Takeji Miwa, Grace Saito, Malcolm Thompson, Vincent Hoogewijs

Bill’s Partyline January 24th, 2003


There are times we all have difficulty in truly expressing with words how we feel, both spoken and written. This is certainly one of those times for me. My working and friendship with Corky goes back more than 30 years. That’s a long time and, as they say, “A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Udo Artists is bringing back the Rolling Stones for another concert tour (See On the Scene, Page 25), and those guys just keep rocking. I saw a Nivea face cream ad in an English mag­azine recently that said, “Party like the Stones; don’t look like them.” That’s bad. Keith Richards’ daughters Alexandra and Theodora, and Ron Woods’ daughter Leah are all models, and they took to the catwalk to show the Rolling Stones Rockware line of clothing. Like they need the money.

Speaking of money, after 19 years of marriage, two kids and some 30 eateries, world renown chef Wolfgang Puck is splitting up with his interior decorator wife, Barbara Lazeroff. She’s one tough lady who I’m sure will get a lot of green in their settlement.

Actor Thomas Jane was in town on the same promotion, and he is expecting a baby with his fiancee, Patricia Arquette. I met her when she came to Japan with her then-husband, Nicolas Cage. He was here that time to promote “The Rock” for Buena Vista. Cage was also in Tokyo recently to ballyhoo “Windtalkers” for Twentieth Century Fox, and he brought his new bride, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis. That marriage lasted all of four months, and it’s like a game of musical chairs.

Lisa’s ex, Michael Jackson, with his lawsuits, courtroom antics, dangling his baby son over a balcony in Berlin and his nose meltdown, is according to an American magazine, “headed for the psycho ward.” What’s new?


Sri Lankan Ambassador Karunatilaka Amunugama and his wife Nadika Dilum had a very busy year in 2002, marking the 50th anniversary of the establish­ment of diplomatic relations between their country and Japan. There were also all kinds of spe­cial events to celebrate the occasion. The many-faceted “Colours of Lanka” 10-day festival at Hilton Tokyo was a tremendous success in every way. Chefs were flown in from Hilton Colombo to prepare the marvelous Sri Lankan buffets and gala dinner. Sri Lanka’s top contemporary dance troupes presented colorful and exciting shows daily. Traditional woodcarving and Sri Lankan tea making were demon­strated in the hotel lobby, and there were fashion shows featuring Sri Lankan models showing traditional and contemporary styles by trend-setting designer Yolanda Aluwihare. Japan’s top jewelry designer Kazuo Ogawa created a special “Colours of Lanka” collection for the festival, and Prince and Princess Takamado were special guests at a gala dinner hosted by Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Tyronne Fernando.

There was another marvelous and contemporary styling event at a Malaysia-Asia Pacific Ladies Friendship Society charity show at Kasumi Kaikan. The fashions showed the creative ingenuity of Malaysian designers Bill Keith and Nazleen Noor. Princess Hitachi was special guest at the show, and pop singer Kaho Shimada was there to present the Japanese version of the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” theme song.

Everyone who knows now­former Spanish Ambassador to Japan Juan Lena and his wife Carmen expected there would be a big turnout at their sayonara which doubled as a celebration of their country’s King’s Day. The residence, terrace and garden were all overflowing with friends of the Lenas who came to say adios to the popular couple. There were bountiful buffets in the dining room and on the main terrace, and the paella in huge pans prepared and served in the garden was every bit as good as it looked. I enjoyed meeting Luxembourg Ambassador Michele Pranchere Tomassini, there with her husband, Jean-Yves Pranchere. I ran into them a few days later in Roppongi with their 11-year-old twin sons, Maxime and Victor, and their 9-year-old daughter Camille. What a nice family! Juan and Carmen are now back in Madrid. Vaya condios, my friends, and all the best.


At the Park Hyatt Hotel, Grace Saito, president of the Grace Kai charity organization, hosted another afternoon of classical music at its best. Due to the large attendance, the concert was held in the Ballroom rather than the usual venue, the Atri­um. Proceeds went to the Infant Home of the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center. I was back to the Park Hyatt in mid-December for an intimate buffet dinner hosted by the prestigious hotel’s general manager, Malcolm Thompson, in the spacious and beautiful Presidential Suite. It was a relaxed evening with interesting people, superb food and a spectacular view.

*First published at the Tokyo Weekender

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