for Japanese aesthetics into our own homes. This eventually led to second careers as designers specializing in Japanese design; Chadine possessed a scholarly Lisa Parramore background as a professor of Asian history while I made the transition from a career in international a byobu screen on a living room wall business that included frequent travel to or integrate a tansu chest with other Japan. Although our stints living in Japan furniture, or a more complex project were separated by more than a quarter of like wrapping the exterior of the house a century, our paths intersected such that with an engawa veranda. we have collaborated on two books, the Japan Home aims to bring the most recent being Japan Home. homeowner one step closer to achieving 10 September 2010 iNTOUCH
their dream home, with generous illustrations and text that explains design elements in detail. I hope it proves helpful in sparking ideas, honing in on a vision for a particular room or communicating your wishes to a design professional. Our first book dealt with the subject of gardens, so it was a natural next step to write a book focusing on interior design. Yet, as foreign residents of Japan well know, the garden is absolutely integral to traditional Japanese architecture, so a full quarter of Japan Home is devoted to it. I certainly could have used such a book when I returned to America 18 years ago and found myself longing for a deep soaking tub, which I was fortunate to have even in my modest Fukushima flat. It topped the list of Japanese elements that I hoped to incorporate into my house in California. My first efforts at communicating my wishes to an architect, however, left a
lot to be desired. After I carefully described Japanese bathing customs, my architect produced a drawing in which the shower and soaking tub were separated with a glass wall. I borrowed her pen and scribbled a box around the tub and shower to clarify that the water from the tub flows over the rim and shares a drain with the shower; the shower and tub are an integrated entity. I searched for a word that would describe the tiny space in my old apartment that housed both with ease. “It was a single unit, you know, a wet room within a dry room, a capsule, kind of like a telephone booth,” I explained. The architect looked at me skeptically. “You mean you just sit there in a glass cage?” she asked. I might as well have been explaining a ritual for spinning around in a phone booth and turning into Wonder Woman! Finding design professionals in America who understand the Japanese lifestyle and can blend it successfully into a Western home can be tricky; we wrote Japan Home to help bridge that gap.
The most challenging aspect of the project was the fact that as authors living in America we were not able to visit the exquisite homes and gardens in the book. We had taken pride in supervising each and every photo shoot in our first book, as the gardens were mainly in California. On the other hand, the photography for Japan Home was left in the capable hands of Noboru Murata, one of Japan’s most accomplished design photographers. Indeed, the depth and breadth of his collection made selecting the photos a tough task. Those of you living in Japan now may be forming your own list of local elements to incorporate into your living environment, whether it’s a treasured geta bako for shoes near your front door here in Japan or a low table for tea for your place back home. Whatever it is you’re considering, I hope Japan Home can help you to create an elegant and comfortable living space. ®
Japan Home is available in the Library.
Literary gems at the Library 11
Hunting for Hal by Michelle Arnot
xactly who is Hal Roberts, the man whose name the Club Library bears? Just before stepping down as chair of the Library Committee, I realized that I had no idea. After two hectic years of committee meetings, book groups, author evenings and events for kids, I had had no time to consider this question. I put my query to the head librarian, Keiko Yajima, who has worked at the Club for 20 years. “This has been the Library’s name since before my arrival,” she answered. While she said that she thought Roberts was instrumental in growing the Library’s collection, she referred me to Linda Joseph in the General Manager’s Office. En route, I popped into the Membership Office, where I was directed to the wall of photos of Club presidents outside the General Manager’s Office. Sure enough, Roberts’ photo was hanging between the 17th and 21st presidents. Elected three times, W Hal Roberts was president from 1966 to 1970, the LBJ years. I discovered from Linda that the Board had decided to rename the generic Adult Library after Roberts at a meeting on May 29, 1973. The meeting minutes also referred to another room called the Union Library, which was renamed The Book Mark. There was nothing about the man himself, though. Despite offers from Linda and Keiko to research the issue more deeply, I realized that looking forward was more important
Then-President Hal Roberts (center) with long-time employees in 1970
than digging up ancient history. On the cusp of returning to Azabudai, the time has come to revisit the Library name. Both the children’s section and the Japan collection offer opportunities for corporate sponsorship. According to one Member who wrote a recent Tell TAC, the Library offers such a satisfying variety that there is no reason for her to buy books. Members can leave a legacy to the Library by pledging funds that will be acknowledged with a plaque in the new facility. And in this digital age, their contributions—and names— will be recorded for decades to come. ® Arnot is the former chair of the Library Committee. Editor’s note: According to old newspaper archives, the name of the Library was selected by a panel of judges during a 1973 contest, in which the winner picked up ¥15,000 worth of books. (In the same contest, the kids’ library was renamed The Book Mark.) Roberts died of cancer at age 55 in December 1971.
s’ n a i r a r Lib C o rn e r
a preview of what’s on for the Club’s inquiring minds
Picks and Pieces by Dan Cherubin With a new school year about to start, I thought it would be appropriate to recommend some useful links for kids. “On-Lion” for Kids! From the New York Public Library, this website is a great resource for children’s reading material. It includes a function to search by author, illustrator and award. http://kids.nypl.org/reading/
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Great Schools Book Reviews This online education resource features a diverse collection of articles on book selection for a range of ages, from preschoolers to high school. www.greatschools.org (go to Academics & Activities and click on Book Reviews)
Learning the Local Lingo Whether you have just arrived in Tokyo or have yet to jump into the language, start making the most of your time here with the Pimsleur Approach languagelearning course. The Women’s Group kindly donated part three of this course to complete the Library’s set. Start exploring Japan today!
Special Story Time with Ken Cogger Club Member and talented TV celeb Ken Cogger drops by the Library to host a fun-packed session of stories for ages 5 to 9. Saturday, October 9 2–3:30 p.m. Women’s Group Classroom 3 ¥1,260 Sign up online or at the Library
reads Densho Origami: Traditional Japanese Figures for Everyone by Kodansha International Contains 35 pieces of classic origami. Each figure is accompanied by step-by-step, full-color photographs and 3D images. Lots of fun, this book ranges perfectly from simple to challenging. All you need is a piece of paper! CM
Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt The authors of Yokai Attack! bring us another fun-filled, non-fiction guide to Japanese culture and folklore. Fully illustrated throughout, the book includes explanations on a range of ninjas, assassins, warlords, shoguns, femme fatales and more, as well as a tour of
White Jazz by James Ellroy Set in 1958 Los Angeles and told through the experiences of LAPD officer David Klein, this novel follows the money, mayhem and murder that dominate his lawless life. A disconcerting at times but captivating read from the author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia. MC
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon Nick Gautier usually finds that his smart mouth gets him into trouble with his mom, principal and other kids. Now he has to contend with the vampires, demons and zombies that are out to eat his brains. EK
ninja-related spots in Tokyo. CM
How to Talk to Children about World Art by Isabelle Glorieux-Desouche
Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman and Jacky Davis
This book is the perfect way to introduce children of any age to the art of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas in an exciting and engaging way. Anticipating the kinds of questions children will ask about the 30 spotlighted artifacts, it provides easy-to-understand answers and explanations. MC
Lulu is so excited to go to the beach and swim in the ocean. But when she gets there and sees just how big the waves are, she is afraid to go in the water. It seems that she might need Ladybug Girl’s help to brave the crashing surf. EK
Reviews compiled by Library Committee chair Melanie Chetley and librarians Charles Morris and Erica Kawamura.
member’s choice Member: Daniel Agmoni Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
What’s the book about? This series of books is about a boy who is a wimp. His name is Gregory. Gregory has two brothers. The eldest is Rodrick, who loves playing drums, and Manny is the youngest brother, who talks weird, looks weird and always does funny things.
What did you like about it? I like the way the series is written like a diary and that every page has a funny, animated character.
Why did you choose it? I chose this series because I love reading funny stories and it looked really fun to read. Also, Gregory looks like a stick in the drawings.
What other books would you recommend? I would also recommend the Who Was…? series of books. Each book is a biography of a famous person.
Literary gems at the Library 13
hen the dialogue hushes and the first musical notes are struck, movie watchers know they’re in for a treat. Bursting with exuberance or dripping in sensuality and emotion, a flawlessly choreographed dance number can enthrall its audience and effortlessly advance the plot. Classic dance flicks, from the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers gems of the 1930s to such ’80s hits as Footloose (1984) and Flashdance (1983), deliver infectious moves and signature scenes that have
become cultural icons. In addition, a few delightful dance moments hidden inside other movies linger far beyond the closing credits, including the graceful tango performed by Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar in Scent of a Woman (1992), the retro-inspired contest jive between John Travolta and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994) and the unforgettable prom scene in Can’t Buy Me Love (1987). In a toe-tapping dance-off of cinematic proportions, which legendary moves sweep our movie maestros off their feet? ®
“Of course, it is Singin’ in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly. It’s hard to beat. It is the effortless combination of everyday movement and classical training in a dance that makes the most out of nature—rain! It’s what adults long to do: jumping in puddles, spinning between rain drops. It’s a celebration of love in what could be considered bad weather. It’s the physical vision of the song ‘Pennies from Heaven.’ It’s quintessentially American: direct, with no embellishments, save the umbrella. The dance combinations are deceptively simple and make you think of George Balanchine, the cool of American jazz and, most of all, skipping and jumping as we all did as children.”
“My favorite dance scene may surprise many readers: the tango between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It’s not long, but very amusing. The estranged couple are discovering each other’s true identities (and John’s dancing skills) and reevaluating their relationship. As they dance a tense tango, they are stripped of their weapons, both literally and figuratively. They work out marital issues through snarky jabs. As John searches Jane for weapons, she asks, ‘Satisfied?’ He replies, ‘Not for years.’ And when Pitt looks directly into the camera, it’s funny, not gratuitous. I like this scene because the Smiths do dance well together, and because of its juxtaposition among their many fighting scenes.”
“The last scene of Dirty Dancing (1987). It’s 1963 at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby (Jennifer Grey) has lost her rebellious summer love, Johnny (Patrick Swayze). It’s the final revue of the season. Johnny enters suddenly and leads Baby onto the stage. The Oscar-winning song ‘The Time of My Life’ begins. They dance slowly, share a faint kiss, and then things speed up. Baby’s expression is one of carefree joy. Johnny leaps from the stage. The dance staff join in, advancing with him in ‘Thriller’ fashion. Baby runs to Johnny and is hoisted aloft. Old and young, audience members grab their partners. We feel moved. We remember lost love regained, our own triumphs. We dream.”
Most spectacular dance sequence: Singin’ in the Rain
Most spectacular dance sequence: Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Most spectacular dance sequence: Dirty Dancing
Club critic: Roni Ohara
Club critic: Carolyn Summers
Club critic: Sara Sakamoto
All titles mentioned are either available in the Video Library or on order.
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VIDEO LIBRARY He is Club President Lance E Lee. She is Yuko Akisato, manager of the Video Library.
HE SAYS, SHE SAYS abort
This attention-grabbing story about the greed of the medical industry touches on the subject of universal health care. Jude Law’s performance is impressive in this pretty scary cautionary tale. A movie worth watching, but be prepared for the surgery scenes.
A quaint road trip movie about three strangers traveling together through post-Katrina Louisiana. William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne provide solid performances as the trio in search of a sense of belonging in this slow-burning Southern tale.
One of the grossest movies I have ever seen. I even lost my appetite after seeing this. Starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, Repo Men is about a man who is forced to go on the run after he can’t make the payments on the artificial heart he has been given. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite understand the ending.
The adventures of Andy’s toys continue as the 17-year-old prepares to go to college in this sweet and touching conclusion to the Toy Story series of movies. There are also some interesting new toys (the Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear is a charmer). Not just for kids, this movie is for adults wishing to entertain the child within.
give it a go
This funny and poignant flick sees Woody, Buzz and the rest the toy box crew dumped in a daycare center after their owner, Andy, departs for college. Now they must fight to get back. A fabulous movie for all ages and the best of the three.
A remake of a 1977 Japanese film by Yoji Yamade, this intimate road movie follows the transforming journeys of three lonely strangers traveling together through Louisiana. William Hurt produces a memorable performance, as do Kristen Stewart, Eddie Redmayne and Maria Bello.
other new titles... Cemetery Junction Three young professionals look to escape their tedious jobs at an insurance firm in small-town Britain in this 1970s throwback from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the comic connoisseurs behind “The Office” and “Extras.”
Some restrictions apply. Ask for details.
The Back-up Plan
D R AM A
The Last Song
T HR ILLE R
Tired of waiting for the right man to come along, one woman (Jennifer Lopez) shuns the traditional dating scene and gets pregnant with twins through artificial insemination, only to meet a potential love on the same day.
Miley Cyrus strides farther away from her Disney days as Hannah Montana in this coming-of-age tearjerker (courtesy of The Notebook author Nicholas Sparks) about a defiant teen’s summer at her estranged father’s beachside home.
• Laser hair removal • Botox • Restylane • Retin-A • Liposuction, Eye, Nose, Breast, Facelift, Tummy Tuck • Laser (Titan, Genesis, Hair Removal, Tattoo, IPL) • Men’s (ED, AGA)
Following a terrible car accident, Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) wakes up in a funeral home, where the peculiar director (Liam Neeson) insists that she’s transitioning between life and death and attempts to ready her for burial.
All movies reviewed are either available at the Video Library or on order.
TV and film selections 15
Joining a Committee Members interested in joining one of the committees listed should contact its chair or inquire at the General Manager’s Office.
Voice and Pictures
Recreation Tim Griffen (Tim Griffen) Recreation Subcommittees Bowling Pam Jenkinson Fitness Jerry Rosenberg
lassic Japanese cinema and the art of katsudo benshi movie narration come to the Club this month when Digital Meme’s Larry Greenberg hosts an English-subtitled screening of the 1925 samurai silent film Orochi (The Serpent), starring legendary actor Tsumasaburo Bando and narrated live by Raiko Sakamoto. Turn to page 40 to learn more about the revived art form of movie narration. ®
Golf Steven Thomas Library Melanie Chetley
Talking Silent Night Sunday, September 12 6:30–9 p.m. American Room ¥2,500 (includes one drink) Children (6 and under): free Open to the public (recommended for ages 12 and above) Sponsored by the Culture Committee and Women’s Group
Logan Room Diane Dooley Squash Nelson Graves & Alok Rakyan Swim Jesse Green & Stewart Homler Video Lisbeth Pentelius Youth Activities Jane Hunsaker Community Relations Stan Yukevich (Jeff McNeill) Community Relations Subcommittees Distinguished Achievement Award Jeff McNeill Independence Day Stan Yukevich & Barbara Hancock Sportsman of the Year Jeff McNeill Culture Eiji Arai (Per Knudsen)
All White on the Night
he Club continues its postsummer party tradition with a high-energy bash for returning Members. This year’s white-themed shindig will see partygoers (dressed in at least one white item) feast on a buffet spread of mouthwatering cuisine and drinks while greeting old friends and making new ones. To ensure the dance floor remains packed throughout the night, the popular, Tokyo-based funk band The Conductors will perform a set of crowdpleasing classics. Don’t miss this whitetinged evening of revelry for old Club hands and new arrivals. ®
Culture Subcommittee Genkan Gallery Fred Harris Entertainment Per Knudsen (Per Knudsen) Finance Akihiko Mizuno Food & Beverage Craig Saphin (Amane Nakashima) Food & Beverage Subcommittee Wine Mark Baxter House Mary Saphin (Ira Wolf) House Subcommittee Architectural Michael Miller Human Resources Victoria Muir
Welcome Back Party: Nights in White Satin Saturday, September 25 6:30–10 p.m. New York Suite ¥7,000 Adults only Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk Sponsored by the Entertainment Committee and Women’s Group
(Barbara Hancock) Membership Mark Saft (Mary Saphin) Membership Subcommittee Marketing Mark Saft (Nick Masee) Nominating Nick Masee Names in parentheses denote Board liaisons.
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Summit to Sea Taking an unconventional route to Tokyo, three Members paddled and rowed their way down 250 kilometers of river from Gunma Prefecture.
lcohol is a great facilitator of upstream, you had snow-capped conversations and ideas. And mountains with the snow melting and at animated gatherings, the crystal-clear blue skies. It really doesn’t harebrained schemes can flow as thick get any better than that.” and as fast as the drinks. But these Helped through the foaming waters of booze-generated plans rarely make it out of the “party talk incubator.” The proposal hatched over a few beers at Jon Sparks’ home on the verdant banks of the Tone River in Gunma Prefecture one evening in May might well have come to nothing as well. But Sparks later received a call from fellow Club Member Doug Smith. “Doug actually called up the next day and said, ‘You remember what we spoke about last night?’” recalls Sparks, 49. The hops-fueled discussion (l–r) Jon Sparks, Doug Smith and Mark Baxter had been about the possibility of rafting from the source (or thereabouts) the first day by a professional guide from of the Tone River in the mountains of Canyons, the crew had to rely on stamina Gunma to Tokyo. Three weeks later, after and the oars that had been mounted on recruiting another Member, Mark Baxter, the raft for the remaining days. “While the and a mutual friend and securing a fourfirst day had white water, the remaining meter yellow raft from Canyons Outdoor 170 kilometers were flat water, often Adventures in nearby Minakami, the accompanied by an afternoon headwind,” group set off for the capital. says Sparks. “As the raft only drew a few “The first 60 kilometers, which was centimeters of water, the slightest breeze pretty much all white water, were just noticeably set back progress.” stunning,” says Sparks. “If you looked Supported by another Canyons staff Christopher Lewis
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member in a van, the group would set up camp each night and sleep by the river. “The sun came up at 4:30, so we’d get up at 4:30, pack the tent up, grab something quickly for breakfast and start paddling,” explains Sparks. Starting from Mount Ominakami, the Tone River winds its way through the peaks of Gunma and down onto the Kanto Plain, where concerns over its history of flooding have led to a wide flood plain. “You couldn’t actually see that much,” says Baxter of the views from the raft. “It was almost like being on a double-decker [bullet train] on the first floor, because with the barriers on both sides of the shinkansen, you can’t really see out of the window. We couldn’t tell what was beyond the bank on both sides of the river.” “My perception was that there would be a lot of concrete, but there wasn’t,” says Sparks, an Australian who once rafted down the Colorado River in the United States for three weeks. “It felt really remote because you couldn’t see beyond the reeds.” While originally flowing into Tokyo Bay, the Tone River was diverted to Choshi on the Chiba coast in the 17th century. The 60-kilometer-long section that now splits from the Tone and flows into Tokyo Bay is the Edo River. As the group approached the capital, the amount of shipping on the Edo
by Nick Jones
River increased significantly. Around 15 kilometers from Tokyo Bay, they encountered a towering ship lock. “So the lock started opening and here we are in our little, yellow boat!” says American Baxter with a broad smile. Reaching their goal of Kasai Seaside Park, across from Tokyo Disneyland, on the fourth day, the rafters had a change of plan. With a few more hours of daylight left, the adventurers (minus Baxter, who had headed home from Kasai) decided to complete the journey in the same fashion it had been conceived: with a beer. Aiming for the large artificial island of Odaiba, they battled against the wind. “That was probably the longest 15K or so of the trip,” says Sparks. Within sight of Odaiba’s beach and the conclusion to their 250-kilometer journey, local officials appeared. “They said, ‘Go back! Go back! You’re not allowed on the beach,’” says Sparks. “So we just picked the raft up, walked to the car park and said, ‘We’re not on the beach.’ And they just walked off.” Looking back on the June expedition, Sparks says he enjoyed its simplicity and planning that involved little more than browsing Google Maps. Now all that remains, he says, is to find something “to do along these lines next year.” ® Canyons Outdoor Adventures www.canyons.jp
Fitness and well-being 19
focus Step Circuit In this energizing class, students work out to upbeat music as they boost their heart rates and develop a toner physique. Choreography is taught slowly so that everyone can enjoy the movements with a little practice, and steps are adjustable by height to suit all fitness levels. Between step exercises, students perform short intervals of body-conditioning movements to strengthen their muscles. Fun, effective sessions of Step Circuit run every Thursday (9:30–10:30 a.m.). For details of the upcoming fall classes, contact the Recreation Services Desk or check the Health & Recreation section of the Club website.
Taichi Sekikawa has been teaching fitness classes for more than a decade and is widely known for his infectious step sequences and creative style. The 35-year-old Miyagi Prefecture native is one of Tokyo’s leading instructor trainers and presenters. A certified Aerobics and Fitness Association of America instructor, he also teaches regular aerobics and Latin dance.
“Step Circuit has been my favorite class for the last three years. Taichi is fun and always changing the routine, which is inspired by jazz dance. I will miss him after I leave Tokyo. Good luck to all the new students!”
Sayonara, Summer! The Spa is open daily from 10 a.m.
Help heal the sun-scorched damage to your weary limbs with a relaxing manicure and pedicure combo and receive a complimentary paraffin mask for hands or feet that will leave your skin feeling unbelievably smooth. (Men, you might be surprised at what a good grooming session can do!) September 1–30 ¥15,225
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Make an appointment at 03-4588-0714 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the second-floor haven of relaxation to discover more about the pampering possibilities in store.
youth spot Group Swim Start the new school year with a splash and enroll in one of two exciting group swim classes this fall for ages 4 to 7. September 6–28. Visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website for details. Sign up online, at the Pool Office or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Bye-Bye Summer Pool Party See out the summer at the Pool with an afternoon of exhilarating games, races and gallons of watery fun for the whole family. For ages 4 and above. Sunday, September 26. 2–4 p.m. ¥1,155 (4–19 years); ¥1,470 (adults). Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk.
Fall Footy The World Cup is over, but soccer fever never ends. The Club’s popular weekend soccer program encourages players of all skill levels, ages 3 to 12, to develop their talents on the pitch. From September 11. Saturdays (TAC Gym) and Sundays (American School in Japan). Visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website for details. Sign up at the Recreation Services Desk or by fax to 03-4588-0662.
what’s on Tasty Tutoring Learn how to rustle up some Japanese staples at cooking classes with seasoned instructor Mika Takaki. Wednesday, September 15. 11 a.m.– 1 p.m. Minami Aoyama. ¥6,825 (includes ingredients). Sign up online or at the Recreation Services Desk. Kitchen sessions continue October 20 and November 10.
Bollywood Beat Inspired by the colorful music and dance of Bollywood, the Masala Bhangra Workout combines high-energy Punjabi moves with an easy-to-follow cardio workout. Classes start from September 9. Thursdays, 10:45–11:45 a.m. Gym. ¥4,855 (five classes); ¥19,425 (20 classes); ¥1,260 (walk-ins). Tickets are available at the Recreation Services Desk.
Full-Body Tune-Up Discover ways to loosen up stiff joints and strengthen weak areas during free, 30-minute workouts this month in The Studio. Saturdays (12:15–12:45 p.m.) and Thursdays (1:45–2:15 p.m.) Contact the Fitness Center for details.
Fitness and well-being 21
Early Language Learners
Ahead of next month’s educational resources panel discussion, one American mother explains her decision to send her children to Japanese schools. by Betsy Rogers
uring the rainy season, there was no escape from the downpours that thundered upon the rooftop of our rented beach house, yet it was heaven to fall asleep to. Planning to stir from my spot one morning to drive my son to school, I sipped my coffee, gazed outside at the strong winds tearing through the rice paddies and thought of a scene in Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic My Neighbor Totoro. A burst of chatter interrupted my
22 September 2010 iNTOUCH
thoughts just before 7 a.m., as five kids, protected under a patchwork of umbrellas, came up to the window. “Eddie-kun wa irrashaimasuka? [Is Eddie home?]” I sent him out the door with his boots and umbrella to walk the two kilometers to school with the girls amid the sheets of rain. Our family had decided to take a timeout from Tokyo and spend a month in the seaside community of Shimoda, where Eddie attended the public elementary school
while his younger sister and brother went to the local kindergarten for a “trial month.” We had rented the house for the year and wanted to take full advantage of the opportunities it afforded to explore another side of Japan, environmentally and culturally. With my husband away on business for nearly three weeks, the hardship of separation and caring for four young kids in the city was ameliorated. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the children spent longer adjusting to spiders the size of their hands and slithering snakes in this new environment than they did adapting to a different school. Part of this, undoubtedly, was because they’d all been attending Japanese schools since age 2. Learning a second language has provided our family with wonderful chances to experience various facets of Japan and make new friends. Originally, we planned
WOMEN’S GROUP to stay in Tokyo no more than three years. We never imagined that nine years later we would have our own business, apartment and four children, three of whom now speak better Japanese than their parents, who diligently studied it in college and graduate school. When the kids became of school age, we considered international and Japanese schooling options. While cost played a factor, it was the price not of tuition but of opportunity that confirmed our decision. By putting them in Japanese schools, they would be able to learn a second language and culture as a native. Japanese can be a useful language abroad as well, I found out. We were in Bali taking a cab back to our hotel, and Eddie, then 6 years old, sat in the front. In broken English, the cab driver asked if we were British. Eddie told him we were American but lived in Tokyo, and with that the driver asked a question in perfect Japanese. Eddie replied in Japanese, and the two of them chatted for the rest of the ride quite fluently in their non-native language. I have gained a lot of confidence in raising bilingual children along the way by attending the educational resources panel discussion at the Club, which will be held again in early October by the Women’s Group. The panel features experts and parents who already have navigated through the system and covers the meaning of a bilingual education and schooling resources available in Tokyo. With the aid of Member and speech and language pathologist Marsha Rosenberg’s expertise on the physical and psychological development of the brain, I became confident my children could learn and function in two languages—even three or four—although neither parent is a native speaker of Japanese. I learned the importance of studying the non-
schooled language at home with a tutor, especially during first and second grades when the foundations for reading and writing are taught. I found out that a good time to transfer children from Japanese schools is third or fourth grade, when there is still a homeroom setting. However, I have met a number of children since then who went on through high school and then attended top colleges. At any school, a child’s well-being depends on his or her development and happiness at school and home. Panelists of the seminar candidly talk about the pros and cons, expectations of the parents’ involvement and the scope of local resources. For instance, if both parents are non-Japanese, the ward will provide children with a Japanese language tutor. The amount of expertise and firsthand information covered is outstanding. Back on the beach, our time in Shimoda flew by and I grew sad to leave. The day before we left, mothers of my children’s classmates struck up conversations at the supermarket and post office. In that short time, I realized, we had gotten to know the community because of this bilingual ability. And it truly was a wonderful exchange. ® Rogers is a former president of the Women’s Group.
Women’s Group Panel: Educating Your Child in Japan Sunday, October 3 3 p.m. Women’s Group Classroom 2 Free Open to the public Childcare is available (please reserve) Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
An interactive community 23
Festival of Fizz by Wendi Hailey
ost anyone can open a bottle of bubbly the traditional way, wedging out the cork until a gratifying pop fills the air. But how about using a saber to chop off the entire neck of the bottle, sending the glass and cork flying in one swift hit? Tokyo wine guru Bill Campbell will raise a blade to one bottle during an exhilarating illustration of the sabrage technique as part of an informative—not to mention delicious—luncheon organized by the Women’s Group this month. “I still get a rush when I do it,” says the 48-year-old long-time Club Member. “I’ve only ever seen one bottle explode, and I’ve done it at least 120, 130 times. It was just a bad hit.” Campbell also will give a “little primer on Champagne,” talk about the relatively
Class Is in Session
24 September 2010 iNTOUCH
inexpensive bottles found in Japan and the heftier price tags of other wines, share a little-known, local sparkling gem and provide valuable tips on visiting Japan’s own quaint version of Napa Valley. And, of course, he’ll delight attendees with sparkling wine from J Vineyards in California’s Russian River Valley and Gruet Winery in New Mexico, which was The Wall Street Journal’s pick as the best American-made bubbly. “I love the story, a French Champagne family making wine and sparkling wine in New Mexico, just because it’s so completely wacky,” says Campbell, who runs his own wine import business, Hotei Wines. Whether bursting open your next bottle to celebrate a memorable occasion, at a picnic in the park or to mark the conclusion to the workweek, this
From embroidery and Japanese cooking to local culture and art, a range of stimulating activities is at your fingertips this fall with a mix of fresh classes and long-standing favorites from the Women’s Group. Choose from the nearly 60 courses profiled in the Women’s Group section of the Club website, then mark your calendar for the upcoming registration. The classes are open to all Club Members. An additional ¥2,500 per course will be charged for non-Women’s Group members, so consider skipping the extra fee by joining the organization—
effervescent affair will make you look at bubbles in a whole new light. “It clears off the palate. The bubbles wake you up,” says Campbell, who drinks the stuff once a week. “At the end of a long day, before you start dinner, it’s just a great way to refresh yourself.” ®
Monthly Luncheon: Bubbles, Japanese Wine and Beyond Monday, September 13 Doors open: 11 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. Banquet Rooms Women’s Group members: ¥3,150 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,200 Sign up online or at the Member Services Desk
plus you’ll get to take full advantage of unique events and programs throughout the year. ®
Fall Classes Registration Thursday, September 16 11 a.m.–1 p.m. (First hour for Women’s Group members only) Women’s Group Classroom 2 Sign up online from 1 p.m. on Friday, September 17
Happy Trails by Wendi Hailey
their conversant guide leads them on a one-of-a-kind trek past forests and around the mountain’s flanks, all the while taking in gorgeous views of the sea and unspoiled nature below. “I have never climbed Fuji, and that is one of the reasons I am excited to lead this tour,” says Jardine. “Participants can expect a great day spent out of Tokyo in the outdoors surrounded by incredible sights. The hike itself is meant for any level, even beginner.” With the hot summer months gone, the fall is the perfect time to step outside the city limits and discover a refreshing dose of pristine air and stimulating surroundings. Along with the Fuji tour, the Women’s Group will offer a variety of well-organized expeditions for adventurous Members and their guests. “This year, while keeping some of the old favorites, we have planned a profusion
of new and exciting tours,” Jardine says. “My favorites are always the overnight tours. Even though the tour lasts 36 to 48 hours, you are immersed in the Japanese culture and it feels like you’ve been away for several days.” Other outings in the lineup include a day trip to the renowned Kamakura Samurai Archery Ceremony on October 3, which showcases riders on galloping horses shooting arrows at targets, as well as a charming visit to the hot springs town of Yugawara, just south of Hakone, on November 17. ® For details of upcoming tours, visit the Women’s Group section of the Club website.
An interactive community 25
n endless stream of hikers clamor up the sharp slope of Mount Fuji during the summer months, often waiting in line to reach the summit and winding their way back down under the searing sun. Those who missed the short climbing season or prefer a more leisurely excursion to the famed peak can lace up their hiking boots or comfy sneakers and join a new Women’s Group tour. “Climbing Mount Fuji seems to be on most people’s to-do lists while living in Tokyo,” says Lisa Jardine, who is organizing the bilingual Fuji Day Hike on September 14 along with fellow Women’s Group member Elizabeth Parker. “However, the preparation and actual climb may pose too great a challenge with regard to ability and time. “We thought it would be great to give an alternative opportunity to those who would still like the experience but in a smaller, more manageable way. And for those who have already climbed Fuji, it will be a fun visit with an old friend!” Arriving on a chartered bus and starting from the fifth climbing station halfway up the mountainside (2,377 meters high), participants will sit down to lunch before
State of Play by Rob Goss
Once the domain of middle-aged business executives, golf is experiencing a resurgence in Japan, with more women and children swinging clubs for the first time. September iNTOUCH 26February 20072010 iNTOUCH
n a steaming summer’s day in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, the thwack of golf balls punctuates the incessant hum of cicadas as an overheated collection of golfers smack drives into the giant green netting of a two-tiered driving range. Twenty years ago, the now-aging range would have been filled mostly with older men. Today, there are young men and women and even one or two children among the bald and graying pates. Back when golf in Japan was at the peak of its corporate hospitality-driven powers, this might have been the only place where some of these older golfers ever got to hit a ball. But the game in Japan has changed in recent years. “When I started in this business 10 years ago, the image of golf was still ‘kurai, takai and oyaji kusai [dull, expensive and unfashionable].’ It’s not that way anymore,” says Nobuya Ishizaka, CEO of Golf Digest
Online, one of Japan’s most popular golfing websites. For starters, golf has gotten cheaper. According to a 2010 survey on golfing in Japan by auditing firm KPMG, the average cost of 18 holes on a weekday is $70 for members and $110 for non-members. On weekends, those figures rise to $75 and $160, respectively. During golf’s bubble-era peak, in relative terms, players would have paid around double those prices. It wasn’t just the cost of a round that was the issue back then, however. If players weren’t members of a golf club, which cost millions of yen in joining and annual membership fees, they struggled to get anywhere near a course in the first place. “When I started my salaryman career in 1990, courses typically would allow bookings over the phone from three months prior to the date you wanted to play,” says Club Member
State of Play 27
Ishizaka, 43. “We would actually have to call in at noon, when they’d open their phone lines, to try and get a tee time three months in advance. It was easier getting concert tickets.” Steven Thomas, chair of the Club’s Men’s Golf Group, also recalls those frustrating times. “When I first came to Japan in the mid1980s, getting out onto a golf course for a single round was a big thing,” he says. “You had to book months in advance. Today, the supply-demand balance has shifted.” And thanks to the Internet, reserving a tee time is now just a mouse click away, says Takeshi Kusafuka, representative director and president of Pacific Golf Management (PGM) in Japan, one of the country’s leading golf course management companies. “Of course, there are still some prestigious courses in our portfolio that aren’t fully open to non-members,” says the 47-year-old Club Member, “but for the majority of our 131 courses you can just go online and book a tee time.” KPMG data from 2008 reveal that more than 80 percent of Japan’s courses take online bookings. Given today’s supply-demand imbalance, at many of those courses you can even set up a round for the next day. That’s especially true if you live in the Tokyo area, where Ishizaka estimates that there are some 300 to 400 courses within a 90-minute drive of the city center. Along with cost and accessibility, golfing demographics have been changing, too. While men ages 50 and over still represent by far the single largest group of golfers, more young women and children are starting to take up the sport. Ishizaka says that there has been a noticeable increase in male golfers in their 20s and 30s, too.
September iNTOUCH 28February 20072010 iNTOUCH
Although golf can trace its Japanese roots back to 1903, when Englishman Arthur Hasketh Groom built the country’s first ninehole course on Mount Rokko in Kobe, the game didn’t take off for another 50 years. But by the mid-1960s, there were close to 1 million golfers and 500 golf courses in Japan, numbers which had almost doubled again by 1975 as golf developed into a form of corporate entertainment. It was at this time that golf clubs introduced a deposit-based membership system, whereby golfers had to pay an upfront fee that was refundable only after they resigned. With some 6 million golfers vying to get on 1,700 courses by the end of the 1980s, the deposit system was providing companies with huge interest-free loans to invest in the development of more and more fairways and greens. Even after the recession brought about a decline in the number of players, courses, largely financed by the same membership model, continued to spring up. Another 700 courses opened after 1990, taking the total to more than 2,400 nationwide. “Despite the bubble bursting in 1989, golf really reached a peak in around 1992 or 1993,” explains Ishizaka. “It wasn’t until 2000 that the restructuring of Japan and Japanese corporations really started. That year, four or five of the top 10 bankruptcies in Japan were golfrelated companies. That’s when the whole industry turned upside down…But even though many courses fail, there has always been someone waiting to step up as a new owner. We still have about 2,400 courses today.” So, what does the future hold for the game in Japan? Both Ishizaka
and Kusafuka say the outlook is improving. “It hit bottom six or seven years ago,” says Kusafuka, “but since then the industry has been coming back.” Golf’s efforts to target a new audience and reinvent itself as an accessible leisure industry, while shaking off its staid corporate image, seem to be working. Player numbers have climbed back to around 80 percent of their 1992 peak and young, successful pros like Ryo Ishikawa and Ai Miyazato are helping to attract a younger demographic. Golf fashion is even experiencing a sustained boom with young women. In the short term, the industry is full of optimism. Eighty percent of golf course representatives questioned in the KPMG survey said that they were positive about the future, with 34 percent expecting “excellent” results this year. Yet, despite the current upbeat sentiment within the golf business, some experts warn of challenges ahead. “I’d say we should expect growth to continue for the next 10 years. But from around 2020, things may be different,” says Kusafuka. “The population of Japan looks like it will be decreasing and we will start to see our current older golfers retire. The market will become much more competitive.” Golf’s long-term success, says Kusafuka, will depend on how well the industry takes advantage of its current popularity. Ishizaka agrees. “We started to lose people’s interest in the 1990s, but now we’ve had new people getting interested in golf again,” he says. “The challenge we face today as an industry is to find a way to capture them in the long term.” And Ishizaka has some bold proposals. “One, we need to
State of Play 29
further limit the number of membership courses to a maximum of 20 percent; the remainder have to be accessible, public walk-on courses,” he says. “Two, golf instruction in a way is so unorganized. For example, if you look at how well cram schools are operated, then golf as an industry doesn’t compare. And, at the end of the day, unless people find a way to get better reasonably quickly, they lose focus and lose interest.” One way PGM has been seeking to keep hold of players’ interest is by offering alternatives to the traditional golf experience, which, though fun, can have its drawbacks, according to Thomas, 49. “With drink stops every four or five holes and the lunch break between each nine [both hallmarks from the game’s corporate days], the pace is much more leisurely,” he says. “On the negative side, that can make for a long day, which can put some people off.” For golfers who live in Tokyo, the typical three-hour round trip to a course and compulsory hour-long lunch break can make for a long day. “Early bird golf,” however, provides something of a
solution to this. Where once the earliest tee times would have been after 7 a.m., some courses now open up at first light and let golfers play 18 holes without having to stop for breakfast or lunch. At the other end of the day, “twilight golf” offers later tee times and uninterrupted rounds. “Both are becoming increasingly popular,” says Kusafuka. Meanwhile, PGM’s programs for women and youngsters have introduced the game to some 14,000 kids across the country since 2006, a figure that it expects to double by 2011. “For us, juniors are not a current market, they are a future market…With female golfers, we have seen our numbers increase from 10 percent to 12 percent in recent years, but we are aiming to get that up to more than 20 percent, which would be comparable to the US,” says Kusafuka. Then there’s how the game is perceived. “For some, the brand image of golf is still a little takai, kurai, oyaji kusai, as is the case
by Nick Jones
One area of the new Club in Azabudai that is bound to attract plenty of attention when the facilities open in January is the room housing the two golf simulators. Located across from the gymnasium on the second floor, the 19th Hole’s state-of-the-art simulators will let Members enjoy a quick round at Pebble Beach before breakfast or a few holes at Pinehurst at lunchtime. But rather than playing in front of a large video game screen, golfers at the Club will actually feel like they’re at their choice of course. Thanks to the high-definition technology of the Interactive Sports Technologies-
September iNTOUCH 30February 20072010 iNTOUCH
A Round within Reach
in any country,” says Ishizaka. “But we have such an opportunity now to reinvent its image and bring more new people into the game; not just because it is fun, but because golf is a great tool to meet people and to be fashionable.” “Golf used to be corporate entertainment,” he adds, “now it’s about leisure, it’s social, and there is still room for it to be developed.” ® Goss is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. To find out about the Club’s packed calendar of regular golf outings and competitions for men and women, visit the Health & Recreation section of the Club website.
produced simulators, Members will see real, high-resolution pictures of the fairways and greens. In addition, 3D modeling, satellite data, multiple cameras to analyze a player’s swing and ball-tracking technology provide extra accuracy and realism. Recreation Department Director Scott Yahiro predicts that the Club’s indoor golf function will be a huge success. “I can eventually see us having a golf instructor to develop junior and adult golf programs, lessons and competitions,” he says. ®
asaki Sato loves golf, but the demands of living and working in Tokyo mean that it can be tough to find the time to squeeze in a round. That is why when he finds a good course within easy reach of his home in Mita, he makes the most of it. Keiyo Country Club is one such place. Located just 50 minutes from the center of Tokyo, Keiyo Country Club, which opened in 1959, boasts a well-designed, 6,825-yard, par72 course amid the rolling Chiba Prefecture countryside. “The course is not necessarily long,” says Sato, 56, “however, the combination of reasonably undulating fairways and very small target greens offers a fair test to both low and high handicappers.” The course has hosted its fair share of professionals, too. Between 2005 and 2009, the Crystal Geyser Ladies Golf Tournament, on the Japan LPGA Tour, was held at Keiyo, while in April this year, the qualifying tournament for the Kanto Inter-Club Championship was played at the club. Throughout its history, Keiyo has worked hard to continually improve its facilities, most recently making some adjustments to the pine tree-lined course that features a stream running through it. In 2009, the club launched the Keiyo Golf Academy, which provides coaching to both members and non-members. Away from the manicured greens, hungry players are well looked after at the club’s newly refurbished restaurant. “Many golf courses offer overpriced lunch menus, with a multitude of frivolous and unnecessary side dishes,” says Sato, who is cofounder of a sports turf management company in Japan. “Keiyo offers comprehensive set lunches and simple but popular dishes like noodles and curry and rice.” Sato, who has played Keiyo’s 18 holes numerous times, including as a member of the Men’s Golf Group of Tokyo American Club, finally decided to become a member of the Chiba course in March, making his regular relaxing round just a short drive away. ® Keiyo Country Club 802 Tabeta-cho, Wakaba-ku, Chiba-ken | tel: 043-228-1531 | e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://keiyo-cc.co.jp (Japanese language only)
Need a Hand to Book a Tee Time in Japanese? Then contact the Member Services Desk at 03-4588-0670 and a staff member will be happy to provide language assistance or make the reservation for you.
State of Play 31
Japan’s Untapped Resource A report by the World Economic Forum earlier this year on the corporate gender gap cast Japan in a far from favorable light. Ranked 101st out of 134 countries, Japan’s female employees were found to make up just 24 percent of the corporate workforce. In contrast, the United States finished top (52 percent), followed by Spain (48 percent) and Canada (46 percent). Not surprisingly, Japan also scored woefully in rates of women in middle, senior and executive management positions in companies. Kumi Sato is president of Cosmo Public Relations in Tokyo and the founder of the WomenJapan website. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones sat down with the Club Member to glean her thoughts on the position of women in Japan’s workforce. Excerpts:
iNTOUCH: How does Japan regard women in the workplace? Sato: There is too much emphasis from the Japanese media and society that women should be good wives and mothers. Then there is this whole economic issue about there not being enough structure to support them. And, thirdly, the women themselves believe they can’t have it all. Certainly, if you encourage women to continue to work and if they’re able to find daycare centers, I think that more women will at least think about it. I think the drive is there, but it is up to each employer to realize that there isn’t a cookiecutter solution for each employee. iNTOUCH: Does the culture discourage women from pursuing careers? Sato: First, I don’t think they have the support of their husbands. Also, I don’t think Japanese as a whole have managed to create a good work-life balance. I don’t know why, but many men in executive positions who have worked all their lives don’t feel like they should be going home and pitching in with the housework. And so women end up becoming overwhelmed with the requirements of the job and their domestic requirements. Many of the women I know in their 40s have opted to continue with [their] careers and not to get married and have children because it’s easier. iNTOUCH: What will be the economic impact of not utilizing women in the workplace?
32 September 2010 iNTOUCH
Sato: That is one of the reasons why Japan is still in the doldrums, because it’s just a waste of a good resource. And, of course, multinational companies take a huge advantage of that fact and recruit many women for significant positions. But we need the whole nation to address this issue of making it easier for women to become a big contributor to the economic well-being of this society. But it’s become a minor discussion for which the politicians feel no urgency. iNTOUCH: Are we likely to see a change in attitude in the near future? Sato: I would like to believe so, but I just don’t think the current administration has enough oomph. The politicians are just focused on winning seats. The media is another problem here. The media love to portray women as “cutesy pie” and treat them as second-class nationals. Generally, I think Japanese men are less threatened by women who are young and pretty and all of that, [as opposed to] strong, educated and successful.
role models in Japan just pales compared to other countries. The other issue is overcoming societal [expectations] to be a good wife or mother. iNTOUCH: Is legislation required to help solve the problem? Sato: I think laws are very important. So, for example, the law could make it really attractive for women to continue to work. I think financial incentives have to kick in. iNTOUCH: What about affirmative action? Sato: I think at some point you have to say, “Look, this trickle effect isn’t working; we’ve got to make some drastic moves.” I’m not saying it would be forever. iNTOUCH: What is likely to happen? Sato: I would like to think that a politician will be enlightened and say, “Now I see the link between women and the workforce. Maybe this could be one way to solve our domestic economic problems. Let’s pass some laws.”
iNTOUCH: What are the main barriers to women pursuing careers and taking on managerial roles in Japan?
iNTOUCH: Have you seen changes in the years you have been working?
Sato: There is an underlying fear of Japanese people to be different. In many cases, successful women globally have had strong role models, whether it was a mother or an aunt, but the number of
Sato: Not as many as I would have hoped to have seen and not fast enough. At the end of the day, there need to be major laws passed to bring some equilibrium to this backwardness. ®
Member insights on Japan 33
ignature cuisine, from savory hamburgers to decadent black forest cake, has satiated appetites and kept the Club’s stovetops sizzling throughout its myriad incarnations. With the move to the gleaming new facility in Azabudai, the kitchen team plans to offer an astonishing range of food and atmosphere through the seven outlets. “They’re new, they’re fresh and they have a comfort and level of friendliness that you don’t see in a typical five-star restaurant,” says Michael Marlay, director of the Food & Beverage Department. “They won’t be as perfect; they’ll be lived in. That’s what we’re really trying to do in the food concepts as well.” Divided between formal and family areas, the dining spaces feature an assortment of inviting hues and textures. Plush furnishings mingle with sleek lines that reflect the Club’s American and Japanese influences and create an inviting haven for all moods and ages. The formal adult dining area, Decanter, boasts an elegant ambience, bright pops of color and mouthwatering food options on the third floor. A teppanyaki grill with counter seating, two exquisite dining bridges with crisp furnishings and floorto-ceiling vistas of the Winter Garden and skyline, and a cozy room with fuchsia accents and walls lined with wine bottles make up this space. A timeless take on Traders’ Bar will greet Members when they enter the building on the first floor. Saturated in deep, rich tones and featuring luxurious seats, two-toned wood floors and a slick countertop, the venue will serve as a relaxed watering hole by night and quiet coffee spot during the day. In addition, the American Bar and Grill, a casual adult dining haven with warm accents, booth seating and open views of the kitchen, will allow Members to while away the hours, whether they’re having a business lunch or engrossed in a good book. Sunlight will stream through the large panes of glass into the Japanese wine bar near the Winter Garden, another quiet place to grab a drink or snack. The Cellar will return, along with a wine retail shop. In the restaurants, Members will be able to pore over wine lists brimming with selected wineries that have provided the Club with exclusive offers, from discounted prices to hard-tosecure vintages. “We have positioned our wine program to be very unique in the future
34 September 2010 iNTOUCH
Dynamic Dining Options
Formal dining bridge
Club and to be the first choice for any visiting wine professional,” says Marlay. “We have built up a wine cellar that Members should be proud of.” The family eateries on the first floor will please kids and parents with speedy service and tasty, kid-friendly dishes. “On the family side, we’re hoping to offer more variety,” he says. The vibrantly designed Rainbow Café will include plenty of booths and play areas for young and older children. Open chef stations and a brand new pizza oven will feature such themes as Mexican and Mongolian barbecue throughout the week. Another family eatery, meanwhile, will offer a little more privacy.
One of the biggest differences from the current building in Takanawa will be the number of outdoor seats. Several terraces will house more than 100 alfresco dining spots for adults and families, while Splash will make a long-awaited return as the Club’s poolside café, this time from the breezy perch of the rooftop. “We hope to create food you’d want to eat every day in your home, but to take it to that next level in terms of taste and ingredients,” says Marlay, who will mark his 100th restaurant opening in Azabudai. “Quality of product, simplicity, with a little bit of innovation to make it special.” But the kitchen crews aren’t waiting for the move to start experimenting.
In less than five months, the Club will throw open the doors of its new home in Azabudai, and much of the anticipation is reserved for the eating and drinking spots. by Wendi Hailey
The majority of the menu items will be introduced this autumn in Takanawa. “Members should be seeing specials in the restaurants in September,” he says. “They can give their feedback before the fall menus roll out.” The planning of the restaurant concepts began in 2003, when Marlay joined the Club and the management began discussing the various challenges that faced the existing facility. Sixteen focus groups offered their thoughts on Member expectations, and in 2008 the Food & Beverage team launched its own website for diners to provide feedback. The site receives about 150 comments each month.
“We’re just here to facilitate that,” says Marlay. “These concepts are being created by the owners, for the owners, essentially. The challenge really is to deliver what the Members want, given what we’ve got to work with.” Because of budget constraints, many of the original plans have had to be sidelined or downsized, but the restaurants still are set to rival the best in the city, promises Marlay. “I am cognizant that we had all the same struggles back in the last redevelopment project in the 1970s and we adapted, changed and survived,” he says. “I’ll ensure that whatever we open in 2011 is going to be successful 20 years later.” ®
The journey back to Azabudai 35
GENKAN GALLERY All exhibits in the Genkan Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.
Associate Show by Claudine Ries and Makiko Takagi
Ahead of the annual CWAJ (College Women’s Association of Japan) Print Show at the Club in mid-October, this year’s Associate Show, “In Search of Serenity,” features two artists whose visions are especially worthy of attention. Yoshiaki Mokutani’s works are like the open pages of a book. Coupling each time two prints that capture the same image—the polychrome version on the left side and its stylized monochrome version on the right—his prints allow the viewer to travel through time and space. “I try to form a space that is produced by going back and forth between these two opposite images,” explains the 30-year-old Shizuoka Prefecture native (pictured left). Tokyo-born Toshinori Tanuma invites the observer on a meditative journey. His monochrome prints are printed on handmade gampi paper. He creates a rich, textured surface through a variety of techniques and with a subtle color scheme achieves a strong, harmonious ensemble. “My work evolves around a story and lyrics. I invent and tell a story and invite the viewer to join me and interpret it with his own imagination,” says Tanuma, 24. “I hope to create a work of art that allows for the viewer’s mind to wander freely.” Ries and Takagi are coordinators of the CWAJ Associate Show.
September 20–October 17
Tuesday, September 21 6:30–8 p.m. Adult Lobby Free Open to all Members
36 September 2010 iNTOUCH
yokoso Theodore & Yuriko Lo United States—RBS Securities Japan Ltd.
Masayoshi Enomoto Japan—Hayama Housing Innovator, Inc. Yasushi & Megumi Ando Japan—New Horizon Capital Co., Ltd.
Lowly Norgate & Stephen Patrick United Kingdom—The British School in Tokyo
Shinichi Ito Japan—Tokyo Koku Cleaning Co., Ltd.
Patrick & Tomomi Shearer United States—Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Damien Horth & Jacqueline Bennett Australia—UBS Securities Japan Ltd.
Maxwell Fox United States—Ropes & Gray LLP Jack & Jeanne Noble United Kingdom—Fujitsu Ltd. Theodore & Susan Seltzer United States—Morrison & Foerster LLP Vishal & Maohu Mirpuri United Kingdom—Deutsche Securities, Inc.
Seiichiro & Yoko Asakawa Japan—Tokyo Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.
John & Pia Feeney Ireland—Bank of America Merrill Lynch
James & Beverly Reed United States—Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd.
Masayuki Ienaga Japan—Honeywell Japan, Inc.
Mark Deveno & Andrea Thomas Bingham United States—Sakai Mimura Aizawa Horitsu Jimsho
Alice Donnelly & Eric Carter Ireland—Bristol Myers K.K.
Ian & Janet McDade United Kingdom— PricewaterhouseCoopers
Naoki Morita Japan—E&M Corporation
Chikatomo Hodo Japan—Accenture Japan Ltd.
Masamichi Yamada Japan—Itoki Corporation
Hikari Haraguchi Japan—Kokagakuen Elementary School
Ken & Mayumi Suzuki Japan—Kudan Chuo Law Office
Lachlan & Mariana East Australia—Barclays Capital Japan Ltd.
Jason Ng & Chew Ling Lee United Kingdom—Goldman Sachs (Japan) Holdings
Mark & Anita Matthews United States—Corning Holding Japan G.K.
Makoto & Ayako Ikeda Japan—Citigroup Global Markets Japan, Inc.
Leng-Fong Lai & Carolyn Siauw Singapore—Clifford Chance Joseph Moscato & Sayoko Ishii United States—Caterpillar Japan Ltd. Simon & Marianne-Louise Black United Kingdom—Allen & Overy Steven & Erin Loranger United States—IBM Japan Ltd.
Nicolas Soergel & Takako Komine Germany—KVH Co., Ltd.
sayonara Chris Albani & Rie Murata
Roger & Michelle Brown
Christine & Thierry de Tourniel
J Steven & Kathleen Baughman
Shiaw Dih & Margaret Chen
William & Keri Benack
& Danielle Drapeau-Brown
Matthew & Beth Cohen
& Daniel Cherubin
Marc & Fumi Breuil
Andrew & Cheiko
Cecile Crochu & Alan Ng
Daniel & Jamie Edwards
stacks of services at the Club
JTB Sunrise Tours
Go Mobile Phone Rental
André Bernard Beauty Salon
Five percent discount on all package tours. Available at the Member Services Desk.
The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 Family Area (1F) Sat & Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Need a rental mobile phone or help with translation? Want to find useful English mobile sites? Go Mobile—more than just a phone. www.gomobile.co.jp
English support for all your Toyota and Lexus needs. Available services: Q&A by e-mail; dealer visit assistance; and translation of estimates, contracts and other related documents. www.mytoyota.jp/english
Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (2F) Tue–Sun: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Services and benefits Member 37
sayonara Louis & Evie Efron
Timothy & Jennifer Orchard
Morgan & Mari Falkengren
Wayne & Jennie Paterson
Dan & Vanessa Felgner
Courtland & Teresa Pearson
John Finnucan IV
Anders & Lisbeth Pentelius
& Darla Finnucan
Thomas & Rosana Phillips
John & Tracy Flannery
Rory & Natasha Pope
Frank & Katherine Forelle
Guy & Tania Prochilo
Bernadette & Charles Geis
Cameron & Jennifer Prowse
David & Andrea Pulido
& Gleb Netchvolodov
Kevin & Jane Quinn
Why did you decide to join the Club?
Stephen & Janie Hamilton
Philip & Kyoko Quirk
Blaine Harden & Jessica Kowal
Marta Ikeda & Nelson Kuniyoshi
& Sinduja Raghunathan
Brad & Kristi Irick
Roger & Lynn Jasek
Daniel & Alison Read
“We joined TAC because we want our international kids to have an international base in Tokyo, where they can enjoy and participate in North American events, holidays and celebrations. The swimming pool and swimming lessons in English were also a big draw, not to mention the well-stocked DVD and book library. We look forward to making new friends, as well as hanging out at TAC with some old ones.”
Andrew & Nicole Johnsen
Takashi & Itsuko Kaminaga
John & Cheryl Schell
Rukesh & Nehal Kaura
Peter & Susanna Schlicksup
Peter Kirby & Kyoko Ono Kirby
David Shen & Eileen Jung-Shen
Sean & Huntly Klimchalk
Jozsef & Teresa Siovolgyi
Gary & Yuko Lane
Richard & Jihyun Sparrow
David & Clare Leithead
David & Shelly Sprague
Robert Long & Erin Dennis
Randy & Valerie Steinlauf
Colin & Mamiko MacFarlan
Masayoshi & Toshie Tadami
Nobuyuki & Teiko Takashima
Raymond & Robin Mayer
W Brent & Janet Tanner
Edward McAllister III
Bjarne & Alessandra Tellmann
& Jeannette McAllister
Alexander Treves & Eu Ju Baek
Conor & Laura McCarthy
James & Jackie Tyrie
James & Rachel McLaughlin
Franck & Michele Mounier
Scott & Amy Wilson
Brett & Renae Nelson
Peter & Beate Zapf
Advertising Options If you would like to advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Miyuki Hagiwara at email@example.com.
38 September 2010 iNTOUCH
new member profile
Satoshi & Janice Ishizaka Japan—Bank of America Merrill Lynch
(l–r) Satoshi and Janice Ishizaka with their children
new member profile
Eric & Angela Duchemin France—Hachette Collections Japan K.K.
Why did you decide to join the Club? “After living in Japan for seven years and hearing from our French friends about how great the numerous American Club activities were, we decided to become Members. We look forward to making new friends, expanding our professional network and enjoying the new Azabudai facilities. As for our son, he is already meeting other kids at the Pool and in the games room and practicing his English.” (l–r) Eric, Antoine and Angela Duchemin
of the month
Atsumi Nishimura by Nick Jones
t wasn’t easy to settle into a strange, new culture while doing battle with an alien language each day. But that was the struggle a young Atsumi Nishimura faced after she and her family moved to Canada when her father’s company transferred him. “I was just sad to leave my friends behind,” she says of being uprooted at 12 years old. Eventually, it was the universal language of music that helped her through the tough transition. A keen pianist since she was a little girl, Nishimura began taking private lessons at the local music conservatory in London, Ontario. Around the same time, a music teacher at her high school invited her to join the choir. She also picked up the alto saxophone and began playing
with the school band. “Music was a big part of my life,” says the 36-year-old, referring to the pursuit that has continued to hold her attention since her school days in Canada. And even though her current position in the Video Library, where she has worked since 2007, would seem to offer few opportunities for her to exercise her skills of rhythm and harmony, she started a program for children combining her two passions— music and movies—last year. The program also allowed Nishimura to put her second degree to good use. After graduating from Keio University in Tokyo and working for a while, in 2001 she moved to the United States with her husband while he pursued his PhD at the
University of Rochester, New York. Eager to study again, Nishimura decided to enroll in a music education course at the university’s music school. After graduating, she taught music to kids for a few months in Washington, DC, where she witnessed the extremes of American society. “I could tell that they were really excited about learning music,” she says of the children in the city’s deprived areas where she sometimes taught. “That’s why I studied music education.” For now, the Employee of the Month for July says she enjoys chatting to Members about movies and offering recommendations, and hopes that there will be a few more musical opportunities at the next Club in Azabudai. ®
Employee of the Quarter
Jasmine Lai by Nick Jones
The Communications Department’s Jasmine Lai picked up the most recent Employee of the Quarter award. The 28-year-old graphic designer, who grew up in Taiwan and New Zealand before attending university in Sydney, Australia, where she studied graphic and environmental design, was the recipient of May’s Employee of the Month accolade. As one of the Club’s design specialists, she works on a variety of projects and daily tasks, including promotional material for events, brochures, displays, the Club website and the monthly magazine, iNTOUCH. Lai’s boss, Communications Manager Matthew Roberts, says the award is well deserved. “The quiet and understated manner in which Jasmine goes about projects really belies the design powerhouse that lurks within,” he says. Arriving in Japan in 2007, she joined the Club the following year. ®
Services and benefits for Members 39
An Encore for Japanâ€™s Talking Silents
Later this month, the Club hosts a performance of a decades-old cinematic art form that is experiencing something of a resurgence in Japan. Ichiro Kataoka
40 September 2010 iNTOUCH
by Brian Publicover
slight figure hunches over a podium as a 1939 silent period drama flickers to life on a modest screen. The audience is transfixed as Ichiro Kataoka explains the unfolding story—a humorous tale of an Edo-era servant who helps his brother win the hand of a woman—over an unobtrusive musical score. Kataoka is a katsudo benshi, or live film narrator, and the people before him are witnessing a revival of the largely forgotten intersection between cinema, poetry and performance art. “A benshi has to be a voice actor— a bit of a ham,” says Larry Greenberg, CEO of Digital Meme, which cosponsored Kataoka’s June performance at the Akasaka Civic Hall. The event was part of the company’s Talking Silent tour, which includes an English-subtitled screening of the 1925 classic Orochi (The Serpent), narrated by benshi Raiko Sakamoto, at the Club this month. “Film around the world is a visual art, but in Japan it started as a performing art,” says Greenberg, 46. “The benshi was the essential element.” Thousands of benshi worked throughout Japan until the twilight years of cinema’s silent era in the late 1930s. Many were famed for their narrative abilities, and the most acclaimed benshi competed with actors for the hearts of viewers. The earliest films were adaptations of Kabuki plays, and benshi often mimicked the tradition’s dramatic narration. They provided voices for characters, clarified storylines, supplied voiceovers for foreign films and generally offered their own interpretations of what was happening onscreen.
The craft evolved over time, influencing filmmaking practices in numerous ways. Directors, for example, could rely on the benshi’s introductory remarks to explain characters, provide context or flesh out specific plot points. The tradition disappeared with the emergence of talking movies, although it took longer for talkies to catch on in Japan due to the popularity of the benshi, says Greenberg. Once moviegoers finally started warming up to synchronized sound, however, the narrators no longer made “commercial sense.” But now, modern practitioners like Midori Sawato, the most prominent of the few remaining benshi in Japan, are breathing new life into film narration amid global interest in the art form. Companies like Digital Meme are capitalizing on the lingering nostalgia and distributing the movies all over the world. Arriving in Japan in 1985, Greenberg later started a translation company that continues to thrive today. The native New Yorker established Digital Meme in 2000, initially as a vehicle through which to digitally archive classic Japanese cinema. The company now boasts a collection of 1,500 films and TV programs. Working with Matsuda Film Productions, which has spent decades archiving old films, Digital Meme began restoring the country’s forgotten movie treasures. The 16-millimeter film stock is repaired and digitally scanned before music and multilingual subtitles are added. “We end up with digital assets,” Greenberg says, adding that such work must be commercially viable to last. “People want digital content, and they want to be
able to view it in a beautiful format.” These digitized gems can be packaged and promoted in a way that would be impossible in their traditional format. For example, Digital Meme plans to send Kataoka, armed with a stack of DVDs and an assistant, on a promotional benshi tour around Australia next year. The trip will even include a screening and performance at the iconic Sydney Opera House. As worldwide interest in benshi grows, it gives rise to artistic offshoots like the Neo-Benshi movement, in which performers offer alternate voiceovers for films. But Greenberg argues that a distinction needs to be made between modern practices and the original tradition. “People take the benshi act of performing and do something with it,” says the entrepreneur. “And that’s fine, if you can make money off it, but I don’t want people to think of that as the benshi, because it’s not.” As Kataoka wraps up his performance at the Akasaka Civic Hall to a burst of applause, the appeal of genuine benshi becomes apparent. The theater lights come up, revealing a surprisingly diverse audience of elderly couples, university students and foreigners who have converged to experience the cinematic magic of a bygone era. ® Publicover is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Turn to page 16 for details of this month’s benshi performance at the Club. Digital Meme www.digital-meme.com
A look at culture and society 41
Runway City by Tim Hornyak
With a history of more than 1,000 years, the city of Narita is a lot more than just an airport town.
through the city, with revelers in period attire. If you miss the party, though, you can still check out a float on display in the Narita Tourist Pavilion facing Kawatoyo. Fortified by the eel, I passed through Naritasan’s huge gate. The Buddhist sanctuary, part of the Shingon sect, was founded more than 1,000 years ago and is one of the most important temples in the Kanto region. It’s easy to see one too many temples in Japan, but Naritasan stands out for its lore, architecture and surroundings. Naritasan owes much of its stature to the legend of Taira no Masakado, a samurai who rebelled against the Kyoto court in 935. He managed to capture territory in Kanto and declared himself the new emperor, gaining the admiration of peasants in the region. Emperor Suzaku attempted to quash the revolt with military as well as spiritual force. In addition to warriors, Suzaku dispatched a priest called Kanjo, along with an image of Fudo Myoo, a fire deity, from the capital. Kanjo performed a three-week fire ceremony, at the end of which Taira no Masakao fell in battle near Narita. The Fudo image supposedly became as heavy
as a boulder and couldn’t be carried back to Kyoto. The emperor decided to enshrine it on the spot, and Naritasan was born. Taira no Masakado’s vengeful ghost has been blamed for mysterious accidents and deaths around Tokyo for centuries, but the atmosphere at Naritasan is tranquil, even with its 10 million annual visitors. One reminder of the Tokugawa shogun’s patronage is the temple’s graceful threestoried pagoda, dating to 1712. The surrounding park is a vast leafy oasis of plum and cherry trees, three ponds and paths meandering amid gentle hills. Atop one rise is the 60-meter-tall, twotiered Heiwa Daito Pagoda, built in 1984. Housing a giant Fudo statue, as well as thousands of small Fudo votive tablets, it’s a worthwhile detour into the Shingon world. The Reikokan Historical Material Museum beneath it features Naritasan treasures, such as samurai armor and artifacts related to the Ichikawa Danjuro lineage of Kabuki actors, who supported the temple. One of the more curious examples of Narita’s heritage can be found at Kirinoya Ryokan, a modest inn beyond the park. From the outside, it’s just another drab
© FEEL Narita
he plane was making its final approach to Narita Airport as I peeped through my window. Some 80 kilometers to the west, the seemingly endless metropolis of Tokyo lurked under a pall of cloud by the water. Beyond rose the perfect summit of Mount Fuji. It’s a sight I’ve never forgotten. Despite countless comings and goings through the airport since that first trip in November 1999, I had never bothered to explore the nearby city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture until recently. I’d seen posters in the Tokyo subway advertising New Year prayers at its great temple, so when I got off the Keisei express train before it reached the airport, Naritasan Shinsho Temple was my destination. En route, I strolled along a nostalgic street lined with restaurants specializing in unagi (eel) dishes. One, Kawatoyo Honten, serves an exquisite unaju dish of grilled eel over rice in beautiful lacquerware. One of the best times to visit Narita, apart from the frenetic New Year period, is during the unagi festival from mid-July to mid-August. The 300-year-old Gion festival in early July showcases elaborate floats that parade
42 September 2010 iNTOUCH
OUT & ABOUT
Around an hour on the Keisei Cityliner from Ueno Station to Narita Station.
Feel Narita www.nrtk.jp
Kirinoya Ryokan www.naritakanko.jp/kirinoya/
Narita Airport Area Guide www.chiba-tour.jp/narita/
Naritasan Shinsho Temple www.naritasan.or.jp
Narita City www.city.narita.chiba.jp
puffing on a cigarette. As I boarded the train for Ueno, I thought about the airport, which I’ve used innumerable times. While efficiently run, it’s not the most exciting gateway in the world, so it’s no wonder that travelers skip the city and board the Narita Express for Tokyo. But just like my first glimpse of Fuji, Narita turned out to be full of delights. The flight crews who stay overnight here have long had this microcosm of Japanese history and culture all to themselves. With its easy access to downtown, Narita makes for a worthwhile day trip for Tokyoites. Just remember to spare a thought for Taira no Masakado, the unwitting town father, if you drop by. ®
mid-20th century construction, now dominated by a newly built school behind it. Once inside, though, I was greeted warmly by the owner, Kiyokazu Katsumata, who proudly informed me that he could trace his family tree back 50 generations before introducing me to his adult son, who seemed less than thrilled about being the 51st. Kirinoya is, in fact, a museum in disguise. Its alcoves burst with samurai spears, swords, flintlock rifles and even a warlord’s palanquin. The tatami-matted rooms are decidedly retro, too, with quaint pine tree paintings on the sliding doors, ancient TV sets and rotary-dial phones. I almost expected to find Tora-san, that 1960s traveling salesman film icon, sitting in one of the cracked leather recliners
Hornyak is a Montreal-based freelance journalist.
Explorations beyond the Club 43
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
July Fourth at the Club July 4
More than 100 Members, guests and dignitaries, including US Ambassador John Roos and Prince and Princess Hitachi, mingled in the New York Suite as they celebrated the independence of the United States and the foundation of the Club. The festivities included short speeches, patriotic songs, a Champagne toast and decadent cake before the merrymaking moved on to the American Room, where adult attendees, including several military officers, savored a feast of delectable American fare. Earlier in the day, youngsters enjoyed an afternoon packed with games, sports, crafts and holiday fun. Photos by Ken Katsurayama 1. (lâ€“r) Keiko and Yuichi Iio and Stan and Maki Yukevich 2. Keiko Lee and Princess Hitachi 3. (lâ€“r) Captain John Litherland, Club President Lance E Lee, Barbara Hancock and Dan Stakoe 4. US Ambassador John Roos with Prince and Princess Hitachi
44 September 2010 iNTOUCH
EVENT EVENT ROUNDUP ROUNDUP
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.
Summer Fitness Challenge July 10
The Club crowned its fittest Members after a fierce but friendly competition in July. Participants were tested in three areas—cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility—and all received a sports towel and drink. Waten Suzuki took home the men’s top honor, while Sarah Visser won the women’s division. Photos by Venice Tang
1. (l–r) Kota Kanematsu, Waten Suzuki, Julie Tani, Sarah Visser, Con Gryllakis and Paul Francis 2. (l–r) Sarah Visser, Waten Suzuki and Fitness Center Manager Paolo Olivieri
46 September 2010 iNTOUCH
Outwitting the Web by Karen Pond Illustration by Akiko Saito
48 August 2010 iNTOUCH
ey, Mom,” my son said. “How do you tie a necktie again?” “Something about a bunny hopping around a fox, I think. Just a second. Let me ask your dad,” I said. “Don’t worry, Mom,” he replied. “I just Googled the instructions. I’ve got it now.” “Hey, Mom,” my other son said. “Do you know a quick and easy international dessert recipe?” “Yes,” I said. “Just give me a minute. I am sure there is one in one of these cookbooks somewhere.” “Not to worry,” he said from in front of the computer. “I just Googled it. I’m all set.” How to tie a necktie: 1,630,000 results. How to make pancakes: 5,290,000 results. How to change a tire: 40,000,000; the oil in your car: 80,000; a diaper: 5,000,000. How to sew on a button: 2,000,000. How to grow potatoes: 800,000. How to wash clothes: 12,000,000. How to budget and save money: 42,000,000. How to properly excuse yourself if you burp in social settings: 1,780,000.
“Unfair!” I complained to my husband. “I can’t compete with Google. Google’s got it all.” (Complaining about the Internet: 6,000,000 results.) Yet despite all the instantaneous answers and solutions to everything on the Web, I was determined still to offer advice to my son. “OK, kiddo,” I said to him, “the Internet may have links, but I have life lessons. Remember to be confident and social. Always be respectful. Enjoy friendships. Accept challenges. Be brave. Be a good listener. There will be times that absolutely rock, but there will be times of heartache. Most of us look better in dim light...” “Um, Mom,” my son said, interrupting my stream of life tips. “Are you telling me that life is like a karaoke booth?” “Yes,” I answered. “And, when it is your turn to shine, sing your heart out. And, by the way, the mnemonic for tying your necktie is the fox chases the rabbit around the tree and down the hole.” (Why is my mom always so embarrassing? 864,000 results.) ®
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
第 四 十 三 巻 三 十 四 号
ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
i N T
The Future of Japan’s Fairways Club Members in the know share their thoughts on the country’s evolving golf scene
O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 〇 年 九 月 一 日 発 行
iNTOUCH TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円 本 体 七 七 七 円
Issue 546 • September 2010
Classic Japanese cinema comes to the Club
A sneak peek at the culinary lineup in Azabudai
The Club hosts an epic month of alluring wines