A healthy and happy Ayako Koshino recently turned 88 and, to help her celebrate, her three designing daughters, Junko, Michiko and Hiroko, hosted a fantastic birthday party at the Imperial Hotel. The venue was beautifully decorated Japanese style with lots of green bamboo, huge gold fans and sake barrels everywhere. The colorful crowd included film stars, pop music idols and fashion personalities. Dewi Sukarno attracts a lot of attention wherever she goes and was there with her at-that-time “boyfriend.” He, if I remember correctly, was from Arkansas.
If you’ve been here any length of time, you probably remember the late Nagaharu Yodogawa, one of Japan’s top movie critics. He used to close his show by rapidly repeating, “Sayonara, sayonara, sayonara.” With all the farewell parties for good friends, I could say the same thing.
People who have recently left or will soon be leaving include Irish Ambassador Declan O’Donovan, German Ambassador Uwe Kaestner and his wife Dagmar, Papua New Guinea Ambassador Aiwa Olmi and his wife Bernadette, Thai Ambassador Sakthip Krairiksh and his wife Benchapa, Saudi Ambassador Mohamed Kurdi and his wife Widad, Laotian Ambassador Thongsay Bodhisane and his wife Vayakone and Madagascar Ambassador Cyrille Fida and his wife Raharifina.
The grand-in-every-way 10th-anniversary ceremony of the City Club of Tokyo was hosted by the Board of Governors Chairman, Yasushi Akashi, Canadian Ambassador Leonard Edwards and CCA Holdings Ltd. Chairman Dieter R. Klostermann. The special evening was officiated by HIH Prince Mikasa, and the venue was the spacious Place Canada Grand Foyer and Terrace. Everyone who is anybody (and a few who aren’t) on Tokyo’s diplomatic and social scenes was there. HIH Prince and Princess Takamado were also there as was now retired sumo wrestler Akebono. It was also nice to see Andrew Hepburn, former General Manager of the City Club of Tokyo and now G.M., Brockot Hall Golf Club in London.
Also enjoyed a very special dinner prepared by Chilean chef Joel Solorza and complemented by world-renown Chilean wines for the opening of the Chile Fair at the Tokyo Prince Hotel. What made it even more special was the fact I was seated next to Chilean Ambassador Demetria Infante, and that gave me an hour or so to get to know the man better. He has a very interesting background and his diplomatic career has taken him to many parts of the world. Demetria and his wife Angela have been really busy. The magnificent Chilean naval officers training ship Esmeralda sailed into Tokyo as part of its around-the-world cruise and, during its four days docked at Harumi Pier, the Infantes co-hosted, along with the ship’s captain, an exciting evening on board the Esmeralda. More on this later.
It was wall-to-wall people at the Hotel New Otani’s huge Ho-Oh Room when Moroccan Ambassador Mohamed Tangi and his wife Alia hosted a reception to celebrate the anniversary of the ascension of King Mohammed VI to the throne in 1999, following the death of his highly respected father, King Hassan II. According to reports, this was one of the best-attended Moroccan National Days ever. The crowd was an interesting mix of top government officials, diplomats, business leaders and many other friends of the Tangis. I enjoyed talking with Saad Eddin Taib, the former Moroccan Ambassador to Japan who now lives in Jeddah where he’s working with the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It was a laid-back evening of good company and good cous-cous, perfect for the occasion.
Had a group of professional surfers in the Lex recently. The Australians really seemed to be having a good time, while the Japanese just looked on. I asked one why he wasn’t meeting people and dancing. “When we’re in the ocean, we’re men. When we’re in the city, we’re lost,” he answered seriously.
Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) will hold its 2001 Connoisseur’s Auction on Nov. 16 at the magnificent residence of British Ambassador Sir Stephen and Lady Gomersall. The buffet starts at 5:30 p.m. and the charity auction at 7.
Don’t forget the International Ladies Benevolent Society Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Akasaka Prince Hotel.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender