Forum for Sarah Brightman’s “Dreamchaser” concert tour. Her ex-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Phantom of the Opera, etc.) is right on when he often calls Sarah’s vocal renditions “music from Heaven”. Wow, can that lady sing. Met some of the mostly British staff and they did a miraculous job of making the sets, the lighting and special effects, magical and perfect for the concerts. You should try and see and hear her. Showbiz at its very best. Their music is different, but I’ve long been a fan of the Rolling Stones, partied with Mick (and his Aerosmith buddy Steve Tyler) at the Lexington Queen and got to know Ron Wood when he was here with the late and great Bo Diddely. Got a great surprise recently when a Japanese girl I haven’t seen for years dropped by the New Lex and —— left me a book. It turned out to be autographed copy – with a slightly cryptic message: “To Bill, too F****** right!” – of Keith Richard’s top-selling book, Life!
Azerbaijan National Day Reception
Our congratulations to Azerbaijan Ambassador Gurs el Ismayilzada, his wife Rana and the Azerbaijan community in Japan, who to celebrate their national day hosted a first class reception on the occasion. At the Okura, guests included Japanese government officials, diplomats, and business leaders. Dewi Sukarno, wife of the late Indonesian President Sukarno looked pretty in pink. She’s a very popular TV show guest now. The ambassador’s wife, as always, was super chic, as were the other ladies from the hosting country. It was a nice day in every way.
Philippines National Day at Imperial
The Philippines are famous for their festivals and ambassador Manuel Lopez and his wife Maria Teresa and their staff went all out to make their 115th Independence Day celebration one of the most meaningful, colorful and fun ever here in Japan. Most of our Filipino friends wore their national dress – the cool comfortable barong Tagalog shirts for the men and a kaleidoscope of color on the hand-embroidered or hand-beaded terno for the ladies. Special guests included former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who’s Chairman, Japan-Philippines Parliamentarian Friendship Assoc., with his wife, and popular politician Kenji Kosaka, who is chief sec. of Japan Filipino Friendship League. The lavish buffet featured Filipino, Japanese, Western, and Chinese favorites. The Filipino people are often justifiably called the best musicians around and entertainment that evening included a superb violinist, several string groups and talented vocalists.
Min-On’s Chinese Promotion
Our congratulations to Min-On concert association on 50 years of bringing top cultural groups from all over the world as well as sending the best of Japanese culture to many countries everywhere. To celebrate the anniversary Min-On brought the world famous 53-member Shenyang acrobatic troupe of China to town. The 41-city tour also commemorated the 35th Anniversary of the Peace and Friendship Treaty between Japan and China. The show, as I’ve mentioned before, was fantastic. The after-party gave me the opportunity to meet most of the cast – including the youngest, who is just seven years old. It also gave me the chance to meet and get to know Chinese Ambassador Cheng Youg Hua. I had met his wife Wang Wan at several other events, and China’s very lucky to have such an intelligent, international and outgoing couple to represent them here. I was very impressed with the ambassador’s speech and optimistic feelings about better relations between his country and Japan. Pm looking forward to visiting the Shenyang headquarters later this year.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga