Cherry blossom viewing in Japan is something people talk about all over the world and now that it is in the Sakura season here in Tokyo, you should take your family, friends and camera to one or several of the areas here in the big mikan that are noted for that short-lived, beautiful and worthwhile spectacle. Favorite viewing spots for the locals include the moat around the imperial palace (near the Fairmont hotel), the hie shrine in front of the Hilton hotel, Ueno park and Yasukuni shrine in Kudan.
11th Tokyo Music Festival
The city’s been busy with all kinds of happenings, the 11th Tokyo music festival and a lot of interesting visitors from all over the world. I attended the welcome party for the entries in the 11th Tokyo Music Festival, always a glittering and glamorous affair (as is the entire festival) with a host of both local and inter-national showbiz personalities meeting and mixing with the crowd.
Prominent that evening were crooner Andy Williams, here as guest star of the festival; actor James Coburn who towered above most of the crowd (he was here as a judge), U.S. singer John O’Banion who always wears jeans and Italian entry Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini. Alessandra has another famous relative, her aunt Sophia Loren. That evening Sophia called her niece, congratulated her on her entering the festival, wished her luck and said she wished she could be here with her.
Masumi Okada ably emceed the evening and there were songs by O’Banion, Mussolini, U.S. entry Shari Lynn from Hawaii, French entry Claire data, Joe Sample of The Crusaders (he was a judge) and several Japanese artists. The next day several friends told me they saw me on TV at the reception and really pigging it up. That’s unusual as I usually don’t eat all that much at receptions, but wouldn’t you know it…one of the few times I did, the cameras managed to focus right in on it.
Film actor James Coburn who towered above the crowd at the Tokyo Music Festival. Coburn, sporting a beard, was a late addition to the list of judges for the festival. Did you know he received 3850,000 for a beer ad in the U.S.A.? The man literally reeks of success.
The contestants were all good in their own way, but the highlight of the evening was singer Andy Williams’ performance which included most of the songs he made into big hits. Andy dropped into the Lexington several times during his stay and the man is just as mellow off stage as on. U.S. singer John O’Banion look the grand prize, and everyone I talked to feels he’s headed for stardom. After seeing his full concert, a week later, I thoroughly agree.
French Minister of Culture in Tokyo
On the 14th the visiting French Minister of Culture Jack Lang held a reception at the Hanae Mori Building. This caused quite a stir among some of the other Japanese designers who are very close to France, but no matter how you try, you can’t always please everybody. Anyway, “everybody who’s any-body” in the Japanese cultural world related to French culture showed up, and it was wall-to-wall people. A surprise guest was Danielle Mitterrand, wife of the French President. I told American kabuki actor Ken Frankel she really looked like Rosalyn Carter and he said he had just told Jane Rees the same thing.
Renate Nishio here from New York City for a few weeks to meet with business associates and renew old friendships. Renate represents Satoru Model Management in the Big Apple and is also American P.R. rep for designer Yamamoto Kansai and photographer Hideki Fujii.
New York Publisher Al Goldstein stopped over in Tokyo for a few days on his round-the-world trip. I had dinner with Al at the Hilton’s Star hill Club with the controversial writer, whose publications include “Screw” magazine and “Gadgets”…I found him very intelligent, interesting and laid back.
Paramount Pictures President Michael Eisner and his family, in Japan on a combi-nation business-pleasure trip. The pleasure part took them to Nikko, Hakone and Kyoto …and said they loved every minute of it.