Sunday the 8th . . . what a beautiful day! I started out the morning at the antique market at Nogizaka . . . always fun. I ran into a lot of friends buying a lot of different things. I wanted a leopard skin I saw there, but not for Y70,000 .. . so ended up with two small ceramic figures: A World War II Japanese sailor and a medic with a dog, grand total Y2,500.
The mood was marvelous and very international with the friendly haggling over prices and comparing “treasures purchased” to the background of “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf, a very old record one vendor kept playing over and over on a very old phonograph. The market at Nogizaka is held the second Sunday of every month. Drop by. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Here are May’s highlights.
Mansfields’ reception to honor USIA head Charles Wick
In late April U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Mike Mansfield held a reception in their home in honor of the visiting Director of the U.S. Information Agency and Mrs. Charles Wick. Wick was held up at some meetings with Japanese govern-ment officials, so arrived a little late. This gave us the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the other special guests there that evening.
They included President’s Reagan’s brother and Mrs. Neil Reagan and Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Gilbert (he’s head of the Ronald Reagan Scholarship Fund of their alma mater, Eureka College in Eureka). I had planned to go to Daimaru for the opening reception of U.S. illustrator Antonio Lopez’ exhibit, but with all the interesting people at the Mansfields, it was difficult to get away so I had to pass that one up. I was able to spend considerable time around town with Antonio later, and will be talking more about him in the next column.
Spago Restaurant’s celeb-packed openings
Several months back when I was in Los Angeles, my brother Chris took me and a
few friends to the Spago Restaurant. Normally, one had to book about a month in
advance to get a table but somehow Chris, through one of his connections, managed to get us in. The super-popular eatery is owned and run by Wolfgang Puck, a young chef who made his name known internationally when he was with Ma Maison Restaurant in L.A. Wolfgang is the man behind what’s been labeled “California Cuisine.”
“Someone should open a place like this in Tokyo,” I told Wolfgang, who replied,
“Somebody is.” Well, that body turned out to be a good friend, Yoji Shimizu, who also owns the Playboy Club here in Tokyo, franchises the Playboy Japan, and owns the Tony Roma Restaurants around town.
Spago in Tokyo opened with four celebrity-packed invitation nights, and from the looks of things is fast becoming as popular as the original in Los Angeles. Wolfgang, Barbara Lazaroff (the interior designer who also decorated the L.A. Spago), Andre Miripoisky (the artist whose murals and mobiles make up part of the Spago’s unique decor), and several of the L.A. service staff were all here for the openings. Its a light, bright new addition to Tokyo’s eateries
The food is excellent, prices reasonable and the ambiance perfect. Spago is located behind the Roi Building, or you can get there by walking past Mr. Donuts, McDonald’s, Roppi’s new sportswear boutique, and another of Yoji’s projects (this one’s a hobby), the Roppongi Information Center. Watch that parking lot in front of Spago; Yoji has plans to open a Roppongi Branch of Tony Rorna’s there, and a Tokyo branch of London’s and more recently L.A.’s “Hard Rock Cafe.”
At right : Naomi (Mickie) Mizushima, Spago PR Gal Friday; Yoji Shimizu, owner of Spago; Barbara Lazaroff who created the interior design for the LA Spago as well as the new one in Roppongi; Wolfgang Puck, co-owner of the Tokyo restaurant and owner-chef in L.A.; actress Bonnie Lutz, noted illustrator Antonio Lopez and model John Hutson. Below, left: Wolfgang greets Austrian Ambassador and Mrs. Georg Hennig. Below, right: Yoji with Steve Le Page and his wife Trish (Steve’s head of the Australian Tourist Commission).
Above, left: Yoji with swimming champ ( and actress) Michiko Kihara. Above, right: Spago’s beautiful Hitomi, model-actress Cathy Fisher, her mom Helen and her model-actress sister Cristina. At right: Guitarist Endo-san, dancer-skater Martha Stewart, composer-musician Tsunaki Mihara, TV comedian Takao Yamada, actress-singer Kay Anna, Fujiyama-san and actress Mako Hattori. Below, left: Dick and Sanae Cropp cut up with songbird Joan Shepherd. Below, right: Corky Alexander and his buddy Gordon Baskett (here from Dallas) flank Kay Ricketts.
Nuit Cartier – Glittering, Glamorous
Cartier over the years has gained an international reputation for being the best, most chic and most innovative in jewelry, accessories . . . and, more recently, other lines the prestigious French company has gone into. Consequently, the 600 guests — including the cream of both Japanese and foreign society, entertainment celebrities, and many of Tokyo’s most beautiful people—expected something very special when they were invited to “Nuit Cartier” in the Hiten no Ma room at the Hotel Shin Takanawa Prince. No one was disappointed.
Francis Gouten, Director-General, Les Must de Cartier F. E. Ltd. and Les Must de Cartier K. K., had flown in to join Les Must de Cartier K. K. executives here as hosts of the glittering evening.
The entrance itself was impressive . . . a long, winding staircase, red carpets and bubbling fountains. Before the dinner and show, guests had cocktails in the reception area. This gave everyone a chance to see the Cartier exhibit set up there, and the opportunity to move around and say hello to friends. Tokyo’s women, always fashionable, really went all-out that evening, and the fashions were nothing less than fabulous.
Actor Toshiro Mifune was there with his Mika, and she looks great in a new shorter hairstyle. Princess Takeda and her friend Akiko Kaga were both the epitome of fashion. Both of Ken and Hanae Mori’s sons, Aki and Kei, were there. Kei has been especially busy setting up the Studio V fashion shows.
I enjoyed talking with Prince Norihito of Mikasa; with his three years studying in Canada, he’s very international, outgoing and personable.
I had a seat at a table very near the stage and really enjoyed the people I was with: actor Masumi Okada (who was M.C. that evening), stage and and fashion specialist Helene Higgins.
After dinner, which was excellent. there was a dynamic show that included an interesting new method of showing slides, laser beams and several sequences by model-dancers who had been flown in from Paris for the evening. The finale was spectacular as three four-meter bottles (Parfum Must de Cartier, Eau de Toilette Must de Cartier and Santos eau de toilette for men) slowly rose from below floor level to high above the audience. The Paris mannequins posed against the bottles and the lightning and smoke made it all extremely effe
Julio Iglesia Performing at NHK Hall
I returned to Tokyo on the 19th, so also missed the media-packed press conference Kyodo set up for international heartthrob, Spanish romantic singer Julio Iglesias. I met this nice man in Roppongi, intend to catch his dynamic show at NHK Hall and will be writing more about him later
Shugo Matsuo, Managing Director or EpicSony Records presents Spanish troubador Julio Iglesia with two platinum records at the party the company gave in honor of the international superstar; at the Tokyo Hilton. Julio- flanked by beauties Diane (from Paris) and Benee (from Honolulu)-obliges one of his millions of fans with an autograph; at the Epic-Sony party. Guests at the Samba party in Julio’s honor included Uzaki Ryuclo of the Boogie Woogie Band; his wife, Yoko Agi, and TV personality Kay Anna. Julio got into a serious conversation with Japan’s baseball idol Shigeo Nagashima and his wife.
Lexington Queen party for noted fashion photog Uwe Ommer brings out the beauties
One of the world’s top photographers Uwe Ommer from Munich flanked by Diane from Paris and Benee from Honolulu; at a party for Uwe in Roppongi
Another well-known German, fashion-glamour photo- grapher Uwe Ommer, was in town for a photo exhibit for Minolta, and before he re- turned to Europe, friends held a sayonara for him in Roppongi. It was an interesting evening as Uwe was able to spend some time with many of the American and European girls he’s photographed for publications all over the world.
Check out German photographer Uwe Ommer’s exhibit at Photo Space, 3rd Floor, Kawase Bldg. 3-17-5 Shinjuku. They’re open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the exhibition runs through May 2.