Sad to hear that Christian Hassing, GM of the Mandarin Oriental will be leaving soon after eight years here. His new posting will be in Singapore, where he’s worked before. This time he’ll be involved in the prestigious hotel chain’s properties in Malaysia and Indonesia as well. Christian and his wife April were popular here and will be missed by all who had the good fortune to get to know them. Take care my friends and all the best.
EU Celebration for Europe Day
It was a really special evening in every way when the members of the delegation of the European Union joined Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the EU Ambassador, and his wife Kaoru in hosting a reception on the occasion of Europe Day. The event was held in the spacious and ultra-modern Europa House in Minami Azabu. The boldly designed building, with the flags of the 27 members flying at the entrance, was really impressive. Once guests congratulated the hosts they moved into the main reception hall or the auditorium. Chefs from most of the members’ embassies had come in earlier to prepare the most popular dishes of the countries they represented and believe me, it was a real gourmet treat. I’ve known Han Dietmar since his days as Austrian ambassador here, he and Kaoru are a popular couple who worked hard with other EU members to make it the laid back and enjoyable evening it was. Kudos to all concerned.
Arab day at the Mandarin Oriental hotel
It was a very special evening as well when the Arab ambassadors who are posted here got together with their many friends for a colourful and exciting Arab Day reception at the Mandarin Oriental. Things started out with speeches by Yoshihiko Noda and Waleed Siam, the Palestine ambassador who is also dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps. Christian Hanning, the GM of the Oriental did the smart thing by allowing the participating countries to work with the hotel’s food and beverage staff to set up the Bountiful buffet. This meant that in addition to the hotel’s excellent food, guests had the opportunity to try many other delicious foods from the participating Arab countries. Guests also really enjoyed the kids marching band which was bused in from Tohoku. Those kids were good and really seemed to be happy in what they were doing.
Lopez reception at Imperial Hotel celebrates Philippines 114th Independence Day
The Imperial Hotel’s Fuji room really had a festive air for the Philippines Independence Day celebration. The hosting couple, ambassador Manuel Lopez and his wife Maria Teresa, as well as most of the staff and many of the guests, wore super cool Filipino fashions. The ambiance, as with most things Filipino, was relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable; it was one of those evenings where the guests really mixed, chatted and got to know each other better. The buffet, a mix of western, Japanese, Chinese and, of course, Philippine specialties was excellent. Like at almost any Philippine happening there was an interesting mix of good entertainment, including traditional songs and several numbers by one of the Philippines’ top violinists. The Philippines has long been one of my favorite getaways and I sincerely feel it is really underrated as a tourist destination. It’s a beautiful country that has so much to offer.
I’m pretty much into all kinds of music so I feel really glad we have clubs such as Billboard, Blue Note and Cotton Club, and great showbiz agencies such as Udo Kyo, Creativeman and Smash who have all the top as well as up and coming pop and jazz artists coming to Japan for concerts. There are also agencies specializing in classical music and big companies such as Sokka Gakkai’s Min-On concert association bring fantastic cultural shows from all over the world. Last month or so Min-On brought over almost 50 talented young Chinese performers from the Shaanxi Song and Dance Troupe to perform their musical, Moon Over the Capitol, with music and dance of the Tang dynasty.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga