Bill’s Partyline May 2000
I got back to Tokyo on Apr. 26 in time for the concert by multi Grammy-winning Carlos Santana and his group. The super show could not have been more exciting, and Santana’s friend (mine, too) Eric Clapton was in town and joined the group for the last half of their concert. Eric was also here to see the Pride fight at Tokyo Dome on May 1. A lot of the legendary Gracie brothers were here to fight, and they dropped by the Lex to say hello. These are nice guys, really mellow when they’re not in the ring. On Monday, May 1, pop idol Britney Spears, here promoting her new CD, “Oops, I Did It Again,” dropped by the Lex with her entourage. They partied on into the a.m.
Worked with Warner Brothers on a four-day promo for their box office hit, “Romeo Must Die.” Joel Silver, the world’s top action producer, was here with martial arts superstar Jet Li and his co-star, singer actress Alliyah. Had dinner with the Iretons, Bill’s executive staff and the visiting celebrities at Inakaya on May 8, and I had the privilege of sitting by Jet. What an interesting guy! Our congratulations on the birth of his new daughter. More on all this later.
Honoring Prince and Princess Hitachi
I love Thai food and am sorry I couldn’t stay for the dinner hosted by Thai Ambassador Sakthip Krairiksh and his wife Benchapa in honor of Prince and Princess Hitachi, but am glad I dropped by for cocktails. Benchapa’s cousin Siri Chalerm is a real expert on Thai food with regular cooking classes on TV and cooking columns in several publications in Thailand, and had planned and helped prepare the dinner. I was talking with Princess Hitachi a few days later, and she said it was excellent.
A week or so later, I was able to stay for a dinner hosted by the Krairikshes for Hisanaga Shimazu and his wife Takako. He’s with Sony; she’s the sister of Emperor Akihito. As at the dinner for the Hitachis, the evening started out with a program of Thai classical dancers. At dinner, I had the privilege of sitting between two of Tokyo’s nicest, and my favorite, people, U.S. Ambassador Tom Foley and Tessie Abe. Interesting people, lively conversation and wonderful Thai food added up to a super evening.
GREEK NATIONAL DAY
Got lost when I tried to find the home of Greek Ambassador Elias Katsareas and his wife Maria, so felt lucky when I spotted an embassy car and followed it. The problem was they were as lost as I. We went around and around and when we finally arrived, the Katsareases were hosting a mid-day reception to celebrate the Greek National Day. It was well worthwhile. There was wall-to-wall interesting people, all enjoying the festive mood and the delicious Greek food.
Like those clever TV ads with the bunny, where the main theme is “Eveready batteries just go on and on,” Kozo Hasegawa’s Global Dining company does just that. It seems like every week I receive an invitation to the opening of yet another one of their new restaurants. The most recent was not for one, but four, eateries, all in the new large-scale entertainment restaurant zone, Glien Passage, in Odaiba. In addition to Global Dining’s well-established chains, La Boheme, Zest and Maison, they’re introducing a new concept in Japanese cuisine at Gonpachi.
Over at the Hilton Tokyo, I pigged out on their superb Moghul Curry Lunch Buffet. Kudos to Pakistani chef Abdul Rashid who flew in from the Colombo Hilton. The ¥1,500 charge is really a bargain for pricey Tokyo.
Tokyo restaurateur Junichi Matsumoto, fast to pick up on international trends, has just redecorated and changed the long-established Charleston in Roppongi to the House of Chili. The menu includes nachos, Cajun spicy chicken, Mexican salad, curries and pasta. Drinks include a variety of margaritas, sangria, tequila, rum and, if you don’t drink alcohol, strawberry and mango smoothies.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender