Devilish Smile Anne Hathaway was wonderful at the 20th Century Fox press conference for The Devil Wears Prada. There was a fashion show ramp in the venue at the Park Hyatt, and the program started with eight European models doing their thing to Madonna’s Vogue. After the show, the beautiful and outgoing actress, Anne, did an exaggerated “model’s” walk down the ramp before faking a fall. I really liked her natural and cool style at the press conference.
Director Tim Burton was back in town for the annual showing of his Disney digital 3D fantasy animation film The Nightmare Before Christmas. I got to know Tim quite well when he came to the Lex VIP corner doing “one of his favorite things”—people watching. I’m really excited about Tim’s new project, a Warner Brothers production of one of my favorite musicals, Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Johnny Depp will play the Barber.
It was the last National Day reception that outgoing Swedish Ambassador Mikael Lindstrom and his wife Kerstin would be hosting. Their light and bright home had wall to wall people—all friends, and all, like myself, really sorry knowing they would be leaving soon. The embassy chef, Frederic Walther, had gone all the way in preparing a super buffet of Swedish specialties. It all, like the huge cake Hilton Tokyo had sent over, was delicious. It’s been about 30 years since I’ve been writing the column, have seen so many really wonderful people/ good friends come and go. Mikael and Kerstin are all that and more. I’ll really miss them, and wish them and their children all the best back in Sweden.
To celebrate the 108th anniversary of Philippine Independence, Ambassador Domingo Siazon Jr. and his wife Kazuko (Kay) hosted the opening reception to open an exciting exhibition by Filipino Pointillism artist Jack Salud. The exhibition was held in the Mori Tower building. In addition to the presence of HIH Princess Takamado, who, along with the Siazons, cut the rib-bon to officially open the exhibition, there was a big turnout of government officials, diplomats, business leaders, and top society there for the special event. I enjoyed hearing the artist explain his work to Princess Takamado. The time and work it takes to do his paintings of people, landscapes, etc. is amazing.
Morocco was among the many countries celebrating the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations with Japan this year. For the special occasion, Moroccan Ambassador Abdelkader Lecheheb and his wife hosted a Casablanca Night in the Rose Room of the Palace Ho-tel. It was a festive affair with Casablanca film posters and clips, Moroccan music, and a lavish buffet of Moroccan food. The highlight of the evening for me was meeting special guest Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and cooperation, Mohamed Benaissa. The dynamic outgo-ing man is a former journalist “with ten cameras.” He’s also Mayor of Asilla, a city in Northern Morocco. I real-ly wish I could have taken him up on an invitation to a late summer festival there. One of my all-time favorite travel memories is three days at the big cultural festival in Marrakesh. Morocco really is a great place to visit.
To do at the Hilton Tokyo continues to be the leader in international culture and cuisine promotions. I’m really looking forward to the lunch and brunch buffet prepared by Venezuelan chef Edgar Leal in the Hilton’s Marble Lounge Nov. 8-16. A Venezuelan actor friend of mine took me to Leal’s restaurant “Cacao” in Miami a few years ago. Cacao was named one of America’s best by Zagat. I’m looking forward to the corn flour pancakes (arepa), the stewed black beans (caroatas) and the chocolate desserts. For reservation/information, call 03-3344-5111, ext. 219.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga