I am relaxing in the beautiful “Spa” at the Hilton, Shanghai. I have just finished a coffee with former ‘Tokyoite Volkmar Rusbel in the hotel’s popular lobby lounge. He is the man who opened the Hilton Tokyo Bay, and was there for seven years before moving to Shanghai for his new job as General Manager for the Hilton here. In talking with Volkmar and checking out the hotel’s in-house publication Whispers, I learned how involved he and his hotel are in the film business.
When two time Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood (The Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby) was in Tokyo, he did some shopping for his wife Dina. He bought pearls at Yonimine’s Pearl shop in Roppongi. Jane Yonimine, the wife of baseball legend Wally Yonhnine has really put her heart and soul into making the shop the ultimate in providing the highest quality pearls to her customers from all over the world, check out her shop at 7-14-8 Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tel. 03-3402-4001, across from Roppongi Crossing police box. Clint, as you probably know, plans on making a film based on James Bradley’s book, Flags of our Fathers. Much of the action, World War II, takes place on Iwo Jima and as he’s a master of authenticity, he visited Iwo Jima in preparation for the film.
It was a beautiful day for Mitsuo and Lilo Maruyama’s luncheon party on the luxurious Vingtetun. The ship left the dock at exactly noon, and there were a couple of hours of smooth sailing around Tokyo Bay under the Rainbow Bridge and back to the dock. It was easy to see that the guests — a marvelous mix, casually dressed and mostly in a laid-back mood, were really enjoying the scenery, the bountiful buffet, and most of all, the opportunity to be with friends in such a unique and beautiful setting. Everyone was surprised when the restaurant staff brought in a huge birthday cake. It was a celebration — and what a celebration — for Lilo’s birthday. Happy birthday my friend and I hope there are many more to come!
Congratulations to our Filipino friends at the 107th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day. Celebrations included an all-day party at Asukayama Park in Kita-Ku. In addition to a ‘housing, franchising’ fair there were food booths and all kinds of grand and raffle prizes. It was a full day of entertainment as well with performances by several of the Philippines’ popular showbiz personalities.
As expected, the 2005 Thai Food Festival at Yoyogi Park was a huge success in every way. I went early on the opening day for the morning program which included speeches by the Thai Deputy Minister of Foreign Af-fairs, Thai Ambassador Suvidhya Simaskul and a cul-tural show. It was fun watching Thai Deputy Minis-ter of Foreign Affairs Preecha Ladhapongchana and Parliament member Lalitta Lerksamran preparing the noodles (which were delicious) for the VIP guests. Thai Air had flown in several of Thailand’s top entertainers for the festival. These included the band Carabao and singer Lanna Commins. Their many Thai fans living in Tokyo, as well as everyone there, really enjoyed their performances. It was a wonderful weekend at Yoyogi Park with so many Thai restaurants, handicrafts from all over Thailand, a massage service, a couple of Tuk Tuks (motorized tricycles), cultural shows, and a pop music show. As in the past, it was like a big happy international picnic.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga