If and that’s a big word the way my schedule’s been lately-things go as planned I should be in good ol’ New York City about the time you read this. Hopefully, the thrice-postponed trip will go as planned, and I’m bopping around the Big Apple by now. It wasn’t all that easy deciding when to leave and, as always, I’m going to miss all kinds of interesting things while I’m gone. That’s the way it is when you live in a town like Tokyo where the happenings not only never stop, but also hardly even slow down!
In a few days we’ll be into October, which can be one of the most pleasant months here in Edo. It’s back to leathers and knits, and if the weather stays as nice as it should in October, it’s one of the best times of the year to get out and see Japan. But let’s look at some of the highlights of recent weeks.
Reception opens Paul Poiret fashion exhibition
Ken Mori, Chairman of the Fashion Foundation, was host at a reception at The Space to celebrate the opening of “The Exposition of Costumes by Paul Poiret.” Poiret was the leader of the very first modern “world of mode in Paris in the early 20th century.”
Pierre Barroux with the French Embassy who has probably left for a new assignment in Paris by now-took time out to introduce me to recently arrived French Ambassador and and Mrs. Mrs. Gilbert Perol. I appreciate that. I am just sorry I couldn’t get to a sayonara friends were having for Pierre at the International House the next evening.
The Iraqi National Troupe of Folk Arts: A big success
More entertainment in town as the Iraqi National Troupe of Folk Arts put on a series of performances. Thanks to Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Amin Al-Jaff, I got to know many members of the troupe personally and when you know people up there on the stage, it makes an already good show even better. It’s especially impressive when a country having so many problems can still take the time to promote international culture and friendship through such a group.
From the way it looks, one of the world’s mad men Ayatollah Khomeini could have succeeded in spreading his dogma of bitterness and hate throughout the Middle East if it wasn’t for Iraq. They deserve a lot of credit and, more important, support.
Jack Whittleton’s party for Canada’s rock star Corey Hart
Last year I had the opportunity to meet Canadian pop singer Corey Hart when he was here to promote his work “I Wear My Sunglasses Night” for Toshiba EMI. Well, Corey and his band have had several more hits since then and Kyodo just brought the boys back for a very successful concert tour here. During their all-too-short stay Canadian Minister Jack Whittle ton and his wife Yukie were hosts a lunch for Corey and the band members at their beautiful home in Yoyogi.
In addition to Kyodo’s staff, there were several journalists and photographers, some of the Embassy staff and a really nice group of Canadian kids who live here and, naturally, are solid fans of one of Canada’s hottest names оп the contemporary music scene.
Unfortunately, Corey had picked up one of those summer colds and had to save his voice for his concert that night so couldn’t talk much. He oblingingly posed for photos and then joined the guests in helping run through the super buffet the Whittleton’s staff had prepared for the occasion. The chocolate mousse had to be the absolute best ever!
Most of Corey’s band dropped by the Lex almost every night while in town. I was sorry I couldn’t get to the concerts, but glad to hear his voice did clear up, and things for them went really well.
Clockwise, from above, left: Members of Corey Hart’s group Russ Boswell, bass, and Gary Breit, keyboards with the Canadian rock hero Corey Hart and Canadian Embassy’s Minister Jack Whittleton. A group of Canadian teenagers were thrilled to be invited to the party for their musical idol Scott Parsons, Michelle Temple, Pamela Hardy, Chris Hardy, Pascal Boisvert, Katherine Temple and Jamie Duffield. The guest of honor Corey Hart and the host, Jack Whittleton. Carolyn Brereton of the Embassy, Corey’s bassist Russel Boswell and Brian and Denise King-Jeanes, also of the Embassy. Mackenzie Clugston, Cultural Officer of the Canadian Embassy, with Tomoyuki (Tats) Natashima, Chairman of the Board of Kyodo Tokyo, the promotional firm which brought Corey to Japan. Hostess Yukie Whittleton with an unidentified TV personality and Al and Shirley Hardy of the Embassy. Kay Ricketts, Vice President of Taiyo Music Publishing Co., with Asahi Evening News’ entertainment columnist Shig Fujita.
Uruguayan Minister Iglesias hosts reception
Down at Tsukuba Uruguayan Ambassador Aureliano Aguirre and Gustavo Pulliero, Commissioner General of Uruguay for the National Exposition, hosted a ceremony and reception for Uruguayan National Day. I was out of Japan at the time, but did get to meet the guest of honor, Enrique V. Iglesias, Uruguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a reception in Tokyo later.
Opening reception for Arab States of the Gulf Youth Festival
I would like to congratulate Saudi Arabian Ambassador and Mrs. Fawzi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi on their superb National Day party Sept. 24. I don’t know if it was planned or not, but Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Bin was in Japan on an official visit and was a very special guest of honor.
A group of musicians, singers and dancers here from Saudi Arabia for the Arab States of the Gulf Youth Festival also performed. What a surprise and what a delight it was for the guests when both the Saudi Prince and ambassador went on stage and joined the dancers in one of their most impressive dances. It is easy to see why the Prince is so respected and so loved. What a beautiful evening that was!
For years I’ve been telling my Arab friends they should show Japan more of their culture and so, thanks to HRH Saudi Arabian Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Bin Abdoulaziz and the members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, that’s exactly what they did during the recent Arab States of the Gulf Youth Festival in Tokyo.
Sunshine City in Ikebukuro was where it all happened and the Sunshine Prince Hotel really took on the mood of the Gulf area with well over 400 guests from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain staying there during the festival.
The majority of the participants wore their national costume and the variety of colorful clothing was surprising — and very pleasing to the eye.
The opening ceremony was held at the Sunshine Theater on Sept. 19. This started with a prayer from the Koran, followed by speeches by the festival leader, Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Bin Abdulaziz, and Japan’s Minister of Construction Yoshiaki Kibe. Then the colorful folk dancers from each of the participating countries took over the stage.
After the program everyone moved over to the historical/ cultural exhibition hall. Once the Prince and Minister Kibe cut the ribbon, guests moved into the exhibition hall where one could have easily spent the entire day going through the displays of Islamic religious, cultural and handicraft items that had been set up. Just inside the entrance of the hall, there was a Bedouin tent, similar to one I stayed in one night when I was traveling in the United Arab Emirates some years ago.
Later that evening there was a reception in the Tenran-no-ma Room of the Sunshine City Prince Hotel which gave the guests the chance to meet and get to know many of the young representatives of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Prince Faisal — he’s President of the General Presidency for Youth Welfare in the Kingdom — is the eldest son of King Fahd and was in Japan on an eight-day visit as guest of the Foreign Ministry. During his stay in Japan, he was received in audience by HIH the Emperor of Japan.
Country music great Kenny Rogers – in town for a series of concerts including a gala supper show at the Capitol Tokyu — poses with hotel officials, Yoshihide Hirase (left) Resident Manager of the Capitol Tokyu, and Mitsugi Nakajima, General Manager.
Rock guitar-vocal great Eric Clapton with two pretty staff members of the Capitol Tokyu, Yuriko Shimazawa, left, and Kiyori Tsukahara, PR coordinator