July … the rainy season should be over in about a week and it will really warm up. This is also the time many friends head home — or other places — for summer holidays. Consequently, the pace of our city’s social life should slow down a bit. Most of the people I’ve talked to recently are looking forward to the break. Let’s have a look what Tokyo was up to before everyone left for a well-deserved Summer break.
South Africa celebrates Republic Day
I did have the opportunity to congratulate South African Consul-General J.S.F. Botha and his wife Monica on their Republic Day. The popular couple had a magnificent reception at their home and, as seems to be the custom, the weather cleared up in the afternoon and once guests congratulated the Bothas, most moved out into their home’s spacious garden.
It was a crowded reception and guests mingled, chatted and enjoyed the South African wines, cheeses and home-made Boerewors (sausages). I couldn’t stay long, but enjoyed talking with Hal and Shoko Stockstill. Hal, who’s been to South Africa on safari several times, told me he just heard from former Tokyoite Fred Lang-hammer who was headed back there for another hunting trip.
I personally would like to check out the surf there. I just watched a surfing film classic “The Endless Summer” and those waves down that way are something else. One of the world’s top surfers, Shaun Tomson, is from South Africa …you’ve probably seen his boards and surfwear on the market here. From what I’ve seen, read and heard about South Africa, it has a tremendous wealth of natural beauty and wildlife, and is well worth a visit.
The Tokyo Hilton’s 20th anniversary: something special!
The Tokyo Hilton has long had a reputation of being one of the world’s finest hotels and the food and service are almost legendary. This year the Tokyo Hilton is celebrating its 20th anniversary and to com-memorate the occasion, Ri-chard E. Handl, Vice President Hilton International and Gen-eral Manager of the Tokyo Hilton, and his wife Baby hosted a magnificent reception. The Handls and the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager Dan Nakamura greeted guests as they entered.
While I was waiting in the long, long line, I chatted with Polaroid Prez Dick Otomo who told me his wife Yoshimura Mari was on location for a special TV pro-gram. I also talked to C’Bon Cosmetics President Naonori Inozuka and learned that their new “product personality” is actor Katsu Shintaro. Katsu’s predecessors include pianist Ri-chard Clayderman and actress Susan Anton.
The hotel’s huge Pearl Ball-room was wall-to-wall people …about 1,300 I was told later. The main buffet tables (what food!) had been set up around a towering ice carving of a feudalistic Japanese castle. Colorful booths had been set up along the sides of the room and the staff was kept very busy preparing and serving soba, sushi, tempura, yakitori and teppanyaki. On the stage 20 kimono-clad ladies played koto.
Guests were a marvelous mixture of diplomats, Japanese government officials, business leaders and the cream of To-kyo society. U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield had just flown in from Washington, but he and his wife Maureen felt they should (and wanted to) stop by to congratulate the Handls and the hotel staff. The women at the party looked superb that evening and the most pre-dominant fashion colors were striking combinations of red, white and black.
Paul Hughes’ wife Jessica was a real knock-out in a black sequin ensemble. It was a real “people party” and almost everyone stayed long past the scheduled time on the invitations. Richard’s as busy as ever with two new hotels opening later this year, one in Seoul, the other in Bangkok. Then, of course, there’s all the work and preparation for the new Hilton in Shinjuku that will open next year.
Italians in Tokyo celebrate National Day with gala
The Italians in Tokyo have also been super-busy. In addi-tion to the Fendi gala dinner and fur show, the Biancheri’s fantastic party for the Fendis, a host of sayonara for Italian Commercial Counsellor Dino Volpicelli (he’s back in Rome by now) and still more sayo-nara for Alitalia’s Mario and Rena Ricci (they’re headed for New York City), Italian Am-bassador and Mrs. Boris Bian-cheri gave a splendid reception on the occasion of Italy’s National Day.
You know by now Boris and Flavia are one of the most interesting, out-going and popular couples around town. You also know that in their two and a half years they’ve made a multitude of friends from all walks of life. So, as could be expected, the Italian National Day cele-bration was a real happening with a marvelous mixture of prominent people from the diplomatic, government, busi-ness, fashion, arts, music and entertainment worlds. Long tables in the dining room, the main reception room, and on the veranda groaned under platters of pasta, meats and salads as only the Italians can make them. In the garden booths had been set up where the embassy staff were serving wine, cheeses and still more pasta.
Noh actor Cumas Hashioka was there with his family and invited me to a play they’ll be doing soon. Nancy Ma who “couldn’t resist the Italian food” (who could?) had to leave early for her friend Mrs. Oga’s piano concert. Even though Mrs. Oga is the wife of the President of Sony, she continues teaching piano and giving recitals. Talk among the guests was mostly about summer plans. Many of the foreign com-munity were returning home for their holidays, many of the Japanese were planning their holidays in Karuizawa. It was a beautiful evening in every way. Our congratulations to the Biancheris and our Italian friends both here and abroad.
Octopussy’ stars meet the press
Then there was the promo- tional visit for CIC of Roger Moore and Maude Adams to promote the latest in the Bond film series, “Octopussy.” The film opens around town July 2 and is full of fun and action. Then there’s super singer Rita Coolidge, here to help in the “Octopussy” promotion. She was brought over by Alpha Records, and does the theme song for the film.
I had the opportunity to host a party at the Lex for four of the new Bond Girls—Tina Robinson, Julie Barth, Cheryl Ann Hersch and Carolyn Seaward. Need-less to say, that turned out to be quite an event with the girls, chosen from 4,000 inter-viewed on TV, meeting friends they knew from the fashion and beauty pageant world, dancing a bit, receiving lots of flowers
The press really turned out for CIC’s press conference to promote the latest James Bond film “Octopussy.” Celebrities flown in for the promotion included the star Roger Moore, his beautiful co-star Maud Adams, director John Glen, and popular singer Rita Coolidge who sings the film’s theme song “All Time High.” After the press conference everyone moved into one of the Imperial’s function rooms for a party celebrating the 20th year of the James Bond films.
I had the opportunity to spend some time in the evening with Roger (what a great sense of humor) and John. It was his first time in Japan and he really enjoyed it. Maud Adams said she also enjoyed her first visit here and hopes to get back again when she has a little more time.
On opening night Koma executives hosted a reception for the cast and crew of The American Dance Machine’s show “Steps” which is current-ly playing at the Theater Apple in Shinjuku and runs through the 24th. It’s an exciting show and if you’re into dancing at all, you should see it.
Above: at a press conference feting the opening of “Octo-pussy” downtown and the 20th anniversary of the Bond 007 films — Shochiku Films Vice President Okuyama-san welcomes director John Glen, Rita Coolidge (who sings the theme song in the flick) and Octopussy herself, Maud Adams. At left: Maud and Bond star Roger Moore play some kind of 007 quiz. Below: Howard Rochlin, CIC Int’l Veep for Far East, Australia and South Africa; Motoyuki Ku-bo tani, in charge of CIC exhibits ; Okuyama-san, and Walter Senior, CIC’s man in Japan.
Above: 007 alter ego Roger Moore thanks British Air’s Marcus Buck for the airline’s support in promoting the latest James Bond opus “Octopussy.”
Love Boat drops anchor in The Big Mikan
The super-successful ABC-TV series “Love Boat” set sail for its seventh season . . its destination: the Orient with shooting on location in China, Hong Kong and our home town of Tokyo. In addition to the regular cast, various guest stars joined “the cruise” for each Orient episode in the series.
Thanks to a call from Producer Ben Joelson, I got over to the Okura for the “Love Boat” press conference in the midst of their shooting in Japan. Unfortunately for the promoters—but fortunately for the few journalists who heard about it — there were more stars than reporters.
In addition to the regular cast — Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Jill Whelan, Gavin McLeod, Lauren Tewes and Fred Grandy — there were the dynamic Oscar-winning Rita Moreno, personable boxer-turn-ed-actor Tony (“Taxi”) Danza, Mariette Hartley (Polaroid TV commercials with James Garner), Jean (“Upstairs, Down-stairs”) Marsh, “Three’s Company” star John Ritter, his wife, actress Nancy Morgan, Japanese-American actor James Shigeta, the gorgeous Heather Thomas of “Fall Guy,” and actor-comedian Harvey Kor-man — just as nutty as you would expect him to be.
During the time they were here, I got to know some of them quite well and really enjoyed showing them around The Big Mikan. There was dining at Spago’s with Tony, Heather and her escort, Bob Turkic (his actress-model sister Ann is Richard Harris’ ex-wife). I had the privilege of taking Rita to a performance of The Dance Theater of Har-lem and what an experience that was! She went wild! Her backstage reunion with the company’s Director Arthur Mitchell was something to be-hold. We rode back to Tokyo on the bus with the dancers and Rita had those kids rolling in the aisles. What a woman!
I also was lucky enough to attend a party Harvey Korman gave for Rita and her husband, Dr. Leonard Gordon, on their 18th wedding anniversary. The daughter of Leonard and Rita — Fernanda — was in Japan with them; in the States she studies dancing and acting. Rita has a busy summer schedule of shows all over the U.S. and will return to the “Nine to Five” TV sitcom this fall.
Tony Danza also had his 12-year-old son Mark Anthony with him. A good-looking, smart kid. From Japan, Tony headed to Tucson where he said he was looking forward to working with Burt Reynolds in “Cannonball Rally 2.” “It’s not a real big part,” he told me, “but, what the hell; I’m in it!” The guy’s really got a good personality. The last night the “Love Boat” crew was in town, most of them toddled over to the Lexington Queen for a kind of “wrap and sayonara party” .. . nice people, one and all.
Tokyo’s Spaniards gather to celebrate King’s Day
To celebrate King’s Day, Spanish Ambassador and Solo-ra Eduardo Ibanez gave an early evening reception at their home. Once again, the gods were kind, the weather cleared up and guests were able to use the Embassy gardens. Eduardo and Henriette Ana are a popular couple and, as expected, it was a very crowded party. I couldn’t stay as long as I would have liked, but really enjoyed talking with Japan’s top Spanish dancer Sho Kojima. I was at his studio party the other evening where he and eight dancers from Seville put on a program and also did some impromptu dancing. If you know flamenco, you can imagine what an ex-citing evening that turned out to be
Yanks’ Happy Fourth at U.S. embassy
On July 4th, Americans and their Japanese friends — just like Americans and friends all over the world — had special celebrations for the good ol’ U.S.A.’s 207th birthday.
Here in Tokyo we started out celebrating at the mid-day re-ception hosted by U.S. Am-bassador and Mrs. Mike Mans-
field. The gods were kind, the weather was good and once guests congratualted the na-tion’s representatives in the re-ception hall, most moved out into the spacious gardens. Red, white and blue balloons floated over the fountain and red canopies had been set up in case of rain. It was a crowded reception and the guests were an interesting mixture of diplomats, Japanese govern-ment officials, business leaders and members of the American community.
I had the privilege of escorting French superstar Sylvie Vartan, labeled France’s “Best Gift to the U.S. since the Statue of Liberty.” I enjoyed introducing her to the wide variety of personalities at the party. Sylvie’s Tokyo shows, by the the way, were pure enter-tainment. From Japan, she flew to New York and on to Paris where she has a 10-week run . . one of her longest ever. We got to the reception a little late, so I never really did have time to light any-where and talk with anyone. I did enjoy meeting NHK Pres-ident Masato Kawahara who invited us to “drop by anytime and we’ll show you our studios and what we’re doing.”
I had just about enough time to take off my blue blazer, put on a red one and pick up American model Max before moving over to the American Independence Day celebration President Bill McGovern and the Board of Governors of the Tokyo American Club were hosting. I was a guest of two very special friends — and very special people — Paul and Barbara Penrose. I did arrive late, so missed the honor and fun of being announced when I arrived. I also missed the traditional presentation of the colors by a U.S. Marine Guard. The place was wall-to-wall people and, like all other Americans there, I felt very patriotic and proud to be an American and to join in on the National Anthem and to sing along with the Tokyo International Singers on “Amer-ica the Beautiful.”
Ambassador Mansfield toast-ed the occasion and HIH, The Emperor of Japan, followed by HIH Prince Hitachi who toasted the occasion and Presi-dent Reagan. This was follow-ed by one of those short, but very meaningful and effective speeches Mike Mansfield is so well known for. As Bill Mc-Govern said, “When the Am-bassador speaks, people listen.”
Ambassador Mansfield —who has really had a very heavy schedule lately — shook hands with everyone and obliging posed for photos when ever anyone asked. He and Maureen are the true epitome of everything strong and good that America stands for. I think all Americans here re-
alize how lucky we are to have the Mansfields as out country’s top representatives to a country as important as Japan.
I would also like to men-tion the graciousness of HIH Princess Hitachi who spent much of her time shaking hands, being photographed with people and talking with children. The Tokyo American Club’s July Fourth celebration was a red, white and blue gala all the way. Congratulations!
That evening there was an all-American July 4th party at the Lex to help America celebrate the Fourth of July. It was an international gathering of friends at the Lexington Queen disco in Roppongi.
Hard Rock Cafe has people-packed opening
Over Roppongi way — in Beverly Hills Square to be there was a different exact
kind of happening: a people- packed opening party for The Hard Rock Cafe, the latest addition to young business tycoon Yoji Shimizu’s eatery empire. His other establish- include the Playboy Club, Tony Roma’s rib restau- rants and
I’ve spent considerable time in the original Hard Rock Cafe in London and have also been to the recently opened one in Los Angeles; neither have any- thing on Yoji’s original con- cept. A huge replica of King Kong hangs on the side of the building and winks at customers in the HRC through a floor-to-ceiling window. There’s a great bar complete with popcorn, a game arcade, an elevated stage for “live shows” and a kitchen serving hamburgers, hot fudge sundaes
and the like. The interior is the mood of ’50s-’60s and decor includes a Harley David- son motorcycle that belonged to Elvis Presley.
The opening-night crowd was a mixture of young Japa- nese, models and, frankly, quite a few faces you see at every free opening but never see again. It’s kinda sad, but it happens all over. The Hard Rock Cafe is directly behind Mr. Donut (beside the Roi Building) in Roppongi. Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Noriyoshi Matsumoto, actress Mako Hattori, “Return of the Jedi” producer Howard Kazanjian, UK Actor Tony Daniels (See Three Pio) and the film’s director Richard Marquand;