Bill Hersey’s Partyline, May 1987

After living here more years than I care to admit (actually about 20) I’m amazed at the sudden interest in providing all kinds of special services all over the place for the “growing international community in Tokyo.” Seibu was the leader as far as department stores go and started their Foreign Customer Liaison about a year ago. In the last few months two other department stores, Matsuya with their “Gai-Gaisho” or International Corporate Services, and Isetan with their I Club are doing pretty much what Seibu started.

All, of course, profess to offer more than the others, and the services have become so endless and diversified I just don’t have the space to go over everything here. If you are interested you can contact them by calling the following numbers: Seibu, 286-5601/5; Matsuya, 567-6672, or Isetan at 352-1111 (ask for public relations).

Here in Japan, the 29th is a national holiday as our Japanese friends celebrate the birthday of HIM Emperor Hirohito. The 29th falls on Wednesday this year, and is the beginning of Golden Week which can mean as many as ten days’ vacation for the hard-working Japanese. May 1st is not a holiday but is Labor Day and many people take off work for labour demonstrations or, more recently, just to have another day off. May 3rd (Constitution Day) and May 5th (Children’s Day) are both national holidays. If you plan to travel to any of the popular tourist destinations, including Mainland USA, during that time. you’d better book your flights and hotels now. 

Noted Noh actor Ciarnas Tlashioka, Jordanian Arnbilgsador Ithaled Madadha, Senegalese Arnbassador Keba Birane Cisse and Senegalese First Counsellor Amadou Lo.
Noted Noh actor Ciarnas Tlashioka, Jordanian Arnbilgsador Ithaled Madadha, Senegalese Arnbassador Keba Birane Cisse and Senegalese First Counsellor Amadou Lo.

On the diplomatic scene, Senegalese Ambassador Keba Birane Cis se gave a reception on the occasion of Senegal’s National Day. It was a midday affair at the New Otani and the guests were ii mixture of diplomats. Japanese government officials and business 1eaders. It was a casual, relaxed celebration with everyone enjoying the marvelous buffet and good company.

In talking with Kekuke Arita, President of Japan International Cooperation Agency, I learned he was just back from Washington, D. C., where the agency opened a new office. We’d like to congratulate him and our friends from Senegal on their National Day.

Shochiku, CBS/Fox Video celebrate contract extension

Shochiku Executive Vice President Motoyuki Kubotani and Shochiku actress Yoko Nada flank James G. Fifield, president and Chief Executive Officer of CBS/Fox Video.
Shochiku Executive Vice President Motoyuki Kubotani and Shochiku actress Yoko Nada flank James G. Fifield, president and Chief Executive Officer of CBS/Fox Video.

Our congratulations. We’d also like to congratulate Shochiku Company and CBS/Fox on their new three-year contract for videos here in Japan. The announcement was made by Shochiku’s Managing Director Motoyuki Kubotani at the National Dealers Convention held at Tokyo Kaikan several weeks ago.

Following the convention, there was a reception to celebrate the business agreement which, according to both parties, “financial gains have far exceeded their expectations.” Torn Okuyama, Shochiku’s Chairman and CEO, was at the party and was looking forward to his late May trip to Los Angeles where Shochiku was opening two theaters in the Little Tokyo district of the City of the Angels.

Nippon Television (NTV) has certainly been busy with special events coming up, including the “Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival ’87 with Blue Note” in late August and Michael Jackson’s concert tour in September. They’ll also be doing a revival of the Japan-ese version of the Broadway musical “Annie” in August and we enjoyed meeting not only the Japanese stars of the show, but one of Broadway’s top  lyricists, Charlie Strouse, and his equally famous wife, Barbara, a noted choreographer, at a reception NTV hosted in one of their event halls. “Annie” was one of the few shows I wasn’t able to get a seat for in NYC several years back and remember buying what they called “standing space” for the show.

Even so, I enjoyed every minute of it. During the reception, Charles got on the piano and Shiori Kano who plays Annie sang one of the show’s most popu-lar songs, “Tomorrow,” in perfect English. In talking with her later, I found she had learned this especially for Charles. The show itself will be in Japanese. In addition to the lyrics for “Annie,” Charles also did the lyrics for “Applause,” the off-Broadway show “Mayor” about Ed Koch, and “Golden Boy,” on which he was also negotiating for a production in Japan. Still more theater, but this time the traditional Kabuki.

Shochiku (they are busy) held a sendoff party for the “House Kabukidan” Company, led by noted actor Utaemon, who were leaving for a 26-day tour of performances in the Soviet Union. I went with Kabuki’s extremely capable public relations advisor Midori Nishiura so got to meet and talk with everyone at the party. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Utaemon, Soviet Ambassador Nikolai Soloviev, his wife Lioudmila and Foreign Minister Tadashi Kuranari. In talking with Soviet Cultural Counsellor Nikolai A.

Sirenko and Midori recently, I was happy to hear the tour was a tremendous success. Fortunately, I’ve been travel-ing a great deal lately. Unfortunately, I’ve had to miss a great many worthwhile happenings here in Tokyo. These include “Spirit Sounds,” a pro-gram of contemporary music by San Francisco-born Japanese drum (taiko) expert Kenny Endo, bass player Paul Jackson, woodwinds player Rene McLean and shakuhachi player Masashi Kikuchi. I heard it was great and hope to catch the show next time around.

Attolicos are host at glittering evening at Italian Embassy

The hostess, Nicoletta Attolico, the guests of honor TIH Prince and Princess Takamado and Y omiuri Shimbun Chairman Yosoji Kobayashi.
The hostess, Nicoletta Attolico, the guests of honor TIH Prince and Princess Takamado and Y omiuri Shimbun Chairman Yosoji Kobayashi.

When you’re invited to a reception hosted by Italian Ambassador Bartolomeo Attolico and his wife Nicoletta, you know you’ll always be in good company. The recent reception they gave, in honor of TIH Prince and Princess Takamado, was a perfect example with high-ranking Italian and Japanese politicians, diplomats, business leaders, most of the Italian community here and familiar faces from the arts, music, entertainment and fashion worlds moving and mixing through the Attolicos’ beautiful home, and really enjoying the relaxed ambiance of the evening. I enjoyed talking with two of Japan’s best-known men in the media business, Yosoji Kobayashi, President of The Yomiuri Shimbun, and NTV’s President Morihisa Takagi. NTV has really been busy lately. Their projects in the next few months include the revival of the Japanese version of the Broadway musical “Annie” and Michael Jackson’s concert tour here this September.

The Takamados are one of Japan’s most popular members of the Imperial family and moved among the guests with the hostess, Nicoletta, meeting new people and chatting with those who had the privilege of already knowing them. They’re an energetic, outgoing and very busy pair who should be back from two weeks of traveling about now. Their travels took them on an official visit to Mexico to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Japanese immigration there, and to Canada where Prince Takamado received his higher education.

The Attolicos have also been very busy with the visit of their President Fanfani, other government officials and leaders in Italian fashion which in my book are the leaders in world fashion.

The Shobokshis’ dinner party for Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz

The highlight of this week’s column and certainly one of the best social events this year was a glittering dinner party given by Saudi Arabian Ambassador and Madame Shaikh Fawzi Abdul-Majeed Shobokshi in honor of H.R.H. Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia, here on an official visit at the invitation of the Japanese For-eign Ministry.

The dinner was held in the Ho-o-no-Ma of the New Otani Hotel. Guests were first greeted by Ambassador and Mrs. Shobokshi and their lovely daughter, Reem, all dressed in elegant national costume, Proof positive of the importance of the evening was the caliber of guests, as you can see by the photos, and the stunning eveningwear worn by the ladies for the occasion. I’m just sorry they can’t be in color to show you how truly a glittering event it all was.

I’ve had the great privilege of meeting several members of the Saudi Royal family and have always found them gracious, friendly and very international. Prince Naif was no exception. Before entering the dining room he moved among the guests, shaking hands with everyone, renewing old acquaintances and chatting with new friends as well.

I’ve attended several parties hosted by the Shobokshis, and once I get the party-planning company I’m putting together with several Japanese friends who are leaders in the catering and entertainment business, would like to have the Saudi Ambassador’s wife, Awatif, as an advisor and consultant.

When she plans something spe-cial, that’s exactly what it is, and the dinner party that even-ing was perfection right down to the smallest detail. The long head table was placed under a large photo of Prince Naif, there were huge candelabra and white and yellow flowers everywhere.

Others at the head table with the guest of honor included Ambas-sador and Mrs. Shobokshi, TIH Prince and Princess Mikasa, the new and very personable Minister of Transportation and Mrs. Ryutaro Hashimoto, Tunisian Ambassador Moncef ha-far, Senegalese Ambassador Keba Bieane Cisse, and Arab Oil Executive Vice President Hayashi-san.

The round tables for the several hundred other guests continued with the theme set by the head table, each with candles surrounded by white and yellow flowers. The dinner, the way it was served (congratulations to the New Otani staff) and the ambiance were perfect.

The pita bread was encrested with the National emblem of Saudi Arabia, and the plates on which the main course was served each had a minature replica of a palm tree with the crossed swords of Saudi Arabia on the trunk care-fully set on the edge of the plate. While the dessert, fresh fruit and ice cream in half a melon, was served, the lights were lowered and scores of tuxedoed waiters stood by the tables with illuminated spark-lers, adding to the glamor of the evening.

Music during dinner was provided by a string orchestra, all dressed in white on a raised platform off to the side of the main dining areas. Others at my table included Wanis M. Aburwela, the Secretary of the People’s Bureau of Libya, and his wife Fatma. They’re a personable young couple who really enjoy their stay here in Japan. Fatma told (Continued on Page 10) me their 5- and 6-year-old sons and 5-year-old daughter speak English, Arabic and Japanese. That’s certainly one of the advantages of growing up in a diplomatic family.

The dinner was the big social event of Prince Naif’s visit. The official and business part was extremely busy with an audience with the Emperor, a lunch hosted by the Crown Prince, a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and meetings with Foreign Minister Tadashi Kuranari to ex-change views on bilateral relations and the international situation. From all reports, the visit was a complete success in every way and in quoting Ambassador Shobokshi, “A landmark in Saudi-Japan relations forging a new bond of friendship and mutual cooperation.” Our congratulations

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