Ran into Indonesian Ambassador Muhammad Lufti and his Austrian wife, Bianca, in the Ritz Carlton Hotel lobby recently and was really sorry to hear they’ll be leaving Japan soon. The popular couple did a lot to promote further good relations between Japan and Indonesia, and will really be missed by all who have had the privilege of knowing them. We wish them all the best in their new posting.
I had the privilege of meeting Cher twice, once backstage on Broadway when she was one of the stars of the play Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and once when she was in Japan, and have been a loyal fan ever since. If you watch cable TV I’m sure you’ve seen her new video “Woman’s World.” I heard she’s 65, and she really looks and sounds great.
Fashion designer Junko Koshino just never slows down. I ran into her graphic designer son Yoriyuki at the Okura the other day where he was attending a big Father’s Day party. He told me Junko was just back from Myanmar where she had a very successful fashion show, and would be leaving soon for a big event she’s planning in Brazil.
On the downside, I really felt I lost a good friend when popular actor, super nice guy Paul Walker was killed in a terrible car accident in Los Angeles recently. I first got to know Paul when he was in Japan to promote one of the Fast and Furious films and hung out at the Lexington Queen club with his co-star Vin Diesel, and the glamorous Latin actress Eva Mendes. Had coffee several times with Paul when he visited Tokyo, and had planned to do something I seldom do, and get together with him when I was in LA. Really sorry I didn’t. Do the things you want to do my friends—no matter who you are, you just never know.
Venezuelan Concert—A Beautiful Evening
I don’t get to Ikebukuro often, and it was my first time to go to the beautiful Tokyo Metropolitan theater there. The occasion was a concert by Venezuela’s music miracle El Sistema. The special evening was hosted by Venezuelan Ambassador Seiko Ishikawa and his wife Erika. They’re a popular diplomatic couple, and it was as expected—a big turnout of interesting people. These included former Olympic medal winner “Chik” Igaya, Aston Martin’s Sho and Mary Katayama, and most of the Latin countries’ diplomats and business leaders.
National Azabu’s Party is in Arisugawa Park
The completely renovated National Azabu Supermarket not only stocks a great selection of food favorites from all over the world, they now have many special events (holiday happenings, barbecues, entertainment events, etc) that the community can participate in and enjoy, including a fun flea market. These have really attracted a lot of people, so recently they moved from the store parking area to Arisugawa Park across the street.
Saudi National Day Reception
Congratulations to Saudi Ambassador Bin Almas Turkistani, his staff and our many Saudi friends (mostly students) living here on the festive celebration at the Okura of their 83rd National Day. It was wall-to-wall people and the guests included top Japanese government officials, diplomats, business leaders and familiar faces from the fashion, arts and entertainment worlds. I should also mention most of our city’s well-known party crashers took advantage of legendary Arab hospitality and somehow managed to get in, eat a lot and make contacts with people they’ll probably try to use in the future. Guess this goes on all over the world.
It was four exciting days of partying with the world’s top car racers when Ceremony President Tsukasa Shiga hosted his annual series of parties at the New Lex Tokyo for the F-1 drivers here for the race in Shizuoka on October 13. This was the fifth year he’s done this, with the help of London-based car-racing journalist, Adam Cooper. The majority of the racers, as always, showed up for all four days they were in Japan. I heard many flew to Tokyo right after the race in Korea as “There’s no decent hotel near the Korean race track.” Lewis Hamilton was one of the first to arrive and when he came over to say hello I hardly recognized him. He told me he was watching his diet, getting more sleep and working out on a regular basis. The results are great.
Met and talked with Tongan Ambassador Tania Laumanulupe Tupou recently at Grace Saito’s Charity Concert at the Peninsula. I appreciated her complimenting the Weekender and the column. She told me she had lunch at the Peninsula’s excellent Chinese restaurant, the Hei Fung Terrace, before coming up to the pre-concert reception. It was nice hearing that one of the restaurant staff had given her a copy of the latest Weekender to enjoy while she was waiting for her food. We appreciate that, and hope the other prestigious hotels will have their staff do the same. Ambassador Tupou is really a cool lady who I know will do well here.
On December 3, Taiwanese designer Shiatzy Chen opened a chic new boutique just off the lobby at the Peninsula. I had a previous commitment: a reception for visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, T.D., Taoiseach, at the Okura so couldn’t make it to the opening. But I did check the shop out on the 2nd, and really like their styles (for men and women).
TV Asahi’s ultramodern new Ex Theater in Roppongi is really something else. It looks like they plan on competing with Billboard for live entertainment, with most of the talent booked so far being Japanese. We’ll keep you posted.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga