ESTABLISHED 1970 BY CORKY ALEXANDER
CELEBS LOVE JAPAN WHO HAS JETTED IN?
VOL. 39 NO. 14
JUL 18 – 31 2008 FREE
BOARDING SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD
JET–SET TOKYO THE ALLURE OF A TICKET TO JAPAN
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| Weekenderâ€”Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
FAMILY FOCUS ESTABLISHED 1970 BY CORKY ALEXANDER
VOL. 39 NO. 14
JUL 18 – 31 2008 FREE
06 Community Calendar The city events to be seen at 08 Feature Destination Tokyo 10 Movie Reviews Latest movie releases 11 Movie Plus Indiana Jones premiere 12 Fine Dining Trattoria II Boccalone 13 Dining Brunch at Ekki Bar and Grill 16 Travel Celebs who’ve jetted in to Tokyo 20 Business/Investments Regular business advice 21 Business Profile Cathay Pacific 23 Ongoings Eisa Festival 24 School’s In Boarding schools abroad 25 School’s Out Hands on Tokyo 27 Bill’s Partyline 29 Arts Giles John
Photos by Irwin Wong Photography.
Tokyo has long been considered one of the world’s most exotic global cities and those who fly in here are often considered to part of the world’s ‘jet-setters.’ In our feature on page eight, we look at what has made Tokyo such a cool destination in the eyes of the world and on page 16, we look at just some of the celebrities that have jetted in over the years. For those young jet-setters to be, we look at some boarding schools where kids to gain their education abroad (page 24) and in Fine Dining on page 12, you can jet over to Italy without ever having to leave the country. Enjoy! Caroline Pover, Publisher
The Bailey–Fall Family
ON THE COVER: Images supplied by British Airways, who are celebrating 60 years of flights to Japan. Cover designed by Chris May.
icole Fall came to Tokyo in June 1998 and so has just celebrated her tenth anniversary of living in Japan. She met her husband Marc Bailey here in Japan and the British couple now have two children, Eden who is six years old and Raffy, who is four. Marc has been living in Japan on and off for 13 years, after originally arriving as a student to help his brother run a bar in Roppongi. After a period of traveling he came back to live in Japan as a broker. These days, when not working, he can be found on the other side of the same bars in which he once worked. Nicole set up her own company, Bespoke Tokyo, two years ago (www.bespoketokyo.jp). Bespoke is a high-end destination consultancy that specializes in designing urban safaris and intelligent guiding for people who want to understand how Tokyo
The Bailey–Fall family taking time out in their garden.
works. Most of her clients are people in the creative and financial industries, plus the odd celebrity (no names mentioned!). The two children have both been attending a Japanese kindergarten in Hiroo and are both fluent in Japanese. Eden graduated in March and now is attending a Japanese elementary school. Nicole adds that thanks to their understanding of the Japanese language, both children are able to access the community easily. Both children are extremely busy and for Nicole and Marc, the weekends are spent running around making sure that the kids are entertained and happy. Saturday mornings will see Raffy playing a form of South American soccer while Eden goes to Japanese Girl Scouts. Recently she has been learning first-aid, camping, and cooking.
WEEKENDER—JAPAN’S QUALITY ENGLISH MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Caroline Pover ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS Rajiv Trehan, George Taylor, Emily Downey EDITOR & DESIGNER Marie Teather ADVERTISEMENT DESIGNER Chris May TRAVEL & SOCIETY EDITOR Bill Hersey ARTS EDITOR Owen Schaefer EVENTS EDITOR Danielle Tate-Stratton DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Stephen Young MARKETING CONSULTANT Amy Dose CONTRIBUTORS Owen Schaefer, Benjamin Freeland, Robert Forrest, Ian de Stains, Phil Gibb, William Casper, Ulara Nakamura, Miki S. Noguchi. OFFICES at Caroline Pover, Inc., 5th floor, Chuo Iikura Building, 3-4-11 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0041 Tel. 03-5549-2038 Fax: 03-5549-2039 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed by WEEKENDER contributors are not necessarily those of the Publisher. FOUNDED IN 1970 BY MILLARD H. “CORKY” ALEXANDER
Answers from Crossword #30 (Weekender Jul 04) 1
Eden, 7, and Raffy, 4.
Are you happy with the medical services available in Japan? To register your opinion on the medical services available to foreigners here, go to www.weekenderjapan.com and take part in our
survey. The survey will be online for an extended period of time and the results of the 2008 Weekender Medical Services Survey will be published in depth later this year.
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14
TELL Volunteer Telephone Counselor Training Program starts September 13. Go to www.telljp.com to apply.
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| Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
THU 24 JULY WED 23 JULY TUE 22 JULY MON 21 JULY SUN 20 JULY
Free, anonymous telephone counseling 9 a.m.-11 p.m. 7 Days a Week 365 Days a Year 03-5774-0992
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COMMUNITY CALENDAR The New York Symphonic Ensemble returns to Marunouchi in collaboration with the Marunouchi Special Orchestra today from 4–6pm. Over 100 musicians will perform works such as Corelli’s La folia Op.5 No.12 at the MARUCUBE building. Admission is free. The first Indonesian Festival takes place today and tomorrow in Yoyogi Park and includes Indonesian dance and music groups, traditional food and drink, and information on companies and NGOs working with and in Indonesia. For more information (in Japanese) see www.cpi-mate.gr.jp/indonesia-fes.html. Celebrate Colombia’s National Day from 10am–5pm at Hibiya Park. The event will also help celebrate 100 years of bilateral relations between Japan and Colombia and features traditional foods and performances. Take in a variety of experimental films and images today and tomorrow at the Experimental Film and Video Competition, featuring Japanese and international artists. Yokohama Art Museum, ¥1,000–¥4,500, www.imageforum.co.jp/festival.
Enjoy spending this holiday afternoon at an acrobatic performance by Circus Marui at the Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Hall in Shibuya today at 2pm (doors open at 1:30pm). Tickets are ¥1,800 in advance and ¥2,000 on the day. Tel. 03-3409-0561 for information. The 17th Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival closes tonight with the Japanese premiere screening of Out at the Wedding. There are over 20 films exploring gay and lesbian culture around the world. Tickets are ¥1,200 advance, ¥1,500 at the door; showings run from July 17–21 at the Spiral Hall in Aoyama. http://tokyo-lgff.org/2008/e ACCJ members and their guests are invited to Shareholder Activism: Second Season Roundup, a discussion of the work done by foreign shareholder activists (lead by Steel Partners) through 2008. Noon–2pm, http://preview.tinyurl.com/6dfe99.
FCCJ members and guests are invited to join Yasuchika Hasegawa, Japan Association of Corporate Executives Vice Chairman and President, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited for a profesional luncheon this afternoon from noon–1:30pm. ¥1,260–¥3,570 depending on member/guest and luncheon option. RSVP by phoning 03-3211-3161 or online at www.fccj.or.jp.
ACCJ members and their guests are invited to enjoy warm company accented with Pisco cocktails, delicious Peruvian food, and a traditional Peruvian performance at Nomu-cation: Nomu-ni Pisco at the Embassy of Peru from 6:30–8:30pm. The event will help celebrate Peru’s national day on July 28 while allowing guests to mingle and network. Attendees will be greeted by Ambassador Hugo Palma. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6mdomb. Enjoy a production of Snow White by the Kiev Ballet today at 1pm at Shinjuku Bunka Center. Also August 9 at 1 and 4:30pm. ¥4,500–¥6,000. Tel. 03-3943-9999 for tickets. The Tokyo Comedy Store presents the TCS Crocodile Show, which is “Like Tokyo, Only Funnier!” The show features Tokyo’s best stand-up and improvised comedy! 8–10:30pm at the Crocodile in Shibuya. ¥2,000, full drink and food menu. Please see the homepage for map and details: www.tokyocomedy.com and reserve seats at: firstname.lastname@example.org. ACCJ members and their guests are invited to the Architecture, Construction & Real Estate Committee Working Meeting from noon–2pm today. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6rthxj.
Colombian National Day
his July 20, help Colombians celebrate their National Day at a festival taking place in Hibiya Park from 11am–5pm. The festival also celebrates 100 years of bilateral relations between Colombia and Japan and therefore the event is sure to be extra special! Thirteen restaurants will be offering food from across Latin America for sale, including traditional and authentic arepa, ajiaco, and empanadas. Besides the food, enjoy traditional handicrafts and performances. Several of the groups coming to perform at the festival are making specific trips to Japan for the first time. They include salsa group Nueva Diamensión, made up of youth dancers, which has won awards worldwide. Also performing will be Grupo Bahía, which is known for playing traditional music from Colombia’s Pacific
Coast. In addition, local Japanese and Colombian artists, including a salsa couple (Ritmo de Cali) and musician Yumi Kusakabe will be in attendance, joined by DJ Fabián Torres, who will be spinning the newest in Colombian rhythms and beats. At the conclusion of the day’s performances, Orquesta Conquistando will take to the stage to perform salsa, merinque, and vallenato dance numbers, inviting the entire audience to get up and dance the afternoon away. This day-long event is sure to entice the whole
Would you like your community event listed in this calendar? If so, please email email@example.com one month before the event is due to take place.
Learn about wines made in surprising locations around the world (such as Canada and Israel) at the Saturday Wine School event co-organized by Orca Wines and Fujimamas. 4–6pm, Fujimamas, ¥3,000, RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hula down to Yokohama for the yearly Hawai’i Festival (July 25–27), from 10am daily at the Yokohama Osanbashi Pier. This free event features music, entertainment, food, and more, such as a Mackalani Slack Key Guitar Workshop and hula master George Naope. Visit www.hawaiifes.com (in Japanese) for more info.
Take the kids to the ballgame tonight as you watch the Chiba Lotte Marines play the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles today and tomorrow at 6:30pm at the Chiba Lotte Marine Stadium in Chiba. Tel. 0570-08-0026 for info and tickets, or visit www.marines. co.jp (in Japanese).
Our Plans • Regular Plus 12,600yen/month (Available at all Tokyo branches)
• Daytime Plus 9,450yen/month (Available at all Tokyo branches)
Two lawyers involved in the recent triangular merger of Nikko Cordial and Citigroup will speak about the events and key features of this merger at an event entitled: Largest-Ever Buyout By a Foreign Company—A Legal Perspective, today from noon–2pm. The event is open to ACCJ members and their guests. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6p5n52
• Regular Towel 12,600yen/month (Available only at Roppongi branch. Towel set incl.)
• Daytime Towel 9,450yen/month
(Available only at Roppongi branch. Towel set incl.)
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Members of the CCCJ are invited to What is CSR from CEO perspectives? presented by the Caux Round Table at the Imperial Hotel today from 3–7pm. Four panelists will discuss what corporate social responsibility (CSR) is and what it means to CEOs. There will be time for questions and answers after the panelist’s discussions. For more information and to register: http://preview.tinyurl.com/5kb3p4.
Our Facilities • Gym • 2 Studios • Swimming Pool • Sauna/Jacuzzi • Germanium Bath • Tanning Bed • Massage Room • Nail Care
Personal Trainers available! Bring your best team down to the Paddy Foley’s pub quiz tonight from 7:30pm. Questions range from pop culture to sports and geography and are sure to please the most intrepid pub quiz contestant. Entrance is ¥500 per person, teams may be up to six people each, and there are plenty of great prizes to be won. www.paddyfoleystokyo.com Bayern Munich come through Japan and play the Urawa Reds tonight at Saitama Super Arena 2002, 7:30pm, for tickets tel. 05-7002-9111.
Take your child to Windsor Park Golf and Country Club and while there, take advantage of special junior green fees on weekdays throughout August (except Obon, August 13–15). ¥3,000 includes a curry and rice lunch for your junior golfer. www.wpgcc.com. Please call 0296-88-2221 in advance to book your tee time and confirm availability.
FRI 1 AUG
THU 31 JULY WED 30 JULY TUE 29 JULY MON 28 JULY SUN 27 JULY
SAT 26 JULY
Spend the afternoon at the International Summer Solstice Beer Festival at the Gotemba Kogen Resort from noon–3pm. This event features food and lots of great beers for just ¥3,500. RSVP to Bennet at Bennett@gkb.co.jp or visit www.gotembakogenresort.jp for more information.
Head to the Grand Hyatt, for a cocktail, and while you are there, pick up the newest issue of Weekender, due out today.
Tokyo Midtown Roppongi Sta. (Oedo Line)
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B1 Piramide Bldg., 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku
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17th Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
he 17th Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is taking place at the Aoyama Spiral Hall from July 17–21 and features over twenty films exploring life as a homosexual around the world. Many of the films are having their Japanese or Asian premieres at the festival, including the festival’s closing movie, Out at the Wedding, playing in Japan for the first time. Out at the Wedding is an entertaining tale of mistaken identity as the main character, hiding her bi-racial boyfriend from her very conservative family, suffers from having some comments about her misconstrued until, before she knows it her family begins to believe she is gay. This becomes a role she plays up in a series of hilarious events. Also featured at the festival is Breakfast With Scot, here for its Asian premiere. This movie gained some
notoriety when the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL team endorsed the film and allowed their name, logo, and team to be used in the movie, which tells the story of a former Leafs hockey player, his partner, and the 11year-old boy they unexpectedly begin to parent. Mixed in with the humorous films are more serious pieces exploring homosexual life in countries where being gay is not only not accepted, but sometimes even dangerous. For instance, the filmakers of A Jihad for Love’s took six years, and reportedly risked their lives, to make a documentary about Muslims from Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa who are all gay and steadfastly refuse to give up their faith. For more information about the films as well as tickets (¥1,200–¥1,500), visit http://tokyo-lgff. org/2008/e.
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www.tipness.co.jp Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14
Tokyo Jet-Setting The allure of a ticket to Tokyo, by Owen Schaefer
t’s four o’clock on a surprisingly clear afternoon, and I am standing at the windows of the 52nd-floor observation deck of Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills looking out at the city. There are 50 or 60 people here, many of them foreign and most of them tourists; all of them vying for a good photo. And as they look out across the 2,000 square kilometers of urban sprawl that is collectively called Tokyo, I can’t help but feel that each one is looking at a slightly different city. Even from 52-stories up, Tokyo remains a mix of the functional and the ambitious, the playful and the ostentatious, with a smattering of the historical. The visitors here on the viewing platform look out over this urban landscape and see a city that is based on a hodgepodge of history, industry, finance, and pop-culture. It is the high-tech city of bullet trains and robotics; it is the fashion capital of Asia; it is the hub of a new-found pop-culture explosion that has spread Japan’s animation and geek-chic around the world; and, yes, it is still a city of kimonos, street festivals, and Shinto shrines. Tokyo isn’t part of the backpacker route, and for good reason. Sky-high travel costs, a lack of budget accommodation, and, most of all, sheer distance and isolation have kept it firmly the domain of working expatriates and the jet-set. It is the most eastern of the Far East cities and not a spot to be hit on the way to anywhere else; it is, and always has been, a destination unto itself.
English sailor William Adams would assist in opening Japan for trade with the East India Trading Company and company men who sailed to meet with Adams in his unheard-of position as advisor to the Tokugawa shogun sent back descriptions of Edo. It was no longer the quiet fishing village it had been a hundred years earlier, but a burgeoning metropolis with wide, clean streets, buildings with gilded tile roofs, and a well-dressed aristocracy. Tokyo was being born. But there is nothing like a mystery to create a lasting intrigue. When Japan famously slammed its doors on the world in 1639, its exotic image had the next 200 years to take root in Western imaginations.
Western travelers have made their way to Japan’s shores in the name of trade, religious zealotry, finance, and cultural study.
The More Things Change But what draws west to east? It’s a story that has changed over the years and new layers are constantly being added. Western travelers have made their way to Japan’s shores in the name of trade, religious zealotry, finance, and cultural study. Adventure has certainly always played a part, but for the earliest Western visitors to make the long and dangerous journey, it took more impetus than simply a vague curiosity or a craving for fresh sushi. Early accounts of Tokyo and the Japanese are filled with exoticism and yet ring somehow familiar. When Marco Polo, (though he never managed to reach Japan) heard tales in China of a country that was strong, isolated, and dependent upon no one. And when Portuguese adventurer Fernão Mendes Pinto was washed into Japanese waters by a storm in 1544, he and his men painted the picture of a country not only rich in material wealth, but in culture and civility. Speaking of his own culture, he wrote, “apart from our religion, we are greatly inferior to them,”—a sentiment that would later be echoed by the missionary Francis Xavier, whose well-intended, if left-handed, compliment called the Japanese “the best who have yet been discovered.” What was most interesting to those early visitors was not Japan’s antiquity, but its highly developed society, codes of honor, public manners, and its wealthy and beautiful cities. In the early 1600s, the
8 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
The Burning of the Past It is the traditional and often conservative cultural underpinnings that one finds in modern-day Tokyo that seem to inevitably lead to the age-old travel-guide cliché of “contradictory Japan.” It is the impetus behind the oft-snapped photo of a young woman in her Coming-of-Age Day kimono chatting on her cellphone—a shot taken by so many separate photographers that it has become almost iconic in its sheer ubiquity. But these contradictions are largely foisted upon Tokyo from the outside. Tokyo, from its inception, was built to B be a city for the future. After all, Tokyoites know better pamphritis let than anyone that concrete connections to history can be fleeting and impermanent. The 1923 Kanto earthquake flattened or burned most of the city, leaving little of historical value untouched. Then, a little over 20 years later, the city would once again be devastated— this time by the fire-bombings of World War II. The Tokyo of 1945 was a wreck. Its past, its history, had literally burned away. It was contrite, financially drained, and not even remotely a place for tourists. Japan’s few visitors at the time were military or financial. Hans Brinckmann, the author of The Magatama Doodle, was in Tokyo in 1950, transferred from Holland to play the role of what he calls the “reluctant banker.” “During the 1950s there was no tourism, either inward or outward,” he told me. “Foreign tourists were not attracted to a country struggling to recover from the war.” Even after five years of rebuilding, Brinckmann’s book describes roads still pockmarked with bomb craters and potholes. Tokyo was still a long way from being a booming economic capital. Let the Games Begin In 1964, Tokyo became the first non-Western city to ever win an Olympic bid. Instantly, it had become a desirable place to go. Three billion dollars were spent over the next five
photo courtesy of British Airways.
define the genre of cyberpunk but also put the word â€œcyberspaceâ€? into popular usageâ€”he set much of the action in Japan despite the fact that he had never set foot in the country. This didnâ€™t seem to matter, because Gibson had tapped into something that was already becoming apparent: Japanâ€™s reputation as an electronics superpower. Tokyo was becoming the poster city for a high-tech future. Tokyo embraces electronics in a way that few other cities can. Akihabara, the electronics-and-otaku-lifestyle Mecca, was already a market for radio and wireless parts as far back as the 1950s. As companies like Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, Pioneer, Mitsubishi, and Nintendo arrived, along with a glut of successful automobile makers, the wealth grew until no one could see the end of it. Exports of electronics and cars were flying out to other countries and the Japanese were proud of their work. For Japan, robotics and electronics represented everything good. And largely, they still do. When the bubble inevitably burst, there was a tightening of belts and much dejection, but the show went on. The neon lights were still lit in Shinjuku, and even more and larger television screens went up at Shibuya crossing. According to one interview with Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Invaded the U.S., there was an upside to the economic slump, which Kelts says was able to â€œfree up youthful Japanese creativity that had prior to those years been sort of siphoned off by corporations.â€? As a result, the contemporary financial landscape now includes dozens of exports that are no longer quite as tangible, but every bit as in demand. Hayao Miyazakeâ€™s Spirited Away saw mainstream approval after taking an Academy Award in 2003 and revealed aspects of Japan that few in the west had seen. Comics and animation are in high demand. And Hello Kitty, whether for kitsch, irony, or for sheer love of the cute, is globally recognizable. During the bubble period, a handful of fashion designers, such as Issey Miyake, Kenzo, and Hanae Mori made a major impact on Western runways, but the economic decline resulted in an even greater fame for Tokyoâ€™s street fashions. Harajukuâ€™s disenfranchised and loitering â€œlolitasâ€? become fashion icons and magazines such as FRUiTS, established by Shoichi Aoki in 1997, have a following not only on the street, but all over the world.
In the sixties, coming to Tokyo was no easy jet.
sh Airway s ts from th e sixties.
years to host the games and the results were a payoff that has been cashing in ever since. Infrastructure improved and highways were built. Additionally, the Olympics gave Japan an opportunity to showcase its culture, kindling an interest in the worldâ€™s tourists who came for the kimonos and paper umbrellas. At the time, it had relatively little else to offerâ€”gone were the gilded rooftops and wide, tree-lined streets. The average Tokyoite was still living a frugal existence and according to Brinckmann, Tokyo in the 1960s was â€œa rather ugly, uninteresting city and the air was horribly polluted, like Shanghai or Beijing today.â€? But while the Olympic focus was on tradition, already a hint of the future was rocketing down the tracks at an unheard-of 210 kilometers an hour. The crown-jewel of Japanese engineering had been installed: the bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka. Foreign airlines, too, were responding with regular flights. British Airways, which had been running flights to Tokyo since November of 1948, reported a particular spike in numbers as tourists flocked to the Olympiad. A true tourist market had opened for Tokyo and air travel was making it possible.
Passengers were encouraged to pack cocktail dresses, corsets, and tuxedos, along with several changes of shoes, in order to fly and arrive in proper styleâ€”a sign of the kind of people making the journey.
Nonetheless, you still had to be a dedicated holidaymaker to reach Japan: flights from Britain in 1964 took a gruelling four days and even that was largely dependent on good weather. Passengers were encouraged to pack cocktail dresses, corsets, and tuxedos, along with several changes of shoes, in order to fly and arrive in proper styleâ€”a sign of the kind of people making the journey. And one 1960s brochure from the British Overseas Airways Corporation (later to become British Airways) features an image of a flight attendant offering a passenger a razorâ€”a sign of the times. Exporting the Present When science-fiction author William Gibson wrote Neuromancer in 1984â€”a novel that would not only
Reinvention As Tokyo gears up its bid for the 2016 Olympics, itâ€™s tempting to wonder if history will, or even needs to, repeat itself. Unlike Hong Kongâ€™s blatant move to brand itself with the slogan â€˜Asiaâ€™s World City,â€™ Tokyo has only followed its own inertia, accepting and even embracing its own global image. With flight prices rising, Japan may once again begin to feel its distance and isolation. But there is more today than ever to bring people to this city among cities. If all goes well for 2016, tourists will most certainly come for the games, but Japan is no longer a land shrouded in mystery. The travelers will also come for its reputation of safety and accessibility; they will come to explore a culture that is not mired in history, but comfortable in its present. And many will come for its familiarity as much as its differences. Another shot at the Olympics games for Tokyo may be an opportunity to finally say, â€œIn 1964, we told you what we were. Today, we will show you what we are.â€?
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MOVIE REVIEWS BY WILLIAM CASPER Hot Fuzz
en reasons to go and see Hot Fuzz: 1. The creators of the excellent Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright (writer and director) and Simon Pegg (writer and star), deserve our fullest support. 2. The ever-wonderful Billie Whitelaw is in it. 3. As well as Billie Whitelaw, Hot Fuzz features a veritable bus load of veteran Brit actors and comedians including Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton, Bill Nighy, Edward Woodward, Bill Bailey, Olivia Colman, Kenneth Cranham, Martin Freeman, Stephen Merchant, and Steve Coogan. 4. The recreation of a Point Break moment is an alltime, top comedy moment. 5. Its view of English village life brilliantly combines affectionate homage with scathing satire.
6. David Threlfall (Frank from TV’s Shameless) has a lovely little cameo. 7. It is very funny. 8. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are fast becoming Satirical British humor. the thinking person’s Laurel and Hardy. 9. Cate Blanchett’s uncredited cameo. 10. It is Tokyo. It is July. The theater will be air-conditioned. Plot? An over-achieving super cop is sent by jealous colleagues to police the safest village in the UK. Mayhem ensues.
Kung Fu Panda
reamWorks latest animated classic in the making is so disarming and enjoyable it almost defies criticism. Perhaps it is the beautiful digital animation—Kung Fu Panda (KFP) is an absolute joy to look at—or perhaps it is the assembled A-list cast led ably by the un-dislikable Jack Black. Whatever it is, KFP is the perfect summer holiday fare superbly combining fast-action with sharp comedy; it will keep the whole family engaged for all of its breezy 92 minutes. The plot has our titular hero, giant panda, Po (Jack Black), secretly wishing to be a kung fu master rather than working in his dad’s noodle shop. (Incidentally Po’s Dad is a goose—I guess it’s a bit much to ask for realism from an animated movie about a kung fu panda) The village where Po and his Dad live is under threat from the upcoming return of the evil Snow Leopard (Ian McShane fresh from his turn as an evil animated polar bear in the Golden Compass). Po is sent to the nearby Kung Fu School to prepare to
save the village. At the school, Po meets initial resistance from the star pupils who resent his presence. These pupils, Tigress (Angeline Jolie), Crane (David Cross), a Watch out, there’s a panda about. Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Monkey (Jackie Chan) make life difficult for the over weight newcomer until Po shows them his true worth. The gang is trained by Shifu, a tiny red panda and old master, brilliantly voiced by Dustin Hoffman. When the Snow Leopard finally arrives, Po comes in to his own at last. As well as its beautiful animation, terrific pace, and star-packed cast, KFP strikes exactly the right tone, never sacrificing the reality of its world for a quick joke, and being completely sincere with its message of self improvement as a means to better help others.
Dr. Suess’ Horton Hears a Who
here is something so wonderful about Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Suess) and the lovely books he created (in part as an aid to child literacy) that it is almost inevitable that any contact with the more ruthless, less altruistic world of Hollywood is bound to tarnish the stories. Horton Hears a Who (HHAW) fairs better than the awful How The Grinch Stole Christmas or the ill conceived Mike Meyer’s vehicle The Cat in the Hat and goes someway towards capturing the magic of the book. The story has Horton (Jim Carrey), an elephant, living in the jungle of Nool hearing a voice from a speck of dust that turns out to be the world of Whoville. In an effort to protect Whoville, Horton decides to put the speck on the top of Mount Nool. The other animals in the jungle think Horton is insane and pressure starts to build to stop him talking to the speck, as he is a bad influence on younger animals. Meanwhile, inside Whoville the mayor (Steve Carell) is having problems keeping his job, especially as, in mov-
ing Whoville, Horton causes earthquakes, an early winter, and general mayhem. The conflict is resolved in a glow of tolerance and cries for understanding The crazy world of Dr. Suess. but not until Whoville has faced oblivion on countless occasions. HHAW is visually superb and the filmmakers (also responsible for Ice Age) have created a world and a spectacle worthy of Dr. Suess’ imaginative mastery. Among the actors whose vocal cords get a work out are the timeless Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, and Dan Fogler. For me the only real problem the film has is its star. Jim Carrey’s usual OTT antics irritatingly transcend the animation format (the animators have given Horton Carrey’s toothy grin, too) but he is miscast as the thoughtful elephant.
WEEKENDER’S FAVORITE MOVIE THEATERS ROPPONGI: Roppongi Hills Cinema. Roppongi 6-10-2, Minatoku. 03-5775-6090. In the Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Complex, facing the Mori Tower, Hibiya Line Roppongi Station. Showing: Speed Racer, In the Valley of Elah, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, August Rush, The Chronicles of Narnia; Prince Caspian, Made of Honor. www.tohotheater.jp. SHIBUYA: Shibuto Cine Tower, Dogenzaka 2-6-17, Shibuya. 035489-4210. From JR Shibuya station, take the Hachiko exit to the large intersection (to Dogenzaka). Go up the road, and it will be on your left (across from Shibuya 109). Showing: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, August Rush. http://gmap. jp/shop-1533.html.
SHINJUKU: Shinjuku Milano Za, Kabuki-cho 1-29-1, Tokyu Milano Bldg. 03-3202-1189. JR Shinjuku station East Exit, number B13. Walk towards Nishi-Shinjuku station; the theater faces this station. Showing: Speed Racer, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
ODAIBA: Cinema Mediage. Daiba 1-7-1, Minato-ku. 03-55317878. Across from Tokyo Teleport Station, just behind the Fuji TV building. From the Yurikamome line’s Daiba station, cross the street. The cinema is next to Aqua City Odaiba. Showing: Speed Racer, Climber’s High, In The Valley of Elah, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, August Rush, 21, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian www.cinema-mediage.com.
For more reviews please visit our website at www 10 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
MOVIE PLUS WITH BILL HERSEY
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER FINANCE | COMPLIANCE | LEGAL www.legalfutures.com Harrison Ford, George Lucas, and the cast of Indiana Jones flew in for the Tokyo premiere and press conference.
eedless to say, our buddies over at Paramount Pictures Japan have been super busy over the past few months. Their many-faceted promotion for the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Temple Skull meant lots of overseas travel, lots of meetings with entertainment tycoons George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg, and working long into the early hours to plan and carry out the Tokyo press conference, the Japan premiere, endless media events, plus so much more. Lucas’ executive producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall and, of course, Harrison Ford, flew in for most of the major events. Spielberg had to be in the States for his daughter’s graduation so couldn’t be here but he did send a nice message. The press conference at the ballroom in the Grand Hyatt was as expected, filled to capacity. In answering one of the reporter’s questions about why it took so long (about 20 years), Harrison said: “We know it was a long time coming, but the writers came up with a good script, and I knew this was the right time.” Kathleen added, “We just gave the project time and it worked out.” Frank remarked, “It was a combination of key ingredients and we’re all very happy with the results.” When another reporter asked “How about an Indiana Jones in Japan movie?,” George laughed and said “I love this country but have no plans now. We’ll
see.” Harrision commented, “You’ve always been great in supporting the films here, but for us right now it’s one step at a time.” When asked about Indie, Harrison said, “I really like his character, the humor, courage, tenacity, and willingness to really work hard to get things done.” When asked about heros, Harrison likes ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Lucas got a bit political saying; “There’s a hero in the making for us—lots of hopes and dreams with Obama.” Karen agreed saying, “I feel Barack Obama will help lift us out of many difficulties.” Kudos to Paramount for using the multi-lingual hand translation sets. Everyone was really able to understand and keep up with everything. The premiere was held at Yoyogi Koen, in and around the huge building architect Kenzo Tange designed for the Olympics in 1966. For the dynamic event (6,000 people attended) Paramount had recreated huge temples and pillars, etc. that were exact replicas of those in the film. Talk about exciting. Inside the hall there was a colorful laser show, and even an ‘Indie’ flying above the crowd and doing some of his death-defying stunts. Like they say, there’s no business like show business. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make it the super evening it was.
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` lost one of my college days’ loves-of-my life a few weeks ago when the legendary dancer-actress Cyd Charisse passed away. Cyd with the beautiful face and long, long, legs had to be one of the most beautiful women and best dancers to ever glorify Hollywood. Born in Texas, she started studying ballet when she was a young girl. She danced her way through dozens of films and her partners included legendary hoofers Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I’ll never forget her performance of Limehouse Blues in Singing in the Rain. Thanks to my dear brother, Chris, (God bless his soul) I got to meet Cyd at a Christmas party at the Beverly Hills home of top choreographer Tony Charmoli. Other guests there included Carol Channing (Hello Dolly), Betty White (Golden Girls), and Ann Miller (On the Town, Kiss Me Kate). What a party that was…and what a star Cyd was.
NB. Schedules are subject to change so please make sure to check the website to avoid disappointment.
Out on DVD! By William Casper
SHINAGAWA: Shinagawa Prince Cinema. Takanawa 4-10-30, Minato-ku. 03-5421-1113. Across the street from Shinagawa station, in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. Showing: Speed Racer, In The Valley of Elah, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, August Rush, 21, 27 Dresses, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The Bucket List. www.princehotels.co.jp/shinagawa/cinema/index.html.
The Namesake—Mira Nair’s tender examination of immigrant life in modern day America. Based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s fine novel.
YOKOHAMA: Toho Cinemas Lalaport. 4035-1 Ikebe-cho, Ysuzuki-ku, Yokohama. 045-929-1040. JR Yokohama Line, Kamoii station. Take the North Exit; theater is on the first floor of the Lalaport Complex. Showing: In The Valley of Elah, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, August Rush, Juno, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. http://yokohama.lalaport.jp.
Earth—Beguiling look at life on the planet. Stunning.
Sweeny Todd—Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter have lots of bloody fun in Tim Burton’s gruesome film adaptation of the successful musical.
Alpha Dog—Nick Cassavetes (John’s lad) does his best with the true story of drug dealer Jesse James Hollywood, the youngest man to make the FBI’s most wanted list. The Fountain—Darren Aronofsky’s noble but muddled, threepronged fantasy love story, spanning 1000 years starring Rachel Weiss and Hugh Jackman.
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 11
FINE DINING BY ROBERT FORREST
Trattoria Il Boccalone Possibly the best Italian in Tokyo?
esting my luck, I booked a table here soon after codiner and I started co-dining. Luckily, we still were when the date arrived: this place is fantastic. Tucked away in Ebisu, away from the main street that attracts most diners on Friday evenings, Il Boccalone has built up a good reputation hosting foreign businessmen looking for a taste of home and Japanese couples appreciating the risotto this place is renowned for. We are a bit of both, so let me usher you through the curtains, out of Tokyo, and into Italy. Cynicism first, I’m afraid. As soon as we stepped in, my eyes scanned for a table close to a door, a draught, or worse the drains. Speaking in stuttered Japanese to reserve on the phone, I always fear The Gaijin Table. I began to think the same had happened here as we were shown to a lone table squeezed next to the bar and almost inside the kitchen—but co-diner was thrilled, purring her delight at being able to watch the tenderising, the seasoning, the hacking of ribs into chops, and the washing of salads. She had a good point and so did the Maitre D’ when he recommended the Piemonte red. Elegant, non-tannic, and with a cloud of scorned grapes to the nose, each sip silenced conversation. Beguiled by his Italian accent we also took him up on his other recommendations for the pasta: yolky triangles with rosemary tinted boar and mixed durum barrels cuddled with homemade sausage. But before these arrived we had salada botargo—myriad fish eggs pressed and finely sliced, mixed with rocket (the tomatoes, removed by she), and warm octopus with boiled potatoes. So unpretentious, and like the best Italian cooking, simply allowed each ingredient to confidently unfurl its flavor. The octopus was memorable as much for the taste as for the layering of textures, tongue slipping over membrane as teeth squeezed into butter-soft flesh, itself firmly centered. We loved it, and the humble potato only underlined the exquisite dampness and hushed the fanfare I feel a more arrogant kitchen may have added. More wine pressed a finger to our smiles and then the pasta arrived. They had kindly presented two plates, each with a half-share of our orders. We tried the sausage first. My God—how can I explain the nuggets of wheat expanding their aboriginal fields, or sausage that crumbles like fallen trulli, allowing drafts of flavor to air the palette? I don’t know, and I cringe now to describe the divine boar as dog-food from Heaven. I have only ever fed dog-food to my brother,
At Il Boccalone, chose to take in the mural or to watch the kitchen’s ongoings.
so my experience is second-hand, but the earthen chunks of meat in its dark gravy dully reminded of the scrape of fork across the inside of ribbed tins. This is not a criticism. Continuing its canine appearance, the taste drags your mind through the undergrowth of a forest and rubs sodden bark into your nose. It is vivid and wonderful. So I took some of co-diner’s as well. Which I quickly realized was a mistake, when a ceramic oval dodged a table for four and landed squarely in our nest of glasses, bottles, plates, crumbs, and oils. Slice, after slice, after slice of thick red petals with greying fringes illustrated the beef we had seen on the menu. Pupils fired as lips flickered. She was impressed. And then the salad! This was unforgettable. Sautéed spinach is one thing, but the rocket we also ordered should be gilded and framed. Nubile leaves showered in lemon and fine salt scalded our gums, slicing through the languid fat of the beef. But of course, this topped it all. How can it not when the creatures in question derived from Japan’s mountains? Muscles strengthened on hill sides and inclines, ruddy and supple on our plate, melted by gushing fat. And then my gluttonous penalty struck, as residual pasta halted progress. My half-pound could not be finished. But it matters not as wine turned to coffee and other diners seeped into the night, so a shallow goblet arrived containing four balls of butter, cream, and cocoa thickly hugging a walnut centre. It was even better than that sounds. Il Boccalone has been described by some as the best Italian in Tokyo, and it’s certainly the best I have been to whilst here. It doesn’t quite touch Oscar’s, my favourite place in Milan, but with the passion, care, and authenticity that’s so evident here, you simply cannot go wrong with whatever you order. I’m not going to mention the price as no doubt codiner will be reading/removing her name; suffice to say this one is best saved for special occasions. And it really was.
Slice, after slice, after slice of thick red petals with greying fringes illustrated the beef we had seen on the menu.
Best table: Being next to the kitchen went down rather well, just avoid being next to the front door if possible. Prices: A meal for two will total between ¥20,000–¥30,000 Location: Ebisu. Use the map on
12 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
the website, or better give the address to a cab. It isn’t far, but tricky to explain. Contact: Call 033449-1430 or see www.ilboccalone.com for reservations and the map.
Ekki Bar and Grill A Tokyo kind of brunch, by Marie Teather
runch, as of late, has become somewhat of the en vogue meal to be seen at in Tokyo. Perhaps it was the foreign community that introduced the concept of sitting down with family or friends on weekend afternoons, and more importantly, that one should stay sat down for long enough to unwind, to catch up, and to eat comfort food; lots of it. Ever-fashionable Japanese diners followed suit and, never wanting to miss out on an eating trend, brunch menus have been popping up on the most sophisticated of hotel and restaurant tables all over the city. Of course it didn’t take long before Japanese restaurants wanted to show us their interpretation on a brunch, and at Ekki Bar and Grill in the Four Seasons Hotel, you’ll find just that. Fittingly, this restaurant is in the Marunouchi district, an area renown for it’s mishmash of traditional Japanese culture and architecture blending into the new and artistic. Situated on the seventh floor of the hotel the interior is surprisingly intimate. The hotel itself boasts just 57 rooms and the feeling throughout is more boutique hotel than expected. As often with brunches, the choice can be somewhat overwhelming and so the Ekki Champagne Brunch has been neatly divided into three interestingly titled courses; the Abstract, the Contemporary, and the Modern. There are two options of free flowing champagne to accompany your meal; Krug or Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. To start, we were brought a selection of croissants and sweet pastries—the type over which you could imagine Japanese ladies cooing in delight. Indeed with the presentation and intricate little fruits displayed on the tops, it was almost a shame to have to destroy their prettiness, but still, this was brunch and eating was priority. I had chosen the ‘Contemporary’ set and for this I was next presented with the roasted pumpkin soup with garlic cream and grilled shrimp. Despite initial hesitations about soup not really seeming fit for a meal that is supposed to be a combination of a breakfast and lunch, any criticisms were soon forgotten. This really is a great soup. Still, I was here for the main attraction, and where was it?
For ladies who brunch.
It arrived soon after and again the presentation with three small square plates resting on a circular tray, was representative of the artistic title this meal had been named after. In one dish was the salmon and scrambled eggs—a firm favorite on any breakfast menu and a favorite of mine too, although I prefer mine not to be mixed with citrus honey and pommery mustard. The other three dishes revealed a mushroom and herb grilled brioche, the crispy waffles with mint mascarpone and maple syrup, which got the thumbs up all round, and an almost forgettable salad. In the center piece of the decorative creation sat a ham and roasted pepper wrap sandwich which, healthy though it was, troubled me as to when I should actually stop my grazing between the tasters of a brunch that was happening elsewhere, and pick this up to munch. All too quickly, the main course was over and out came the deserts. Again, four little dishes, one circular tray; it was pretty, it was artistic; would it be rude of me to admit that I was still hungry? Looking around the room, the Ekki Bar and Grill was providing a certain brunch experience to please the mostly Japanese clientele. On one table sat three women who had been there before we had arrived and showed little sign of moving soon. For them, the champagne was flowing, laughter and chatting was animated, and eating was light and second to the company they were sharing. And, as only a Saturday afternoon brunch can permit, there was no need to go anywhere else in a hurry. For more information Ekki Bar and Grill or the Four Season hotel call 03-5222-7222 or see the website at www.fourseasons.com.tokyo/
The Ultimate Weekender Cocktail Designed exclusively for Weekender by Garin Dart.
hen the weather starts hotting up this summer and jetting off to cooler destinations is not an option, the only alternative is a a refreshing and nourishing cocktail. This drink, designed for Weekender by Blue Silver’s Garin Dart, will not only keep you refreshed, but the apple juice and honey will keep your sugar levels steady when you start to lag, and the egg will give you a much need protein boost. Try it now—it’s the coolest drink to be seen with this summer!
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For the cocktail: • 42BELOW manuka honey, 45 mls • Cream, 30 mls • Cloudy apple juice, 25 mls • Passion fruit syrup, 15 mls • 1 whole egg, free range • Freshly grated nutmeg to garnish
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Combine the 42BELOW manuka honey, apple juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice. Add the egg and cream and shake vigorously. (If cracking your eggs freshly for each drink, remember to wash your hands to minimize the ºrisk of contamination.) Strain into a wine glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. Enjoy! And in the case of a cocktail catastrophe, come to Blue Silver.
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Phone - 03-3505-4490 URL - http://www.sujis.net Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 13
The face of Magella
14 | Weekenderâ€”Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
an in the community.
Jul 18â€“31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 15
Celebs Love Tokyo!
ondon, New York, Paris, Tokyo. Some cities will always be synonymous with the people who jet-set in for extravagant and fun times. Be it the fashion, the style, the romance, the music, or the technology, these cities have, throughout the decades, remained one step ahead of other global cities. Tokyo, of course, remains one of the coolest, most exotic, and eagerly talked about of them all. Celebrities have, throughout the years, jetted into Japan—a stop over in Tokyo is a clear sign that one has ‘made it’. Weekender takes a look at some well-known faces who have flown into Japan with the help of Bill Hersey, a man who has met more than his fair share of the Tokyo-loving rich and famous.
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TEL: 3582-2646 3583-7831 FAX: 3583-8199 MON-FRI 9AM - NOON 2 - 5PM SAT 9AM - NOON 5-9 AZABUDAI 1-CHOME, MINATO-KU, TOKYO In 1989, Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Japan to promote the movie Twins.
Twiggy, back in the sixties with her then boyfriend.
Andy Warhol was here in the seventies. In it was “dangerous” outside, but Andy snea
Elizabeth Taylor looked beautiful at this party in the eighties.
16 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
This is Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, here in 1989 at the Hilton Hotel. He’d been up all night.
photos courtesy of www.istock.com/rssfhs.
Cindy Lauper had so much fun in Tokyo.
re in 1982 to promote ET. She’s been back many times since then.
Nelson Mandela was here 20 years ago to give a lecture at the UN University.
Pele was here to promote soccer in Japan.
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Paris Hilton and her sister Nicky were here last year to promote Samantha Thavasa bags.
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18 | Weekenderâ€”Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 19
The Business of Language
he Japanese government has announced that it is considering giving preferential treatment regarding visas to foreign nationals with good Japanese language skills. That is all well and good so long as it does not result in the opposite effect: punitive treatment of those without. Yes, this is Japan and in an ideal world we would all be able to converse at something more than the aka chochin level. But hasn’t the government got its priorities slightly awry? The international language of business is still English (even if the number of native speakers of it are now outnumbered by those who use it as a second language). Wouldn’t it make more sense if the Japanese took seriously the issue of why the general level of English spoken here is so bad? Instead, high-ranking officials claim that learning to speak English is not as important as being able to speak “beautiful Japanese.” Ever since former Prime Minister Koizumi announced targets for increased foreign direct investment in this country as well as an increased effort to attract more tourists from abroad, Japan watchers have cautioned that neither goal will be achieved without efforts to make the country genuinely more acces-
sible. Along with attending to a number of outdated restrictive practices, that means seeing to it that more Japanese—especially those in banking, retail, and the hospitality sectors—have at least a basic ability to communicate. And that means addressing the fundamentals of how English is taught here. Talking to those in the business of trying to make that happen, I get the impression that it is one area in which Japan is actually in danger of moving backwards rather than forwards. And in case this seems trivial, consider what is happening in Korea and China, where the average English-language ability is streets ahead of what it is here. If Japan is serious about retaining a competitive edge internationally, it has to come to terms with the business of language once and for all.
Ian de Stains, OBE is the Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Convenor of its Japan Chapter.
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20 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
f you read the media headlines you’ll have heard of political stalemate, low interest rate economy, consumers saving rather than spending, flip-flopping from deflation to inflation, protectionist trade policies, and Japan closed to foreign investment—to name just a few. But, here’s why Japan is worth considering for investors: Japanese companies are leaner and more profitable than they have been for years, thanks to eight years of sometimes painful restructuring. Companies have been getting rid of unprofitable business lines, streamlining staff, outsourcing, and reducing debt. This has meant that Japanese companies have pushed up their return on capital from zero percent in 2000 to over eight percent today. Of course, more companies need to wake up from their zombie state and reach out to the western world for infusions not only of capital but also talented managers. This combination will kick start their current low returns to high returns on capital following restruscturing. Japanese banks have moved beyond the worst of their structural problems as industry consolidation and rising asset prices have led to a reinflation of their balance sheets. True, there has been some exposure to the US sub-prime debt position but not nearly as bad as Europe and the US. Asia, including China, has now become Japan’s largest trading partner, eclipsing both the US and Europe. After years in the doldrums, Japanese industries like factory machinery manufacturers, plant outfitters, steel, and shipbuilders are seeing an unprecedented level of demand from China. Japanese companies that have established factories on mainland China are best placed to benefit. Automakers like Toyota and Honda are building plants in China fitted with Japanese machinery and ordering high-quality
Japanese steel for the manufacturing process. Japan is in an exciting stage of transition as it transforms from a predominantly industrialised economy to becoming a service-based one. As the concept of lifetime employment in Japan’s industrial companies becomes a thing of the past, businesses such as outsourcing and temping are booming. At the same time, consumer patterns and tastes are changing. The era of the Japanese department store as supplier of all consumers’ needs appears to be over and niche retailers and specialist services such as wedding planners are reaping the benefits. With the service sector in its early stages of development, the growth potential for these types of companies is enormous. Japanese companies continue to demonstrate their ability to secure global leadership positions in their respective industries. Japanese auto manufacturers continue to take market share in the US from American manufacturers in key market segments like vans, pick-up trucks, and sports utility vehicles. Japanese companies continue to dominate some of the component parts of flat-panel displays like LCD-TVs and the miniaturisation technology used in mobile phones and PDA devices. So Japan will still be volatile, owing to the lack of political leadership in moving the second largest economy ahead to meet global market challenges. From an investment perspective, however you, cannot ignore this market, so a little dabble could be in order.
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The Little Airline that Could Cathay Pacificâ€”an airline that keeps on growing, by Benjamin Freeland
ong Kongâ€™s modern-day status as an economic and cultural powerhouse at the heart of the new China is such that it is easy to forget that it was only eleven years ago that this last vestige of Britainâ€™s once expansive colonial presence in Asia was restored to Chinese rule. Take a look behind the surface, however, and the British patina is still very much alive in the former colony, ranging from the cityâ€™s political institutions and judicial system to its corporate landscape, where colonial era companies still flourish under Chinese rule. One such commercial outfit is the Swire Group, a venerable London-based transnational that has maintained a powerful presence in Hong Kong since 1870, whose numerous business interests most notably include Hong Kongâ€™s flag carrier airline Cathay Pacific. Now in its 60th year under the Swire banner, Cathay Pacific has been cited as the worldâ€™s best airline on multiple occasions and continues to expand its reach in Asia and elsewhere, while continually setting the standard for excellence in air travel. Like Hong Kong itself, Cathay Pacific is a child of British rule that now stands as a proud symbol of a modern, resurgent China.
and incorporate the Hong Kong-based regional carrier Dragonair as a wholly owned subsidiary, giving Cathay Pacific one of the densest route networks in the Asia-Pacific region. A perennial traveler favorite, Cathay Pacific has twice been cited by the UK-based airline research consultancy Skytrax as Worldâ€™s Best Overall Airline and is one of only six holders of its coveted five-star rating. Cathay Pacificâ€™s acquisition of its Hong KongTokyo route was instrumental in catapulting it from regional carrier to worldâ€“class international airline, and to date, it remains one of its most vital routes.
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Asia and onwards Currently, the airline is seeking to further bolster its importance to Japanese travelers by promoting itâ€™s Hong Kong base as a bridgehead between Japan and the vast array of South and Southeast Asian destinations serviced by itself and its affiliate, Dragonair; something it hopes to achieve by way of its new â€˜Hong Kong SuperStopâ€™ promotion package. Launched on April 1, the â€˜SuperStopâ€™ promotion offers a night at a participating Hong Kong hotel for as little as ÂĽ3,600 per person to passengers traveling between Japan and any final destination within the Cathay PacificDragonair network via Hong Kong and is also valid for onward travel to mainland China on other carriers and even passage to the adjacent Pearl River Delta region by ferry and bus. While this package is good only for a one-night stopover, those wishing to extend their stay in Hong Kong can do so courtesy of Cathay Pacificâ€™s â€œStay-A-Whileâ€? hotel selection, with special rates is available through Cathay Holidays Japan. This promotion comes amid an expansion of the airlineâ€™s Asian routes, with a new emphasis on connections to India that has seen Dragonair launch daily flights to the Indian IT capital Bangalore, in addition, Cathay Pacific has added Chennai to its network and introducing twice-daily flights between Hong Kong and New Delhi. With its invaluable connections to the Chinese mainland, elsewhere in Asia and other important destinations not serviced by any Japanese carriers, such as Dubai, Riyadh, and Johannesburg, Cathay Pacificâ€™s importance to business travelers and others will only increase as the emerging economies of China, India, and elsewhere continue their stunning growth. After 62 years in the business, Farrell and de Kantzowâ€™s little airline has far surpassed its foundersâ€™ wildest dreams, entering the 21st century as an industry standard setter par excellence.
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â€˜The humpâ€™ W h i l e Cathay Pacific is a company largely synonymous with the British-ruled Hong Kong, the airline was actually founded by an American (Roy Farrell) and an Australian (Sydney de Kantzow), two exÂÂ-Air Force pilots who built a reputation for flying â€˜The Humpâ€™, a challenging air supply route from British India to China across the Himalayas; vital to Chiang Kaishekâ€™s beleaguered Nationalist army and Americaâ€™s â€˜Flying Tigerâ€™ air squadron in their struggle against the Japanese. Originally based in Shanghai, after the war the two men relocated to Hong Kong in 1946 to establish Cathay Pacific, a name that conjoined the medieval European name for China and the ocean that Farrell and de Kantzow hoped their fledging airline would one day traverse. (Farrell and a group of foreign correspondents allegedly coined the name in the bar of the Manila Hotel.) Beginning with a single DC-3 aircraft known as â€˜Betsyâ€™, the fledgling airline inaugurated passenger services to Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, and Shanghai from its Hong Kong base, with further unscheduled services to Canton (Guangzhou) and Sydney. Two years after its foundation, this small but aggressive airline attracted the attention of Butterfield & Swire Ltd.â€”as todayâ€™s Swire Group was then knownâ€” with the venerable trading company purchasing 45 percent of Cathay Pacific in 1948 and later assuming a controlling majority in the company. Prospering in the 1950s, Cathay Pacific outplayed its main rival, the BOAC controlled Hong Kong Airways, and ultimately absorbed it in 1959. In doing so, the airline acquired the latterâ€™s route network, including the much coveted Hong KongÂâ€“Tokyo route, with services to Nagoya and Osaka soon to follow. Cathay Pacific entered the jet age in the 1960s and ultimately achieved its foundersâ€™ goal of trans-Pacific flights in the early 1980s with the introduction of its now popular Hong KongÂâ€“Vancouver route. The subsequent decades would see the airline expand its network throughout the world, co-found the Oneworld alliance together with American Airlines, British Airways, and Quantas,
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For more information on the Superstop promotion and Cathay Pacific see www.cathaypacific.com.
Jul 18â€“31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 21
22 | Weekenderâ€”Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
photo courtesy of www.istock.com/rskodonnell.
Shinjuku Eisa Festival Okinawan festivities come to Tokyo, by Danielle Tate-Stratton
t is said that in 1603 Jodoshu monks from Kyoto traveled to Okinawa from Kyoto and upon their arrival, translated parts of their sutras into the Ryukyuan dialect of the area, eventually adding musical tunes to accompany them; thus creating a show of Buddhist chanting and dancing. From this grew the Eisa Festival (from the Buddhist refrain “Eisa! (Eiyasa!),” now a mainstay of traditional Okinawan culture. Typically celebrated on July 15 of the lunar calendar, the Eisa ritual involves groups of young men and women dancing from house to house in their villages, stopping at each to pray for the health, safety, and prosperity of both the current inhabitants of the house and their ancestors. The groups of dancers, or eisa teams, are led from house to house by a jester, who reaches the houses first and is offered sake, which he pours into a pot hanging at the end of a stick. The jester then enacts a skit of ‘tipsiness’, designed to lighten the mood of the entire event. Following the jester is a leader of the group, followed by men and women with drums, and musicians playing the shanshin—a three-stringed guitar-like instrument—as well as dancers and singers.
Is that culture in Shinjuku?
val-goers can enjoy eisa dancing, performances by Okinawan artists, food, and more. The opening ceremonies also include a parade, which will close down the Shinjuku Avenues from 1:30–9pm. So what is Takashi Kinjo’s recommendation for the best locations from which to take in the action? In front of Alta, Shinjuku Takano, Mitsukoshi Alkoto, and of course, in front of the East Exit. While the parade will wind its way all along the Shinjuku Avenues, these locations are the best to take in the parade as the dancers will stop and perform at each spot.
Carried out to this day in towns across Okinawa, the Eisa Festival is now also in Tokyo. Carried out to this day in towns across Okinawa, the Eisa Festival is now also in Tokyo. Back for its seventh year, the Shinjuku Eisa Festival takes place from July 23–28 in the Shinjuku area, with even more than the nearly one million spectators of last year expected to come to the celebration this year. Though not as strictly traditional as its Okinawan counterparts, the Shinjuku Eisa Festival offers plenty of entertainment for the entire family. Eat, Drink, Dance The Orion Beer Festival, taking place on the roof of the Isetan department store, will feature more than thirty bands and musicians local to Okinawa, many with a modern twist. For instance, there will be Okinawan hip-hop and pop music as well as innovative twists on traditional forms of music. An example is found in the Coi-na women’s chorus group, who take well-known songs such as Amazing Grace and transpose them into a traditional Okinawan folk style and dialect. The stage is open from 11am–9pm July 23–27 and 11am–4pm July 28; admission is free. After you’ve sampled some of the innovative artists or the beer that festival organizers have on tap, it’s the perfect time to taste some of the food that no-doubt contributes to the island’s reputation as the ‘Longevity Islands’ (they boast one of the longest life expectancies of the world). Head up to the sixth floor of the Isetan department store to try out goya, the popular bitter gourd that is good for your cholesterol (and is said to help beat the heat), or mozuku, a seaweed dish. Also available will be Ishigaki beef, which Takashi Kinjo of the Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau says is becoming nearly as popular and well-known as Kobe beef among Japanese tourists. Also on the same floor is the chance to purchase traditional Okinawan handicrafts and textiles. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Eisa Festival without the singing, dancing, and drumming of eisa teams, and the Shinjuku Eisa is no exception. Perhaps the main event of the festival is the Opening Ceremony on July 26, in front of the east exit of Shinjuku Station. All afternoon and into the evening, festi-
Okinawa Style If, after visiting the Shinjuku Eisa Festival, you decide you would like a chance to experience Okinawa in person, it is very easy to do so. Just a couple of hours from Tokyo by air, it is the perfect place to escape for a weekend away from the city. Okinawa, being the most southern part of Japan, is also the warmest and most tropical and is known for its diving. Kinjo suggests the Unaguni Islands, which are actually closer to Taiwan than to the rest of Japan, because the resort islands offer some fantastic reef diving, even during winter when the waters remain a balmy 23–24 degrees Celsius. Should you wish to experience the ultimate in traditional Eisa Festivals, then plan to visit Okinawa from August 22–24. During this time, festivals will be going on in villages and towns across the islands. Some of them will be very traditional and authentic whereas others will follow the post-war model of being bright, colorful, entertainment-based affairs. Make sure to visit Okinawa City, which has been holding its Eisa Festival since 1956 and brings together Eisa teams from all over the island. When discussing a general trip to Okinawa, Kinjo suggests spending a day or two at the northern part of the island, ideal for simply relaxing, before heading south to Naha, where one can enjoy more nightlife including karaoke, traditional dances, and festivals. Truly the perfect spot for a weekend getaway, anyone who is inspired to consider visiting Okinawa after taking in the Shinjuku Eisa Festival should visit the special temporary Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau stands which will be available to give information and suggestions both on the sixth floor of Isetan and at the festival headquarters on Fourth Avenue throughout the duration of the festival.
For more information on Okinawa or the Eisa Festival contact Takashi Kinjo at the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau on tel 098-859-6127 or see www.ocvb.or.jp
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 23
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Photo courtosy of Touchstone Pictures.
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24 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
lthough Tokyo offers a lot of international school options to cover every stage of a child’s education—from pre-school through senior high school— sometimes the best option for families is to send their children to a school back in their home country, or in another country, that may offer a more extensive and substantial education in their native language. Because of work commitments or younger children still in school in Japan, it’s not always an option for families as a whole to move back to their home country together and so in those cases, sending children to a boarding school is often the most practical solution. Some people have the impression that boarding school is some form of punishment for disobedient children or children from families lacking in love. However, based on the stories and opinions of one American girl I know who attended boarding school in Massachusetts, it seems that boarding school is an option that can be a much more fun and educational experience for the right student than the traditional path of attending school locally. This girl could not sing the praises more for the sense of independence and confidence that boarding and being educated away from the comfort zone of her family fostered in her. The friends she lived and studied with at boarding school continued to be some of her closest friends long after graduation. If you are considering sending your child to boarding school in another country, here are some schools from around the globe that have been suggested by local Tokyo international schools: United States: Cate School (Carpinteria, California) A co-educational school of 265 boarding and day students, grades 9–12. Not surprising given its Southern California location, Cate School has a high level of diversity in ethnic backgrounds and countries of origin, with students of color representing more than 40% and international students making up 19% of the student body. The school offers 38 AP and honors classes. Located north of Los Angeles, near Santa Barbara, California. Dana Hall (Wellesley, Massachusetts) A girls’ school for grades 6–12 with nearly 500 boarding and day students. All-girl education has been lauded as a way for girls to feel more comfortable speaking up and for giving girls a supportive rather than competitive environment to thrive in. Dana Hall has a 117-year-long history of providing top-notch education and was originally designed as a “feeder school” for the nearby and prestigious women’s university, Wellesley College. Europe Bedales School (Hampshire, England) Founded in 1893 (co-educational since 1898) the school is about an hour from London. The website describes its foundation “as a liberal alternative to the rigid and authoritarian regimes prevalent in independent
schools of the time.” Situated on a 120-acre estate that includes a working farm and a strong performing arts program, Bedales offers an alternative to the traditional British boarding school format, encouraging a more casual, though still rigorous, academic environment. St. Paul’s School (London, England) An allboys school founded over 500 years ago, originally located right next to the famous St. Paul’s cathedral in London, but is now found more on the city’s outskirts on the River Thames. The school has over 800 pupils who regularly continue on to university at Oxford, Cambridge, and American Ivy League schools. Most students are ‘day’ students, but there are still a fair number of ‘boarders.’ At just over $10,000 a year, this is by far the least expensive of the schools on this list. Ecole d’Humanité (Dorf, Switzerland) This school as been co-educational since its 1911 founding, which was certainly a radical concept at the time and gives you an idea of the school’s tradition of independent thinking. Students live in ‘family groups’ of two faculty members and eight boys and girls. Offers Swiss (in German) and American (in English) diploma/education tracks, depending on where the student is likely to continue in their higher education. No grades are given; all merit is done by assessment. No matter where or what type of school it is, be it more traditional or more new age, boarding school isn’t cheap anywhere. Be prepared to pay upwards of US$40,000 for tuition and board. Most of the programs charge additional fees for textbooks, personal expenses, and certain extra-curricular activities, such as equestrian lessons. Financial aid is available for nearly every school, but they are almost entirely need-based and usually all parents and stepparents must submit their financial records for a student to be considered for financial aid. Note that while most of these schools claim that about 15-20 percent of their student body is international, English as a second language classes are generally not available and the school expects students to arrive relatively fluent in English (or whatever the language of instruction is). Many of them require a TOEFL score to be submitted as part of the application packet for non-native English speaking students. Some other well-known US-based schools include the Philips Academy Andover in Andover, Massachusetts; Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire; the Kent School in Kent, Connecticut; and, Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. In Europe, there is the International Bilingual School of Provence in Aix-enProvence, France. In Australia, there is the St. Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls in Mosman Park, Western Australia. An interesting article on the boarding school experience from a Japanese student’s perspective and other information about boarding schools in the US can be found at: www.admissionsquest.com.
Closing the Age Gap Connecting with seniors, by Ulara Nakagawa
magine lending an arm to a helpless old fruit fly crossing the street. I’ll have to confess that a certain article I recently came across in the news has brought the absurd image to mind. The article, Hanging with the Young Doubles Lifespan of Fruit Flies: Study, informs us of a recent report headed by a professor of biology at the University of Iowa. The findings reveal that a species of mutant fruit fly, genetically bred to be short-lived and physically weak, lived twice as long when raised in an environment with younger, healthier flies. This got me thinking about my dear grandmother. It was at a family gathering last month that I snuck out of the party room at my uncle’s home to grab a private breath of fresh air away from the mixture of boisterous debating and drunken debauchery that my charming and sake-loving kinfolk love to concoct. As I stood alone outside, I eventually heard a slurred voice pipe up from inside, “Where is Ulara?” Nobody seemed to know, until I heard the raspy 82-year-old voice of my grandmother announce: “She’s been out in the backyard for about ten minutes.” If anyone could keep track of all 20 or so people and what they might each be doing at any given moment, it is the queen bee (or fruit fly) herself. But I happen to be sure that it is the three equally sharp-witted and lively grandchildren with whom my grandmother shares a home, that keep her on par with them. The study, my grandmother, they both point out the value of interaction with the young for our seniors. For Deva Hirsch, Founding President and current board member of Hands On Tokyo (HOT), the city’s first bilingual volunteer matching organization, that value is all too apparent: “[Senior citizens] want something to look forward to…it’s not all about physical needs, it’s also mental...maybe if [they] look forward to our visits, we can help extend their lives or make them more full.” Hirsch knows this firsthand, as Hands on Tokyo extends such opportunities for interaction to volunteers and the elderly with their ongoing projects with senior citizens in Tokyo homes. And in keeping with that spirit, HOT will hold a major annual event this fall in Tokyo called Day of Service on October 4, to be held at four locations across the city, including a seniors’ home. Day of Service 2008 follows the success of last year’s very successful event that brought over 130 Japanese and foreign nationals of all ages and backgrounds together to volunteer at three different projects throughout the city. One particular standout moment for those involved with the HOT Day of Service last year was from the seniors’ home. Elderly women were given makeovers, then handed Polaroid photos of their ‘after’ looks. Some of the women were so moved by their remarkable transformations, versions of themselves that they had not seen in so long, that they were unexpectedly brought to tears. Other activities at this year’s event will include hand massaging and nail care, tea tasting, potpourri making, cross-stitching, and more. In addition to the senior’s home, there will also be important projects held at other locations, including one at a children’s
Everyone deserves a little pampering.
home where a playground will be rebuilt for children who cannot live with their parents. As my meeting with Hirsch and colleague Yumiko came to an end, I knew that I had been inspired and informed more than sufficiently by the dynamic duo for this piece. Yet, my inner journalist instinct kicked in and I tried still to draw out that one last bit of information, the one significant core statement that I could latch onto. I ask, “So what is the true purpose of this kind of event?” and “what is the ultimate reward of volunteering with the elderly?” Hirsch said something in response that made all my last minute digging seem rather silly: “I think that for a lot of people, seeing that you make someone else happy, whoever it is, makes you happy. So it’s not so much ‘what can I GET from that particular senior’, but ‘if I can bring joy to their day, then I am happy’.” It’s true. It’s not about that fuzzy image I once had of volunteering with the elderly, and in return getting the idealistic experience we see in the movies of a sacred bond between an old crinkly war veteran and a troubled young man who is given direction and clarity in life as a result of the relationship. The true spirit of volunteering, of helping, of giving back, transcends age or preconceived notions. I think it is the words on a painting in Hirsch’s own home that might best wrap it up: “The moments that stand out in my life are those at which I have done something to help
Some of the women were so moved by their remarkable transformations, versions of themselves that they had not seen in so long, that they were unexpectedly brought to tears.
For those further interested in Hands On Tokyo, call Yumiko Tategami at 03-5404-3563, email info@handsonTokyo.org, or see www.handsontokyo.org.
Seisen International School
KG-12 Catholic school with the longest running Montessori Kindergarten in the Kanto Plain area. Seisen offers the PYP Programme and IB Diploma. • Co-ed Kindergarten • Grades 1-12 are for girls only.
www.seisen.com Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 25
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Outgoing Danish Ambassador Freddy Svane and Scandinavian Airlines General Manager Ole Johanesson.
Ambassador Svane, Manda- Lise and Yoshiko Karita. rin Oriental Tokyo Director and General Manager Christian A. Hassing, and his wife April.
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t’s summertime and I hope the living’s easy for you. Lots of good friends are traveling and I hope I can do a bit of that myself in the next few months. Somehow, I’m trying to book my trips around all the interesting things happening here, but as Tokyo is always super busy that really just doesn’t work. I have, thanks to so many friends, been able to see a lot of this old world of ours. Even so, there’s a lot more I hope to see. As this issue is on jet-setting, I’d like to recall a few of my “way-over-my-budget” travel experiences. One of the biggest was a Revlon invitation to a fantastic charity event in Cairo hosted by Madame Jehan Anwar El-Sadat, wife of Egypt’s late, great President Anwar Sadat. The three–day charity event was for Mrs. Sadat’s Faith and Hope (WAFA Wai Amal) Rehabilitation Center and guests included European royalty and many of the wealthiest people in the world. Cairo and Sinata Once in Cairo, I had the opportunity to call friends and catch some rays by the palatial hotel pool. Things got into full swing that evening with a poolside party. There was a lavish buffet of Egyptian and continental food, a colorful and lively Egyptian folkloric show, and a fabulous fashion show by French designer Pierre Balmain. Others at my table included European royalty (a former king and queen, a couple of princesses, and several counts and countesses). I also had the opportunity to meet Frank Sinatra who was scheduled to perform in front of the pyramids and sphinx the next evening. I had visited Egypt many times so I passed on the second day’s morning tours and instead had a leisurely breakfast with friends and had a bit more time relaxing by the pool. Talk about timing; I went into the hotel’s bookshop to pick up a couple of magazines and ran into Sinatra who was doing the same. We talked about Tokyo and discovered that we had mutual friends here as well as a few in LA and Vegas. “What are you
Syrian chargé d’affaires Rania Alhaj Ali, Maali Siam, and Mona Al-Ansari (Qatar).
Omani Ambassador Khalid Al-Muslaiti and his wife Abeer.
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doing this afternoon?” he asked, and when I told him nothing really special, he invited me to go out to the concert venue where he was having a rehearsal. I, of course, accepted and believe me, was so happy I did. A huge stage had been set up in front of the pyramids and the sphinx and a 36-piece orchestra from London was there to back the world-famous crooner. The hour or so rehearsal went smoothly and I still have great memories of that day. It was really hot that day and I saw about ten well-dressed Egyptian ladies sort of straightening out the chairs and tables, etc., in the guest’s seating area for the evening’s gala dinner show. “That’s nice,” I thought, “taking time to make sure everything’s perfect and working so hard in this heat.” Im sorry to say, I was wrong. That evening, there was considerable confusion when it came to seating. In talking with one of the organizers, I learned those hardworking ladies that afternoon were actually rearranging name cards on tables so that they and their friends had the best seats and many of the big donors like the Rothschilds and Huttons had been moved to the back tables. I thought there would be major problems, but once the lights went down, special lighting highlighted the marvelous setting, the orchestra played the overture, and Sinatra came on stage, things calmed down and everyone relaxed for what had to be the show time experience of a lifetime. What an evening. The next day was very special as well. We had the opportunity to visit the Faith and Hope Center to see the gratifying and awesome work so many people were doing there as well as meet the President and Mrs. Anwar Sadat at a reception at the Presidential residence. Now you understand why I love Egypt! Monte-Carlo and Princess Grace Another time, a top executive from the Lowes Hotel was responsible for my invitation to the three-day event opening of their beautiful hotel in MonteCarlo. Other Tokyoites there included fashion designer
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 27
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Hanae Mori, who brought a group of our city’s top models and did a show there and Dewi Sukarno, with her squeeze at the time; a cool, young Italian actor. Once again, it was three days of international celebrities, fantastic fun, a full schedule of extraordinary events, and more fun. The highlight of the opening event was a glittering, glamorous ball hosted by the late, great, and gorgeous Princess Grace. I not only got to meet and talk with the Princess, I also got to meet the beautiful and talented Lena Horne, who justifiably received a standing ovation after her dynamic performance that evening. It was interesting when Lena came out after her show to greet Princess Grace, but politely declined to join the Princess and her guests at the main table. Backstage at her one-woman show on Broadway, she told me; “This has long been a rule for me. I love performing, but my shows take a lot out of me and after the show I just want to go back to my room and have a massage.” I also have to mention that one of Hollywood’s all-time most beautiful stars, Ava Gardner, was sitting at the table next to me. I’ve always loved Ava, but her fashion choice was bad that evening and her sorry-to-say loud, obnoxious (too much champagne) behavior was even worse. Whatever—I still think she was one of the true legends of our time.
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28 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
The Phillippines with the Marcos Family Then there were the countless great times in the Philippines during the Marcos’ reign. These included five New Years parties in Malacanang, Manila, two nights on the presidential yacht to Kalibo for their Mardi Gras-style Ati Ati Festival, and the presidential jet for three laid-back days with the Marcos family at Malacanang del Norte (the Presidential Palace in the North). Every night Imelda sang duets with the young Filipino pop stars there. Still in the Philippines, I flew in military helicopters with Brazilian musician Sergio Mendez, his wife Graciela, and the Marcos family to one of the country’s most beautiful islands. It was a full day of sun and fun. The highlight was a superb chicken and pork adobo dinner for about 30 people at a long table on a verandah facing the sea. When we arrived each of us was assigned a house staff member to take care of our every need and each attendant stood at attention behind their guest at the dinner. I have to admit, it was a bit much.
Jamaican filmmaker Izaba.
Writing all of this really brought back some great memories and I wish I had more space. Just to mention a few more, there was the Jenadriya Culture Festival where I was a guest of the National Guard in Saudi Arabia, the International Sahara Festival in Douz, Tunisia, Kuwait’s first Freedom Day from Iraq, the UAE’s 20th Anniversary, both the Goroka and Mt. Hagen Festivals in Papua New Guinea, the Rio Carnival in Brazil, the Vera Cruz Festival in Mexico, the big Sony Center opening in Berlin where Sony chairman Norio Ohga conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, plus many, many more great travel experiences. Yes, I do realize how very lucky I’ve been—and that I do have to write a book or two. For now, I’d better use the little space I have left in Partyline for parties here in Tokyo. Tokyo Ongoings It was another great evening with our Mexican and Japanese amigos and amigas when Ambassador Miquel Ruiz Cabanas and his wife Martha hosted a reception in honor of Hidenao Nakagawa, President of the Mexico-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Federation and their members. The Mexican music, the food, and the warm, laid-back ambiance one always finds at anything Miquel and Martha do were there. Muchas Gracias for another nice evening. A big congratulations to Maali Siam, the President of the Society of Wives of Arab Ambassadors and Heads of Mission, (SWAAJ) and the groups hardworking members on the super success of their 10th Arab Charity Bazaar. It was a fun, colorful event with exciting culture, shopping, and food—a perfect example of legendary Arab hospitality. In addition to making money for worthwhile charities both here in Japan and in the participating countries, the bazaar went all out to promote a better understanding of Arab culture and to promote further friendship between their countries and Japan. The bazaar has gotten bigger and this year it was held at a large, local government building in Meguro. The handicraft, fashion, and jewelry stands were in the main venue, a henna-hand painting artist was working in another area, and the homemade, delicious food outlets were outside in a park area. It all worked out very well. As always, many of the Arab diplomat’s children were there helping and that really adds a nice touch. As I often say, it was a good day in every way.
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Peninsula Hotel General Manager Malcolm Thompson and his wife Roxanne.
In and Around
Hilton Tokyo General Manager Christian Baudat and ANA Intercontinental General Manager Fergus Stewart at the Hilton’s new Marble Lounge.
Asian Tigers Premier Worldwide Movers Sales Manager Sandra Von Gessel-Yoda and new coworker Seyla Peou.
Noriyuki and Junko and their daughter Azusa with Hiroo Segafredo General Manager Hiroyuki Komatsu.
The Striegl brothers—Frank and Mark—at The New Lex.
The Serbian national volleyball team celebrates their victory in Japan at The New Lex. Tall (one was seven feet) and fun.
Mexican Friendship Night
Spanish Ambassador Miquel Carriedo Mompin and Costa Rican Ambassador Mario Fernandez Silva.
Guatemalan Ambassador Byron Escobedo, Akira Miwa, Director General Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, Gaimusho, Panamanian Ambassador Alfredo Martiz Fuentes, and Peruvian Ambassador Hugo Palma.
Kirsten Palma, Jordanian Ambassador Sami Naouri, Philippino Ambassador Domingo Siazon Jr., Hatitian Ambassador Jean Claude Bordes, and JETRO Chariman and CEO Yasuo Hayashi.
Svanes Sayonara Outgoing Danish Ambassador Freddy Svane, his wife Lise, and their children made a lot of friends for themselves and for Denmark during their two-and-ahalf year posting here. Prior to their departure, they hosted an open house sayonara party for members of the Japan Denmark Society and for “close friends.” Their home was wall-to-wall with people who shared the sincere feeling that “It’s been so nice to know you and we’re so sorry to see you go.” Lise was the chairperson of the Ikebana International Fair this year and did a terrific job. She also helped at my 10th anniversary Orphans’ Christmas Party last year. In addition to that, she followed up with Momoko Gonohe, head of PR at the Hilton, and was responsible for donations to several orphanages. I have to mention the superb buffet at Freddy and Lise’s sayonara party. In addition to the delicious Danish dishes, there were huge trays of boneless tandori chicken. Kudos to the chefs Thilak Basnayaka and Frederik (from the Swedish Embassy). My thanks to the Svanes for many things and my sincerest wishes for a big success in their and their children’s future ventures back home in Copenhagen. Jamaca Festival In just a few years, the Jamaican Festival at Yoyogi Park has become one of the most colorful, fun, and popular events of its kind. Much of the success was the result
Powerful politician Yuriko Koike, Martha RuizCabanas (wife of the Mexican Ambassador), and Martha’s mother Elvia Cantellano, in front of Mexican cherry blossoms.
Hidenao Nakagawa, President of the Parliamentary Federation of Friendship between Japan and Mexico, Masayoshi Namiki, Member of the House of Representatives, Mexican Ambassador Miquel Ruiz Cabanas, his wife Martha, Kiyohiro Arai, Member of the House of Councillors, and Mrs. Arai.
of a lot of hard work on the part of Jamaican charge d’affaires Angella Rose-Howell and her dedicated staff. Yoyogi Park was full of love the day I went to the festival. There were long lines waiting at the booths selling Jamaican food that included a ‘Jerk Dog’ and a ‘Jerk Chicken!’ The weather was good and everyone was really enjoying the love your neighbor, laid-back picnic mood. The variety of handicrafts and fashions on sale was amazing, and from what I saw, sales were really good. The Jamaican entertainment that included a variety of song and dance with, of course, lots of reggae was awesome. It was pure enjoyment at Yoyogi Park watching the huge, all-age, all-nationality crowds enjoying themselves. My sincerest congratulations to all who contributed to making the Jamaican Festival a truly memorable experience for all who were fortunate enough to be there. Polish Ambassador Marcin Rybicki and his wife Adrianna do keep busy. Their recent cultural events included a piano concert of Chopin music by renowned Polish pianist and professor Kazimierz Gierzud. A few weeks later they held a photo exhibition titled Mutual Arising—a Case Study of Interdependence by Thomas Kuczynski at the Polish Embassy. Over at the Embassy of Bulgaria, Ambassador Blaqovest Sendov and his wife hosted an occasion on the day of Bulgarian Culture and Cyrilic Alphabet in their Yoyogi residence.
Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 29
ARTS WITH OWEN SCHAEFER
here are plenty of good reasons to come to Tokyo when it comes to art. The arts scene, like so many other aspects of this city, is strong, independent, and increasingly influential abroad. For the very same reason, there are more and more reasons for overseas artists to bring their work to Japan. So for those who love dance, the opportunity to see a work from Gilles Jobin—one revealed to audiences in his native Switzerland as recently as March—is not to be missed. Jobin was classically trained in ballet but his works are among the most contemporary you could ask for. He is resident choreographer at the Théâtre Arsenic in Lausanne, a position that he has held for many years while busily piling up international acclaim. On top of a respectable stack of awards, his work The Moebius Strip has had an award-winning documentary filmed about it and tours of his productions are nearly constant. Jobin has spent his career studying the body, movement, and space. And throughout his explorations he has been intuitively, or perhaps even systematically, tearing down assumptions about each of those main ideas. His work is by turns conceptual, physical, aesthetic, and even political. The main attractions to Jobin’s work are his increasing use of innovative media, and his refusal to stick to one style. His breakthrough work, A+B=Z, was a meditation on the body in both stillness and movement, which he called “the body as prison, the body as a living art object.” The piece was highly successful and yet looking at the bulk of Jobin’s work, it was a mere starting point. In The Moebius Strip, he forced all movement into the flattened confines of a grid on the stage, allowing only geometry to define movement and deconstructing any narrative temptations on the part of the audience. In Under Construction, he tore into the very fabric of the stage itself, turning it into nothing more than a skin that the dancers could not only move upon, but beneath, breaking it’s sanctity. In Steak House, he recreated an apartment with the dancers as its dysfunctional tenants, reacting to its objects, space, and each other until the relationships becomes so abstract that everything appears to be a part of the space; transforming it.
A ballet as never seen before.
He is renowned for undermining one expectation after another, including a recent commission work for the Grand Théâtre de Genève which was closer, without being truly close, to classical ballet. But most recently, Jobin revealed a work which bridges one of the most unlikely gaps: speech. At least in a manner of speaking. The work does not venture near to the realm of drama or even narrative—at least not in a deliberate manner—but runs together words and stories in various languages, taken from the internet and broadcast to the stage by way of text-to-speech software, which speaks text documents in a computerized voice manipulated from the stage. This is coupled with a complex and quite literally “wired” set, interplayed images on several monitors, and of course the dancers occupying the space, almost literally, between words. The dance, too, seems a pastiche, moving through almost classical segments, ballroom, and Jobin’s more signature low-tothe-ground work. Text to Speech presents the computer as mediator for story, sound, and image, creating a context for the dancer but also a kind of interruption. Certainly, both speech and text have become daily backdrops to our lives and at times (consider the nagging psychological need to respond to text-messages) jump insistently to the foreground. It may not be the first dance work to bring in a vocal or text aspect, but the sheer richness and complexity of images, words, sound, movement, and the shifting of unexpected contexts throughout the project promise to make it the choreographer’s most ambitious work to date. The Text to Speech, Jul 25–26, Spiral Hall. Omotesando Metro Station. ¥4,300. Fri. 7:30pm, Sat 2pm. 03-34981171. www.spiral.co.jp.
CROSSWORD #31 Across
1. Well travelled social
1. Courtroom obligation (8)
2. Lady sings ..... (3.5)
4. Tokyo entertainment
3. Leave (4)
5. Never shut (4,3,5)
9. Pull a fish (4,2)
6. Benefit (4)
10. Fantastic (8)
7. Total confidence (2,4)
12. Boring (4)
8. Proof of age (2,4)
13. Semi precious gem-
11. Sun block? (5,7)
15. Close by pub (5)
14. Couple (4)
16. Paris brother (5)
17. Non drinkers (12)
18. Embassy official (8)
20. Choose (4,4,4)
19. Parachutes (3,5)
23. Coral home (4)
21. Thank God it’s ... (6)
24. Exaltation (5)
22. Hyde’s counterpart (6)
25. Happy (4)
26. Three man band (4)
28. Short outings (3,5) 29. I Robot author (6) 30. Colored with age (8) 31. Free (6) WEEKENDER PICK-UP POINTS Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu, International Clinic, Prince Hotel, Tameike Tower Residence, Aoyama Daiichi Mansions, Austrian National Tourist Office, Aux Bacchanales, Canadian Embassy Library, Hotel New Otani, Moti, Ritz Carlton, US Embassy Aoyama TELL, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., Kinokuniya, Samrat Azabudai H&R Consultants ReloJapan, Suji’s, Tokyo
30 | Weekender—Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue
Lease Corporation Azabujuban Magellan, Nissin World Delicatessen, Oakwood Residences, Paris Miki, Temple University, UFJ Bank Chofu American School in Japan Ebisu Good Day Books, Happy Days, My Lebanon, Samrat, Segafredo, The Footnik, The Westin, Va Tout, What the Dickens Ginza Ash HairEssensuals, Nissan Hanzomon British Embassy Hiroo
Across Travel, Kato Gallery Frame Store, Meidiya, National Azabu Supermarket, Samrat, Segafredo, Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club Jingumae Gold’s Gym, Sin Den, The King Clinic Kamiyacho 911 (Mad Mulligans), American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Asian Tigers, Atago Green Hills Residence, Dubliners Shinagawa, Dubliners Toranomon, Hotel Okura, Town Cryer
Meguro Party Palace, Minami Azabu Hiroo International Clinic, Karl Che, Work Out World Mita Australian Embassy, English Studio, Mutti MotoAzabu Global Kids Academy, Gymboree, Nishimachi Intl School Nishishinbashi Town Cryer Nishi Azabu Nottinghill Cakes, PAL International School, Pheres, Samrat Omotesando Beacon, Fujimama’s Roppongi
Allied Pickfords, Aoyama Book Center, Azabu Daiichi Mansions, Bernd’s Bar, Bourbon Street, Dance Studio, Devi Fusion, Grand Hyatt, Hotel Ibis, International Clinic, Nakashima Dentist, Oakwood Roppongi T-Cube, Paddy Foley’s, Roppongi Hills Club, Roppongi Hills Residence C&D, Roti, Roy’s, Samrat, Santa Fe, Tipness, Tokyo Midtown Clinic, Tokyo Skin Clinic, Va Tout, Volvo, Wolfgang
Puck, Zest Setagaya Sakura International school, Seta International Preschool Shibakoen Tokyo Gifted Academy & Rivendale, Tokyo Surgical & Medical Clinic, Shibaura Japan Times Shibuya British School Tokyo, No.1 Travel, Tower Records, Shimbashi Irish Times Shinjuku Hilton Tokyo, Live In Asia, No.1 Travel, Park Hyatt, Samrat, Dubliners, Tower Records
Takanawa Samrat Tennoz TY Harbor Brewery Uchisaiwaicho Imperial Hotel Yokohama Saint Maur International School, Yokohama Country and Athletic Club Yoyogiuehara Childs Play Yurakucho Press Club outside of Tokyo Nagoya Lease Japan Ibaraki Windsor Park Golf & Country Club Chiba BMW
image courtesy of gillesjobin.
Gilles Jobin Sends a Text Message
The British Chamber of Commerce in Japan Celebrating 60 years of: * strengthening business ties between Britain and Japan * promoting and supporting member business interests * encouraging new business entrants to the Japanese market * supporting Japanese investment in the UK
About Us: The mission of the BCCJ is to strengthen business ties between Britain and Japan, promote and support the business interest of all our Members, and actively encourage new business entrants to the Japanese market, as well as Japanese investment in the UK. Much of our strength lies in our extensive relationships, which enable us to provide Members with access to valuable information, events and networking and advocacy opportunities.
MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS Member Type Corporate Associate Entrepreneur Individual Overseas
Joining Fee ¥28,000 ¥16,000 ¥8,000 ¥4,000 ¥5,000
Annual Fee ¥280,000 ¥160,000 ¥80,000 ¥40,000 ¥50,000
UPCOMING EVENTS September 18th, 2008
Time Management Strategies
November 6th, 2008 Innovative Thinking
3F Kenkyusha Eigo Centre Bldg, 1-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0825 Tel: +81-(0)3-3267-1901; Fax: +81-(0)3-3267-1903
http://www.bccjapan.com Jul 18–31 2008 Vol. 39 No. 14 31
For Healthy Air Travel
32 | Weekenderâ€”Tokyo Jet-Setters Issue