Recently, we celebrated the 34th anniversary of a small funky club I’ve been affiliated with since it first opened. It started out as “The Lexington Queen” and the name was changed to the “New Lex Tokyo” four years ago. Anyway, thanks to good friends, from here and from all over the world, the club is still popular with the young Japanese and expat “in-crowd” and is a favorite amongst all kinds of celebs when they visit Tokyo. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga’s dancers, the cast of the In The Heights musical, Marilyn Manson and Lenny Kravitz have all come along recently.
The British Embassy Jubilee Party
On June 6th we were happy to hear the weather forecast wasn’t bad and, in fact, it turned out to be pretty good for British ambassador, Sir David Warren and his wife Pamela’s big event. The occasion was held in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and, importantly, her Diamond Jubilee, which marks the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The entrance to the residence was very impressive, with a display of top-notch British cars and a beautiful Triumph motorcycle. My favorite car was a black and white Bentley convertible – talk about style and class. The residence was beautifully decorated with flowers and the buffet had been set up under white seats in the garden. I had some great fish and chips, cheese and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. After a meaningful welcome speech by the ambassador, Embassy staff rolled out the red carpet for a fashion show. The much-anticipated event was the world premiere of the latest collection by legendary British designer, Vivienne Westwood. The designs and fabrics were outstanding. The models, who were mostly Russian, looked fantastic, their makeup was done by artists Vivienne had sent specially from London. I really enjoyed watching the world celebrating the Diamond Jubilee with so many events for the much admired, truly remarkable Queen. God bless the great lady.
Glittering Kuwait National Day Party
Kudos to Kuwait Ambassador, Abdul-Rahman al-Otabi, his wife, Jamilah, and their four children – not forgetting the Embassy staff – on the beautiful evening they hosted at the Imperial Hotel. The huge elevated field of cherry blossoms had a tall ice carving of the Kuwait Towers at one end and another of Tokyo’s Skytree at the other. It was fantastic. The huge reception hall was wall-to-wall with interesting people and the buffet looked a real feast. I did have time to check out a large traditional Arab-style room where guests could sit on big pillows on the floor and enjoy dates, pastries, chocolates, and Arabian coffee or tea. I’d love to have a relaxing room like that in my house!
Huge crowds at the Thai Festival at Yoyogi Park
The annual Thai Food and Culture Festival at Yoyogi Park was colorful, fun and exciting. There was top Thai entertainment (with both traditional and pop music) and many restaurants serving Thai favorites at really reasonable prices. With all the Thai (and Japanese!) smiles, you could see that people there had two thoroughly enjoyable and memorable days. I went early for the opening ceremony, which was Thai hospitality and it’s best. The buffet, featuring my favourite, Thai sticky rice and mango, was delicious! The two day spectacular was absolutely packed with people – it’s certainly the biggest and best of the many happenings in the park every year. The only downer for me was hearing that Thai ambassador, Virasakdi and his wife Aumaporn will be leaving Japan soon. We’ll sure miss that super couple.
Wonderful World Garden Exhibit
A big domo arigato to Hotel Okura’s Rajesh Paul for getting me back on the list for their annual world gardening fair. This was the 12th year for the always popular and truly extraordinary exhibition. The ten world gardens this year were from Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Germany, Fiji, Thailand, Kenya, Argentina, India and Hungary. The creativity, originality, time and effort each of the participants as well as artistic direction and help of Kobe University Professor, Nobuo Shirasuna (he’s also a well known landscape designer), made all the gardens very special. It was relaxing and enjoyable to take half a day checking them all out. Our sincerest congratulations to the Okura’s President/G.M., Masahiro Kiyohara, the many Embassy wives who participated and the hotel staff on this truly special cultural event. At the same time, big congratulations go to the Okura, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga