A Not So Speedy Reunion for Sandra and Keanu. It had been twelve years since Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock worked together in Speed. Both were happy to reunite for the film The Lake House, and to come to Japan for Warner Brothers to promote the film. “There’s been a lot of water under the bridge,” a more relaxed and laid back Keanu said. Sandra, who looked great with her new short hairstyle, told the media “I’ve learned a lot. Some people may not think so, but I hope it’s for the better.”
Capote Comes to Town Sony Pictures brought in young director Bennett Miller to promote his highly acclaimed film Capote. “My film is not just about Capote—it’s a real classic and tragic tale about a person who lost his character. Americans will do anything to get what they want.” Sony brought in two very interesting people to join Miller halfway through the conference. They were former governor to Nagano/author Yasuo Tanaka and Kyoto University Professor Akira Asada. Both are well-known personalities, interesting and fun. Bennett had nothing but praise for Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, saying, “there’s no other actor more equipped to play Capote.”
I knew the Republic of South African Ambassador Dr. Baldwin Sipho Ngubane’s reception to celebrate his country’s Freedom Day would be very special, but be-ieve me it went way beyond my expectations. First and foremost, the Deputy President of South Africa (a very dynamic lady, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka) flew in with a group of her government dignitaries for the truly great event at the New Otani Hotel. The festive evening opened with a dynamic speech by the President, who ended with “I know you all want to try the excellent selection of African food here to-night, so please enjoy the culture, friendship, and hospitality of South Africa.” The program included song and dance by the talented two sons and two daughters of the Kawamitsu family and some great sounds from an all-girl dance band from South Africa. The sounds, in fact, were so great, the Deputy President and several ministers joined many of the guests who couldn’t resist dancing to the rhythms of South Africa. It was a festive, laid-back evening that will long be remembered by those lucky enough to be there. These, by the way, included the Vice Minister of foreign affairs Shintaro Ito.
It was a perfect day in every way when British Ambassador Sir Graham Holbrook Fry and his wife Lady Toyoko Fry hosted a mid-day garden party on the occasion of the 80th birthday of that truly great lady HM Queen Elizabeth. Tables loaded with all the foods, including my favorite, fish and chips had been set up around the garden. Ambassador Fry made a toast to the emperor, and special guest speaker of the house Chikagi also proposed a toast to the Queen. I would like to congratulate Toyoko and the Embassy staff on the residence decor. The flowers and the paintings were all perfect for the occasion.
There was a bit more of the United Kingdom at the British School in Tokyo’s annual ball. When I talked with the publicity people, I told them I couldn’t stay, but would appreciate the opportunity to drop by and take a few photos. I had a suit on—not a tuxedo (the dress code)—and did drop by. Needless to say I was surprised when I dis-covered they had saved a seat for me at the head ta-ble, and even announced earlier I would be there that evening. I was really sorry I couldn’t stay. The theme was “Cirque,” and in addition to a really fun group of clowns performing, there was a dance band, raffle prizes, and a silent auction. Kudos to the school’s head-master Michael Farley, faculty, and many others who made the evening the big success it was.
People are what it’s all about, and there’s really been an interesting (sometimes weird) parade of people passing through Tokyo recently. First, there was Paris Hilton here to promote her record Stars Are Blind for Heiress Records, a sub-label of Warner Brothers Records, and the Samantha Thavasa bag line. I’ve always felt grateful to Paris as she really gave a good write up to the Lexington Queen in her book Confessions of an Heiress as well as in interviews here. She dropped by the club two nights (much too early) this visit, but “no hot guys,” so she didn’t stay long. The Japanese TV interviewers didn’t seem to think much of her spoiled, childish behavior. This included her throwing a gift they gave her on the floor, putting a microphone in her purse and whining about the heat, etc. etc.
Our congratulations to the Park Hyatt, who were named the number one hotel in an article in Trendy magazine: the columnist who wrote the column said they judge a hotel for its staff and quality of service, as well as facilities.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga