First, there was Ben Affleck. I spent considerable time with this great guy whenever he visited Tokyo. On one of his visits, I had a big bonus — Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler’s actress daughter, Liv, who’s not only beautiful and talented but also fun and really nice. She partied with us every night when she and Ben were here on a promotional visit.
Jodie Foster was a special guest at the Globes. She looked wonderful and I had a hard time believing she’s 50. Her speech on her life and love of her work was really moving. I’ve spent a lot of time with her and even got to introduce her to many Tokyoites at a party in her honor at the US Embassy. She’s so intelligent and has a great sense of humor.
George Clooney’s fun as well. I was in Osaka with him and a few of his friends on an Oceans’ film campaign. We were in a van when we got stuck in traffic so he started singing “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie”. I hummed the tune a bit, and he said “let’s sing it together.” We did, and his entourage applauded and laughed. George, by the way, has a great voice as did his aunt, popular vocalist Rosemary “This Old House” Clooney.
There have been lots of 15th Anniversary events the last few months for some reason. Let’s start at the beautiful Meguro Gajoen venue where Lady Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno hosted her magnificent 15th Grand Imperial Charity Banquet. Over SOO people attended the NPO, Earth Aid Society’s gala evening and the night was first class
all the way. Major supporters included Dupont Japan K.K., Garuda Indonesia, Met Hennessy and Lladro Japan. Proceeds went to the Japan Red Cross Society and the Association for Aid and Relief Japan. The multi-course dinner was excellent.
Glittering Oman National Day celebration
Oman is one of the few Arab countries I haven’t had the opportunity to visit but good friends, and two of the world’s top travelers, Mitsuo and Lilo Maruyama, tell me it’s really a magical destination in every way. I have had the privilege of getting to know the country’s top representatives, ambassador Mohammed al-Muslahl, his wife Abeer and their special children. Mohammed is really good at his work and has a warm, laid-back sense of humor. Abeer is full of energy, a great planner and organizer and is always involved in worthwhile projects that help others. I’ve worked with her on a few things including Halloween parties for handicapped kids and she really goes all out to make her events for others fun and special. Thanks for the memories… and God bless.
Diplomats’ Photo Exhibition a big success
It was the 15th year as well for the annual Japan Through Diplomatic Eyes photo contest and exhibition. This year’s event was subtitled “Hope and Renewal” and the venue, the Roppongi Hills Cafe Space, was wall-to-wall with people. VIPs there included HIH Princess Takamado, who’s honorary president. Colombian ambassador Patricia Cardenas, the chairperson, and Diet member Nobutaka Machimura, head of the jury. The opening program included significant speeches by two of the major sponsors. Canon inc.’s executive officer Kazuhiko Noguchi and BMW executive Sven Straub. It was nice seeing long-time friend, Latvian ambassador Peteris Vaivars, win the grand prize and a young lady from Lithuania, Asta Slavinskaite, take the Prince Takamado Memorial Prize. My congratulations to each and every one of the entries for the thought, time and effort they put Into making their photo creations interesting and original.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga