Libyan leader Muammar Khadafy’s son H.E. Enq. Saif Al Islam Khadafy was in Japan for several days. The president of the Khadafy International Foundation for Charity Associations gave a quick talk on the “Libya in the 21st Century” program at the U.N. House Conference Hall. He placed special emphasis on the changes since the Dec. 19, 2003 rejection of weapons of mass destruction. Since that declaration, the U.N. and E.U. have all lifted sanctions they had against the country; U.S. diplomacy has been resumed, and world leaders including the British Prime Minister, German Chancellor, French President and Canadian Prime Minister have recently visited. I have Libyan friends all over the world and have driven to their border twice when I was in southern Tunisia. I plan on visiting there this year.
Friends will miss Hilton Tokyo Hotel Manager, Thomas Hoeborn, but at the same time sort of envy him. After six years here Thomas has been promoted to the General Manager of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort, in one of Thailand’s most charming beach resorts. We wish him all the best. At the same time we’d like to welcome his successor, Christian Baudat who has been promoted to General Manager of Hilton Tokyo. Christian has been with the Hilton for almost 20 years and came to Tokyo from the Hilton Nagoya where he was General Manager. I’m sure Christian — who speaks fluent Japanese — will do very well in his new assignment.
It rained, but spirits were high the night the Thai Ambassador Suvidhya Simaskul and his wife Boontipa, hosted a welcome party at their home for the entertainers Thai Air flew in to perform at the two day Thai Festival in Yoyogi Park. These included the very popular band Carabao, vocalist Lanna Commins (she’s Thai-Australian), traditional musicians and singers, as well as dancers.
Our sincerest congratulations, as well, to our British friends on the birthday of their beloved Queen, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. To celebrate the auspicious occasion, in the presence of H.RH. The Duke of York, British Ambassador Graham Holbrook Fry and his wife Toyoko hosted a midday reception at their residence. It was raining a bit that day so stylish tents had been set up in the garden. Once guests had congratulated the host and hostess and their special guest, most moved to the garden to mingle with their friends, and enjoy the wide selection of England’s favorite foods being served there. I headed for the fish and chips table and ate more than I should have. I enjoyed talking with a few friends and later moved into the residence where I was directed to one of the smaller rooms to “try the fresh scones” — prepared by the Peter Rabbit Tea Garden — which recently opened in Jiyugaoka. Vodaphone CFO John Durkin was there and we both agreed, the scones were excellent. The Frys had gone all out to make the reception the very special occasion it was. Live bagpipe music, flowers and wall-to-wall interesting people made it all truly memorable. This was my first time to meet Graham and Toyoko. They’re an outgoing nice couple who I’m sure will be very popular here.
Scintilla Monaco, the exclusive diamond jewelry brand from Monaco, hosted its first public event in Japan on Mar. 24, 2005 in cooperation with UBS Wealth Management and Grand Hyatt Tokyo and with Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado as the guest of honor. The Chapel of the Grand Hyatt was the elegant background for a unique opera concert, where the French soprano Aurore Dib and the Japanese soprano Megumi Yokoi performed a classical repertoire from European masters. Ms. Yokoi was on her first public performance in Japan after years of successful recitals and competitions in Italy.
There will be a series of Blast shows at Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku Nenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28. Drummer Naoki Ishikawa is the only Japanese in the American musical, and believe me – like everyone in the show – he’s good. So good in fact I was able to help him get a great part in idol maker Johnny Kitagawa’s original musical Shock which had sold out a two-month run at the Imperial Theater earlier this year. Naoki not only had a great solo in Shock, he had a drum duet with Koichi Naoki Ishikawa is the only Japanese in the American musical, and believe me — like everyone in the show — he’s good. So good in fact I was able to help him get a great part in idol maker Johnny Kitagawa’s original musical Shock which had sold out a two month run at the Imperial Theater earlier this year. Naoki not only had a great solo in Shock, he had a drum duet with Koichi Domoto who is truly one of Japan superstars.
I was happy to hear that St. Marrs International School Ball, which was held at Grand Hyatt Tokyo, was a big success in every way. I dropped by for 15 minutes, but stayed for over an hour talking with, and taking photos of so many friends who were there. The men, mostly in tuxedos, and the ladies, in a variety of super-chic gowns really added to the already glamorous evening. I’m sorry I missed St. Mary’s Bell Choir Performance. Those boys are good. I did talk with some of the members I knew, and I got a couple of photos as well When they wrote their names for me I told Riki Mifune that I knew the late great actor Toshiro Mifune very well, he said, “he was my grandfather.” As the song from the musical Gypsy goes, “small world isn’t it”.
The Grand Hyatt Tokyo presented an exhibition of French photographer Simon Chaput’s recent black and white photographs of nudes. Simon is based in New York and has worked with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude on many of their projects. He was a recipient of a photography grant from The Henry Luce Foundation, was a big hit at the Paris Photo Fair in 2003, and has work included in private collections around the world. Congratulations too to Caroline Heiroth, Lotta Cronsjo Gest and Joachim on the super Home Swedish Home Exhibition created and set up at the Swedish Embassy.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga