One of our city’s living legends, Dr. Eugene Aksenoff (International Clinic), celebrated his 80th birthday on Mar. 18. To honor the occasion, his wife Keiko, son Nicholas and the clinic staff held a birthday party at Brasserie Va-Tout in Roppongi. Both rooms of the large cafe were filled wall-to-wall with interesting people, all friends and, for the most part, patients of the good doctor. Eugene’s a man with a heart of gold and is always there to help everyone he can whenever he can. from time to time, I’ve asked him to help young models and foreign laborers here and, even when they had no money to pay, he took care of them. That’s the way the man is. Eugene is also a favorite of visiting celebrities who have health problems during their visit to Tokyo.
It was a beautiful day in every way on Sunday, Mar. 14, when the Irish Network and their many friends got together on Omote Sando for the biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day parade ever in Tokyo. A lot of the special fashions worn by spectators equaled the colorful (mostly green) costumes of those marching in the parade. The group of beautiful Irish setters all wore green ribbons and vests and even a cap or two, and I saw a girl dressed like a big banana. Is that Irish? Irish Minister of Education Noel Dempsey and Shibuya Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara joined Irish Ambassador Padraig Murphy and the parade’s Grand Marshal, Declan Collins. It was a fun and festive event with a few floats, marching bands, drum majorettes, dogs (Irish setters, of course), Irish music and dancing. Guinness, as always, was a major contributor with lots of people giving out free Guinness, and huge Guinness balloons floating everywhere.
It was also a beautiful and colorful night at the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center when Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Vladimir Raspudic and his wife Tatjana invited friends to a performance of the Cajavec folkloric group. The talented ensemble ( 40 dancers and musicians) came from the town of Banjaluka and, during their 40-day tour in Japan, they gave 23 performances (all sold out) throughout the country. Vladimir and Tatjana are justifiably proud of one of their country’s most popular folkloric groups.
Over in Shinjuku, Hilton Tokyo invited about 500 VIPs to a gala dinner and a night of Japan’s best jazz by Naoki Suzuki, “Japan’s Benny Goodman: The occasion was to celebrate Hilton Tokyo’s 20th anniversary. I appreciated having a seat at one of the head tables which I shared with a very diverse group of interesting people. These include Masahisa Segawa who publishes a monthly magazine on one of my favorite subjects, Broadway musicals; TV personality Asei Kobayashi, president of the Pan School of Music; Thomas Novohradsky, artistic director of the new National Theater of Tokyo, baseball manager Katsuya Nomura and his wife Sachiyo.
She, at age 60-plus, posed for a book of nude photos and is, as you can sec by the photos here, a good-looking woman. The “progressive dinner” prepared by Hilton Tokyo’s executive chef was superb, with each course coming from a different restaurant in the hotel. Our congratulations on the Hilton’s 20th, a very special occasion indeed. Paul V. Harvey, and congratulations on his appointment as Vice President-Japan and Micronesia for Hilton International and General Manager, Hilton Tokyo. His predecessor, Michael Nigitsch who held that position for four years, has moved into other hotel-related business.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender