TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行 第 四 十 七 巻 五 九 三 号 ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 四 年 九 月 一 日 発 行 平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
Art of the Samurai Going inside the dojo
Future of Food Japan embraces the organic movement
Court’s in Session The fast-paced action of squash
Breaking the Language Barrier
本 体 七 七 七 円
Mastering Japanese is a herculean task, but a handful of Members show how it can be done Issue 593 • September 2014
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contents Contacts Events Board of Governors Management Food & Beverage Library Committees Recreation Video Library Women’s Group Feature Talking Heads Frederick Harris Gallery Cultural Insight Member Services Inside Japan Out & About Event Roundup Back Words
FEATURE Learning the Local Lingo
16 COMMITTEES Waiting for the Call
18 RECREATION Wall-to-Wall Workout
Tokyo firefighters train rigorously to put their lives on the line at a moment’s notice. Catch a glimpse of daily life inside the Azabu Fire Department.
The sport of squash is more popular than ever among Club Members despite its exclusion from the 2020 Olympic Games.
Editor Nick Jones
To advertise in iNTOUCH, contact Rie Hibino: email@example.com 03-4588-0976
For membership information, contact Mari Hori:
When Member Emma Cuthbertson arrived in Tokyo last January for another work stint, she found the Club’s Library provided the perfect nook to study Japanese. Cuthbertson and other Members detail the time and effort it took to gain fluency.
38 INSIDE JAPAN Samurai School Meet a modern-day samurai who follows centuries-old family traditions to train fledgling warriors in the disciplines of archery and etiquette.
Anthony L Cala General Manager
Lian Chang Asst GM, Business Support
Designers Anna Ishizuka Ryan Mundt
Wayne Hunter, Director GMO & Membership
Darryl Dudley, Director Engineering
Production Assistant Yuko Shiroki
Business Operations Brian Marcus Asst GM, Business Operations
Shuji Hirakawa, Director Human Resources
Assistant Editor Nick Narigon
Scott Yahiro, Director Recreation
Tokyo American Club 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8649
Communications Manager Shane Busato
Nori Yamazaki, Director Food & Beverage
www.tokyoamericanclub.org Cover photo of Emma Cuthbertson by Kayo Yamawaki
Jonathan Allen, Director Member Services & Guest Studios
Naoto Okutsu, Director Finance Toby Lauer, Director Information Technology
Getting in Touch Department/E-mail Phone American Bar & Grill
Banquet Sales and Reservations
Food & Beverage Office
Foreign Traders’ Bar
Women’s Group Office firstname.lastname@example.org
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British student Alex Rawlings said he found Russian the hardest language to learn. But then Rawlings’ definition of hard is likely very different from that of almost everybody else. After all, Russian was just one of 11 languages in his repertoire when, two years ago, he was named Britain’s most multilingual student. Besides the two languages (German and Russian) he was studying at Oxford University, Rawlings was also fluent in English (his mother tongue), Greek, Spanish, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian. In an interview after winning the language contest, he said his interest in languages grew out of a childhood experience. “My dad worked in Japan for four years and I was always frustrated that I couldn’t speak to the kids in those countries because of the language barrier,” he said. Despite hailing from a notoriously monolingual nation, Rawlings urged everyone to study a language, particularly for travel. “If you make the effort to learn even the most basic of phrases wherever you go, it instantly shows the person you’re speaking to that you respect their culture,” he said. “Going around speaking loud English and getting frustrated at people is often perceived at best as tactless and at worst as rude.” While the Japanese government works to improve economy-boosting English-language skills in the country ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, trilingual Italian Gianni Simone spoke to a number of foreign, Japanese-speaking Club Members about the challenges and rewards of attaining fluency for this month’s cover story, “Learning the Local Lingo.” While most of us will never become polyglots like Rawlings or UN interpreters, nobody can dispute the satisfaction of moving beyond the requisite greetings and drink ordering and exploring the nuances of a country through conversations with the local people.
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contributors Megan Waters Tim Hornyak
Megan Waters is a Tokyo-based freelance editor and journalist who writes for a number of English-language publications and websites. A former editor-in-chief of the ACCJ Journal and deputy editor of BCCJ Acumen magazine, she has written on a broad range of subjects. In this month’s iNTOUCH, she talks to Japan-based author Hugh Ashton about his first foray into children’s fiction, explores the popular Club sport of squash and heads to a Tokyo island paradise. Originally from South Africa, Waters relocated to Britain at 16 and studied linguistics and publishing at Oxford Brookes University. Two weeks after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, she moved to a small town in Shizuoka Prefecture to teach English.
Gianni Simone is the Japan correspondent for Vogue Italia and Playboy Italia and a regular contributor to The Japan Times. His writings have also appeared on the Flash Art and CNN Travel websites and in Metropolis and San Francisco Arts Quarterly magazines. He also co-authored the book Made of This. Simone has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and resides in Yokohama with his wife and two sons. When he is not doing the dishes, he likes to interview people, explore Tokyo and take pictures of the city’s colorful police boxes. For this month’s cover story, he found out from several foreign Members how they managed to master Japanese, one of the world’s most difficult languages.
Words from the editor 3
What’s on in September 1–30
Welcome Back Spa Special Recover from your chaotic summer travels with a revitalizing, affordable three-in-one package at The Spa. Details on page 20.
Toastmasters Club Start losing your fear of public speaking and improve your leadership skills at this monthly event. 12 p.m. ¥2,200. Sign up online or at the Library.
Toddler Time A fun, 30-minute session of engaging stories and activities awaits preschoolers at the Children’s Library. 11 a.m. Free. Continues September 11, 18 and 25.
Birth Preparation for Couples Expectant parents prepare for the arrival of their bundles of joy during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. ¥34,300. Sign up at Member Services.
Crab Grand Buffet The New York Ballroom hosts a spread of juicy crustaceans. 11 a.m.–2 p.m./4:30–7 p.m. Adults (18 and above): ¥6,555; juniors (4–17 years): ¥2,700; infants (3 and under): free. Sign up online or call 03-4588-0977.
Spanish Night Take your taste buds on a European vacation at Café Med’s mouthwatering spread of Spanish tapas and mains. 5 p.m. Continues September 17–18.
Educating Your Child in Japan Uncover a wealth of schooling and language resources and expert advice at this informative panel discussion. 2 p.m. Free. Washington and Lincoln rooms. Sign up online or at Member Services.
Squash Social Night The Club’s squash players enjoy an evening of casual play and a chance to put their skills to the test against professional Hitoshi Ushiogi, a former national champion. 6:15 p.m. Continues on September 30.
Ballroom Dance Social Ballroom dance aficionado and new enrichment class instructor Koji Hanaoka reveals the benefits of tripping the light fantastic. 6:30– 8 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. ¥1,800. Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk.
Ladies Golf Group Kickoff Luncheon Ahead of the first outing on September 11, the Club’s female golfers kick off the season with a luncheon. To find out more, flip to page 20.
Club Squash Tournament Squash players compete in the first and second rounds of a Club-wide tournament. The semis and final continue on September 20 and 21.
The Ultimate Lunch and Learn Workshop Series Club Member and president of Dale Carnegie Training Japan Dr Greg Story offers tips on avoiding stress. 12 p.m. Washington Room. ¥1,900. Sign up online or at Member Services.
Early Pregnancy and Birth Planning Expectant moms and dads prepare for the big day during this Women’s Group class. 10 a.m.– 12 p.m. ¥6,700. Sign up at Member Services.
Welcome Back Party: A Night with the Stars The Club welcomes back Members from the summer break with a red carpet at a funpacked, Hollywood-themed bash, featuring live entertainment. Find out more on page 11.
New Member Orientation The Club’s newest Members learn about the Club while enjoying a chance to mingle. 6:30 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. Contact the Membership Office to reserve your spot at least one week in advance.
Coffee Connections Whether you’re new to Tokyo or you just want to meet new people, drop by this free Women’s Group gathering. Contact the Women’s Group Office to organize free childcare. 10:30 a.m.
Gallery Reception: CWAJ Associate Show The College Women’s Association of Japan previews next month’s CWAJ Print Show with an exhibition of works by five talented printmakers. 6:30 p.m. Details on page 33.
(Prices do not include 8 percent consumption tax.)
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TAC Eagles Tryout Club coaches evaluate the basketball skills of TAC Eagles hopefuls in grades one to six. 5:30 p.m. Details on page 20.
Mommy and Toddler Time Meet fellow moms and toddlers while building your own support network at a fun, weekly gettogether at the Childcare Center. 2 p.m. Free. Continues September 12, 19 and 26.
New Member Orientation The Club’s newest Members learn about the Club and have a chance to mingle. 10 a.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms. Contact the Membership Office to reserve your spot at least one week in advance.
Soccer Session Budding World Cup stars, ages 6 to 12, learn soccer skills at a fun session in the Gymnasium. 2:30 p.m. ¥1,500. Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk.
Woodblock Prints in the 20th Century with David Caplan The Club Member and founder of Mita Arts Gallery talks about the aesthetics of 20th-century Japanese prints and how they were created. 11:30 a.m. Find the full story on page 22.
Gallery Reception: Bingata: Old and New Two talented cloth dyers launch an engaging exhibition of this traditional Okinawan artwork with a casual gathering at the Frederick Harris Gallery. 6:30 p.m. Learn more on page 32.
Fuji Day Hike Tour The Women’s Group offers a fun, one-of-a-kind trek on the flanks of Japan’s iconic mountain. For details, visit the Women’s Group Office or Member Services.
Ladies Bowling League The Club’s fun-loving group of female keglers kicks off another season of strikes and spares. Flip to page 20 for more information.
Meet the Author: Hugh Ashton and Andy Boerger Meet the British creator of the children’s book furry sleuth Sherlock Ferret along with illustrator Andy Boerger and Vinnie, the ferret that inspired the series of stories. 10 a.m. More on page 12.
Enrichment Program Registration Pick up new skills or hone old ones from the more than 60 Women’s Group classes on offer this fall. 9:30 a.m. Beate Sirota Gordon Classroom and Activity Room.
Toastmasters Club Overcome stage fright while learning to speak and present with confidence at an engaging luncheon. 12 p.m. ¥2,200. Sign up online or at the Library.
Vertical Exploration Wine Tasting Do wines really improve with age? Find out by sampling a number of vintages from three iconic French winegrowing regions. 7 p.m. The full lineup can be found on page 10.
Library Book Club The Club’s band of book lovers meet at Café Med to discuss this month’s pick, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. 11:30 a.m. For details, contact the Library.
Friday Feast Frenzy Hook up with friends at a Café Med booth for all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta and more on the final Friday of each month. 5 p.m.
Disaster Awareness Day Through simulators and expert tips, this family-oriented event leaves participants equipped to deal with disaster. Take a peek into the life of a Tokyo firefighter on page 16.
Bench Press Challenge Sweat and grunt your way to victory and Club bragging rights at this annual showcase of strength. Learn more on page 20.
4 First Saturday Wine Friends
Coming up in October 1 Toastmasters Club
1 Squash Team Challenge
4 Kamakura Samurai Archery Ceremony Tour
5 International School Fair
6–7 Tokyo: Here and Now
24 Halloween Party
Noteworthy dates for the month 5
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Shaping Your Club by Mark Henry Saft
have lived in Japan since 1993 and I have been a Member of the Club since 2004. There isn’t a day goes by that I’m not reminded how much I love the Club and how fortunate I am to be associated with such a great institution of wonderful people—Members, management and staff. As a governor of the Club, I make it a habit to ask Members and staff if they are happy with the Club and what they would like to see improved. Most people seem to recognize that the Club can always do a better job in one way or another, but they’re quick to note how happy they are with the Club overall. Those with comments, complaints or suggestions can always fill out a Tell TAC comment card, which are available around the Club and on the website. They receive the immediate attention of management
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and the relevant committee chairs and Members can expect a response within three business days. One area that received plenty of feedback and suggestions was the Chill Zone, the kids’ play area in Rainbow Café. The Food & Beverage Committee reviewed all the feedback and now the space looks great and the kids (mine included) really seem to love it. Thank you to everyone who offered their opinions and to the Family Dining Task Force members who graciously oversaw this successful project. This is an excellent example of how the Club, through our committee structure, is responsive to Members’ input. On the subject of committees, July’s Independence Day Celebration was a huge success, and the Culture, Community and Entertainment Committee did a truly wonderful job of putting on one of the most well-attended and enjoyable Fourth of July celebrations in recent memory. Thank you. My good friend and fellow Member David Caplan will present a lecture on Japanese woodblock prints in the 20th century at a Women’s Group-hosted event on September 8. David is the founder of Mita Arts Gallery and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese prints. You can read an interview with David on page 22. On September 16, the Women’s Group will start taking sign-ups for its fall enrichment programs. With more
than 60 classes on offer, there is certain to be something for everyone. Visit the Women’s Group page of the Club website to browse the programs on offer. The Men’s Group is active, too. July’s Baseball Night trip to watch the Yakult Swallows play the Hiroshima Carp at Meiji Jingu Stadium was a great success and is just one example of the fine work done by the Men’s Group. And what’s not to like about an evening of half-price beer, fireworks and baseball? I would like to encourage all Members to get involved with one or more of the Club’s committees. Participation in a committee is not only a great way to shape the future of the Club, it’s also a way to get to know fellow Members and make new friends. Voting is another way to participate, so be sure to make your voice heard at this year’s Annual General Meeting in November by registering to vote.
Board of Governors John Durkin (2014)—Representative Governor, Gregory Lyon (2014)—First Vice President, Brenda Bohn (2014)—Second Vice President, Per Knudsen (2014)—Secretary, Hiroshi Miyamasu (2015)— Treasurer, Ginger Griggs (2015), Lance E Lee (2014), Mark Miller (2015), Machi Nemoto (2014), Betsy Rogers (2015), Jerome Rosenberg (2014), Mark Henry Saft (2014), Sadashi Suzuki (2014), Kazuakira Nakajima—Statutory Auditor (2014)
Let’s Get Physical by Scott Yahiro Recreation Director
t was another successful—and hot— summer at the Sky Pool. Since we’re able to easily control the temperature of the water, when air temperatures in July and August exceeded 35 degrees Celsius, we managed to keep the water temperature at a comfortable 29 degrees. In addition, the glass roof reflects 99.99 percent of UV rays, which means days at the Sky Pool don’t become painful, sunburned evenings. There were definitely a lot more Members around the Club this summer, and this was reflected in the number of children who joined our Camp Adventure summer camp program, which ran for 10 weeks. It proved to be so popular that we added a second camp for preschoolers. Adults didn’t miss out, either. Due to demand, we offered a full range of summer exercise classes for the first time,
including indoor cycling, Pilates, yoga, boot camp and Zumba. While attending a conference in Calgary over the summer, I was impressed by the sports and recreation facilities at the clubs in the Canadian city. In particular, classes in Pilates reformer and indoor climbing would be great to introduce at the Club.
One trend we’re noticing at the Club, which is happening in North America as well, is that more and more people are joining private clubs for their fitness and recreation facilities and programs.”
One trend we’re noticing at the Club, which is happening in North America as well, is that more and more people are joining private clubs for their fitness and recreation facilities and programs.
It’s no longer just about the restaurants. People are attracted to join our Club by facilities like our full-size Gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and even tennis. With all of this in mind, our programs team has put together an impressive lineup of programs, with many new classes, and the Fit-tix group class ticket program, which kicked off in January, has been a huge success, and we’ll continue to add classes and enhance it. We’re offering a number of fantastic, new programs, such as fencing for youngsters and adults, which is taught by Sakura Kaneko and Takamitsu Kamitsu, both former national fencers who won medals at the Fencing World Cup. Kids can also learn the team sport of volleyball, while the Brazilian martial art of capoeira, which combines martial arts with dance and music, makes its debut at the Club. This sport is booming in the United States at the moment. For those who like their music without sweat, we have launched a Broadway Music program, where students learn to sing, dance and perform numbers from hit Broadway musicals, as well as pop classics. This is sure to be a sellout. Members had the chance to find out in detail about the Club’s array of programs at last month’s Recreation Open House, but it’s not too late to sign up. Visit the Recreation Desk or the Club website and start something new this fall. o
Executive remarks 7
Supreme Eats by Wendi Onuki Photo by Kayo Yamawaki
t should come as no surprise that Japan, a country with a deep-rooted devotion to culinary mastery, has given birth to a profession dedicated to the curation of fresh produce. In the same way that a sommelier recommends meal-enhancing wines, a vegetable sommelier educates people on the choice, preparation and nutritional content of wholesome foods. Members can now reap the benefits of this farm-to-table focus, thanks to a partnership between the Club’s Decanter restaurant and vegetable sommelier Natsuye Watanabe. “The mission of a vegetable sommelier is to convey the vibrancy and charm of vegetables to consumers,” says Watanabe, a former banker who now works with Yasai Sommelier. “The consumption of vegetables is declining year after year, but to lead a healthy life, people need to understand the importance of fruit and vegetables and how to eat and enjoy them.”
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Watanabe’s carefully selected, domestically grown bounty graces the plates of Decanter diners as part of a new-look menu. In addition to the newly sourced veggies, the restaurant offers a trio of stunning beef cuts through Seattlebased MacDonald Meat. “It will be a chance for Members to enjoy unique menu items that they might not be able to find elsewhere and to enjoy the best-quality ingredients we can find,” says Decanter chef Scott Kihara. “That has always been our focus in Decanter: not to serve a tenderloin steak, but the highestquality Certified Angus Beef tenderloin that we can get; not to simply use zucchini, but to find the best zucchini—in this case, green-striped zucchini from Yamagata— and to learn the story from the farmer who actually grew it.” The new beef lineup includes a 21-ounce (600-gram) bone-in cowboy rib eye, a 24-ounce (680-gram) porterhouse and a 10-ounce (280-gram), 30-day-
aged bone-in tenderloin, which is “a very special cut, expensive and unique, with great flavor and very tender,” according to MacDonald Meat President Marc Pritchard, whose company was chosen by the Club for its quality, hand-selected meat products. The tenderloin, which is prepared to perfection and finished with a drizzle of Decanter’s kitchen-crafted marrow oil, is a newcomer to Japan, notes chef Kihara. “I have not seen this on any menu other than ours,” he says. “The uniqueness of enjoying a bone-in tenderloin, where the bone will add extra flavor…will ensure an unbelievable steak experience.” Whether appetites lean toward juicy tenderloin or a rainbow-hued array of crisp vegetables, the Club’s dedicated gourmands and casual diners alike will want to reserve a table this fall and explore Decanter’s meticulously selected new offerings. o Onuki is a Michigan-based freelance journalist.
Decanter Monday–Saturday: 6–11 p.m. Reservations: 03-4588-0675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Champions’ Breakfast by Nick Narigon
t’s a little after 9 on a bright May morning and Members Norman Green and Kazuakira Nakajima, fresh from a Club committee meeting, settle down at a table in American Bar & Grill. They both order a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and eye the restaurant’s buffet of breakfast delicacies. Plates of croissants, breads, meats, cheeses and fruit line the long counter. Cereal choices include classic walnut and vanilla granola and organic apple and raisin walnut granola. And there are long cuts of Norwegian smoked salmon alongside bagels and cream cheese. The Executive Breakfast Bar enjoyed a successful trial in the spring and, after a summer hiatus, returns to American Bar & Grill this month for another threemonth trial, but at a more affordable price. On weekdays, from September 22, Members will be able to kick off the day with made-to-order eggs, gourmet pastries and freshly ground coffee. Green makes a special request of French toast while Nakajima fills his plate with greens, topped with the smoked salmon and cheese.
“What is appealing is the environment itself. The room is bright, pleasant and it has a quieter, more professional ambience,” says Green. “Secondly, [it’s] the value: I am getting great food. I have never had such good French toast in my life—it’s true. They really pay attention to the quality of ingredients. The blueberry on top is fresh. These are little things that show a lot of care.” Nakajima, who never misses a breakfast, says the Executive Breakfast Bar is another example of the Club’s ability to create distinct, good-value dining experiences. “With the quality ingredients and wide variety of options, this particular
breakfast gives you the specialty of TAC,” he says. “As compared to any of the major hotels in Tokyo, this is a little cheaper still and the quality of food is much better. The fact that we offer the best breakfast, that’s wonderful.” o
Executive Breakfast Bar September 22–December 19 (weekdays) 7:30–10 a.m. American Bar & Grill ¥1,950* Adults only *Price excludes 8 percent consumption tax.
Club wining and dining 9
this vertical tasting is to probe the idea of aging and how subtle nuances and complexities develop in wine over time. The evening will feature two iconic varietals—Chardonnay, represented by Burgundy’s world-famous Domaine Guffens-Heynen, and Merlot, from Bordeaux’s Château Latour à Pomerol—as well as a highly celebrated mélange of 13 varietals from Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s Château de Beaucastel. Attendees will sample three vintages of each label, allowing them to trace the maturation of the wines and their characteristics while discovering whether they have a preference for older or younger wines. Each flight of wine will be paired with enhancing flavors to complete the culinary journey. At just ¥15,000, the evening is a bargain, particularly when you consider that we will be uncorking examples of the classic 2000 vintage. We look forward to seeing you there. o
Olsen and Romaine are members of the Wine Committee.
by Ernie Olsen and Steve Romaine
ine naturally lends itself to inquiry. We love to explore how particular grapes, vintages, regions and winemakers express themselves, and at this month’s wine tasting, Members will have the opportunity to compare three vintages of three wines from three classic
French wine-growing regions: Burgundy, Bordeaux and southern Rhône. This is a chance to examine the impact of aging on wine to assess whether wine really does get better after spending time in the bottle. Since individual palates and preferences are so different, there won’t be one “correct” answer. But the point of
Vertical Exploration Wine Tasting Wednesday, September 17 7 p.m. Washington and Lincoln rooms ¥15,000 Sign up online or at Member Services *Price excludes 8 percent consumption tax.
INJECTION FLATiRON’s new seasonal menu fulfills every food junkie’s craving.
Reserve at 03-4588-0675 or email@example.com.
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A Night with the Stars 11
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(lâ€“r) Andy Boerger and Hugh Ashton
Illustrations by Andrew Boerger
Set to speak at the Club this month, author Hugh Ashton and illustrator Andy Boerger explain how they combined their passions to create an intriguing children’s series of books. by Megan Waters
et me tell you a story about my friend and me. My friend’s name is Sherlock, and he’s a ferret. You’ve heard people talking about ‘ferreting about’, looking for things, finding things out? Well that’s what Sherlock Ferret does—he’s a detective.” So begins Sherlock Ferret and the Missing Necklace, the first in a series of mystery books for children by author Hugh Ashton and illustrator Andy Boerger. Ashton is better known for his numerous Sherlock Holmes tales, painstakingly written in the same style as the original Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. According to the British author, writing the Sherlock Ferret series—his first foray into children’s fiction—was “immensely satisfying.” “It was very nice to be able to adopt my own writing style for a change,” says Ashton, who first came to Japan in 1988 to work as a technical writer. Ashton’s fascination with the fictional detective emerged after he received a book of Holmes tales as a child. “I really like the characters, language and mysteries,” he says. “My interest in the stories was rekindled by [British actor Benedict] Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock in the BBC-PBS television series.” Ashton admits it was a challenge to write a children’s book since he’s not a father himself. But working with his editor, who gave “a lot of constructive criticism,” as well as with Boerger, he published the first two books in just a few months. “Working with [Boerger] and his illustrations was one of the joys of working on the book. He came up with a lot of the drawings and ideas for the plot as we were creating it,” explains Ashton. “I have loved drawing ferrets—and furry animals in general— for a while. So it is quite easy for me to create scenes with animals.” says Boerger, an American who has called Japan home for the past 20 years. Boerger, a ferret fanatic, established illustrator and author of numerous bestselling books for Japanese students of English, started chatting with Ashton on the social networking site Facebook. “I saw [Boerger’s] work online and said to him, ‘Sherlock would make a great ferret.’ So he drew a picture of Sherlock as a ferret playing the violin, and that’s how the book got started,” Ashton says. Working via e-mail and Facebook, the pair, wary of not reinforcing
stereotypes, came up with a series of colorful characters with distinct personalities, including Watson Mouse MD, a doctor of mousology, tea-drinking rhinoceros Inspector Lestrade, well-known artist Pablo Pigasso and the villainous Colonel Sebastian Moorhen. Ashton and Boerger, together with Vinnie, Boerger’s pet ferret who helped inspire the series, will be at the Club this month to talk about their “people in furry skins.” Although Ashton believes 7- to 11-year-olds should be able to read the books themselves, he says the stories are suitable for reading to younger kids. “I have used lots of humor and relatively simple language throughout the books, but they are educational in language,” he says. To do this, new words are introduced and explained within the dialogue. According to Ashton, parents will enjoy the entertaining books’ playful language as well. While created for children, the original plots follow the formula used in Conan Doyle’s books. “Sherlock Ferret uses pieces of deduction to solve the crime while Watson is really a foil,” Ashton says. “I have even included some classic Sherlock Holmes quotations. These are real little mystery stories, and I want the child to guess what is going to happen.” The pair intentionally chose not to feature violent crimes in the stories. “Through topics such as theft, loss, art fraud and greed, we are trying to get some sort of moral message across to the children, without preaching to them,” Ashton says. “The characters are very worthwhile and lovable little beasts. They are loyal, brave and moral, and the villains are fun.” Currently sold only online, Ashton hopes one day to see Sherlock Ferret sharing bookstore shelves with other timeless kids’ tales. “I really believe this book has the potential to become a classic children’s book,” he says, “such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows.” o Waters is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Sherlock Ferret website http://sherlockferret.info
Meet the Author: Hugh Ashton and Andy Boerger Saturday, September 13 10:30–11:30 a.m. Beate Sirota Gordon Classroom ¥1,000 (includes one drink) For ages 5 to 13 and parents Sign up online or at the Library
Literary gems at the Library 13
Virtual Campus by Tamara Crawford
assive open online courses (MOOCs) are an educational phenomenon that is gaining momentum. While taking classes online is not particularly new, having access to a wide variety of quality university classes available for free is an exciting trend that has the potential to transform global education on a huge scale. MOOCs are a godsend for those of us living in places where we do not speak the local language. They are also a valuable resource for those who speak English as a second language, allowing them the freedom to explore subjects in English in an unintimidating format. One of the hottest websites for online learning is California-based Coursera (www.coursera.org), which offers a range of free classes from the world’s top universities. While many courses have to be taken in a set time frame like a regular college course, a few classes, like Calculus 1, can be started at any time. For a small fee, you can receive a certificate at the end. Coursera’s course list includes more than 6,000 programs and many classes in languages other than English.
When a university offers a class on Coursera, there is no charge to students who enroll. It might seem like there is no benefit to the institute, but it is a way to promote the school and its brand. Colleges also know that free courses serve as a portal for their programs and may lead to undergraduate or graduate applications. While you might not want to earn an entire university degree this way, the online format is perfect for learning about a subject that has piqued your interest, without a big investment. In addition, it allows you to set your own learning schedule. Two other major players in online learning are Khan Academy (www. khanacademy.org) and Udacity (www.
udacity.com). Khan Academy’s free materials consist of short seminars on mainly math and science. There are also free classes in preparation for the SAT and other standardized tests and some offerings in the humanities. Udacity, meanwhile, focuses on technology and computer programming, and there is a monthly charge of $149 for unlimited use of materials after a twoweek free trial. Whichever course you choose, the Library, with its computers, tablets and private desks, offers the perfect environment in which to study. o Crawford is a member of the Library Committee.
From the hottest concerts to sumo tournaments, the Club’s TAC-tix service is your gateway to Tokyo’s exciting entertainment scene. Check out the latest event tickets and deals by visiting the TAC-tix page of the Club website or Member Services. Member Services Daily: 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. | Tel: 03-4588-0670 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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reads Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence by Novak Djokovic Tennis superstar Djokovic explains how he discovered that a gluten intolerance was limiting his performance on the tennis court and how, by changing what he ate, he became the player he is today. Includes sports performance-enhancing recipes and tips for nutritional and lifestyle changes.
French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude by Mireille Guiliano The author of diet and lifestyle bestseller French Women Don’t Get Fat shares her strategies for aging gracefully with humor and attitude. With nutrition and exercise tips, skincare and wardrobe guidelines, and advice on how to take a positive approach to aging, Guiliano’s guide will inspire you while making you smile.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD Cardiologist Davis explains why gluten, the protein found in all wheat products, causes health problems in many people. This easy-to-read book, which includes case studies, nutritional guides and a few recipes, is for those who want to know how to use the latest nutritional research to eat for optimum health.
Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World’s Most Delicious Food Made Easy by David Joachim Mouthwatering photography and bold, edgy graphics make this collection of healthy recipes from Cooking Light magazine inspiring. Each entry includes preparation time and nutritional information to make it ideal for busy people who want to cook appealing, wholesome meals.
Wheat Belly Cookbook: 150 Recipes to Help You Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD The companion cookbook to the breakthrough title Wheat Belly, it provides recipes to support a glutenfree lifestyle and tips on maintaining the program while dining out. Highlights include braised pot roast with vegetables, peanut butter pie and surprising wheat-free hits like blueberry French toast, bruschetta chicken on angel hair pasta and scones.
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi Chefs Ottolenghi and Tamimi share Mediterraneaninspired dishes from Ottolenghi’s four cutting-edge London restaurants. The 140 recipes in this American edition reflect the authors’ upbringings in Jerusalem while incorporating culinary traditions from the likes of California, Italy and North Africa. If you enjoyed Plenty and Jerusalem, you will love this book.
Reviews compiled by Library Committee member Tamara Crawford.
Library & Children’s Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tel: 03-4588-0678 E-mail: email@example.com
member’s choice Member: Julia Neely Title: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
What’s the book about? It’s about an 11-year-old girl who loses her mother, so she tries to find out where she went.
What did you like about it? I liked the outline of the story and how the main character thinks.
Why did you choose it? I chose this book because it makes you want to read on and on and keep going.
What other books would you recommend? I recommend So B. It by Sarah Weeks and Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech.
Literary gems at the Library 15
Waiting for the Call Ahead of this month’s Disaster Awareness Day at the Club, members of the Azabu Fire Department offer an insight into life as a first responder. by Nick Narigon
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He joined the department 10 years ago and is now a driver. Licensed to drive every vehicle at the station, including ambulances, pumpers and ladder trucks, Yamada, 30, spends his days off riding his bicycle through Azabu and Roppongi, plotting the best route to every building and memorizing the location of every fire hydrant. Following the March 11, 2011, earthquake off the Tohoku coast, Yamada rode through Tokyo for a different reason. It was his day off, but every firefighter in the capital was called up. Since the trains weren’t running, it took Yamada three hours to reach the fire station, from where he was sent to Shinagawa to tackle a kitchen fire that had started after a shelf fell onto a stove. On average, the Azabu Fire Department, manned with 135 firefighters, receives nine emergency calls a day, most of them medical related, and the station conducts training exercises, usually for medical emergencies, once or twice a week. Yamada recalls once driving the ambulance on a call to a man whose heart had stopped. Because the first responders were able to transport the patient to the Yuuki Ide
azuki Kobayashi, dressed in an orange protective jacket and pants, secures himself to a railing with a harness. He sets about checking the remains of the collapsed scaffolding while, three stories below, his fellow firefighters approach a pile of twisted debris. Smoke starts to pour from an unseen source and the emergency responders quickly evacuate. Kazuya Yamada attaches a fire hose to a nearby red pumper truck. Water immediately begins to bloat the flat, rubber-lined hose. Overseeing the operation is the fire chief. Standing at his side is Ayumi Maruyama, decked out in a heavy yellow jacket and helmet. She relays his orders by radio to the command center. Once the fire is extinguished and the casualty is pulled from beneath the scaffolding, the firefighting team, their red faces streaked with sweat, gather in a semicircle to be debriefed. While this particular emergency is a training exercise at the Azabu Fire Department in Moto Azabu, and the “victim” is just a dummy, Yamada responded to a similar incident last year after a construction worker fell from a building. Like many boys, Yamada emulated the neighborhood firefighters when he was growing up in Tokyo. Unlike most youngsters, though, he became one.
hospital quickly, the doctors were able to revive him. Days later, the man visited Yamada to thank him for saving his life. “Most of what I do is helping people in an emergency,” Yamada says. “I just try my best not to make mistakes.” This month, members of the Azabu Fire Department will visit the Club for Disaster Awareness Day to educate and prepare families for a range of disaster situations and emergencies. The annual event includes opportunities to use a fire extinguisher, look inside a fire truck and experience firsthand a smokefilled room. Maruyama, 27, became a firefighter six years ago to put her sports skills to use. A star basketball player at her Yokohama high school, she wanted to work in an active and competitive environment. Her physical fitness was put to the test immediately. On her first call, she was sent to a kitchen fire in a fourth-floor
Joining a Committee Compensation Mark Miller Culture, Community & Entertainment Daniel Smith (Lance Lee) Subcommittees Culture & Community JoAnn Yoneyama Entertainment Matthew Krcelic Frederick Harris Gallery Yumiko Sai Finance Rodney Nussbaum (Hiroshi Miyamasu) Food & Beverage Michael Alfant (Jerome Rosenberg) Subcommittee Wine Stephen Romaine House Jesse Green (Gregory Lyon) Subcommittee Facilities Management Group
(l–r) Ayumi Maruyama, Kazuki Kobayashi and Kazuya Yamada
apartment in Nishi Azabu. “It was a bit complicated,” she says. “It was difficult just to get inside the building.” The door at the top of the fire escape wasn’t accessible from the outside, so residents had to let the firefighters in. Once inside the building, though, they were confronted with a locked front door and smoke billowing from the apartment. Maruyama had to spray the door until another member of the team could find a way in. Today, Maruyama works in a support role, liaising between the field commander and other firefighters at emergency scenes. Her colleague Kobayashi, 23, entered the fire academy immediately after graduating from high school. After six months of training, he transferred to the Azabu station for six more months of schooling. To qualify as a firefighter, he had to pass a demanding physical fitness test that included “slow” push-ups, sit-ups (Kobayashi completed 60 in a minute) and
a timed run, as well as a written test on everything from math to history. Now an aerial ladder operator, Kobayashi responded to his first fire last July when staff at a soba noodle restaurant in Minami Azabu left the burners on. Using a hydraulic cutter, he entered the locked building and put out the fire. “After five years on the job, that was my first experience dealing with a real fire,” he says. “In this area, there are not many fires. That one was as big as they get.” But like the rest of the personnel at the Azabu Fire Department, he’s ready to respond to any emergency at a moment’s notice. o
Tomio Fukuda Human Resources Jon Sparks (Per Knudsen) Membership Alok Rakyan (Machi Nemoto) Nominating Steven Greenberg
Recreation Samuel Rogan (Mark Miller) Subcommittees Bowling Crystal Goodfliesh Video Library Abigail Radmilovich Fitness Samuel Rogan Golf John Patrick Vaughan
Disaster Awareness Day Sunday, September 28 2:30–4:30 p.m. Parking Lot (1F) Open to the public
Library Alaine Lee Logan Room Christa Rutter Squash Martin Fluck Swim Alexander Jampel Youth Activities Betsy Rogers
Cornerstone of the Club 17
Following the success of the Club’s three-day TAC Premier Classic tournament in July, iNTOUCH finds out what drives people to pick up squash. by Megan Waters
Photos by Irwin Wong
(l–r) Peter Amaglio and Greg Lyon
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kid boast. Mizuki. Kill. Philadelphia. Some of squash’s stroke names might sound unusual, but the game was voted sport’s healthiest by Forbes magazine a few years ago. The survey extolled squash’s ability to provide a competitive and effective workout in a relatively small amount of space and time. Despite the benefits, though, the sport’s popularity has waned since its heyday during the 1970s and ’80s. Invented in London’s Harrow School in 1830, the fast-paced game was soon in demand, and the Titanic even had a court in its first-class quarters. Following its decline over the last 30 years, the sport has been working hard to gain Olympic recognition. While it missed a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, officials are lobbying for it to be included in the 2024 Games. “I’m disappointed that squash is yet to be recognized for the great sport it is. If perspiration, elevated heart rate and effort were financially rewarded, then squash would be among the highest-paid sports,” says Peter Amaglio, one of four squash professionals at the Club. Introduced to the sport by a friend at age 13, the Australian says he was “hooked.” He went on to represent Western Australia as a junior in countless tournaments before starting his professional coaching career in Switzerland in the ’80s. Since moving to Japan in 1991, the 51-year-old has coached at sports clubs in the Tokyo and Yokohama area and has been teaching part-time at the Club for more than a year. “The most important thing about coaching is to analyze what the student is doing wrong and try to fix it,” he explains. “I enjoy watching someone get better and being a part of their improvement.” Starting with the basics of the game, Amaglio says it is crucial to teach students how to play correctly right from the start. “Every student wants to play for different reasons, whether to lose weight, get rid of stress or improve their game. I tailor my lessons around this and concentrate on areas they want to work on,” he says. The Club has been a hub of squash for decades. Members, from children to adults, can learn from professionals, join one of the “low-key and friendly” leagues or just practice shots and strategy with the Club’s designated hitting partner, Noriko Kamiyama, a Japan Masters winner.
So what’s the attraction of the sport? “For me, I love the intense adrenalin rush you get while playing, as well as the variation of shot options available during a rally. Squash is a very interesting game, too,” Amaglio says. “It’s physical chess in a lot of ways. You have to be a tactician and try [to] dominate the ‘T’ in the center of the court, so your opponent has to do all the running.” Beginner squash player Kumiko Shimamura has been taking lessons for just two months but says she has already seen an improvement in her game. “[Amaglio] gives precise advice, which helps make a big difference in my game,” she says. Playing once a week to help release stress, she has introduced her children to the sport, who, she says, have learned “strength and agility.” A former keen soccer player, Greg Lyon was looking for a different sport to try. He took up squash in 2003 and joined the Club’s squash league two years later. He has since worked his way up to the fifth level. “The lessons give me something to focus on other than work and have helped me improve my technique,” says the Club governor, who takes lessons from Amaglio. Although missing easy shots remains a source of frustration, Lyon says he enjoys “feeling that the time, energy and effort spent on improving is paying off” when he plays well. Since squash is played indoors, Amaglio says it offers the opportunity for quick, intense workouts in any weather, at any time of the year. “You can get a good sweat on in 20 or 30 minutes, shower and go back to the office feeling refreshed for the rest of the day. All the facilities here at the Club are geared around that purpose,” he says. According to Amaglio, a good squash player needs to love the game, understand the basics and be willing to practice. Those interested in picking up a racket, he says, can expect to enjoy more than physical health benefits. “[Squash] can teach you how to focus, it teaches you discipline and shows you how to be patient,” he says. Skills we could all use. o For more information on playing squash or taking lessons, visit the Recreation Desk or the Club website.
Fitness and well-being 19
H E A LT H
L E AG U E S
Show of Strength The Club’s annual festival of strength returns this month for iron-pumping Members to battle it out for Club bragging rights and prizes. Bench Press Challenge Sunday, September 28 7:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Fitness Center ¥1,500 Ages 16 and above Sign up online or at the Fitness Center
Spares and Strikes
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, join the Ladies Bowling League for a little competition and a whole lot of fun.
Get started shaping up, slimming down or picking up a new fitness pursuit from the array of recreation programs on offer this fall. Classes begin September 1. Register online or at the Recreation Desk.
Got Game? Try out for a chance to make the starting lineup of the TAC Eagles, the Club’s youth basketball team. Club coaches evaluate the basketball skills of team hopefuls in grades one to six. TAC Eagles Tryout Thursday, September 4 5:30–7:15 p.m. Gymnasium Sign up online or at the Recreation Desk For more information, contact Marc Tibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies Bowling League September 10–October 22 Every Wednesday 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Entry fee: ¥3,000 Monthly fee: ¥3,500 Sign up online or at the Bowling Center
Fun on the Fairways Female golf lovers launch another season on Kanto’s courses with a casual lunch. The first of seven outings is to Hon Chiba Country Club on September 11. Ladies Golf Group Kickoff Luncheon Thursday, September 4 Sign up at the Recreation Desk (Prices do not include 8 percent consumption tax.)
Welcome Back Spa Special Unwind from the summer vacation frenzy with a revitalizing three-inone treatment package. Receive a 30-minute head massage, a 30-minute reflexology massage and a 30-minute deep-pore facial treatment for just ¥11,000.
The Spa proudly uses products by
Book an appointment at The Spa at 03-4588-0714 or email@example.com Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. | Sunday and national holidays: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
20 September 2014 iNTOUCH
by Mirella Csapo
he foreign language section of the Video Library provides a tremendous opportunity to explore an area of cinema you might not otherwise watch. The shelves are full of (English-subtitled) award winners and some of the world’s most captivating films. Argentina, for example, is one of the most important producers of movies in the Spanish-speaking world. This was highlighted by 2004’s The Motorcycle Diaries, which is based on the true story of a young, future revolutionary Che Guevara, who traveled by motorbike from his native Argentina to other parts of South America. Another Argentinean masterpiece, El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes), is a 2009 crime thriller by Juan José
Campanella that won the 2010 Academy Award for best foreign language film. There are plenty of other funny, endearing, exciting—but lesser-known—films from Argentina, including Fabián Bielinsky’s clever Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens). Starring the country’s best-loved actor, Ricardo Darín, the film is about two Buenos Aires con men, Juan and Marcos, whose paths cross when Juan scams a cashier. Impressed with his skills, Marcos takes Juan under his wing. When the two men are convinced to sell a sheet of fake, rare stamps to a rich collector, the negotiations attract a slew of suspicious crooks, thieves and pickpockets, and it soon becomes difficult to figure out who is conning whom. This film is packed with both laughs and suspense.
Directed by Pablo Trapero, 2010’s Carancho is about a lawyer, Abogado Sosa (Darín), who joins an illegal society that causes car accidents in order to steal from the insured and their insurance companies. Sosa’s life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Luján (Martina Gusman), a young, hardworking, idealistic doctor. A riveting crime drama and romance. Also worth exploring are El Hombre de al Lado (The Man Next Door) and the Traperodirected Elefante Blanco (White Elephant) and Leonera (Lion’s Den). Coming soon is 2013’s The German Doctor, directed by Lucía Puenzo and adapted from her own novel Wakolda. So the next time you’re at the Video Library, walk right on past those Hollywood blockbusters and head for the foreign movie shelves. They’re all there and organized by language in alphabetical order. Open your mind and widen your horizons. o Csapo is a member of the Video Library Committee.
Did you know?
If you don’t watch enough DVDs to commit to a monthly fee, à la carte membership allows you to rent movies for ¥400 a movie, or ¥200 for a short feature.
D R AMA
The Double The boring life of a bureaucratic clerk (Jesse Eisenberg) is flipped on its head with the arrival of a new, charismatic coworker, who is also his doppelgänger.
Trust Me Struggling talent agent Howard Holloway (Clark Gregg) is about to sign a young Hollywood starlet (Saxon Sharbino) when his conscience intervenes.
Draft Day NFL general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has to decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in his plan to rebuild his team while trading for the No. 1 draft pick.
Moms’ Night Out A much-needed, childless evening of dinner and fun for busy mom Allyson (Sarah Drew) and her friends takes a less-than-tranquil turn.
Only Lovers Left Alive A reclusive musician (Tom Hiddleston) reunites with his lover (Tilda Swinton), but their centuries-old dark secret is threatened by the arrival of a reckless younger sister.
They Came Together In this parody of romantic comedies, sparks fly between Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler), despite the threat of her quirky candy shop being closed by the company where he works.
Video Library Daily: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Tel: 03-4588-0686 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Reviews compiled by Nick Narigon.
Film selections 21
A Passion for Prints Kayo Yamawaki
Set to speak at the Club this month, Member David Caplan talks about his love of Japanese woodblock prints. by Tracy Jones
skeletal specter pulls back reality’s smokescreen and crouches over startled samurai. A massive claw of water towers over fishermen who, perhaps in the face of death, man their vessels with renewed vigor. A Kabuki character’s leering look and feverishly outstretched and crooked fingers reveal his villainous intent. Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre,” Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” and “Otani Oniji II” by Toshusai Sharaku are all ukiyo-e woodblock prints by Edo-era masters. These intricately crafted “pictures of the floating world,” which flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries, depicted everyday scenes in the pleasure quarters, as well as well-known Kabuki actors, samurai, landscapes, historical events and sexually explicit scenes, known as shunga. Hypnotically beautiful, they are credited for influencing Western art. This month, Club Member and Mita Arts Gallery founder David Caplan, who has been dealing in rare Japanese woodblock prints since the 1960s, will talk about the art form in the 20th century, from the shin hanga (new prints) movement of the early 1900s through the works of the postwar era. Born in New York’s Bronx neighborhood, the 79-year-old came to Japan by way of Australia in 1962. He joined the Club shortly thereafter. “I was number 2,053,” he says.
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In the midst of Japan’s economic boom, foreigners were still few and far between in Tokyo. At the time, he was dealing in precious stones. Traveling to Thailand, India and Sri Lanka in search of colored stones, he also worked for Japanese gem dealers seeking diamonds. “I was doing tremendously well with the precious stone business on paper, but then about 70 percent of my customers went bankrupt,” he says. Caplan’s thriving venture was finally hit in 1968. Fortunately, he had been collecting prints as a hobby and the market for Japanese woodblock prints began to take off in the late 1960s. He started selling them to clients in the jewelry business. “The precious stone business was wonderful,” he says. “It took me to mining areas in Australia, and it’s wonderful to visit these places once or twice, but every month for 20 years gets a bit much. I became, what you call, a gentlemen dealer.” In 1995, selling prints became Caplan’s full-time endeavor after his son, Ken, opened their gallery in Jimbocho. Although he’s an art dealer, Caplan is also a passionate collector. “My big advantage was that I had a collector’s eye, so I know what I like as a collector, which hopefully is pretty much what other collectors will like,” he says. “If you buy things that you like or love yourself, it’s pretty easy. If they sell, great; if they don’t, OK. Sometimes you’re sorry you sell them. I
made a profit, but I’d rather have that [print].” With his encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, Caplan can explain to potential customers the history of story of every print in his catalog. When discussing the influence of the masters on modern woodblock print artists, he says, “If you’re copying Hiroshige, you’re not going to be a famous artist.” Contemporary art, he says, is like a horse race, only with unknown artists exploding out of the gate. But it’s tough to predict winners. “There are thousands of kids graduating art school every year,” he says. “They’re all good painters, but most of them won’t make it. They have a one-in-a-thousand chance of becoming a famous artist and only famous artists sell. It’s not about execution, it’s about the idea.” o Jones is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist. Japanese Woodblock Prints in the 20th Century with David Caplan Monday, September 8 11:30 a.m. (doors open: 11 a.m.) Manhattan I Women’s Group members: ¥3,000 Non-Women’s Group members: ¥4,000 Sign up online or at Member Services by September 5 Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
Cuisine Counselor Ahead of next month’s biannual Tokyo: Here & Now orientation program, longtime speaker Elizabeth Andoh explains her strategy for introducing the local food to Japan rookies. Irwin Wong
erendipity first brought me to Japan. A native New Yorker, I was a premed student at the University of Michigan when, on a whim, I applied for and won a previously unclaimed scholarship to Japan. Early in my stay here, I became intrigued then smitten with Japanese food and culture. A fortuitous encounter with a legendary teacher, historian and journalist of the culinary arts, Toshio Yanagihara, transformed my curiosity into a passion and profession. He provided me with a formal education in Japan’s culinary traditions and encouraged me to share my knowledge with the English-speaking world. I have been teaching and writing ever since. Besides starting my culinary arts programs, A Taste of Culture, in 1972, I was Gourmet magazine’s Japan correspondent for more than 30 years and a regular contributor to The New York Times. I have also authored six cookbooks. Each October and March, I take part in Tokyo: Here & Now. For nearly 20 years, I have been privileged to be part of the Women’s Group’s orientation program. Focusing on food, I aim to help newcomers to Japan reduce the stress that comes with settling into new surroundings by eliminating confusion, building confidence and increasing participants’ competence in feeding themselves and others. The subject of food safety has always been of interest to participants of Tokyo: Here & Now. In the past, concerns revolved around managing food allergies and other dietary restrictions in addition to anxiety about the use of pesticides, and I continue to address those issues in my presentation.
Since the triple disaster of March 11, 2011, however, questions and concerns have shifted to radiation contamination. I now include a guide to understanding the monitoring system and interpreting the results that are posted. My presentation includes practical strategies for sorting through a bewildering array of unfamiliar foods and products on supermarket shelves, at neighborhood konbini (convenience stores) and on menus. Bakeries and department store food halls, with their enticing confectionary and prepared foods, are another great resource for busy days or entertaining at home—once you can figure out what they are selling. My reference materials are designed to enable those with little or no Japanese-language ability to navigate the local culinary scene and explore new interests, such as washoku, Japan’s indigenous cuisine and kitchen philosophy. Join me at Tokyo: Here & Now to find out more about the country’s traditional food and culture. o Andoh is a Tokyo-based cook and author. Tokyo: Here & Now October 6–7 8:45 a.m.–3 p.m. Manhattan II Members: ¥19,000 Non-Members: ¥22,000 Sign up online or at Member Services Prices exclude 8 percent consumption tax.
An interactive community 23
現 地 の 言 LEAR
と い う THE
While Japanese can appear a linguistic Everest to beginners, the advantages of fluency are many for those who master the local language. by Gianni Simone
24 September 2014 iNTOUCH
葉 を 習 う N I NG こ と LO
CA NGO M
any foreigners arrive in Japan with just a vague knowledge of the local language. This is especially true for native English speakers, who are blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with speaking the world’s
lingua franca. For those who are unfamiliar with the difference between sake (Japan’s iconic rice-based drink) and sake (salmon), which have the same pronunciation but different tones (an important distinction in many Asian languages), the distance between their current Japanese language prowess and the level of mastery to which they aspire may seem as long as the road that leads from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo. With its three scripts (katakana, hiragana and Chinese kanji characters), Japanese is far from easy to master. According to the Foreign Service Institute of the US State Department, which sets language-learning expectations for its professional, often linguistically inclined staff, Japanese is regarded as one of the five most difficult languages in which to attain speaking and reading proficiency, which requires 88 weeks (2,200 class hours). That said, acquiring a decent proficiency level is easier than
many think. For one thing, unless reading and writing skills are a job requirement, achieving a good speaking level is well within reach for most learners. With the relative absence of articles and masculine-feminine and singular-plural distinctions, and verbs that follow, with few exceptions, regular rules of conjugation (unlike Russian, the Romance languages or English), Japanese can be fairly uncomplicated for beginners. Despite this, there are plenty of foreigners who, even after studying for many years, remain far from fluent. Club Member Nils Hornmark, 73, who has lived in Japan almost continuously since the late 1960s, arrived at a time when the local populace would routinely gawk at paled-faced foreigners, even in Tokyo. “When I came to Japan for the second time, back in 1970, I worked as a science attaché at the Swedish Embassy and my job required me to speak Japanese,” he says. “The [Royal Swedish] Academy of Engineering Sciences wanted to have some eminent local members, so part of my job consisted in meeting people like Sony’s cofounder Masaru Ibuka and convincing them to become members. That’s when I really started to study Japanese.” Looking back on his 40-year learning trajectory, Hornmark
Learning the Local Lingo 25
デ ィ ー ン D E AN “I would not have been able to build my business or relationships to the degree I have done without the language proficiency.” admits that he could have achieved more. “The biggest challenge for me has been…myself. I need Japanese for my work. However, my job has always kept me so busy that I’ve never had enough time to study,” he says. “As a consequence, my studies have been rather unstructured. I had a number of private teachers, but I’m mostly self-taught, studying in my spare time.” Fellow Member Quinn Riordan recalls his first experience with the Japanese language as a college sophomore. “It was brutal. The class started at 8 a.m. every day of the week—not a great combination with fraternity life,” he says. “Nonetheless, I hunkered down and studied hard.” Arriving in Japan to spend one year at the International Christian University in Tokyo, the American says he was overwhelmed by the amount of kanji he had to learn. “After a while, I began to make rapid progress,” says Riordan, 49. “I can think of two reasons for this: first, a fellow classmate, whose Japanese speaking ability was much better than mine, told me that she was a drama student and she treated speaking Japanese just like playing a role. In other words, the trick was to act or fake it till you make it.” The other catalyst for his progress, he says, was alcohol. “I do not want to promote drinking, but it is a very important part of Japanese culture, and drinking a few beers at the local izakaya [restaurant] made it exceedingly easy to meet and speak with the Japanese, which was otherwise a difficult task. When learning a language, the biggest impediments are fear and embarrassment. In this respect, alcohol works wonders, for it subdues both sentiments and so unties the tongue.” Yukari Iioka has taught Japanese for more than 15 years. She says that the best way to master any language is to make it an enjoyable experience and to develop a wider interest
26 September 2014 iNTOUCH
in the local culture. “I think it is fair to say that many English speakers arrive in Japan without having ever studied the language,” she says. “Many have been sent here by their companies and probably most of them end up gravitating around English-speaking environments. A serious learner, on the other hand, has to do just the opposite, beginning with embracing the local language and customs, without hesitation.” Iioka adds that interacting with native speakers is key to improving. “At We, the Shibuya-based school where I teach, we
二 N ル I ズ L
“The biggest challenge for me has been…myself. I need Japanese for my work. However, my job has always kept me so busy that I’ve never had enough time to study.” have both Japanese and English classes, and every two months we have a party where our Japanese and foreign students can actually meet and talk,” she says. A Club Member with an intimate knowledge of both sides of the learning process is Dean Rogers, CEO of the Dean Morgan and Conway language school chains in Tokyo and Osaka. For Rogers, Japanese proficiency has always been important for his career in Japan. “I first moved here with a large US software company and had to regularly do presentations in Japanese. Because of that, my language skills improved
significantly during that period,” says Rogers, 39. “Even in my school business now, I have found that understanding the language of the students you teach is important in understanding why they make certain mistakes. Besides, it helps me and our team develop better curriculums, specifically for Japanese learners. I would not have been able to build my business or relationships to the degree I have done without the language proficiency.” For some learners, setting clear goals provides an added incentive to improve. Club Member Emma Cuthbertson,
Learning the Local Lingo 27
JAPANESE-LANGUAGE LEARNERS BY NATIONALITY
NUMBER OF JAPANESE-LANGUAGE LEARNERS WORLDWIDE
Source: Japan Foundation
who studies under Yoshiko Mizushima of the language school Japanese Lunch, took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in July. “I inflicted it upon myself,” she says, “because I wanted to focus my studying on something tangible. My teacher said that if I didn’t really push myself, I probably wouldn’t study as much as I did, and even if I failed, [the increased proficiency level] would still be worth the effort. She was right.” While Japanese language skills are not absolutely essential to Cuthbertson’s job as a director at the international consultancy giant Deloitte Tohmatsu Tax Co. in Tokyo, they are useful. “I work with both Japanese and foreigners, many of the foreigners are fluent or even native-level speakers, and we often mix English and Japanese on the job, except for very technical matters where we clearly cannot afford to make any mistakes,” says the Briton. Iioka says that tests can help motivate students. “Many people might be busy or lose their motivation when they reach a certain middle plateau, which is good enough to live in Japan. That’s OK, but you should never miss a chance to get better. That’s why I recommend taking the JLPT. You may not need it,
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but it can give you the necessary boost,” she says. The two most popular Japanese tests are the JLPT and the Business Japanese Proficiency Test (BJT). Around 7,000 people took the inaugural JLPT in 1984. That number peaked at nearly 700,000 applicants worldwide in 2009, with about 20 percent of those in Japan. While there has been a slight decline in applications in recent years, there were around 610,000 examinees around the globe in 2011. The BJT, meanwhile, is increasingly used by corporations to measure the language ability of foreigners looking for a job in Japan, while immigration officials use it as a tool to screen foreign students applying for a study visa. Naturally, reading ability is crucial to doing well in these tests. Hornmark, who has always enjoyed studying kanji, says that understanding at least some of the thousands of ideograms can make life in Japan more rewarding. “I like kanji and read a lot,” he says. “Reading for me has always been very important because when I worked as a division manager for a Japanese company I had to check and sign many papers and they were all in Japanese. Besides, I need to read the Nikkei Shinbun, which is Japan’s main
エ マ E MMA “My suggestion would be not so much to avoid all the dry and boring textbooks but turn the content of the language into something that interests you.”
financial newspaper. But you actually don’t need to be able to read everything. Just try to learn a few of them at a time and after a while you will begin to make some sense of all those hieroglyphics you see all around you.” Whatever aspect of Japanese a learner chooses to focus on, success lies in persistence, according to Rogers. “Studying like crazy, then taking time off for extended periods, and then trying to come back hard never works,” he says. “It’s like exercising, really. After a while, you burn out and lose motivation.” Iioka urges learners to examine why they want to study Japanese in the first place. “You may be a student who wants to enter college or a professional who wants to take the JLPT. Then you need to learn kanji and all those grammar rules. But, more commonly, people just want to learn Japanese for everyday living. It all depends on what you want to achieve. This must become your starting point,” she says. “Mastering Japanese is incredibly difficult,” Cuthbertson says. “If you know for certain you are only going to spend two or three years in Japan and you are working full-time, my advice would be not to waste your time. Then again, if you only want to achieve a certain fluency in everyday
conversation, of course, you should go for it. You can actually make a lot of progress quickly, as the basics are probably easier than other languages. “In any case, my suggestion would be not so much to avoid all the dry and boring textbooks but turn the content of the language into something that interests you. What I do with my teacher is to take the grammatical exercises you usually find in those books and put them in sentences which I can remember. For example, during the Wimbledon season every grammatical example related to tennis. You may also want to choose something you particularly like and read everything you can find on that subject in Japanese. I personally love Haruki Murakami. I’ve read all his books in English, so now it’s easier for me to tackle them in their original language.” Rogers, too, recommends linking the learning process to personal interests. “You will learn both vocabulary and basic sentence structures this way, and as your vocabulary grows, you will be able to create longer and more complex sentences,” he says. In the end, Riordan says, the payoff was well worth the hard work and early-morning college classes. “I’ve built my career making investment decisions based upon my ability to understand the nuances of Japanese,” he says, “and I’ve gained access to a famously inscrutable but infinitely fascinating culture and people.” For Rogers, the benefits of fluency are multifarious. “Pure and simple, life is better in Japan if you can speak the language,” he says. “You have more options for work, friends and relationships, more diverse social groups, and understanding the language will truly help you to understand Japan and Japanese people so much better.” o Simone is a Yokohama-based freelance journalist.
Learning the Local Lingo 29
rganic food is booming. Just not in Japan. While it is now a $63 billion global industry, Japan’s organic food market is worth less than $1.4 billion, according to the Organic Market Research Project. In contrast, the United States is the world’s largest market for organic food and drinks, with around $31.5 billion in sales. According to a 2013 United States Agricultural Service report, Japan’s organic market is growing slowly but has “major stumbling blocks to its expansion, including undeveloped distribution channels, a low level of understanding of organics among consumers and strict import regulations on organic food.” Donald Nordeng is CEO of Daabon Organic Japan, an importer of organic products. iNTOUCH’s Nick Jones visited
30 September 2014 iNTOUCH
the Club Member at his Tokyo office to discuss Japan’s nascent organic market. Excerpts:
is what retailers like because they don’t have risk because there’s no oversight or sampling.
iNTOUCH: How popular are organic products in Japan?
iNTOUCH: What’s the difference between these specially grown products and organic products?
Nordeng: Food products are not so popular. Cosmetics and shampoos and that kind of thing are more popular, and basically [it’s] just the way that things are marketed here. The most popular is the grown-in-Japan kind of product. There’s another category that is quasi-organic, which is the tokubetsu saibai, or specially grown. This category is, by definition, Japan only and [refers to] conventional products that are “no spray” or so-called “no fertilizer” or, what they like to call, “no chemical.” This category doesn’t have any certification or verification, but this
Nordeng: There’s a huge difference. Organic [products] have to have thirdparty inspection and…organic farmers are limited by a specific list of chemicals that are posted by the government. And that company has to be audited once a year by a licensed third-party certifier and that license is from the government, and the licensing is done by an accredited body. This is why [organic is] not popular here because the farmers are not professional. The Ministry of Agriculture realizes this and doesn’t want to push
[organic] because then all this valueadded [specially grown] business would disappear. It’s in no one’s interest to get rid of this [specially grown] category. So it’s really just a marketing ploy. iNTOUCH: A report by the Organic Market Research Project revealed that 97 percent of people in Japan had heard the word “organic,” but only 5 percent knew what it meant. Why do so few people understand the concept here? Nordeng: Overall, organic in Japan [accounts for] 0.5 percent of volume of products sold, so it’s miniscule compared to, say, the UK, which is around 3.5 percent. And that difference is fundamentally the reason. Also, there aren’t that many born-in-Japan, third-party [organic] certification labeling schemes. JAS [Japan Agricultural Standard] is really the only one, and the only reason they have it is for equivalency with the UK, US or someplace where they want to import products to or export from. iNTOUCH: Why is the organic market still so small here? Nordeng: I think the people who have been trying to create the market have taken the wrong approach. I think the market could be much larger, but there are different structural impediments to it. One of them is fumigation. Here, it’s a business, not a scientific tool to keep out pests. In Japan, we don’t have any organic meat, milk, cheese or eggs, so you don’t have the chance to have a real organic supermarket. So all you have are organic vegetables, bananas, mikan [orange] and the odd apple. There is no reason to grow organically if you can sell tokubetsu saibai. Why would you go through the struggles of growing something organically when you can sell it essentially for the same price? iNTOUCH: According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, organically grown food products in Japan made up only 0.24 percent of the domestically grown product market in 2011. Nordeng: One of the key points [of organic farming] is how much technology you can incorporate into your farming because farming is becoming more and
more reliant on technology to find the seeds or crops to fit a particular farm. And that kind of technology isn’t being used here in organic farming. Second, most of the farmers in Japan are farming rice or tea, and [organic farmers] are growing about 2.5 percent of the market. But when you get into fruit, it’s almost zero. The [organic farmland] hectarage has only increased by about 5 percent or maybe 7 percent since 2001. In fact, market growth is stuck at about 5 to 7 percent per year… and most of the growth is coming from imports. iNTOUCH: What is the potential for this market then?
Nordeng: Since January of this year, there’s a new revision of the equivalency agreement with the United States, which is the largest organic market and it’s the closest place to ship organic products from. We see more and more major Japanese manufacturers gearing up to launch products this fall or next spring. So I think the market is at a point where finally they have a reliable supply and the regulatory issues have pretty much been taken off the table. In the next 12 months, you’re going to see an escalating number of organic imported processed products and, once the TPP [TransPacific Partnership] comes in and we get fumigation rates down to a manageable level, you’re going to see more and more organic fruit come in.
feed. The reason fumigation levels are high isn’t really for phytosanitary reasons but for economic reasons. The people who manage the ports and the fumigation chambers need to make income, so they each get so much fumigation work. iNTOUCH: What is demand for organic produce like in Japan?
iNTOUCH: Are you talking about just fruit fumigation?
Nordeng: Demand is high, but there are only a few things that are grown here and there are very few things imported because of fumigation and for phytosanitary reasons. Until now, supermarkets haven’t been able to reliably stock sections of products. If you’re going to have milk, as well as cheese and butter, it has to be domestic. Well, this is missing from the market because of fumigation and production issues. There are also no organic baby foods and baby formula sold in Japan.
Nordeng: Fruit and [animal] feed. Almost all the feed is imported.
iNTOUCH: So this market’s potential lies with imported organic products?
iNTOUCH: And fumigation then negates any organic properties a product might have.
Nordeng: Once the imported organic products start flooding in, Japanese manufacturers are going to be looking for ingredients. About next summer, you’re going to see a lot more [organic] products made by Japanese manufacturers. And it only takes a few products to create a market, and once they make these flagship products they’ll have to make more. o
Nordeng: Even if you wanted to convert your cows to an organic herd, where would you get your feed? This issue is really huge. You could have [organic] chickens, but there’s not enough low-price [local]
Member insights on Japan 31
All exhibits in the Frederick Harris Gallery are for sale and can be purchased by Membership card at the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 p.m. on the first day of the exhibition.
Bingata: Old and New by Nick Narigon The traditional Okinawan art form of resist-dyed cloth, or bingata, dates back centuries to when the southern isles were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom. As East Asia’s center of trade during the 15th century, the kingdom hosted merchants from as far afield as India, who not only brought goods, but also art. The Okinawan bingata artists used pigments mostly found in nature, such as chalk, powdered seashells, cochineal, vermilion and sulfur, to create vivid patterns and images of the local flora and fauna on woven cloth. This month, two Japanese artists from the Kinjo Bingata Studio and the Okame Bingata Studio bring variations of this vibrant art form to the Frederick Harris Gallery. Naha native Morihiro Kinjo says his kimono designs represent the gorgeous Okinawan landscape and capture the islands’ traditions and culture. His piece “Coral Island” is modeled after an island in the Kerama archipelago while another work was inspired by the yellow kimono worn by royalty and nobility during the Ryukyu era. “In China, it has been said that the color yellow is deified because yellow is the same color as the sun,” says Kinjo. “Imagine that a royal princess and a queen wear such colors under the sun of Okinawa. It must have been so bright and gorgeous. Creating such a splendid atmosphere is one of the distinctive features of bingata.” During her schooling, co-exhibitor Kayoko Yamamoto was impressed by the colors and patterns of bingata and today uses the technique to produce images found mainly on Honshu, such as cherry blossoms, peonies, willow and swallows. Over the years, she has used soybeans and natural minerals to make unique pigments for hanging scrolls, kimono accessories and other dyed-cloth works. “The final product is so beautiful and the colors are soothing,” she says. “Our dyes are handmade. We brush layers upon layers of colors to make our works. We hope to preserve the history and culture of Ryukyu, as well as Japan, with this dyeing technique.”
Exhibition September 8–28
Monday, September 8 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free (Adults only) Open to invitees and Members only
32 September 2014 iNTOUCH
FREDERICK HARRIS GALLERY
CWAJ Associate Show by Luz De Jesus From Vincent van Gogh’s still-life baskets of fruit to Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup cans, artists throughout history have put food at the center of their works. Ahead of the annual CWAJ Print Show at the Club next month, the College Women’s Association of Japan’s Associate Show, titled “From the Palate to the Palette,” highlights the artwork of five printmakers living in Japan who have made food the subject of their work. Ayumi Anzai chose peanuts as an avatar for warring humans in her lithographs, which reveal great humor and poignancy. Sohee Kim’s prints of people in Spam elevators and capsule hotel sandwiches, meanwhile, are a playful commentary on contemporary life and our relationship with food. Cutting-edge lithographer Yukie Kishi creates colorful vignettes of delicate coffee cups and mouthwatering desserts, but he also forms bold graphic monuments from ramen containers and glass goblets. In Osaka native Shoji Miyamoto’s water-based woodblock prints, sushi are transformed into a structure reminiscent of a shrine’s torii gate or depicted amid floating rice in a snow globe-like setting. “The focus of my work is foods, such as sushi and fruit,” he says. “We eat them without paying much attention to the colors or shapes, which, in fact, are very interesting when you observe them carefully.” In the same way, Noriko Nene draws seemingly straightforward depictions of classic Japanese food, but, on closer viewing, the teapots are magically levitating and the chopsticks are being wielded by invisible hands. All these artists remind us that when we celebrate food, we celebrate life. De Jesus is a coordinator of the CWAJ Associate Show.
September 29–October 19
Monday, September 29 6:30–8 p.m. Frederick Harris Gallery (B1 Formal Lobby) Free (Adults only) Open to invitees and Members only
Exhibitions of Art 33
Celestial Sight Whether you believe the moon’s chief resident is a man or a rabbit, September in Japan is about gazing at the heavens. by Efrot Weiss
uring full moons in the late sultry summers of ancient Kyoto, the emperor and members of his court would laze about in small boats in the palace ponds, gazing at the night sky. Influenced by Chinese custom, members of the Heian court (794–1185) would compose and write poetry, listen to music and imbibe on sweets and drinks while peering at the harvest moon, whose singular brightness resulted from its alignment with the sun and Earth, coupled with the waning humidity of late summer. During the Edo era (1603–1868), moon viewing became a widespread practice among samurai and townspeople, and also served as a harvest festival. As the traditional Japanese calendar was based on the lunar calendar, daily life was inextricably linked to the phases of the moon. Observing the color, shape and position of the moon enabled farmers to predict weather, harvests and even fishing yields. They were able to work in their fields until late at night because of the moonlight.
34 September 2014 iNTOUCH
The night of the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar was when the moon was considered especially beautiful, and this annual occurrence inspired the Japanese the moon-viewing festival, or otsukimi, which this year falls on September 8. Offerings to the moon consist of a stack of 15 plain, moon-shaped dango rice dumplings, pampas grass, which resembles rice stalks, and seasonal produce. If the treats are pilfered by children, it is attributed to the gods and regarded as a harbinger of a plentiful harvest. “When my parents lived in a Japanesestyle house with a garden, we could appreciate the moon viewing. They decorated the tokonoma [alcove] with susuki [pampas grass] and other autumn flowers, an appropriate scroll and otsukimi dango,” recalls Club Member Chiharu Lorenzoni. “We sat in the engawa [veranda] to gaze at the moon. My mother told us stories about the rabbit in the moon while we enjoyed tea and otsumiki dango.” The Japanese fascination with the moon has served as an inspiration in the arts. The moon is a common motif in Japanese
woodblock prints, screens, lacquerware, poetry and literature, including Sei Shonagan’s ancient classic The Pillow Book. There are at least 14 Japanese words describing the different phases of the moon. There are even words to describe the occasions in which the moon is not visible on this otsukimi night, such as mugetsu (no moon) and ugetsu (rain moon). Moon viewing has also inspired architecture and garden planning. Both Matsumoto Castle and Okayama Castle, for example, have purpose-built, moonviewing pavilions. Kyoto’s Katsura Imperial Villa is regarded as a moon-viewing palace. Built in the 17th-century in the area where Heian nobility wrote their lunar-inspired poetry, it contains numerous moongazing vantage points. Even rooms are located in a specific position and height to provide the best view of the harvest moon. And a moon-viewing balcony highlights the moonrise. Luckily, you don’t need to be royalty to admire a full moon.. o Weiss has been a Club Member since 2002.
of the Best Club President John Durkin offers his list of extraordinary deals at the Club.
Weekend happy hour at Traders’
Drink and food discounts, live televised sports and free popcorn make Traders’ Bar the best watering hole in town.
Entertainment, food, drinks and chat for a little more than ¥2,000 on the first Friday of each month in the Winter Garden.
Half-price weekend wine at American Bar & Grill
Superb wine list + 50 percent off + balmy evening on the terrace = perfect weekend. You can also enjoy the same great deal every Monday in Decanter until September 27.
Books and beyond
With its incredible selection of English-language books and magazines from abroad, computers, tablets and library for kids, the Library has a well-earned reputation for eating days.
No more last-minute struggles to find a babysitter. A professional, great-value service in stimulating surroundings for young minds.
Personalized Wine Cellar
Rent your own shelf for your bottled treasures in the Club’s state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled cellar.
American Bar & Grill: home to the finest burgers in Japan. Add smoked bacon and cheese for a transcendental eating experience.
Whatever the question, query or problem, this free concierge service is just a phone call or e-mail away.
First in fitness
From swimming laps in the Sky Pool and shooting hoops in the Gymnasium to pumping weights in the Fitness Center and unwinding in the sauna or whirlpool bath, it’s all covered by monthly dues.
An unbelievable range of rental offers on the latest blockbuster movies, kids’ flicks and top TV series direct from the States.
Services and benefits for Members 35
yokoso Axel & Lee Tuetken Germany—CMA CGM (Japan) K.K.
Declan Byrne & Eimear Lafferty Ireland—PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata
Gregory Dinges United States—Cole Haan Japan LLC
Shay Bachman & Craig Dionne United States—Pfizer Japan, Inc.
Kieron Cashell & Kotoha Haga-Cashell Ireland—GPlus Media
Bill & Sakura DeLorme Canada—CDS K.K.
John & Ali Gorman United States—Nomura Securities
Colin & Noriko Silvester United Kingdom—JAC Recruitment
Akiko Horie Japan—Accenture Japan Ltd.
Scott Landry & Anna Desperak United States—AIG Japan Holdings K.K.
Amy & Matthew Guarin United States—Marketo, Inc.
Bryan Enders & Hiroko Ogata United States—Nielsen
Carol Semetulskis United States—HSBC Securities (Japan) Ltd.
Timothy Stevens United States—Aflac Japan
Yasushi & Reiko Obara Japan—Obara Group, Inc.
Lisa Twaronite Sone & Ichiro Sone United States—Thomson Reuters
Duke Fujiyama United States—Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Uzma Chishti Pakistan—Philip Morris Japan K.K.
Ashok Ram Mohan India—Philip Morris Japan K.K.
Steven & Megan Tooker United Kingdom—Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC Dirk & Angela Kosche Germany—Novartis Pharma K.K. Frank & Daniela Pilgram Germany—Bayer Holding Ltd. Karin Kwan & Tetsuya Ohashi Canada—Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. Paul & Lynaire Falkenstein Australia—CA Technologies
Hiroko Endo Japan—St. Luke’s International Hospital Caroline Goles United States—Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd. Francis Bouchard & Claudie Vachon Canada—Novartis Pharma K.K. Yukinari & Kaori Mukoyama Japan—All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
sayonara James Minamoto Aaron & Allyson See John Breen Clesio & Iselda Honma Jeffrey & Michiko Adams Chris & Mary Marshall Rajendra & Sharan Singh David & Christine Morris James & Whitney Helwick Tiziano & Monica Russolo James & Sandra Buschmeier Michael & Shari Lynn Vallier Carl & Karen Grebert Douglas & Mary H Hager
Vincent & Emi Rowse John & Mariko Nylin Albert & Kara Ann Piscopo John & Ayako Irvine Michael & Shea Beal Sandeep & Jaya Singh Stephan & Nicki Titze Thomas & Rosa Barbara Greer Roland Ramirez & Maria Del Rocio César & Ana García Kevin & Melissa White Andrew Gilder & Georgia Mor Kathleen & Timothy McDonald Amar Zahid
John & Marinda Tadman Jay & Christine Singh Dean & Meralee Fredenburgh John & Tonia Welling Philip & Cherie Gartner Arndt & Claudia Wippert Ekasit & Linda Wikranthanakul Devinder & Nutan Ahuja Steven & Melanie Thrift Arne Johanson & Zofie Vaura Jaehyeon Han & Kim Kyong Suk Stephan & Hannah Matthiessen Lisa & Loren Burke Insoo & Kyunglan Kim
Stacks of Services at the Club Spica
The Club’s professional shoe repair and polishing service. Tel: 03-4588-0670 The Cellar (B1) Sat: 1–4:30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Weekday drop-off: Member Services Desk
36 September 2014 iNTOUCH
To find out more about the range of services and Member discounts, visit the FedEx counter. The Cellar (B1) Mon–Fri: 1–5 p.m. (closed Sun and national holidays) Sat: 12 p.m. (pickup only)
André Bernard Beauty Salon
Hair care for adults and kids, manicure, pedicure, waxing and more. Tel: 03-4588-0685 Family Area (B1) Tue–Sun 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
The Art of Travel
Discover Japan and beyond with help from the Club’s travel desk consultants. The Cellar (B1) Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tel: 076-221-1586 E-mail: email@example.com www.theartoftravel.net
of the month
Chisato Kanegae by Nick Narigon
hen Chisato Kanegae was assistant editor of the Cal State Fullerton Daily Titan, she covered everything from the university’s powerhouse baseball squad to student housing. She also interned with local Orange County newspapers in hopes of a career writing for fashion magazines. “[Fashion] changes every day,” she says. “Even for a single person, you change throughout time, what you wear and how you wear things, and I think that is interesting.” However, after graduating with a communications degree, Kanegae, who moved to Irvine, California, at the age of 6, returned to her native Japan seven years
New Member Profile Kurt Sanger & Patricia Najar United States—Deutsche Bank
ago to pursue another passion: baking. “I decided to change my career, which is very strange. The thing is, I was interested in writing, but I also love to cook, mainly cake and bread, pastries,” she says. “I watched a Japanese TV program, and they were making a wedding cake, and there are these pastry chefs from Japan using intricate techniques, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’” After completing a one-year culinary program, Kanegae, now 30, worked as a pastry chef before becoming head receptionist at Decanter two years ago. “You don’t get many opportunities to work in an English-speaking environment,” says the July Employee of the Month. “Not
only that, but the environment at Decanter itself is fun and more relaxed. That mostly might have to do with the Members coming in and being friendly on a first-name basis. Also the support I get from the people I work with really helps.” o Employee of the Quarter–Minori Kanai The Bowling Center’s creative staff member picked up the Clubs’ most recent Employee of the Quarter award. Manager of the Quarter–Richard Woods The recipient of the Club’s third Manager of the Quarter award leads a capable team in the Engineering Department.
New Member Profile
Patrick & Jennifer Gilligan United States—Marubeni Corporation
Why did you decide to join the Club?
Why did you decide to join the Club?
“While from Mexico and the US, Patricia and I have spent many years in Tokyo and actually met here. As our family grows, we see joining the Club as a great way to have fun together and develop a sense of community with friends, new and old. Through Club activities, I look forward to sharing bits of American culture with my girls, although I think little Andrea’s participation in the Independence Day pie-eating contest will need to wait a few more years.”
“Leaving our New Jersey home and coming here is a big change for the family, but TAC clearly will make that transition easier. Having only visited a few times, it’s clear to us TAC has a strong sense of community. We feel very fortunate to join and experience all the Club has to offer: events, activities and affinity groups. We look forward to creating and fostering long-term relationships and hope we can make meaningful contributions during our time here.”
(l–r) Kurt and Andrea Sanger and Patricia Najar
(l–r) Jennifer, Keira, Reagan and Patrick Gilligan
Services and benefits for Members 37
Samurai School Ahead of the Club’s annual tour to Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine for a display of centuries-old mounted archery, iNTOUCH meets a doyen of the ancient samurai art.
iyomoto Ogasawara straddles a wooden horse, his eyes fixed on a point on the wall, the balls of his feet on the stirrups. With his legs bowed, his taut body hovers above the lacquered saddle as he executes a series of ritualistic movements to nock an enormous arrow into an even larger bow. Inhaling, he smoothly draws the missile back then releases the stretched
38 September 2014 iNTOUCH
bowstring. The arrow hits the target. The picture of power and poise, the 34-year-old is an awesome sight, even in the confines of his yabusame mounted archery dojo in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. On a galloping horse, thundering through a forest, he’s a force of nature. Ogasawara is heir to a school of samurai archery and etiquette that stretches back more than 850 years. The Ogasawara-
by Tim Hornyak
ryu, or school, was founded in 1187 by Ogasawara Nagakiyo. He was appointed to instruct Japan’s first shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo, in the arts known as kyuho (etiquette, archery and mounted archery). Nagakiyo’s descendants continued to mentor the nation’s supreme warlords through the centuries and managed to preserve the art through the tumult of the past 150 years. Today, Kiyomoto’s father, Kiyotada, is the school’s 31st-generation leader. At the dojo, Kiyomoto Ogasawara shows me some of the basics of etiquette, which was originally taught to samurai of eastern Japan, who were considered unsophisticated compared with the warriors of Heian-kyo (present-day Kyoto). His disciples seem to float across the tatami mats as they do their walking
exercises. I clumsily try to imitate them but have slightly better luck at bowing, of which there are nine forms. The deepest bow, or dogeza, has me prostrate and breathless, my forehead on the floor. “The foundation of etiquette is to correct one’s body,” the ancient Ogasawara masters wrote in two treatises that outline the art. My own body is incorrigibly stiff as Kiyomoto has me take part in some yabusame stretches. When I mount the wooden horse, I’m told my entire bodyweight must rest on the balls of my feet. It feels like a torture device. This is the world’s most brutal yoga class, but with manners and weapons. A bow that looks 2 meters long is placed in my hands. I’m sure I’ll never be able to draw it. I can’t even manage to
hold the arrow properly when nocking it. To my great surprise, the bow draws easily, sending the arrow into the target. Granted, it’s only a few meters away, but I’m beginning to feel quite samurai-like when Kiyomoto offers me tea. “When the shogun system ended in the 19th century, other families commercialized their arts to support themselves, but we decided to preserve ours while working regular jobs,” says Kiyomoto, who, besides being a modernday samurai warrior, works full-time as a researcher for a major pharmaceutical firm. He proudly presents a photo of his ancestor posing with Nogi Maresuke, a renowned general of Meiji-era Japan. Today, there are roughly 1,000 students of the Ogasawara-ryu discipline throughout Japan. The vast majority take lessons at culture centers instead of the family dojo. Kiyomoto often shuttles around the country while his father, a university professor, oversees 10 yabusame rituals nationwide, including events in Kyoto, Nikko and Tokyo’s Asakusa. One of the most important of these has been held since the 12th century at the Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo. A band of Members from the Club will take in the display next month. “The tradition began as a samurai discipline for fighting and was called kasha, or horseback archery,” says Kiyomoto. “But only one ritualistic form of this can be called yabusame.” The Ogasawara household has detailed conventions for every area of this practice. For instance, it encompasses an elaborate school of how to tie knots, both for equestrian equipment and everyday use.
Following three tenets, knots must be secure, easily untied when necessary, and reflect the nature of what they are securing. But how can all these ancient protocols be useful for everyday life in the 21st century? “In our practice, we only teach the essence of etiquette, not simply what to do in a given situation,” says Kiyomoto, explaining how manners have changed with the ages and the importance of understanding the basics of form and sincerity. I just wonder what the polished warriors of yore would make of Japanese today and how they use their modern tools—smartphones instead of swords. “The greatest difference is in how people think; for instance, the Bushido virtues of justice, loyalty and piety were strictly upheld in the past, unlike now,” Kiyomoto says, “but if that could change, people of yesteryear would be fine, even if they were around today.” Perhaps samurai could get along fine in the 21st century, gadgets and all. After all, Kiyomoto Ogasawara is living proof. o Hornyak is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Kamakura Samurai Archery Ceremony Tour Saturday, October 4 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. ¥2,000 (lunch and transportation not included) Ages 13 and above Sign up online or at Member Services from September 4
A look at culture and society 39
Surf and Sand in the Capital by Megan Waters
Make the most of September’s balmy temperatures by escaping to an island paradise in the Japanese capital.
hile officially a part of Tokyo, the island of Niijima feels a long way from the bright lights and bustle of the capital. Situated about 160 kilometers south of Tokyo, the picturesque isle comprises miles of deserted, white sandy beaches, azure waters and open-air, hot-spring onsen, making it ideal for a relaxing September break. One of seven main islands in the Izu chain, Niijima has been inhabited since the prehistoric Jomon period (archaeologists have unearthed artifacts, including stone and ceramic utensils, on the island). During the Edo period (1603–1868), the island was used as a place of exile for convicts. Nowadays, Niijima draws sun worshippers, surfers, lovers of the great outdoors or those just looking to unwind for a weekend. Easily accessible by overnight ferry from Tokyo’s
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Takeshiba Terminal or speedy hydrofoil in just two and a half hours, the island can also be reached by nine-seater turboprop plane from Chofu Airport in western Tokyo. This 45-minute flight service runs three times a day, weather permitting. It’s important to note that the weight limit includes the weight of both your body and luggage. Once there, you can hire a bicycle or car along the main road in the town center. As the island is predominantly flat, with good roads and beautiful scenery, cycling is recommended. The bikes do vary in quality, though, so enthusiasts should probably bring their own set of wheels. Eleven kilometers long and less than 3 kilometers wide, Niijima has one hotel, a handful of ryokan inns and more than 200 minshuku B&Bs. If you haven’t booked anywhere to stay beforehand, the tourist information
center next to the port can assist with finding you a room for the night. The more adventurous might want to camp at the expansive Habushi campsite on the eastern side of the island. The well-maintained campsite has good amenities, including toilets, showers (albeit cold ones), cooking facilities, kitchenware and barbecue areas. Best of all, it’s free of charge. The unspoiled beaches, which boast some of Japan’s best surfing spots, attract surfers and sunbathers from far and wide. Favorites are Mamashita Beach, on the southwest side of the island, and Secret Beach, close to the airport. Protected by towering, white cliffs, the almost empty beaches provide a serene spot from which to enjoy island life. Look out for Mount Fuji, which can be seen from Maehama Beach on a clear day. The Yunohama hot springs are a particularly popular spot for tourists
OUT & ABOUT
Moyai Hill TOKYO
and locals alike. Take in a sunset from the Greek-style, open-air baths, which offer spectacular panoramic views of the ocean from a hill near the port. Free of charge and open 24 hours a day, the mixed onsen contains six pools of different sizes and temperatures and is drawn from the ocean below. Meanwhile, Mamashita onsen offers open-air bathing, a sauna and a sand bath. Overlooking Yunohama and Maehama beaches is Moyai Hill, which is covered by more than 100 large stone carvings. One of these giant moyai (which means to work together or collaborate in the local dialect) statues was presented by the island to Tokyo in 1980 for the city’s 100th anniversary celebration as Japan’s capital. The statue can be found on the western side of Shibuya Station. At the world-renowned Niijima Glass Art Center, which hosts the
Niijima International Glass Art Festival each fall, visitors can create their own glass or view the glasswork exhibited here. The unusual, olive-colored glass is made from a local volcanic rhyolite called kogaseki, which is found in only two places in the world: Niijima and the Sicilian island of Lipari. Sporty types can scale the island’s highest point, the 432-meter Mount Miyatsuka, or take part in the Niijima Triathlon, held each May. For something a bit more laid-back, you could while away an afternoon with a spot of mackerel fishing. Just a short ferry ride away, the nearby island of Shikinejima, with only 600 residents, offers plenty more opportunities to unwind before the inevitable return to Tokyo’s concrete side. o
Nine hours by overnight ferry or 2.5 hours by hydrofoil (www.tokaikisen.co.jp) from Takeshiba Terminal in Tokyo.
Forty-five minutes by New Central Air Service (www. central-air.co.jp) from Chofu Airport. Niijima Glass Art Center www.niijimaglass.org Niijima www.niijima.com Niijima Tourist Association www.kanko-kyokai-niijima.net (Japanese only) Tokyo Travel Guide www.gotokyo.org
Waters is a Tokyo-based freelance journalist.
Explorations beyond the Club 41
Independence Day Celebration July 5
In a nod to the Azabudai July Fourth bashes of the 1970s and ’80s, the Club celebrated America’s birthday with a full day of star-spangled activities, including a fun run, three-on-three basketball tournament, pieeating contest, barbecue, reception, kids’ games and a multitude of musical acts. Photos by Yuuki Ide
1. (l–r) Commander Matthew Ligon, Ricky Sloan and Colonel Brey Sloan 2. Sachiyo and Mark Miller, Anne Bille, Per Knudsen, Jeffrey and Brenda Bohn and Club President John and Makiko Durkin 3. (l-r) Matt Krcelic, Madoka Ito and Garth Ramsey 4. (l–r) Fumiko and Hiroyuki Yushita, Prince and Princess Hitachi, Jason P Hyland, Club President John and Makiko Durkin and Crystal Kay
Snapshots from Club occasions 43
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
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Snapshots from Club occasions 45
For more photos from some events displayed in these pages, visit the Event Image Gallery (under News & Info) on the Club website.
Modern Hawaii Grand Buffet July 20
In partnership with The Modern Honolulu, a chic boutique hotel in Hawaii, the Club capped a weeklong tribute to the cuisine of contemporary Hawaii with a spread of paradise-inspired eats, hula performances and a prize drawing in the New York Ballroom. Photos by Ken Katsurayama
1. (lâ€“r) Chihiro Natividad, Gerald Glennon, Ashley Nakano, John Ballesteros and Scott Toner
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TAC Premier Classic Squash Tournament July 25–27
Squash professionals Ryosei Kobayashi and Chinatsu Matsui successfully defended their men’s and women’s TAC Premier Classic titles at this year’s three-day, Japan Squash Association-sanctioned tournament. Members were also able to put their skills to the test against pros in Sunday’s “friendship tournament.” Photos by Yuuki Ide
1. (l–r) Ryousei Kobayashi and Tomotaka Endo 2. (l–r) Ryousei Kobayashi and Chinatsu Matsui 3. (l–r) Chinatsu Matsui and Mayu Yamazaki
Snapshots from Club occasions 47
Whatever the story, anecdote, fictitious tale, rant, cultural observation or Club commentary, now’s your chance to take it to the world…well, Membership, anyway. E-mail your submission (no more than 700 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mixing Booze and Business by Akihiko Kubo
ave you been out for a drink with your boss lately? If you work for a Western company, I’m going to guess that the answer is no. In the West, the office and local bar scene rarely converge, and your office Christmas party doesn’t count. Sipping Champagne while your boss clarifies the finer points of your latest sales report doesn’t qualify as anyone’s idea of fun. Things couldn’t be more different in Japan, where office nomikai, or drinking parties, are frequent, mandatory and a genuinely good time. People of different ranks and divisions are free to mingle, and everyone is encouraged to get thoroughly sloshed. Beer, wine and sake flow freely, all on the company’s dime. Often lasting for hours and incorporating multiple venues, a nomikai may start at an izakaya restaurant, for example, and end at a karaoke lounge. If you’ve never worked for a Japanese company, the idea of your boss, redfaced and clutching a microphone, drunkenly slurring through his favorite Beatles songs while his employees
Kishyo Ginza Honten Royal Crystal Bldg. 4F 5-4-6 Ginza ENGLISH Tel: 03-6251-8191
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cheer him on may seem absurd. In Japan, though, where the working hours are long and demanding, nomikai perform the crucial role of allowing everyone to cut loose a little. At these gatherings, employees laugh together, commiserate with one another and even complain to their superiors. That’s right, it’s often acceptable at nomikai to ask your boss why he gives you so much work or why he’s so strict. Such gentle ribbing is all part of letting your hair down. But there is still a limit, so you can’t tell your manager that he’s a jerk for setting the sales targets so high. If you’re wondering just where this line lies, just cast your mind back to your childhood. How much were you allowed to complain to your parents? In many ways, the traditional Japanese company, where lifetime employment remains common and employees may work as part of the same unit for decades, is a lot like a family. And like family members, Japanese employees are together in close quarters and often in high-stress situations, which causes friction. When the pressure reaches a certain point, it becomes necessary to open the safety valve. Families do this by booking a trip to Hawaii while Japanese companies call the local izakaya and reserve a table for 25. As Japanese firms become more Western and phase out the lifetime
employment system, this “family” model of working together and playing together is gradually disappearing. The benefits of the change are obvious: employees have more time to spend with their families and more control over their social lives. However, it’s also true that this model was a critical cog in the corporate machinery that drove Japan’s phenomenal postwar economic growth. The nomikai, in turn, was one of the cog’s teeth. As someone who has seen the benefits that nomikai can bring to an office culture, I can’t help but feel we’ll have lost something when it’s gone for good. o Club Member Kubo is president of the adver tising agency Ogilvy & Mather Japan Group.
The essence of Japan
Meticulously crafted Japanese cuisine, discreet hospitality and traditionally refined surroundings.
Limited to 100 people
Unique Ecotourism monitor tour opportunity
2 nights free accommodation and 1 day beach experience. Just pay for your flights!
Experience Miyakojima’s underwater paradise
Sep 01–Oct 31
Travel to the beautiful island of Miyakojima in Okinawa and explore its crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and stunning coral reefs, as part of this unique, eco-friendly monitor tour.
• 2 days accommodation at the Hotel Breeze Bay Marina, Miyakojima • 1 day Ecotourism beach experience at the incredible Kayafa Beach:
• Boat tour to experience scuba diving in magical underwater blue caves and snorkeling over offshore reefs • Beach scuba diving experience
• Extend your stay with additional nights
• Sea Kayaking
*Please enquire about fees for optional extras
• Beginner-friendly, full-face mask diving experience (slow diving)
Tour does not include:
• Eco-lunch and hotel transfers
• Additional meals or optional tours
webman.jp Tour organised and operated by Eco Guide Cafe
• Flights to/from Miyakojima
Conditions for participation: • Only foreign nationals can apply • Participants must pledge to be responsible eco-tourists and follow the simple eco-manner code of practice • Participants are required to post their experiences of the tour to social media and other websites
Sign me up! To sign-up for the monitor tour please complete the simple online application form at:
第 四 十 七 巻 五 九 三 号
TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB
毎 月 一 回 一 日 発 行
ト ウ キ ョ ウ ア メ リ カ ン ク ラ ブ
i N T O U C H
イ ン タ ッ チ マ ガ ジ ン 二 〇 一 四 年 九 月 一 日 発 行 平 成 三 年 十 二 月 二 十 日 第 三 種 郵 便 物 許 可 定 価 八 ０ ０ 円
Art of the Samurai Going inside the dojo
Future of Food Japan embraces the organic movement
Court’s in Session The fast-paced action of squash
Breaking the Language Barrier
本 体 七 七 七 円
Mastering Japanese is a herculean task, but a handful of Members show how it can be done Issue 593 • September 2014