Dr. Eugene Askenoff, George Pokrovsky

Bill’s Partyline July 4th, 2008


Stallone is in his sixties and the man, who was one of the biggest stars in the world in the 80s just keeps going. His last Rocky Balboa film was a big success and he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the latest Rambo. I’ve had the privilege of knowing him for twenty years. Even when he was super busy, he dropped by the Lex for a friendly hello and a hug. The man is smart, hardworking and really he’s accomplished so much in his life – Congratulations to Gaga on their fun and interesting press conference at the Peninsula Hotel and the dynamic, exciting premiere at Roppongi Hills.

It was also nice hanging out with superstar Benicio Del Toro when he was in Tokyo a few weeks ago. The talented man, as I’m sure you know, has just won the best actor award at the Canne film festival for his work as the lead role as Che in the over four-hour film of the same name. I’m really looking forward to seeing that one.

I had coffee at Segafredo in Hiroo, with one of Japan’s most international actors Masaya Kako, recently. He’s just got back from Thailand where he was one of the main characters in a Japanese action film they were shooting or trying to shoot on location there. Masaya loves Bangkok, but it was the rainy season, and it really slowed down the shooting. Anyway, he’s busy, about to go into a new TV series he can’t talk about right now. Masaya’s international work includes co-starring with Brooke Shields in one film in Australia, and another with Jacqueline Bisset also in the land down under. The man is really devoted to, and good at, what he does.


First, congratulations to all my fellow Americans. Today’s Weekender publication day, Friday, July 4, is the 232nd anniversary of America’s Independence Day. Once again, if all , goes as planned, I’ll be celebrating with the very popular and highly respected US Ambassador Thomas Schieffer and his wife Susanne. As many of their staff are in Hokkaido for the G8 Summit, the Schieffers are holding their Independence Day celebrations at the Olata Hotel rather than the Embassy residence. I’m sort of sorry about this as Susanne and her staff always really went out to make sure her and Tom’s home was very special for whatever the occasion there might be. Their Texas hospitality, of course, is legendary.

Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Celebrations The weather was perfect for British Ambassador Sir Graham and Lady (Toyoko) Fry’s midday garden party to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. This being the designated year of the UK-Japan 2A08, the celebration was even grander than usual. Lady Fry had gone all out to make the residence a showcase of the best of British art. Once guests congratulated the hosting couple they moved into the garden where they could relax, chat with friends, meet interesting people for the first time, and enjoy the vast array of British food and drink. As usual, I headed for the fish and chips stand. I also enjoyed the tan dori chicken at the ethnic foods outlet. After all that I relaxed over Earl Grey tea and pasties with friends in a tent-covered caf a, Ambassador

Another nice couple who I also consider good friends, South African Ambassador Dr, Baldwin Ngubane and his wife Sheila will be returning home this fall. Meanwhile, they’ve been keeping super busy with all kinds of events and VIP visitors. This year they held a jubilant celebration of their Freedom Day at the Okura Hotel. It was a full house at the hotel’s Ascot Room where guests included Japanese government officials, diplomats, and business leaders. The special guest was visiting South African Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Mr. L. Kingwana. During her visit, she was the guest speaker at a symposium at the United Nations University.


It was wall-to-wall with art lovers at the opening reception of her recent art exhibition at The City Club of Tokyo. The exhibition, titled My Garden, featured oil paintings, ninon-ga on washi, watercolors on Arches paper, ink and pencil sketches, and a very special “old private collection” of both oil and watercolor paintings. HIH Princess Takamado was the special guest for an enjoyable evening. Other special people there included diplomats, their spouses, business leaders from the Japanese and Indian communities, and many of Tokyo’s prominent social figures. Congratulations Mrinalini, it was a beautiful exhibition.

*First published at the Tokyo Weekender

*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga

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