One of many sayonara parties for Regina Doi. It’s never easy saying sayonara to longtime friends, and I really found it difficult with that super-human, exceptional human being and truly goad friend, Regina Doi. The lady who has been in, and really made her mark on, Japan for 47 years, recently sold her internationally acclaimed Aoba School (both campuses), contacted our friends at Asian Tigers and with their professional and personal help, and has moved into a big beautiful house in New York. In addition to being a talented opera singer during and after her university days, her mother, who owned several restaurants, taught her to be a master chef. One of her major accomplishments was the founding of Aoba International School. Through the school she gained fame as an innovator and real leader in education. Through this work she became a guiding light, not only for her many students but many of their parents as well, and many others who had the good fortune and privilege of meeting and getting to know her.
Hilton Tokyo’s 13th Annual International Christmas Tree Charity Party One of the highlights of my holidays was my and Hilton Tokyo’s 13th annual International Christmas Tree charity party for about 70 Japanese orphans. As always, many friends, including ambassadors, ambassadors’ wives, business and community leaders, sports, showbiz and fashion personalities and the Guardian Angels took time out of their busy holiday schedules to join us and make it a truly memorable day for all the truly beautiful kids there. Top entertainer Steven Haynes, aka Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, brought his dynamic mom, Clara, who was visiting from San Francisco. She’s so special. I also appreciated Lilo and Mitsuo Maruyama bringing two former Tokyoites they had just hosted a luncheon for, Maha Debs and Tarsi Georgas. They were really pillars of the foreign community here for many years.
On Dec. 15, the Kingdom of Bahrain celebrated their national day, and ambassador Dr. Khalid Hassan also chose the Imperial as the venue for his recption. Once again, it was well attended, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the live Arab music by a very good Japanese group. The only thing missing was the ambassador’s wife, Dr. Salwa Almahroos, who was in Bahrain on family business. She, like the ambassador, is a medical doctor. He specializes in pediatric surgery, and she in diabetes, a growing problem in the Middle East now. Both have helped me with my annual orphans party at the Hilton Tokyo, and it’s amazing how much warmth and love they show the children.
This was Qatar ambassador Yousef Mohamed Bilal and his wife Jamila’s first year to host their national day reception in Japan, and knowing the experience the Imperial hotel has had, and based on advice from their friends, they held their celebration at the Imperial. It was, as I knew it would be, a truly nice evening. All the above parties had bountiful buffets that featured roast lamb, other Arabic specialities and both Western and Japanese favorites. Many of the guests at each party brought their children and that always makes it even more special.
Each of the sponsors also offered their guests a wide variety of books, magazines, maps and even dvds on their countries, and after all these years, I really have a wonderful collection of info on the Arab world. Thanks my friends for your consideration once again. Our congratulations to all concerned.
This was my second year to spend my holidays here in Japan, and I enjoyed seeing a lot of friends who live here or were visiting, and trying to get my apartment and myself a bit more organized, as well as getting out and seeing Tokyo, which was beautifully decorated for the holidays. It all really gave me the opportunity to enjoy the traditions of both a Christian Christmas and Japanese New Year. One night about 30 fully costumed Santa Clauses stood by the big clock at Roppongi Hills and greeted passersby, and three people-packed Christmas parties at the New Lex were full of countless young Japanese (mostly girls) dressed like Santa. Another night in Omotesando, an almost 30-member motorcycle gang, all in Santa Claus suits, were wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Tokyo is really a city of happenings.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga