Keanu Reeves for the Matrix Premiere

Bill’s Partyline July 18th, 2003


“Charlie’s Angels” stars Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu were also in town for three days. And those huge illuminated truck bill­boards promoting their film attracted a lot of attention in the Roppongi area. Pies on this promo next column.

Toho Towa brought in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kristanna Loken and director Johnathan Moslow for a press conference and a premiere of “Terminator 3-Rise of the Machines?’ From Tokyo, Arnold flew to Kuwait to show his film and “see the troops” in Kuwait and Iraq. Tall and beautiful Kristanna (a female terminator) and Moslow dropped by the Lex one night.

Warner Bros. had a big promotion for the highly acclaimed Chinese film, “Hero.” Film luminaries Jet Li, Zhang Yrmou and Zhang Ziyi flew in for the press conference, premiere and exclusive runner party.

I had coffee with Buena Vista International Japan Vice President Dick Sano just before he left for a three-day trip to Los Angeles. Dick’s going to be super busy the next few weeks with a big delegation including superstar Johnny Depp to promote mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

On the fashion scene, the Bulgari Contemporary Jewelry North Pacific Managing Director Takashi Fukae hosted a glittering evening at the Mitsui Club. The occasion was the Bulgari Brilliant Dreams Award 2003. The recipient of this year’s awards was Kabuki, film and TV personality Shidou Nakamura. The group award went to Studio Ghibli for excel­lence in animation.


The weather could not have been nicer for the Freedom Day reception held by South African Ambassador Karamchund Mackerdhuj. Once guests congratulated the host, they moved to the garden, mixed with the crowd and enjoyed a buffet of South African specialties complemented by the country’s finest wines. As always, I headed for the corner of the garden where they prepared the delicious home­made South African farmers sausages, boerewors. What a treat! Guests that day included Dewi Sukarno who looked great and attracted a lot of attention as always. Sorry Suminthra, the ambassador’s wife, was not there. Family business required her staying at home in South Africa longer than originally planned. Karamchund, in addition to all his many other activities, is busy preparing for South Africa’s participation in a big African food and cultural festival at the Hilton Tokyo this fall. More on this later.

It was another exotic and enjoyable evening at the Egyptian Embassy where Ambassador Manmoud Karem and his wife Yasmina invited friends for “Timeless Traditions;” a jewelry show and exhibition by Kazuo Ogawa. Kazuo, a master of his craft, had created a glittering Egypt­inspired jewelry collection that was shown that evening in an elegant and well-choreographed show. Afterwards, guests enjoyed a superb Egyptian buffet, and there was another treat as well. It was the 9th birthday of Amina, the Karem ‘ daughter, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” as she blew out the candles on her cake. A percentage of the sales that evening were donated to the Tharwat Orphanage Institute in Cairo. The Karems, my favorite Egyptians, are a terrific family, and they will be moving back to Cairo at the end of the summer. Their daughter Reem is already there to study Mass Communications at the American University in Cairo.

The annual Asian Pacific Ladies Friendship Society Asian Festival was a colorful, fun and people-packed success. Proceeds go to many worthwhile causes in Asia, and kudos to the many ladies who put in so much time and effort.

On the occasion of the National Day of Portugal, Ambassador Manuel Gervasio de Almeida Leite hosted a reception for the opening of an exhibition by Portuguese artist Bela Silva. Our congratulations.

Mitsuo and Lilo Maruyama’s annual garden party at their beautiful home in Tochigi­ken is always one of the most anticipated social events of the year. It’s about a two-hour drive from Tokyo, but everyone lucky enough to be invited really feels it’s worth the time and effort once they get there. The setting is fantastic. A winding private road lined witl1 a variety of tress, plants and flowers leads to the residence and, just inside the main entrance, there’s a traditional Japanese garden with a goldfish-filled pond was a nice day, so guests proceeded to the huge open area around the swimming pool. Some relaxed in the gazebo, others at one of the many tables set up for the day, and a few of the more energetic walked up the grass­covered hill overlooking the neighboring golf course.


There was a big turnout for “The European Union Fifth Enlargement: the New Challenge of the Unification Process;’ a forum jointly organized by the Presidency of the E.U. and the United Nations University. The program included a short film on the enlargement process and addresses by U.N. University Rector Hans Van Ginkel, Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Rodoussakis, Head of the E.U. Delegation Ambassador Bernhard Zeptor and Italian Ambassador Gabriele Menegatti. The enlargement treaty was signed in Athens on Apr. 16. Italy, as I’m sure you know, is replacing Greece in holding the E.U. presidency.

Argentine Minister Fernando L. Ras held an exhibition of his Meiji architecture photographs at the Tokyo Photographic Culture Center. Fernando told me he will be transferred back home sometime this summer.

Turkish Ambassador Solrnaz Unaydin invited friends to performances of several classic artists here for “Turkey in Japan-2003:” The Turkish film “Distant” won the Cannes’ runner-up Grand Prize-this year, and it was sad the film’s award­winning actor died in a car accident before claiming his award at Cannes. A Turkish group also walked away with the top prize in the Eurovision song contest.

*First published at the Tokyo Weekender

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