Princess Takamado is not only busy with her many duties, but also carrying on many of the projects of her late and great husband, Prince Takamado. She is working with the Tobacco and Salt Museum on setting up an exhibition of Prince Takamado’s netsuke collection. The collection has been shown at major cities around the world, and the princess told me, “This will be the largest number of the netsuke collection ever shown at one time.
As always, it was standing room only at the showings of Jun Ashida’s latest collection, 2003-2004 Autumn Winter. Titled “Casual Luxury,’ the seven scenes showed Jun’s creativity and originality at its best. He is a true master of his craft.
There was a big turnout for the showing of Hanae Mori’s 2003 Spring Summer Haute Collection. The grand dame of fashion is now doing much of her designs out of her studio in the capital of fashion, Paris. The show gave me the opportunity to meet Catherine de Montserrand, wife of the new French Ambassador. I’m sure she’ll be very popular on the diplomatic and social scene here.
I’m usually out all night Friday so don’t like getting up all that early on Saturday. Even so, I am glad I made the effort to get up and go over to Universal International Pictures Ginza headquarters for a lunch. The occasion was for former Tokyoite, now London-based UIP President Andrew Cripps to introduce Paul T. Takaki as UIP’s new President and Representative Director for Japan. Takaki, an American-born CPA, was with Warner Bros. for 10 years from 1978, holding various positions at the home office and in Tokyo, including the establishment of Warner Bros. Consumer Products in Japan. He most recently was with the Italian publisher DeAgostini, where he headed its Japan operations. Unfortunately, Andrew had to catch a flight to Las Vegas so couldn’t stay for lunch. Our friends in the film business do keep busy.
Enjoyed talking with ACCJ President Lance Lee and meeting ACCJ members at a special Warner Bros. screening of the film adaptation of _Stephen King’s “Dreamcatcher.” It was a really scary film. Lance took off a few days later for Salt Lake City, where his busy schedule included meeting the Governor of Utah.
Dutch Ambassador Egbert Jacobs was in Kyoto for the World Water Symposium, so couldn’t be here for a party hosted by his dynamic wife Francoise at the Jacobs home, for visiting Dutch rock superstar Syb van der Ploeg. Francoise had studied a bit and gave her intro of Syb in Japanese. The guests for the most part were Japanese from the music and dance worlds, and they really appreciated Francoise’s efforts. Videos of Syb’s concerts in the Netherlands were proof positive of his popularity. The tens of thousands of screaming fans could well have been at a Rolling Stones or Aerosmith concert. Syb’s concerts have always been in Dutch, but now he’s released a CD in English and has high hopes of doing future concerts in English. After his intro, Syb tuned up his guitar and sang about a half dozen songs. He really is good on rock and more mellow sounds. A few nights later, Syb and a few friends dropped by the Lex, where they met some Japanese musicians and partied on into the a.m. He’s a good guy, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about him and his new band, Spanner.
My thanks to the Head Priest of the beautiful Togo Shrine, Toru Matsuhashi, for the invitation to two cherry blossom parties. I couldn’t get to the first one Mar. 28 when the weather was beautiful, and so many of my friends were there. I did go to the one on Apr. 2, but it was raining that night, and I was the only foreigner in the crowd. Oh well, that’s life.
Late but sincere congratulations to our Thai friends who celebrated their New Year’s (Song Kron) on Sunday, Apr. 13. Ambassador and Mrs. Kasit Piromya’s reception at their home was a colorful, festive celebration.
At Tokyo Hilton, a special promotion titled “Wings of Love” opens May 6 and runs through the 11th. Co-organizers are Birdlife Asia and Taj Enterprises. Princess Takamado, Honorary Patron of the Asian Division of the Rare Bird Club, and Noritaka Ichida, Director of Bird Life Asia, will participate in “Wings of Love?’ Tokyo Hilton is creating a special menu, “Natural Hilton:’ and there’ll be bird photo exhibitions, a jewelry show featuring the designs of Kazuo Ogawa and many other special activities for the event. For more info, call Public Relations at the Hilton, 3344-5111, ext. 219.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender