As you all know, Tokyo has always been a pretty busy city and seems to be getting busier all the time. This means there are more events I should and would really like to cover. The problem is that sometimes it isn’t possible. I appreciate being included and sincerely feel every invitation is important, but there are sometimes as many as half a dozen events scattered all over this very spread-out city the same night; there’s just no way to get to everything.
Tadlaouis’ mammoth reception fetes Morocco’s national Day
With that out of the way, I’d like to start this week’s coverage with a super reception that occurred while I was out of town the one given by Moroccan Ambassador Abdeslam Tadlaoui and his wife Zoubida at the New Otani to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the Accession to the Throne of King Hassan II. From all reports, like the past receptions the Tadlaouis have hosted, it was a grand evening in every way.
The close to 1,000 guests not only enjoyed true Moroccan hospitality but also had the opportunity to eat cous-cous, one of the national dishes of Morocco, and a real favourite of anyone who’s had them. Sorry I missed the reception as there’re always a multitude of friends from all walks of life and a lot of new and interesting people to meet.
St. Patrick’s Day in Tokyo
On the diplomatic scene, our Irish friends celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March. For the occasion, Irish Ambassador Sean G. Ronan gave a mid-day reception on Monday the 18th, pretty much of a stag affair including diplomats, Japanese government officials and business leaders.
This was my first opportunity to meet Ambassador Ronan and really appreciate being invited by him and his staff to join them on that special occasion. That evening there was another celebration at the embassy for the Irish community in Tokyo.
Vanessa Williams in Tokyo
Eat your hearts out, guys! Thanks to Frank and Bette Spriggs (IBM), my assistant August Hergesheimer and I had the good fortune to join New York attorney Dennis Dowdell, Big Apple stylist Deborah Mederiros and the gorgeous Vanessa Williams (of Miss America and Penthouse fame) for a Japanese dinner at the Kyobue Restaurant in the Hilltopia Arcade of the Hilton Int’l.
We found Vanessa (in town as a judge for the Music Festival) not only beautiful, but a very warm and intelligent woman as well. I learned that she has an extensive background in studying music and hopes to come out with a recording soon. Good luck, Vanessa! We all hope your LP and your career zooms straight to the top.
After dinner, we all moved over to the Lex in Roppongi where we joined Kool and the Gang, Joey Carbone, David Austin, Richie Zito and several others who were here for the Music Fest. It was a great evening in every way.
In addition to getting to know Vanessa, I really enjoyed making the acquaintance of Frank and Bette who now make their home in Tokyo. Incidentally, August who once studied nutrition is providing the English for a new Kyobue menu. Check it out. On the showbiz scene, it was also great renewing an old friendship with show-stopper Chita Rivera. If you didn’t catch her show at the Hakuhinkan, let me tell you this: you missed two hours of song and dance at its very best. Terrific talent!
Tokyo’s Greek community celebrates National Day
Greek Ambassador Constantinos Lyberopoulos and his wife Olivia have just been in Japan about a year and a half and, during that time, the energetic, outgoing couple have made a multitude of friends from all walks of life. On Mar. 25 they held a mid-day reception on the occasion of the National Day of Greece, As expected, their spacious home was wall-to-wall interesting people.
In addition to seeing and chatting with a lot of old friends, I enjoyed meeting several new people as well. Haitian Chargé d’Affaires Jean-Claude Bordes introduced me to new Dominican Republic Ambassador Alberto E. Despradel Cabral and Brazilian Ambassador Luiz Paulo Linden- berg Sette introduced me to the new Paraguayan Ambassador, Juan Carlos A. Hrase von Bar- gen. We wish both diplomats and their families a long, happy and successful stay in Japan.
I appreciate Dr. Eugene Aksenoff introducing me to his friend, Yoshitaka Tsugaru, father of HIH Princess Hitachi. I’m a great fan of hers and feel she does so much for so many worthwhile community projects here. It was a great party for meeting people, mixing and enjoying the Greek food; perfect for the occasion. Our congratulations to our Greek friends on that very special day… the celebration of the 164th Anniversary of the Independence of Greece.
Glamor galore at the 14th Tokyo Music Festival
The 14th Tokyo Music Festival, as always, was a star- studded affair with entertainment personalities from all over the world here for the com- petitions, concerts and parties that are a part of the festival. Thanks to Misa Watanabe of Watanabe Productions, super- star Izumi Yukimura, her daughter Asahina Maria (who’ll break a lot of hearts by marrying in June) and a lot of good friends in TBS and the record companies, I had invitations to about everything and got to meet everyone here for the festival.
Long-time friends who were back included promoter-producer Tony Scotti, who was a judge, his showbiz personality wife Sylvie Vartan, Kool and the Gang (who took the Grand Prize) musician composer Joey Carbone (musical director for the U.S. TV show “Star Search”) and singer Deniece Williams, here with George Duke and his band a few years ago.
Sylvie’s son David Halladay was here with her and Tony. He’s grown into a nice-looking, personable young man. Johny Kitagawa of Johny Productions (Toshi Tahara, Matchy, Shonentai, etc.) is currently producing David’s first record which will be released here in June.
Korea’s top designer, Andre Kim, who did the costumes for Korea’s entry “Bang Me” (what’s in a name?) was also in town. Bang Me won a silver prize for the song “My Dream.” The Puerto Rican kids-who range in age from 12 to 16- and make up the group Menudo all really seem down to earth and unaffected by their phenomenal success. I saw them a week later in Manila – what a following they have there!
Actress Phoebe Cates, also a judge, not only made a lot of friends during her stay here, but also was also given an award as “actress of the year” by the Japanese film magazine “Roadshow.”
As I mentioned in an earlier column, I not only met the gorgeous and super-nice Vanes- sa Williams, another judge for the festival, but also got to take her out on a night on the town which included dinner at the Kyobue Restaurant and boogieing at the Lex.
Irene Cara is every bit as sweet as people told me she is. It’s too bad she wasn’t feeling well during her Japan visit. That, of course, strongly affected her guest appearance at the Music Festival and her concerts around Japan later. You can see Irene in the Warner Brothers film “City Heat” that just opened in Tokyo.
Wham’s manager Simon Napier-Bell was in town with another of his clients U.K. singer David Austin who took a gold prize. David records for Toshiba EMI and will be back for a series of concerts later this year. Simon went on to China to make final preparations for what’s now history: Wham’s SRO concerts in Peking and Canton.
Even though the Tokyo Music Festival, like most competitions here, have some sort of a prize for just about every- one, there are, of course, the winners and the losers. Consolation for those who didn’t come out on top is that they were chosen to represent their countries in what has to be one of the world’s biggest music festivals and they had the opportunity to come to Japan and to meet many people in the same business. The 14th Tokyo Music Festival was a glamorous glitz affair. Kudos to all those who worked so hard in making it just that.
Bill Hersey’s PEOPLE: Barry & Kim (Santos) Hill
Barry and Kim Hill are certainly one of the handsomest couples around town and, in addition, are both very “inter- national” and popular. Barry was born in Illinois and grew up on a farm outside Chicago. He has two sisters, one a lawyer and soon to become a judge and the other a stock- broker.
Barry liked the big city and left home at about 15. After high school he attended classes at Brown University, Northwestern and the University of North Carolina which he considers his alma mater. He’s also a great fan of their basketball team. Barry aearned his degree in English and after graduation went right into advertising. His first job which lasted five years was with Leo Burnett in Chicago. From there he went to New York City where he worked for Young and Rubican. In 1981 he was approached by a “head-hunters” who asked if he’d be interested in coming to Japan to work with McCann-Erickson where he’ll be in charge of creative directing for Coca-Cola. He jumped at the chance and is currently Executive Creative Director at the huge agency.
In addition to Coke, he’s worked with the Northwest Airlines, Unilever and several other major accounts. In his work here, Barry’s role has really expanded to include copywriting, TV pro- duction, music production and just about everything else involved in dynamic advertising and promotion. He feels his job is a real challenge, a pleasure and says he loves to create something that is a “powerful and involving piece of film or other form of advertisement for the audience.”
In doing his best, he really has to keep up with trends in everything from jokes to music to fashions so he and his work can effectively communicate with the average consumer, Barry first met Kim Santos at a casting session for Coca-Cola in 1982. They fell in love and were married about a year later, Sept. 24, 1983. I had the great privilege of setting up their wed- ding party at the Lex. All Kim’s family came up from the Marianas and turned the party into a Guam Fiesta. I also had the privilege of helping them celebrate their first anniversary when they were special guests at a party Georges Toby hosted in honor of noted French pianist Daniel Varsano at the Moonchild.
Now for the gorgeous Kim Santos Hill: She was born on Guam of an Irish mother and a Guamanian (Cham-maro) father. Her parents were pen pals when her mom was about 12 and her father 15. When serving with the Army, he was stationed in Germany and flew to Ireland to meet his long time pen pal. They fell in love and were married. After his service hitch, they moved back to Guam where both Kim and her brother Colin (who attends university classes in the U.S.) were born.
During Kim’s high school days, she was manager for the school football team. Her dad always watched the beau- ty pageants on TV and had a real knack for choosing the winners. He was al- ways trying to talk Kim into entering, so “to shortage him off my back” she decided “why not try it?” She was chosen Miss Guam and went on to London where she was named “Miss World 1980.” This led to a lot of international exposure and she came to Tokyo to work as a mannequin. This is how she met Barry and you already know what that led to. Kim, currently about eight months pregnant, is not only the contract model for Continental Airlines and Air Micronesia, she’s also their spokeswomen and travels to such exotic places as Hong Kong and Hawaii to represent and pro- mote Continental. You’ve seen all those great pics of her in the Continental Air Mike ads right here in Weekender.
In Guam, Kim was a real outdoor girl, spending much of her time at the island’s great beaches. Here in Tokyo she swims several times a week at one of the pools and does a lot of reading. Barry’s hobbies center around his work. He loves watching movies, TV commercials and listening to music. He’s also making every effort to understand Japan and the Japanese people.
They’re a very active couple and the day after this interview took place, they took off for New York for some work, some Broadway shows, some friends and just to catch up on what’s happening on the NYC scene. Fine young people.