Joan Sheppard

Bill Hersey’s Partyline June 1982

June? I can’t believe it, but here we are already into another new month. Holiday-wise, there’s not all that much happening. The Japanese don’t have any national holiday this ionth, and the only thing I wee on my U.S. calendar is Flag Day on Monday the 14th and Father’s Day on Sunday the 20th.

You can catch some Japanese culture this month. From the 10th through the 16th, there’ll be the Sanno Festival at the Hie Shrine, conveniently located right in front of the Tokyo Hilton. The festival originated in the Edo era and is one of Tokyo’s biggest and most colorful. Tsuyu, the rainy season, comes in June, but the way world weather patterns have changed, you can’t really predict how much rain we will have.

Prime Minister Suzuki hosts garden party

On May 25 I had the privilege of attending Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki’s annual garden party at his official residence in Nagata-cho. The party was in the afternoon and honored entertainers and people in cultural circles (Geijitsa Bunka.) There were more than a thousand guests, the weather was perfect and it was really a colorful, interesting gathering of people. Friends there included Judy Ongg, Frankie Sakai, Sen Masao, Joan Shepherd, Yoko Komatsubara, Misa Watanabe, Dietmember Michio Ochi and his wife Kazuko (daughter of former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda), Keiko Matsuzaka, Ayako Sawada and, of course, my friend Diet-member Bunsei Sato who had arranged the invitation for me.

Judy Ongg
Judy Ongg enjoying the attention at Prime Minister Suzuki’s Garden Party

Judy Ongg told me she’s starring in the musical “Gigi” at the Mitsukoshi Royal Theater through the 26th. I enjoyed talking with some of the Takarazuka girls I had met years ago through choreographer Paddy Stone who did some work for them. Paddy, by the way, has choreographed all the numbers for Julie Andrews and the rest of the cast in “Victor Victoria” and even has a cameo role in the entertaining film which CIC will release here later this year. It was fun talking with “Venus,” a doo-wop type band that was about to leave for New York, Memphis, Nash-ville, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Hawaii. During their U.S. trip they’ll record at Nashville with Del Shannon. More and more Japanese artists are doing this lately.

There were welcome and congratulatory speeches by Prime Minister Suzuki, Bunsei Sato and a few other top officials, kampai and lots of mixing, enjoying the buffet and photo taking.

Top: A gorgeous line-up of Takarazuka stars. Bottom: Roy Garner (Japan correspondent for Computing Weekly newspaper), top entertainer Frankie Sakai, French correspondent Alfred Smoular, Dr. V.D. Khan-Yousufza and popular actress Yoko Minamida.
Top: A gorgeous line-up of Takarazuka stars. Bottom: Roy Garner (Japan correspondent for Computing Weekly newspaper), top entertainer Frankie Sakai, French correspondent Alfred Smoular, Dr. V.D. Khan-Yousufza and popular actress Yoko Minamida.

George Duke party at the LEX

We had a little party for jazz superstar George Duke (doing a promotional tour here) and singer Patti Austin (doing a concert tour here) at the LEX. Mellow people who really know their business. One of the local weeklies called me about a dozen times and wanted to talk to me about the time I spent with Akira Fuse and his wife Olivia Hussey while I was in L.A. I told them there wasn’t really anything to talk about … Olivia had told me she was pregnant, they were both vet-. elated about it and they are– happy together. Still, the re-porter insisted, so after calling Olivia and getting her per-mission, I agreed to meet with them. It was too noisy to talk in the Lex, so we went upstairs to Berni Inn. The place was pretty empty except for a few Australians playing darts. When I started to say Akira and Olivia, the translator and journalist looked up and said simultaneously, “Sh-h-h-h-hl” I was then asked not to use the names but to refer to Olivia as “Miss 0” and Akira as “Mr. A.” Shades of the CIA and KGB; felt just like James Bondo. I couldn’t see why they were cautious…the few Aussies in Berni’s were only interested in the birds and their booze, but “Mr. B” went along with it and, hard as it was too believe, the three-page story came out a few days later pretty much like the interview.

My Say My Way

I’ve been working with Corky and writing for The Weekender some 12 years now. We don’t agree on everything, there are some hassles when I’m late with the column, but all in all it’s been a really enjoyable, rewarding experience for me. If you know Cork, you know he’s about as above-board and honest as a guy can get, and that means a lot in a working relationship. This was why I declined meeting with a few men who were putting out a publication called The Embassy Journal six or seven months ago. I was introduced to them at an embassy party and they told me they had been trying to contact me about writing for them.

Another man—an American, I think—who was carrying a camera did everything he could to keep me from talking directly to the two Japanese. I figured he must have been working for them, didn’t want to cut him out of whatever, was perfectly satisfied with what I was doing, so put the name cards in my file and forgot about it.

Well, the other evening I heard that the magazine was supported by a company that doesn’t have a very good name (especially in the political world), the magazine has gone under and that a few people who were affiliated with it are “being watched.” Frankly, I don’t know how much of this is true, but things like that do happen here and over the years in Japan, I’ve seen some real con men come and go. We’ll talk about that another time.

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