F1 Drivers Party in Tokyo. This was the third year in a row that Ceremony Corp. president Tsukasa Shiga sponsored several nights of parties for visiting F1 drivers at the New Lex. Shiga has long been a fan of the racing sport, since his days at St. Mary’s. He knows and is friends with all the drivers, and was recently at the race in Abu Dhabi. Thanks to Tsukasa I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of the world’s top car racers, and I’m happy to say, fame and money aside, they are all in all a nice bunch of guys. They, I might add, really do know how to party and enjoy life. F1 world champion Jensen Button was in town recently. I heard he was doing a series of commercials for a health water company. It was nice having him and his fiancee, fashion model Jessica, drop by the club; they’re a good-looking couple.
Turkish Armed Forces Day Reception
On the occasion of the Turkish Armed Forces Day, Military Attache and Mrs. Eyyup Gurler hosted a welt-attended reception at the embassy residence. The military staff of most of Tokyo’s many embassies were there, and the variety of uniforms and number of decorations was very impressive. As always, the bountiful buffet of Turkish food was amazing… and so good. I appreciated Ambassador Atacanti showing me some of the changes underway in the residence, which was still under renovation. The original building, which was designed by one of Japan’s best-known architects, Kenzo Tange, has held up well.
Altamirano Piano Concert
Mexican Ambassador Miguel Ruiz Cabanas and his wife Martha hosted an evening of marvelous music by one of Mexico’s top pianists, Jose Luis Altamirano. The venue was the new, bright Octavio Paz Hall at the embassy. It was a relaxing, enjoyable evening in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Yamaha Mexico and the 400th anniversary of Mexico- Japan friendly relations. Special guests that evening included Japanese singer/actress Yumiko Kokonoe, who gained fame in Mexico in the 1970s and 80s as the star of the popular TV show Senorita Cometa. Her husband Hiroshi Kato, who was also at the concert, is a singer as well.
Argentine Tango Festival
Kudos to our Argentinean friends and the many Japanese tango lovers as well. The dynamic, exciting and sensual 10 Tango Festival in Tokyo featured many of Argentina’s top tango performers. Thanks to Argentinean Ambassador Daniel Dziewezo Polski and his wife Norma, as well as minister Jorge Osella and his wife Graciela. I had the privilege of attending two of the festival’s main events. The first was in the Roppongi Hills Club, where a Buenos Aires tango club atmosphere had been created. Many of the guests there were top notch tango dancers, and they really showed their skill on the dance floor. Some of the fashion, both women’s and men’s, was really hot. The second event, the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt, had a show that featured the best Argentine tango musicians, singers and dancers. It was exotic, sometimes erotic, and beautiful. The audience loved every minute of it, and the artists often returned for encores. Local performers included a young Japanese accordian player, Ryota Komatsu. He really knew what he was doing. Needless to say, the festival was a huge success. Kudos to all concerned, and let’s hope they do it all again here soon.
Four Seasons Gala
Chris Hart, senior vice president of operations [Asia Pacific) for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, hosted an appreciation party at the Four Seasons Chinzan-so, where 32 Four Seasons associates from 25 hotels around the world and top executives from Canada and Singapore joined in making it a fabulous evening to thank their customers. The main venue, the hotel’s ballroom, was beautifully decorated, and the smoke from dry ice added class. On the main stage, an Australian jazz band performed many of the classics. The buffet had tables of gourmet dishes from each of the countries represented there. These included Thailand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and the Maldives. Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy the Italian food that was to be featured in the La Festa Italiana, which opened at the hotel the next day.
When you’re in that neighborhood, be sure to visit the newly opened Nezu Museum. I haven’t been yet, but judging by the fantastic building and long rows of bamboo trees (my favorite), I’m sure it’s very special. From there it’s a short walk over to Koto-dori (a.k.a. Antique Street), where you can check out the antique shops, as well as one of Japan’s busiest fashion designers, Junko Koshino’s, big, modern building. There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants nearby, and lots happening in Omotesando as well.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga