Saturday the 2nd was another celeb-packed night at the Lexington. My good friend Yoshi Aoyama kept his promise and brought in one of his clients — Davy Jones, formerly of The Monkees. Although the group hasn’t been together for some time, Davy’s popularity has grown in Japan. His solo concerts were sold out and there’re plans for he and the other members of The Monkees to get back together and do some concerts later this year. Meanwhile, he left for London the next day as he had to ride in a race. Davy’s been riding as a jockey, something he did before he got into pop music.
On Thursday the 7th joined nearly 500 people at the Jewish Community Center where Israeli Ambassador and Mrs. Amnon Ben-Yohanan were giving a noontime reception to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the independence day of Israel. The guests represented a wide spectrum of the diplomatic, business and social world. Liz Klaverkamp was there and looks great with a tan and new hairstyle. U.S. Scientific Counsellor Justin Bloom and his wife Roslyn told me they’ll be leaving soon after six years in Japan. London’s gain is Tokyo’s loss! They will be missed.
Talked with Paraguayan Ambassador Marcos Mendieta and didn’t envy the schedule he was faced with. In addition to Paraguay’s National Day celebration, Thursday, May 14, he also was expecting a very important delegation headed by Alberto Nogues, Foreign Minister of Paraguay. More on this later.
Walter Citrin, president of the JCC, extended an invitation for dinner at the Center on the following Saturday, but work made it impossible to attend. Sorry, as world-famous violinist Isaac Stern was the special guest, and I would have loved to meet the man.
“Perfection” best describes the evening at Nicole Depeyre’s beautiful Japanese home on Friday the 8th. That lady has really got it all together. Guests relaxed around the living room the early part of the evening drinking, laughing and thoroughly enjoying. The sliding doors that go out into the garden were open and Nicole had large candles strategically placed enhancing the natural beauty of the house and garden. The guest of honor that evening was the Marquis Roussy de Sales. I learned you don’t use his first name “Francois” when you use his title. Francois, International director for Christian Dior Parfums, was here on company business, but generously took time out of his busy schedule to be a special guest at the Samba Regency Charity Party. We’ll be talking about that next column.
Paul Bocuse personally prepared a very special dinner for nearly 100 guests to officially open “Paul Bocuse Week” at the Rengaya Restaurant in Ginza. United Artists brought over actress Lynn Holly Johnson (“Ice Castles”), co-starring in their new James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” and two of the knockout new Bond Girls, Kim Louise Mills and Elizabeth Celia Warville to promote the film which opens here July 4.
Prominent in the crowd were Hisanaga and Takako Shimazu (she’s the youngest daughter of Japan’s Emperor) their good friends Georges and Koko Toby, Syrian Ambassador and Mrs. Abdul Atassi, Tanzanian Ambassador and Mrs. Ahmed Sikina with their daughter, Laila, Mitsuo and Lilo Maruyama, Amy Sung, Will and Yoshie Kamei, French Cultural Consul Gerard Coste, Takenosuke and Chizuko (her brother Kunihiko Yoki will marry June 20) Sakakura and Francoise Morechand and her daughter Agathe.
On Thursday the 14th drove out to the Shirogane Guest House where Paraguayan Ambassador Marcos Mendieta and his wife Francoise were hosting a reception on the occasion of their Independence Day. The Mendietas really get out into both Japanese and foreign communities, meet a lot of people and are very well liked. Consequently, in addition to the usual mix of diplomats, government officials and businessmen one sees at a National Day celebration, there were many interesting people from other walks of life as well. These included one of my French friends, Hubert Joignant who happily told me he was just chosen for “a very big role in an NHK film.” He’ll be leaving with the NHK crew for locations in New York and other parts of the U.S. soon.
The weather was perfect that evening and guests moved from the main reception room where there was a Continental buffet to the garden where booths were serving Japanese food back into the reception room for a program of Paraguayian music by visiting artists. It was one of those good evenings . . . in every way.
Monday the 18th, and the schedule was pretty heavy. Things started at noon at a luncheon the Hawaii Visitors Bureau was giving at the Tokyo, Kaikan. The guest of honor was Jean Ariyoshi, dynamic wife of Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi. Jean was here to present Aloha Awards to three people “who have greatly contributed to promoting Japanese tourism to Hawaii and towards furthering good relations between Japan and Hawaii.” I’ll have photos on this next column. Couldn’t stay for lunch or the presentations, but was happy to have the chance to talk with Jean again, and also see an old friend I hadn’t seen for quite sometime, TV personality Mickey Yasukawa. He hasn’t changed a bit.
Late that afternoon, I did attend “a tea party” at the Tunisian ambassador’s residence, given by the African-Arab Women’s Group in honor of Mme. Sally Mugabe, in Japan on a four-day visit with her husband, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
It was a colorful gathering with many of the ladies wearing their national dress, flowers everywhere and a superb buffet that featured a special dish from each of the countries belonging to the African-Arab Women’s Group.
There was a short speech by Almaz Atlabachew, wife of the Ethiopian Ambassador, and then each guest had the opportunity to meet and talk with Mme. Mugabe. Even though Zimbabwe is a new country, she has already received international recognition for her work with children and efforts to promote the welfare of her people. Like everyone else there, I really appreciated the opportunity to meet the lady.
On Thursday the 21st I dropped by the HandIs’ tastefully decorated apartment where Baby was giving a luncheon for a dozen or so friends. I had planned on just staying a few minutes, but with the interesting people and the superb buffet, I stayed on for more like an hour. Guests there that day included Jean Ariyoshi, wife of Hawaii’s Governor George Ariyoshi, their daughter Lynne who attends Sophia University, Claire Bell and her model-dancer daughter Jane, who were here from NYC, Aida Valdes, wife of the Philippine Ambassador, Sawssan Atassi, wife of the Syrian Ambassador, Maha Debs, Chichan Plessner and Natalie Ermakoff. Much of the talk centered around different charity programs each of the ladies are involved in (they are busy), and moved into their summer plans with their families.
From the Hilton moved over to the New Otani for the Asian Ladies Friendship Society’s annual bazaar. The always popular event was wall-to-wall people, and everyone was enjoying the many kinds of food, the shopping bargains from each country represented and the program of entertainment. I played pig and ate curry from Sri Lanka, a noodle dish from Singapore, satay from Indonesia and adobo and mango from the Philippines.
I did take time out to watch the program, and like everyone there, was fascinated by the dancers from Nepal. HIH Princess Mikasa was the patron this year, Nafisa Choudhury, wife of the Bangladesh Ambassador, was Chairman of the event and Abeeda Islam, wife of the Pakistani Ambassador, was M. C. My congratulations to those ladies and all the others who worked so hard making the charity bazaar the huge success that it was.
I didn’t have any trouble finding the West German Embassy, but parking was a problem. Recent arrived Ambassador and Mrs. Klaus Blech of the Federal Republic of Germany were hosting a reception to celebrate their Constitution Day, and from the looks of the crowd, just about everyone came to help them celebrate.
After congratulating Ambassador and Mrs. Blech and members of their staff in the reception room, guests moved out into the residence’s spacious gardens which had been colorfully decorated for the evening, Paper lanterns were hung everywhere, booths served beer, wine and German food specialities, and in a far corner of the garden a uniformed brass band was playing German music.
I couldn’t stay long, but did have a chance to meet the new ambassador and his lady and congratulate them and many other German friends. I also talked with Sony Chairman Akio Morita, and told him I was almost afraid to buy any of his products, as they have new things coming out every day. He tried to explain some of Sony’s new cine-equipment Francis Ford Coppola will be using in his next film. It didn’t take him long to realize my ability and knowledge in things electrical is limited to plugging something in and turning it on. I appreciate his trying anyway.
Now that Danny’s party life is out of the way, I’d better get started on my own. On Monday, May 25, Argentine Ambassador Gabriel Oliva held a midday reception to celebrate the National Day of the Argentine Republic. It had been raining and cloudy earlier that morning, but the gods were good and by noon things had cleared up. The guests were the usual mix of diplomats, government officials and business leaders one expects at national day celebrations. Considerable color and spectacle were added that day by the many military attaches in full dress uniform. “I feel out of place not in uniform,” J. Walter Thompson’s Tom Sutton told me. I know Tom well enough to understand that he doesn’t feel out of place anywhere. I also know he spent some very worthwhile years in uniform. An interesting and talented guy. Get to know him if you have the opportunity.
Booths serving Japanese food and Argentine wines and cheesses had been set up around the garden and there were lavish buffet tables on the verandah and in the house. The guests, many of whom are always on the run, seemed more relaxed that day, slowed down a bit, and enjoyed the always gracious hospitality of the Olivas. In addition to seeing many old friends, we had the opportunity to meet several new people as well. They included the new Ambassador from Burma, U Saw Htun and the new Ambassador from Malaysia, A. B. Jamaluddin. It was a beautiful reception, one very fitting for the occasion.
That evening Mr. and Mrs. Christophe R. Gautier gave a cocktail party at their home to introduce General and Mrs. Thomas Stafford. A former NASA astronaut, Gen. Stafford is now chairman of Omega Watch Corporation in the U.S., in Japan on a business trip. By chance, another former astronaut, Walter Schirra, a friend of Stafford’s (they were on Gemini VI together), was in Japan and the Gautiers invited Mr. and Mrs. Schirra. A happy reunion! Other special guests from out of town included Daniel Fauvre, Omega’s general manager in Switzerland.
Local guests were an interesting mix of diplomats and business leaders from both the Japanese and foreign communities. With the number of people there, it was difficult to ask the former astronauts the many questions most of us had in our minds about their NASA experience, but like everyone else, I felt very privileged to meet these two pioneers in space travel.
Wednesday the 27th and another sayonara. This one was hosted by U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Maureen Mansfield at their residence to say farewell to U.S. Minister-Counsellor William C. Sherman and his wife Mary Jane. The Shermans, in Japan for four years, were a very active and popular couple and, as expected, the residence was wall-to-wall people from both the foreign and Japanese communities and from all walks of life.
Chiye Hachisuka talked about her summer plans (she’s left for the U.S. and Canada), Wes Benson looked tan and fit after a week or so with a group of pro golfers here for a tournament, and Ray Bushell showed me the cover jacket of a new book he has coming out soon. The title is “Art of Netsuke Carving” by Masatoshi as told to Raymond Bushell. It’s being published by Kodansha and will be in the better book-shops by early July.
Maureen Mansfield was just back from Washington, D.C., and looked lovely in a long silk dress and jacket she “had picked up while back home.” Bill and Mary Jane have left by now; posted in New York where he’ll be one of the U.S. Senior Ambassadors to the United Nations. They said they are sorry to leave Japan and their many friends here, but with their love of and involvement in the theater (they have a daughter who’s an actress in NYC), there’s no place any better or any more active than the Apple.
Superstar Sylvester Stallone was also in town for CIC to promote their soon to be released “Nighthawks.” Las Vegas Airlines President and Chairman Don Donahue was in town with his wife and I met the personable couple at a big party for our Davey Jones.