2016 was a tough year with the loss of a lot of people I had the privilege of knowing. These included superstars Prince, David Bowie, and George Michael. We lost two great ladies in ﬁlms over the holidays as well. I’d never met Debbie Reynolds but got to know her daughter Carrie Fisher when she was here with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford to promote the ﬁrst Star Wars. Thanks to friends at Toho, I could set up a private screening of an Akira Kurosawa ﬁlm that the Star Wars stars wanted to see. It went OK, but Kurosawa-san joined us about 15 minutes after the very long ﬁlm was running. The only problem was that Harrison had jet lag and I had to quietly wake him up several times.
On a happier note, I’d like to say congratulations to Mick Jagger, who celebrated the birth of Deveraux Octavian Basil, his eighth child, in December. Still full of mojo at 73, Mick doesn’t just have “Sympathy for the Devil” — he might have made a deal with him for all that youthful vigor! Here’s to more good news like this in 2017.
ALGERIAN NATIONAL DAY RECEPTIONS
Algerian Ambassador Mohammed Bencherif and his wife Amira hosted their National Day Reception in their beautiful Arabic designed Embassy/Residence in Minato-ku. Guests were a wall-to-wall crowd of diplomats, government ofﬁcials, business leaders, sports ﬁgures, art, fashion, and Algerian students studying and working in Japan.
OMAN’S SUPER CELEBRATION – PALACE HOTEL
For their big celebration of Oman’s National Day, the popular couple Ambassador Khalid Al-Muslahi and his wife Aisha Abeer hosted a mid-day reception in one of the ballrooms of the luxurious Palace Hotel’s Yamabuki Room. The Al-Muslahis have many friends from all walks of life, including one of our city’s most popular couples, Takako Shimazu, the sister of the Emperor, and her husband, Hisanaga. I also was happy to see both Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdul-Rahman AI-Otaibi and his wife Iamilah, both back from their gorgeous and super nice daughter Hala’s wedding in Kuwait City. Another special guest at the Oman celebration was a young man from Oman’s royal family, Sayyid Munthir Al Busaid. Like anything Khalid and Abeer do, it was an elegant, colorful, and thoroughly enjoyable event.
Joined friends from the Big Apple at a ﬁrst-class holiday lunch at the Grand Hyatt‘s Oak Door. My ﬁsh and chips were excellent and not all that expensive. My four friends who arrived a little late were loaded down with Christmas decor bags from a half a dozen Roppongi Hills bags and boxes. “Gifts for friends back home,” they told me, adding “Tokyo is really a marketing dream.” I suppose when you consider that about 1% of ]apan’s 127 million people are big shoppers, this is true. If you visit the Shibuya and Roppongi Don Quixotes, they’re almost always super busy with Chinese and Southeast Asian tourists with big bags, boxes and even suitcases full of all kinds of things they bought to take back home. Even though there are only a small number of Christians in ]a— pan, thanks to marketing and promotions Tokyo was beautifully decorated for holidays, and sales of gifts were up. An increase in tourism has helped. Let’s hope it keeps getting better all the time.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga