the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S.-Japan Foundation, held a public forum titled “Living the Legacy of Mike Mansfield’ at the Okura Hotel: The theme was reexamining what Mike always said was “the most important relationship in the world, bar none;’ the U.S.-Japan bilateral partnership.” The special event was sponsored by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation and was in commemoration of the 100th birthday of the late and great former Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador to Japan.
That same evening, current U.S. Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr. and his wife Nancy hosted a huge reception in their residence to honor and celebrate the occasion. Every room in the Bakers’ spacious home was wallto-wall interesting people. These included top Japanese government officials, diplomats, business leaders and a colorful variety of people from all walks of life. The gathering was proof positive of the popularity of two of the greatest Americans and finest human beings I’ve had the privilege of knowing, Mike and Maureen. It was a very special evening in every way, perfect for the occasion. I just wish Corley who, with his wife Mary, loved the Mansfields, could have been there. I’m sure he was there in spirit and, anyway, he’s with Mike and Maureen.
It’s our special July 4 issue, so I feel it’s appropriate to limit my party coverage to three very much American events: the Fred Harris project; a welcome back for officers and crew of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the University of Maryland University College 2003 Commencement at the New Sanno Hotel:
My sincerest thanks to Dr. Joseph J. Arden, Vice President and Director of the University of Maryland University College for the invitation to the UMUC 2003 Commencement ceremony here in Tokyo. It was a very inspiring afternoon in every way. An inspirational commencement address was delivered by State of Maryland Treasurer Nancy L. Kopp. “Land of Hope and Glory,” played by Kyorin University Brass Band as a marvelous mix of American from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds entered the hall and took their seats along with a few Japanese graduating students, was perfect for the occasion. The graduates have worked an average of 13 years to earn their Bachelor’s Degrees, and their average age is 34. Fifty-six percent are men; 44 percent women. Half the students are over the age of 25, with many continuing their education pursuits in the middle of their lives.
More American patriotism and pride at a welcome back party hosted by the Navy League and other friends for 75 officers and sailors of the Kitty Hawk battle group. The Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, the oldest ship in the Navy, recently returned from the Persian Gulf area where it was one of the prime forces in the Iraqi War. Dr. Fred Harris, recipient of the Navy Superior Award for, as Adm. Robert C. Chaplin put it, “All the great things he’s done for the Navy the last eight years;’ and Fred’s wife Kazuko were the main movers behind the welcome back dinner. I wish there was space to list all the corporate sponsors, individual supporters and sailor sponsors. They know who they are and should be proud of their support of this well worthwhile event It was fun for me, as I ran into several of the guests I know from the Lexington Queen. One sailor told me he met the girl who later became his wife at the Lex six years ago.
Just had three great days of friends, superb food, fun shopping and even a bit of culture in Manila, and two more days of sun and fun at the truly magnificent Shangri-La resort on Mactan Island near historic Cebu. This was my second time to stay at the Shangri-La, and I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Island-hopped, went to a cock-fight, did some snorkeling and totally relaxed in my room that looked straight out of an interior design magazine. The view of the hotel’s garden, swimming pools, private beach and the sea from my balcony was magnificent. This part of the Philippines really is paradise.
The Lex has been busy the last few weeks with all kinds of interesting people dropping by to party. On the music scene, Canadian Cultural Projects Manager Stephane-Enric Beaulieu brought in the noted Canadian performer Jorane with· the “cool voice and hot cello:’ In addition to other performances, Jorane did a charity concert for Refugees International-Japan at the Canadian Embassy Theater.
I got a 1 a.m. call from the Lex one morning, and what a surprise! It was from legendary Led Zepplin member Jimmy Page. He was in town to do some promotional work for Warner Vision. The band’s latest, “How the West Was Won:’ is on the U.K:s Top 10 list.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender