Firstly, Happy New Year and my sincerest best wishes that 2013, the year of the snake, is a really good one for you and yours. December, as always, was super-busy with all kinds of colorful, exciting events and lots of interesting VIP visitors. These included Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, Haitian president, Michel Marcelly and Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg.
Welcome reception for Panama’s president and delegation
My sincerest thanks to Panamanian ambassador, Alfredo Martiz, and his wife for the invitation to the welcome reception for their President, members of his family and a VIP business delegation during their recent visit here. The opportunity to meet and talk with these people really made me understand why there is such a strong and good relationship between Japan and Panama.
Gracekai charity concert at Peninsula Hotel
It was a full house at the ballroom in the peninsula hotel for Grace Saito’s winter gala charity concert. Grace’s only daughter, Mari, was an accomplished classical pianist as well as a devoted daughter who traveled to many places with her mother. Not long ago, she was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors only gave her a short time to live. This, of course, was very difficult for Grace as well as the many who know and love this great lady. Mari had been a real friend and fan of the extraordinary pianist Hiroshi Arimori for twenty years. Grace knew what it would mean for Maria and arranged for Arimori to play in the concert that day and arranged for Mari to come from the hospital to the concert venue with her doctor.
Sokka Gakkai’s Min-on Concert Association, under the direction of their president Hiroyasu Kobayashi was really busy, with a wide variety of international cultural exchanges in late 2012. These included a beautiful musical with a cast of 50 talented young entertainers from China, a dynamic tango show from Argentina, a colorful performance by the Ghana Dance Ensemble and a sophisticated evening of classical dance from both northern and southern India.
Multi-talented fashion designer Junko Koshino did all the costumes for the awesome Taos Contemporary drum group. With the talent, the music, the dancing and of course Junko’s creations at Bunkamura for two nights, this had to be one of the best staged and most exciting shows I’ve seen for a long time. Judging from the applause – and standing ovation – everyone there for that very special evening loved the show.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga