Japanese artist Outako Nunomura’s exhibition, at the Egyptian Embassy, showing her impressions of Egypt, was exceptional. The talented lady spent seven years there. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to what is one of the world’s most exciting countries ten times, and Outako’s paintings brought back a lot of great memories. I’m also a camel aficionado and the ‘ships of the desert’ are the subject of many of the artist’s paintings.
n the last few months, party people in Tokyo included young actress Jessica Alba who was here for the MTV Awards and dropped by with her beau, producer Cash Warren, and boogied on into the wee hours. Jessica, who gained fame in the TV series Dark Angel, recently starred in the films Sin City (A Buena Vista release here this fall) and Fantastic Four (a 20th Century release this fall). She just finished filming an underwater thriller Into the Blue with co-star Paul Walker, for Sony MGM. Big Bob Sap came in one night. Frankly, I didn’t realize the once K1 fighter, now showbiz personality has such a big following. The Backstreet Boys are back and were in Japan to promote their new album, Never Gone. The guys partied at the Lex and judging from the number of fans waiting outside the club, they’re as popular as ever here in Japan.
Will Kemp, the prince of ballet, was in Tokyo in early July for a series of performances in noted choreographer (Swan Lake, Carmen) Matthew Bournes‘ Highland Fling. Matthew called and I was happy to set up a birthday party for him at the club. During pop band Good Charlotte’s tour here, the twins in the group, Benji and Joel Madden, partied nightly at the club. They were with their friend (mine too) Steve Aoki.
He’s the son of Benihana Restaurant’s owner Rocky Aoki and the brother of model/actress (Fast and Furious, Sin City) Devon Aoki. Steve’s not only one of the most popular DJs in the US, his record company, Dim Mak, is doing very well right now. One night Benji and Steve did a DJ show and the Lex crowd loved every minute of it. In addition to their concert tour here, Good Charlotte did the Japan Live Aid concert and modeled for the Bathing Ape catalog. The small-town boys from Maryland love Japan – and Japan loves them. Members of the Foo Fighters and Hoobastank also dropped by.
More visitors from the film world included director Michael Bay who was here to promote The Island for Warner Brothers and Scottish actor Gerrard Butler, who played the phantom in the film The Phantom of the Opera.
Thai Ambassador Suvidhya Simaskul and his wife Boontipa hosted to welcome some of their country’s top entertainers. Thai Air had flown in the show-biz luminaries to perform at the ever-popular Thai Food Festival in Yoyogi Park. These included gorgeous Thai singer Lanna Commins and one of the country’s most popular bands, Carabao. Other special guests that evening included the Thai Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Preecha Lachapongchana and his government delegation. It was a laid-back evening with great Thai food and great Thai people. What more could anyone ask for?
The Okura Hotel hosted one of the most dynamic and prestigious events on our city’s busy social schedule. ‘The 2005 Hana Matsuri in Okura, A Celebration of Flowers from around the Globe’ 6th world gardening festival was held in the Okura’s Heian Room from May 1-15. Participants in the exhibition of gardens and gardening styles from around the world included: Turkish Ambassador Solmaz Unaydin, Flora Mtango (Tanzania), Ana Cristina Clulow (Uruguay), Andjelka Buvac (Croatia), Dashkhuu Batjargal (Mongolia), Michele Schmiegelow (Germany), Ana Conde (Spain), Marjorie Robotham (Jamaica), Nguyen Tlii Phoung Dung (Vietnam), and Ginger Porter Mida (Micronesia). Always busy, always helpful H.I.H. Princess Takamado attended the opening ceremony. Kudos to all for the time and effort they put into setting up the big and beautiful reproductions of their favorite gardens back home. It really was all very special. During the exhibition, the Okura also had a special menu in their Intercontinental Function Room that featured a wide variety of international foods. Check out the new luxurious rooms at the Okura.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga