It’s the summer holidays and the movie scene has been super busy. Warner Brothers did a monumental premiere for 300 in Meiji Park, 20th Century Fox brought in the cast of Die Hard 4.0, and Sony Pictures Entertainment had Director Quentin Tarantino here to promote Sukiyaki Western.
Prior to the highly acclaimed film 300’s opening here, Warner Bros. hosted an exciting and colorful premier at Meiji Memorial Museum in Meiji Park. There was a wide and long red carpet that led in front of the historic museum building and up the steps, between the pillars, and into the building. Huge red letters said “300”. Once the special guests arrived they spent considerable time signing autographs and talking with the many fans who had arrived much earlier and were eagerly anticipating the arrival of actor Gerald Butler, graphic novelist Frank Miller, director Zach Snydeer, producers Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari, and writers Debbie Snyder and Kurt Johnstad. During all this some thirty men, mostly body builders, and all with six-packs and fully dad in the costumes the 300 Spartans had worn in the film, made a dramatic entrance and lined up on the top of the stairway.
People Looking forward to hearing about Jan Vulevich’s (US Embassy) trip back to Mobile, Alabama for her high school class’ 20th reunion. I am sure that was fun. The nice girls at my local 55DPE shop must have gotten fired of my teasing them about the photo albums they had on display. The albums read “Lovely caskets for your splendid memories”. Seems our Japanese friends would rather use funny—if sometimes ridiculous English—than pay a foreigner a little bit to help.
I’m happy, as always, to report the annual Refugee International Japan (RIJ) charity event was a huge success. This was the 17th year for RIJ biggest fund-raiser, “The Art of Dining”. The always gracious, always chic HIH Princess Hitachi joined in the ribbon-cutting and took time out of her busy schedule to talk with each of the 21 participants about their table settings. Another super-chic lady—Lady Fry, wife of the British Ambassador, was director of this year’s exhibition. If you have been to the Queen’s birthday celebration at the British Embassy, you know she really knows what she is doing when it comes to table settings, ikebana, and art. Participants this year included long-time friend Lisa Alcikawa. Lisa was in several films many years ago I helped do publicity for. Now she’s a well-known bead embroidery artist. Kudos to the British School—their kids looking like they’re right out of a Harry Potter film—they put a lot of time and effort into their settings. Daniele Yoshiko-shi used the Cote d’Azur where she and her husband Koichiro have a beautiful country home as the inspiration for their beautiful setting. It was nice meeting Tom Wedgewood (8th generation of the legendary porcelain makers) and his wife Yumiko. I always remember back in Perrysburg Ohio, one of my grandmother’s (God Bless her soul) cherished possessions was a Wedgewood soup bowl. Our sincerest congratulations to the members of RIJ and their friends who worked so hard to make the Art of Dining the big success that it was.
There was a large turnout as well at the Apostolic Nundature when Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello hosted a reception on the occasion of the second anniversary of the pontification of his holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Once guests congratulated the host they moved into the garden to talk with friends, enjoy the bountiful buffet, and the midday break. They had put up tents just in case it rained, but the weather stayed nice. Of course, that meant someone had to tell the host “somebody up there likes you.” I heard that twice! Over at the Grand Hyatt, Thai Airways International Public Co. Ltd hosted a grand reception on April S. In addition to saying sayonara to M.L. Bhudhisam Varavam, who has been general manager here for three and a half years, the event was to introduce his successor Wiwat Piyawiroj, but unfortunately, his arrival date had to be changed; I’m looking forward to meeting him soon.
Thanks to Haitian Ambassador Jean Claude Bordes, I had an enjoyable break with some very interesting Japanese during Golden Week. This took place in a house art gallery near Shibuya. Others there included artists, producers, and actors. I especially enjoyed talking with a fine young actor about Mongolia. He had been there recently working on Kadokawa’s epic film on Genghis Khan. Alin Solan had produced an excellent buffet of Haitian food, which everyone enjoyed. I was also happy to share the artistry of six Haitian painters Jean Claude had given me during his first tour of duty here. They’re at the top of my list of favorite prized possessions.
As I previously mentioned, after 27 years, the Lexington Queen has reopened under new management—the progressive Kaguwa Company—and under the new name, New Lex—Edo. Kaguwa put a lot of money into completely renovating the club and it looks really good. Drop by and check it out for yourselves.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga