Mariana Sevilla, wife of the Honduran Ambassador, told me they’ll be leaving Japan in a few months. Her husband, Edgardo, is dean of the Latin diplomatic corps. The Sevillas have not lived in Honduras for 17 years, and the last six years have been in Japan.
They are a popular couple who will really be missed. Mary Katayama was there that day and, a few weeks later, she lost her much-loved mother and a good friend of mine and many others, Amy Sung. Our sincere condolences.
Congratulations to Marrocco’ King Mohamed VI on his forthcoming marriage to a 24-year-old computer engineering graduate. I first met the King when he was Crown Prince and visiting Japan and had the opportunity to meet him later on one of my trips to Morocco where he is known as a “modernizing ruler.”
Farewell to Marc Handl, son of noted hotelier Richard Handl and Weekender columnist Maria (Baby) Handl. Marc was manager for several years in Tokyo at the Park Hyatt’s prestigious New York Grill and has now moved to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he’s assistant food and beverage manager for the new Grand Hyatt scheduled to open in September of 2003.
It turned out to be a happy reunion at the Lex for many of the stars of the two box office hits, “Lord of the Rings” and “Black Hawk Down.” Nippon Herald brought in “Lords” producer Barrie Osmond, actress Liv Tyler and actors Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Orlando Bloom. Liv had worked with Jerry on “Armageddon,” and Dominic and Orlando had parts in “Black Hawk Down.” The young actor who’s 20 could pass for 15 and is full of energy and fun and is as nice as could be.
Toho Towa brought in “Blackhawks” producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Ridley Scott and star Josh Hartnett. Liv had worked with Jerry on “Armageddon,” and Dominic and Orlando had parts in “Black Hawk Down.” Josh told me he plans to take a one-year break from films to concentrate on his art. The Minnesota boy is talented. Ridley Scott had not been to Japan for 10 years when he shot “Black Rain” on location here.
I talked with Liv who looks great, about her career and her father, Steve Tyler. Steve, as you know, is the lead singer for Aerosmith. Udo brought that legendary group to Japan for concerts a few months ago and will bring them back for a World Cup Soccer event in late June.
Ozzy Osbourne was in Japan doing concerts for Udo, and his two kids, Jack and Kelly (not quite as far-out as their father), dropped by to see their friend Elijah.
As always, it was an SRO crowd of Tokyo’s most fashionable people at the latest Hanae Mori Show (her 2002 Summer Haute Couture Collection). It was a very feminine, very elegant and very chic collection, the best in Hanae Mori’s endless creativity.
It was great seeing long-time friend, international model Terri Coleman, in the show. As Soline Gourdault-Montagne, wife of the French Ambassador, said, “She’s magic on stage.” I appreciate Chansuda Phillips (wife of the New Zealand Ambassador) introducing me to Carol Wright, wife of the new Canadian Ambassador Robert G. Wright. We wish them a long, happy and successful stay here in Japan.
Happy to hear the Refugees International-Japan charity concert in aid of Afghan Refugees Feb. 22 at the Italian Cultural Institute was a sold-out success. Kudos to RIJ President Chid Waller, special events director Heather Wood and the many others who put in so much time and effort to make the musical evening so special.
Whenever Swedish Ambassador Krister Kwnlin and his wife Ewa do something, you know it’s going to be very special. The “informal buffet party for friends” on Valentine’s Day was that and more. What a privilege it was to be included on that night’s guest list of one of Tokyo’s busiest and nicest couples. After cocktails and introductions, people were given red heart stickers before moving into the dining room which was beautifully decorated with candles and red roses. The buffet was an artistic creation to see and a culinary delight of which to partake. The embassy chef, Cecilia Magnusson, really knows what she’s doing.
I enjoyed meeting for the first time and talking with David Elliot who heads the Mori Arts Center which will open next year. Ewa also introduced me to a very interesting man, Koji Shunji, the secretary-director of the E. U. Festival, and I appreciate the three beautiful photo books he sent me. They feature all aspects of Japan through the eyes of foreign photographers.
I am happy to report good luck was with the Irish on Mar. 17 when the Irish and their families converged on Omote Sando for the biggest yet St. Patrick’s Day parade here in Japan. It was a warm, sunny day, and luck was with me. I found a good parking spot along the parade route, walked up to the starting point where I saw Irish Press Secretary Aisling Braiden. She introduced me to Irish singer Lorraine O’Reilly who was here for the many Irish happenings over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Following a performance of Irish dance music on stage, Lorraine took the mike and sang Pete St. John’s theme for the Irish World Cup soccer team, “Spirit of the Gael.” Soon Irish Ambassador Padraig Murphy arrived with U.S. Ambassador Howard Henry Baker Jr. and Australian Ambassador John McCarthy. The three dignitaries led the parade.
Don’t know why that 22- year-old (it looks it) funky little club, the Lexington Queen, keeps going but it does. Guests at the Lex the last few months have included the Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson, Westlife, Beautiful Creatures, Prodigy, Sum 41, actress Heather Graham, members of Ballet Monte Carlo, Slipknot, American Head Charge, Greenday, tennis player Anna Kournikova and her current boyfriend, Latin pop idol Enrique Iglesias (son of Julio).
From May 2-6, Hotel Okura will hold its 2002 Hana Matsuri, the third world gardening festival. The exhibit features gardens from around the world. Participating embassies in the outdoor gardening fair are Tunisia, Greece, Malaysia, Austria, Ecuador, the Netherlands, Mexico, Korea, Poland and Russia.
Don’t forget the “Breeze From Tunisia” festival that opens on the 19th, and continues through Apr. 25 at Hilton Tokyo.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender