Listening to the soundtrack of the new flick, “Saturday Night Fever,” I really feel like going dancing. Disco in the States is really enjoying a boom … in fact, dancing of all kinds seems to be the big craze all the across the U.S. of A. Theatrical dancing got a big boost through the super successful Broadway show “Chorus Line.” Hollywood followed with the Oscar nominee film, “The Turning Point” (opens here Apr. 29), and just finished filming “Slow Dancing in the Big City,” another story built around ballet in New York. Mikhail Baryshnikov, who stars in “The Turning Point,” has been winning international acclaim for his new staging of “Don Quixote” at the Kennedy Center in NYC, and there’s a new Broadway show in the making that’s just called “Dancing.” The choreography is by Bob Fosse and it’s expected to be BIG.
Ballet fans in Tokyo will really be busy the next few months. Maurice Bejart just arrived with his eighty-member 20th Century troupe and will be performing throughout Japan for almost a month. Right here in Tokyo our own Leslie Clatter teamed up with avant-garde musician Aldo Suzuki for a “Spinning Dance, Spinning Music” program Apr. 14 at the American Center. We just received a card from Masako Ohya in London, and she’ll be back for her next big cultural exchange … Le Grand Ballet de l’Opera, This 100-member troupe will also be in Japan a month. Their first performance is in Tokyo on May 6. The 140-member Bolshoi Ballet is scheduled for performances in Japan from July 16. Tokyoite, for a few months anyway, have something to dance about. Tickets are available at all Play Guides.
Welcome reception for Egyptian Minister of Culture
Saturday the 1st and we went to the buffet dinner Egyptian Ambassador Mohsen Khalek hosted in honor of H.E. Mr. El-Sawa, Egyptian Minister of Culture. The minister, his wife and his delegation were here to open the exhibition of Ancient Egyptian Great Kings and Queens Treasures. Special guests at the dinner included U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield, French Ambassador Louis Dauge, Turkish Ambassador Celal Eyieeoglu, Finnish Ambassador Osino Lares, Sengalese Ambassador Assane Bassirou Siouf, Guinean Ambassador Mamady Laraine Conde, Qatar Ambassador Hamad Mansour Al-Hajiri and U.A.E. Ambassador Ahmed Sakim Al-Mokarrab.
We enjoyed talking with Tunisian Ambassador Habib Ben Yahia who told us he’s lecturing about his country at various universities around Japan. He went on to say he’s really enjoying this and feels it gives him a chance to glimpse a side of Japan he might not otherwise have seen. Moroccan Ambassador Abdislam Tadlaoi looked tan and fit after a few days in Saipan with his family. Japanese guests included Kazuo Chiba of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Akihiro Nanjo who lives in Paris and helped arrange for the exhibition and Yosoii Kobayashi, president of NTV.
The members of the delegation were also very impressive. They included Mohamed Abdalla, general manager of sound and light at the pyramids; Victor Girges, vice president of the Egyptian Archeological Department; Mohamed Ahmed Mohsem, deputy director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; Mostafa Damarary, editor of Ahram newspaper, and Hazem Fonda, managing editor of the Mid East News Agency.
Kokusai Ikebana Charity Luncheon
Tuesday the 4th, we started out early at the monthly Kokusai Ikebana Charity Luncheon at the Pacific Hotel. The luncheon was in cooperation with Orlane of Paris, and Orlane’s gorgeous president, Reiko Lyster, who really knows her company’s products. There was a makeup demonstration and then Mrs. Ohno, just back from a good will trip to Singapore, cleverly gave her impressions of the Garden City through her flower arrangements. Singapore Ambassador Wee, who was a special guest that day, smiled and nodded approvingly throughout the demonstration. Others who enjoyed the midday program included John Fujii of Fairchild Publications, Hiyam Shammout, Holli Ferretti and Mr. and Mrs. Christian Morieux. He’s cultural attaché at the French Embassy.
Albert Schweitzer Medal Presented to Yoko Muto
The evening started out early, too. I met Michaela von Habsburg and her twin sister, Monica (they’re considerably different), at the Okura and we walked over to the American Embassy. The occasion was a ceremony where U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield presented Yoko Muto, a member of the Japan Animal Welfare Society, with the Albert Schweitzer Medal of the Animal Welfare Institute to America.
We stopped and talked with the Ambassador, Mrs. Mansfield and their daughter, Anne, for a few minutes before going in and joining the crowd. Mrs. Mansfield was wearing a lovely dress of gold obi material. Anne had chosen a colorful print kaftan for the occasion. It was Monica’s first visit to the embassy, so we moved through the crowd and into the reception room. The Ambassador joined us and showed us some of the western paintings and sculptures by Charles Russell on display in the Embassy. They sure brought back recollections of one of my favorite states—Arizona.
He was also very proud (rightfully so) of some of the Tang pieces in the large room. Others moved in for the ceremony. Clifton B. Forster, Counselor for Public Affairs, made the introductions, and the Ambassador made a short speech and the presentation. The award included $1,000, and he smiled as he said, “I wish this was worth as much now as it was when we received it.” A few of the many at this impressive and emotional ceremony were Japan Times’ Executive Editor John Yamanaka, Dolly Baker, Lore Gandino (glad she’s feeling better after her R & R in the Philippines), John Read of Rolex and Yuki Sohma. John and Yuki are both prime movers in JAWS.
Picture time, and energetic Chiye Hachisuka started rounding people up for the photographers. “Join in there,” she told Canadian Ambassador and Mrs. Bruce Rankin and British Ambassador Sir Michael and Lady Wilford. “Britain and Canada have dogs, too,” Chiye said. Bruce Rankin added his own brand of humor by announcing to the photographers, “We charge by the photo.”
At that point we had to leave and rush over to Aoyama where our Indonesian friends were holding a huge reception. Indonesian Ambassador A.J. Witono told us this was an annual event for the Indonesian-Friendship group. it was certainly a popular one, as the huge Aoyama Kaikan was packed. The co-sponsor Sempati Air Transport had flown in some twenty entertainers from Indonesia for that special evening, ranging from classic dancers in glittering costumes to pop musicians in smartly cut batik jackets.
The good Ambassador introduced us to Brig. Gen. R. Hariyono, the president director of P.T. Pelita Air Service. We talked about Indonesia .. . especially beautiful Bali, and he said, “How would you like to come down next week? I’ll arrange the transportation and the hotels.” “We’d love to,” we said, but with our schedules the way they were, there was just no way to pack up and take off that soon. We ended up with a standing invitation, and are really looking forward to going back to Bali and visiting a few places in Indonesia we haven’t been before.
Saudi Arabian Dinner Reception
It was a warm, lively party and we hated to move on, but we had received a very special invitation for a dinner party Saudi Arabian Ambassador Zein A. Dabbagh was hosting at the Imperial Hotel. The Saudi Arabian dinner was in honor of Saudi Arabia visiting Minister of Planning Hisham Nazir, his wife and his delegation. They were in Tokyo about six days meeting with Japanese Government officials and top-level businessmen. These included former Prime Minister Takeo Mild, Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda and Foreign Minister of Affairs Naoshi Sonoda.
This was Minister Nazir’s 16th trip to Japan and his longest. stay. We arrived a hit late, and everyone was seated and enjoying the dinner and the company. Ambassador Dabbagh graciously got up, joined us at the entrance and escorted us to the lavish buffet. He then seated us at a table with Goro and Perla Nakasone (Gaimu-sho), Hadi and Maha Debs and Nick and Adele Bon Saba of IMA Airlines. After dinner people moved around a bit and we had a chance to talk with our old friends. Mr. and Mrs. Hide Kagami . . . he’s Director General of information and Public Affairs for the Foreign Ministry.
The party broke up about ten and the Minister asked if we’d like to join him, his wife, the Ambassador and a few members of the delegation in his suite for coffee. We, of course, did and really enjoyed the privilege of talking with this exceptional man. As Minister of Planning for Saudi Arabia, he is responsible for the monumental second five-year plan his country is now working on.
He attended U.C.L.A. in California and lived in the U.S. for seven years. His beautiful wife, Amir (which means “princess”), studied medicine in Cairo and is a practicing pediatrician at a clinic in Riyad. She and the delegates’ wives are extremely well educated and some of the most interesting women I’ve ever met.
Like all women, they enjoyed shopping in Tokyo, and Mrs. Nazir told us she had purchased a beautiful Mori Hanae dress that day. I was surprised to learn that English is a second language and is required in most schools in Saudi Arabia. The Minister and his delegation were leaving the next day for Korea, so we left a little bit before midnight feeling all the richer for being able to spend some time with them. Saudi Arabian Ambassador Dabbagh is currently in Korea presenting his credentials as Ambassador there.
ILBS Press Conference for Giuseppe Di Stefano
On Wednesday the 5th we went over to the New Otani for a press conference ILBS was having for world-renown Italian tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano. Alitalia had flown Signor Di Stefano in especially for the Cherry Blossom Ball. I’m glad we went—no one else did. I really feel the media, both English and Japanese, didn’t give this man the coverage he so ably deserves. He’s not only a great talent but a wonderful person. I feel so lucky I got to know him the week he was here, and plan to write more on him later.
Special Event at the Italian Embassy
The 6th, if you remember, was one of those rainy, cloudy days we’ll probably be seeing a lot of in June. The bright spot came that evening when we went over to the Italian Embassy, where Italian Ambassador and Mrs. Tornetta had gathered friends for a special event. The occasion was the Ambassador’s decorating Mrs. time Kajima with the Order Grand Ufficiale. Mrs. Kajima recently retired as Chairman of the Board of the Kajima Corporation. She and her late husband, Morinosuke Kajima, spent many years in Italy . .. he was a diplomat there, and she has written many books on Italy and things Italian.
We were caught in the heavy traffic and got there too late for the actual ceremony. Everyone was in the dining room and the Tornettas had gathered a very interesting and influential group of people that evening. As always we enjoyed talking with Zentaro Kosaka, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has a busy schedule, and he and his wife had to go on to another dinner party. Mr. and Mrs. Jiro Yanase (President of Yanase & Co.) were there and looked very chic in some of the Italian fashions his company imports.
It was nice seeing Alitalia’s Carlo Morelli and his lovely Enza. Carlo’s busy with business and has spent as much time out of Japan as in lately. Giorgio Corrias and his wife, Rosalia, were there. As director of the Italian Trade office (I.C.E.) here, he’s always busy with a variety of special promotions and visitors. I noticed that most of the ladies were over in one corner of the large room, so I walked over to see why.
There were two reasons: the Italian tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano and Philippine film star Vic Vargas were both there. Sensing that I was no competition for either of them, I made my way back to the other side of the room. A little later in the evening the rain stopped, so we all moved outside to look at the embassy’s garden . . . it’s one of the most beautiful in Tokyo. Ambassador Tornetta proudly pointed out a new addition to the garden, an arched red Japanese bridge.
It blended in beautifully. While we were on the veranda, we had a chance to meet and talk with Tadakatsu Suzuki, a former Japanese Ambassador to Italy and now president of Kajima Production, which specializes in documentary films. He’s really an interesting man, and I hope to have the chance to sit down and talk with him sometime. From there, we had planned to go to the first Japanese film awards presentation and reception at the Imperial, but the window in my Skyline was open just a little during the rain, and my tux, which was hanging there, was soaked, so that was that. We were kinda tired anyway, so I guess that’s how it was supposed to work out.
We didn’t get to the ILBS Cherry Blossom Ball either but had a chance to talk with many of those who did as they arrived at the New Otani that evening . . . Friday the 7th. We were on our way to a reception for visiting Foreign Minister of Chile, Patricio Carvajal, also in the New Otani. The women going to the ball looked fabulous . . . my congratulations, ladies. I’d also like to extend my congratulations to Mrs. Roderick Miller, wife of the New Zealand Ambassador and chair-man of the Ball this year, Mrs. Toshikama Araki, president of ILBS, and the many ladies who worked so hard to make the ball the huge success that it was. I was also happy to hear the ladies reached their target goal and made the funds to do the charitable things they had planned for the 17 institutions they assist.
Ribbon Cutting at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel
Prince and Princess Mikasa have been very busy recently. It seems that they’re always guests of honor, officiating at an opening or cutting a ribbon. We had the privilege of meeting them again on Friday, the 7th, when they officiated at the ribbon cutting of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel’s new indoor tennis courts and the Ikeda Health Club.
On that day they were accompanied by their daughter. Princess Masako. After the ribbon acting, it was an athletic morning with demonstrations of gymnastics. tumbling. acrobatic dancing and tennis. There were several members of the diplomatic corps and foreign community here who tried out the new courts and displayed their tennis skill. The Ikeda Health Club has scheduled classes for all age groups, and the exercises are carefully planned to give participants the most benefit in the time they have.
Special Reception at the Chilean Embassy
That evening we joined our Latin American, South American and many Japanese friends at the New Otani for a special reception hosted by visiting Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Patrido Caravajal. The Minister makes an annual visit to Japan. where the Chilean ambassadors and consulates to countries in this
part of the world gather for meetings with him and his staff.
Like all Latin parties. it was a noisy, lively one, and everyone really enjoyed it. Most of the ambassadors and their wives from South of the Border were there. Peruvian Ambassador and Mme. Cesar Espejo Romero and Argentine Ambassador and Mme. Carlos Jaime Fraguio looked especially chic that evening . . . they were on their way to the ILBS Cherry Blossom Ball. We enjoyed talking with Pakistani Ambassador and Mom Jamsbeed K.A. Marker. They told us they’re finally settled in Pakistan’s new chancery. Joined another group and we talked about traveling.
Ecuadorian Ambassador Alberto Benign Ledesma has always been a man on the move. He served in 32 countries in 36 years of diplomatic service. And here’s fair seaming. ladies: There’s another single Chilean in town … he’s Jose Antonio Lopez and he’s new at the Embassy here. Just joking, he seems like a really nice guy, and I’m sure will make many friends for himself and his country during his assignment here. From Japan, Minister and Mme. Caravajal left for a tour of several Asian countries before returning to Chile. Much of the weekend was spent with Italian tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano, and I haven’t laughed an much for a long time. What a sense of humor.
Dinner hosted by the Moroccan Ambassador
Wednesday, the 12th, we joined Moroccan Ambassador Abdesiarts Tadlaoul, his wife Zoubida and a group of their friends at an intimate, relaxed dinner at their residence. Special guests of honor were Mehdi Madras who’s Honorary Consul General for Japan to Morocco and lives in Casablanca, and Moroccan businessman Adderrafih Kadiri.
Mr. Ben Kiran has a unique and one of the most beautiful homes in Casablanca or just about anywhere. I’ve driven by it many times, and was really happy to have the chance to meet the man who lives there. Zoubida has a reputation for being one of Tokyo’s best hostesses, and that evening was no exception. The tables were covered with crocheted and embroidered tablecloths and topped with crystal candelabra filled with tiny colorful flowers. The buffet was an interesting and excellent mix of continental and Arabian dishes.
‘Wonderful Indonesia’ Exhibition
Our Indonesian friends have really been busy, and we joined them early Saturday evening. the 15th, for a reception to celebrate the opening of the photo exhibit “Wonderful Indonesia” in the Yashica Building. Sempad Airlines had cooperated with the Indonesian Embassy and Yashica and sent two Japanese cameramen to Indonesia. Their work was superb. Ambassador Witono had also taken a series of very professional photos that were in the exhibit. In fact, in his speech, Mr. Endo of Yashica jokingly said the Ambassador could make a living as a cameraman.
Mrs. Witono had worked most of the day dressing 18 Indonesian students in a wide variety of national costumes. and the ladies from the Embassy had prepared a huge buffet of Indonesian dishes for the occasion. It was a happy. glittering affair, and I wanted to stay on but had accepted an invitation for a sit-down dinner.
The dinner was at one of Japan’s most popular and prestigious French restaurants, Restaurant Rengaya. It was co-hosted by world-renowned French chef Paul Bocuse and Rengaya President Kam Inagawa. The guest list included an interesting mixture of diplomats, top business people, artists and show business people from both the Japanese and foreign community.
The guests were greeted at the entrance by the host and hostess and then moved upstairs for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Faces in the crowd included 20th Century Fox General Manager Dino Trail and his wife, Leonora, Diane de Beauce (Thierry was in Paris), Peruvian Ambassador and Mme. Caesar Espejo Romero, Reljiro and Etsuko Hattori, classic pianist Kyoko Eno, Yusaku Kameinsra (illustrated Olympic posters), Ichiro Inamaru of the Imperial Hotel and Mr. and Mrs. Andre LeComfe,
We moved downstairs to the main dining room and were directed to our places. I was sitting by Kumiko Wakita, a charming girl whose husband AiPro is a well-known sculptor, and across from Japanese artist Toshimita,’ !mid, and famed architect Arata Lsozaki. We introduced ourselves to each other, relaxed and settled down to over three hours of what had to be some of the finest food in the world.
The Menu Paul Bocuse read: Terrine de Foie Gras Oie “Jean Bougie,” Souffle de Turbot Lagrene, Cote de Boeuf, Gratin Dauphinois our Blanes de Poireaux, Panaches de Champignons, Frontages de France, Coupe tura fruitti, Chocolate Chaud, Brioche and Café. Wines included Pouilly Fuisse 1976, Brouilly 1976 and Cham-pagne Brut “Paul Bocuse.” It was a very special evening with very special people. Our congratulations to Restaurant Rengaya, Miss Inagawa and Paul Bocuse.
Thierry and Diane de Beauce’s Dinner Party
An invitation to Thierry and Diane de Beauce’s arty Azabu home always means an evening with interesting, exciting and sometimes very unusual people. On Sunday the 16th, the De Beauces held a party for their friend, M. Michel Guy, the former French Minister of Culture, and also to meet Marie-Louise de Clermont Tonnerre, the international P.R. director for Chanel. It was crowded when we arrived, and people were still coming when we left a few hours later.
French Ambassador and Madame Dauge dropped by with their daughter, Veronique. I told Mme. Dauge I finally found a lady taller then she and pointed out a very tall, fashionable Japanese girl (mistake mistake) across the room. We learned later that the girl was a boy and was with two more top Japanese female impersonators from a bar in the Roppongi area.
A few minutes later the door burst open and three of the best-looking women (real ones) I ever saw—mostly in red—came bouncing in. They were mannequins here from Paris for a hair fashion show. One from Brazil was a knockout and just couldn’t sit still. Her English was limited to “samba” (is that English?), and periodically she’d shout it out, stand up and shake around the room a bit . . . wild and wonderful.
Famous faces in the crowd included Tetsuko Kuroyanagi (watch for her interview in the Weekender), Misa Watanabe (off to Europe again), fashion designer Junko Koshino, Rengaya Prez Keiko Inagawa, Paul Bocuse, personable Diet member Toshio Yamaguchi, film critic and author Donald Richie, and sculptor Aijiro Wakita. The fashions for both men and women were fantastic. Geoffrey Yu of the Singapore Embassy wore a Chinese robe, there was a Buddhist priest in black and gold, and others in lots of glittery lame and sequin things.
We enjoyed talking with movie producer and director Nagisa Oshima. It seems the uncut version of his controversial (sometimes called pornography) film “Aino Korida” is being shown in Guam, and that’s the first place bridegrooms on their honeymoon head.
We moved out into the garden and talked with the guest of honor, Monsieur Guy. He’s president of the internationally known “Festival d’Automne,” a popular cultural event in Paris.
Welcome Reception at Ghana Embassy
From the exhibit, we moved over to the Imperial Hotel, where Ghanaian Ambassador and Mrs. Victor E. Wood were hosting a reception in honor of visiting Rear-Admiral J.K. and Madame Amedume. The Admiral is commander of the Ghanaian Navy and a member of the Supreme Military Council. It was a crowded reception, and guests included ambassadors, military attaches and Japanese Government and military officials. There were also several younger members of the African embassies, and we always enjoy talking with them.
The highlight of the evening occurred when Mr. Shingoro Ushiro, age 90, who had come up from Kyushu to meet the Admiral, presented a book on behalf of the Ghana-Japan Friendship Association of Kita Kyushu to Mme. Amedume. Mr. Ushiro is vice president of the association and also the chief director of the Higashichikushi Academy in Kyushu. Special thanks to B.A. Ahulu, the Second Secretary (Information) of the Ghanaian Embassy, for all his assistance and kindness.
Special Screening at the Czechoslovakian Embassy
Tuesday the 18th was one of those gloomy rainy days we’re having far too many of lately. Things were brighter that afternoon—inside the Czechoslovakian Embassy anyway. Stanislava Houskova, wife of the Czechoslovakian Ambassador, had invited some friends over for coffee, a superb selection of pastries and a special screening of the film version of the comic opera “The Bartered Bride.” The film starred Czech actor Petr Skarke and singer Vanda Svarcova. They were excellent.
Welcome Reception hosted by Mike Mansfield
That evening U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Mike Mansfield held a reception in their residence to introduce their daughter, Anne, and her husband, Dr. Robin Marris. Anne has been here about a month, and Dr. Marris had just flown in from Washington, D.C. The Mansfields are a popular couple, and many guests braved the miserable weather to meet daughter and son in-law.
Prominent among the company were 20th Century-Fox’s Dino Troni and his lovely Leonor, Shintaro and Chiye Fukushima, Chlye Hachisuke, Princesses Monika and Michaela von Habsburg, the Tom McVeigbs, Iwajiro Nods, the Shigeo Hodes . . . and later Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who dropped in for a few minutes before going on to a dinner party. We were running late, too, and had to leave before we really wanted to. On the way out we stopped and talked with Ambassador Mansfield and Minister/Counselor William Sherman and his wife, Mary Jane, a bit. Mrs. Mansfield wasn’t feeling well that evening, and we hope she’s recovered.
We had planned to go to the Prince Hotel where there was a huge dinner party to celebrate the marriage of former race car driver Shokichi Shikiba and popular singer FiFi Oyan, but time was against us, and we just couldn’t do it. Most of the Japanese weeklies ran big stories on the wedding and party.
Dinner Party at the Egyptian Embassy
We were even late for the dinner party at the Egyptian Embassy. Egyptian Ambassador Mohsen Khalek and his wife, Noha, in the past few years have given us many opportunities to meet so many interesting people. We’re very grateful and indebted to them for this. The dinner that evening was to meet Mr. Salim N. EI-Lozi, and his wife, Omaya. Mr. EI-Lozi was an official guest of the Japanese Government. He’s the editor-in-chief of AI-Hawadess, one of the Arab World’s top publications, and the English publication Events, which is geared to the younger generation of Arabs and Iranians who prefer to read English. This was the first official visit of a Pan-Arab publisher to Japan. During his stay here he met with Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sunao Sonoda and many top Japanese businessmen and economists.
Guests at the dinner that evening included Mr. and Mrs. L.G. Mulkern (he’s vice president of the Bank of America, and they’ll be returning to the U.S. in June). Also there were former Vice-Minister of Transportation Bunsei Sato, Toshio Kimura, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Diet Member Taku Yamazaki.
After dinner many of the guests had to leave, but as usual, at the Egyptian residence, we stayed on. One Japanese guest told me that when Mr. EI-Lozi was shown the exhibit at Matsushita Electric’s “Gallery of Tomorrow,” he asked if he could order two of each item on display. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying the relaxed cordiality of the evening and many of us didn’t leave until well after midnight.
Mr. and Mrs. EI-Lozi left Japan a few days later and were making stops in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Bahrein before returning to their home in Beirut.
First Event hosted by Afro Asian Ladies Group
Thursday, the 20th . . . the day a lot of ladies had been working hard for and many others were waiting for. That afternoon was the first official program of the Afro Asian Ladies Group, formed last year by the wives of the ambassadors of 23 Afro-Arab countries. Their first public program was a handicraft exhibit and national costume fashion show in the Rose Room at the New Otani Hotel.
HIH Princess Hitachi was the guest of honor. After her arrival and formal greetings, she was shown the handicrafts exhibit by ladies from the group and then was seated at the main table. Assia Ghafa, wife of the Algerian Ambassador and president of the Group, made a brief welcome speech, and then Cordelia Udoh, wife of the Nigerian Ambassador, chairman of the program, extended her greetings.
During the show the models—including ambassadors’ wives, a princess, ladies from the embassies and their friends—displayed a wide selection of colorful and beautiful costumes from each country. These ranged from traditional Moroccan kaftans, to boubous from Nigeria, kentes from Ghana, the vazi la taifa from Tanzania, gandouras from Algeria, busutis from Uganda, the Kuwaiti thobe, the burnous and jebba from Tunis, the Sudanese toab, Madagascar’s lamba and the abaiya from Iraq. The standing-room-only crowd oohed, aahed and applauded throughout the show.
It was great seeing the faces of the members of the Afro Arab Ladies Group—those who had worked so hard—light up as they realized what a success their program was. After the show there was a drawing for door prizes. Princess Hitachi graciously offered to draw the first number, which was a round-trip Tokyo-Hong Kong on Swiss Air. By that time many of the models were mingling with the crowd, and everyone relaxed and enjoyed the pastries and sweets the ladies from the Afro-Arab embassies had prepared.
I had the privilege of working with the group on this program and really enjoyed it. I’d like to extend my congratulations and thanks to them and also thank Mr. Fukuda, who did the Japanese narration of the show, and the New Otani Hotel for its support and assistance in the project. The funds raised will be used for national disaster aid and charities will in Afro-Arab countries.
Welcome Reception for Cuban Poet Nicolas Guillen
I’d not been to the Cuban Embassy for a long time . . . not since the untimely, tragic death of our dear friends, former Cuban Ambassador Mario Garcia Inchaustegui and his wife Gladys. I spent many happy, memorable evenings with that well-liked couple, and will always cherish the time I did have with them. I knew going to the embassy on Thursday the 20th would bring back memories and it did. I also knew that Ambassador Inchaustegui would have liked my being there, so with that in mind, joined the large crowd that gathered there that evening.
The occasion was hosted by Cuban Charge d’Affaires Eduardo Balbin Martin and was in honor of Nicolas Guillen, Cuban National Poet. He’s very well known here in Japan and many Japanese artists, authors and poets were there to pay homage to this talented man.
Guests from the foreign community included Colombian Ambassador Jose Maria Villarreal, Venezuelan Ambassador Tito Aponte and Spanish Ambassador Jose Aragones. Sakamoto-san of NHK was telling us about some of the network’s new projects and Dr. Miklos Koszegi, counselor at the Hungarian Embassy, told us how capable the new Cuban Ambassador is. Ambassador Jose Armando Guerri Menchero just arrived in Japan in April with his wife Mercedes and their two children. Nacho Olen, son of the Mexican Ambassador, was there and I was surprised to learn that he, like his father, is a very talented poet. There was a bountiful buffet with many Cuban specialities, frozen dacquiris and a nice mixture of people really enjoying themselves.
Turkish Dinner Party
I didn’t want to leave, but two more of my all-time favorite people, Turkish Ambassador Calil Eyiceoglu and his wife Nilufer (Neli) were holding a large dinner party in their ultra-modern chancery and residence.
By the time we got there, it seemed almost everyone—and I do mean everyone—had arrived. It was one of the largest gatherings of this type . . . diplomats, businessmen, models, artists . . . I’d seen since Talat left us last year. We were greeted at the door by the Ambassador and Neli . . . she looked lovely in a beige chiffon gown.
People . . . interesting people . . . were everywhere. The Hattori women . . . Etsuko, Micbiko and Kumiko . . . (who always look like pages out of Vogue) were talking with Noha Abdullab, wife of the Kuwaiti Ambassador, Mansoureh Majd, wife of the Iranian Ambassador, and Maha Debs.
On the other side of the room Lady Joan Wilford was explaining the idea of a scarlet gift for one’s 60th birthday to Helen Ma, Kuni and Che-Chan Yokoi and Keiko Collins. The next time I see Canadian Ambassador Bruce Rankin I’m go-ing to ask him if he’s wearing the scarlet gift Lady Wilford gave him for his recent birthday. (It wouldn’t show.)
Diane Marker, wife of the Pakistani Ambassador, was happily introducing her daughter to Egyptian Ambassador and Mrs. Mohsen Khalek. Her daughter, Feroza, a physiotherapist is visiting here from Vancouver, British Columbia.
The buffet was a fabulous variety of Turkish and Continental dishes. Diets are often the topic of conversation at Tokyo get togethers, but after one look at the buffet Neli had her staff prepare, all thoughts of diets flew out the Embassy’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
After dinner, we really got a nice surprise. Ten costumed dancers (five couples) and two musicians filed through the Embassy and out into the patio where they staged an exciting, colorful half hour of Turkish folk dances. They were in Japan for the Osaka International Fair and, fortunately for us, their schedule allowed them to be there that evening . . . an evening of friends, food, folklore and the relaxed cordiality invariably encountered at the Eyiceoglus.
I had seen just enough Turkish dancing the night before to want to see more, so Friday drove down to the Asahi Building for the Turkish cultural program there . . . a wide variety of dances, explanation of the dances by Turkish Counsellor Metin Goker and an excellent film on that colorful, exciting country.
Left there about nine and went down to the Press Club to watch the Ramon Obusan dancers do their thing at the Philippine Night there. The kids are great . . . if you miss them, you might spend a night or two at the Nasu View resort hotel a few hours out of Tokyo where they entertain nightly.
The Gala Philippine Festival was hosted by the D.O.T.’s man in Japan Romeo Lirio and included special foods and fruit flown in by Philippine Airlines and the rock sounds of a Filipino band. We couldn’t stay, but those who did, including Philippine Ambassador and Mrs. Charles Valdes, reported that it was a very alive and special night that will long be remembered. Let’s hope they do it again soon.
Saturday night and joined a few hundred friends of Chieko (Che-chan) Yokoi and Takenosuke Sakakura at the Shiba Park French restaurant “Crescent” for a party to help the good-looking and popular couple celebrate their recent marriage in Hawaii. Che-chan looked lovely in a silver gray long dress with a matching gray quilted vest top. Takenosuke wore a black double-breasted velvet suit and bowtie. The Crescent was originally a very (Continued on Next Page) large home, and is a favorite with Japanese society.
Che-chan’s brother Kunio, whose hobby is photography, greeted guests on the first floor and took their photos for the newlyweds’ “memory album.” Then we took the elevator to the third floor where the happenings were. Most of the guests were in the main salon where a five-piece band was playing for dancing. Along one side of the room long tables had been set for the French buffet—and in one corner was the traditional keg of saké.
Che-chan’s father, Hideki Yokoi, is chairman of the Nihon Sangyo Co., Ltd. and one of Japan’s most successful businessmen. His company deals in real estate and owns bowling alleys, hotels, resort property. That evening he had really forgot all business and was happily and proudly filling his role as father of the bride.
The guest list, naturally, was very impressive. Prominent among the crowd were Moroccan Ambassador and Mrs. Abdeslam Tadlaoui, Egyptian Ambassador and Mrs. Noha Khalek, Turkish Ambassador and Mrs. Celli Eyiceoglu, the Debs with their daughter Hana, TV personality Hiroshi Kamayatsu, Ron Colson, architect Fumihiko Maki, architect Aoshio Taniguchi and Dior’s Kumi Antoinee (together again), Youji Shimizu of the Playboy Club, and Fred and Regine Langhammer. (Her new summer hairstyle looks super.) It was a classy glamorous evening with Tokyo’s beautiful people . . . one that gave us all the chance to wish ‘Take” and Che-chan a long happy life together.
Italian Trade Office Fashion Promotion
Monday, the 24th started out early and had breakfast at the Imperial with three long time friends: Angelo Litrico, Bruno Piatelli and Carlo Palazzi. The three are internationally known menswear designers and were here for the Italian Trade Office (I.C.E.) fashion promotion.
After breakfast we moved up to the Peacock room where the 14 mannequins Alitalia had flown in for the show and six mannequins from Japan were rehearsing for the show that evening. It’s hard to realize how much work goes into a fashion show unless you actually are involved. Believe me with the size problems, the language difficulties, and more, It’s no easy job.
The mannequins walked, ran and danced through the Spring-Summer 78 collections of some of the top names in Italian fashion. After the colorful show guests moved to the back of the room for a reception.
The crowd, which included some of Tokyo’s most fashionable women, was made of up of well-known faces from the diplomatic, fashion, business, arts and entertainment world. Japan’s top actor Toshiro Mifune and his wife were there . . . she looked lovely in a bright yellow long dress. We always enjoy the Italian fashion promotions as it really gives us a chance to get together with many of our Italian friends from Rome and from the Italian community here.
Dr. Bussardo of I.C.E. was here from Rome, and we enjoyed seeing Dr. and Mrs. Salvatore San Martino again. (He’s with I.C.E. and his wife, whose “stage name” is Perissi Paola is a well-known TV personality in Italy.)
New faces for us included Anthony and Phyllis Moore . . . they came to Japan recently . . . he’s with the Banque Nationale de Paris. Alitalia was well represented by Carlo Morelli and his Enza and Danilo Macchia and his Lily.
Japanese fashion movers included Nobuo Ennyu of Toray Industries, Motomi Soga, president of Intermode, and Hidehiko Kanda of International Merchandising. Everyone was happy to see the fashion mannequin Patricia Green who worked in Tokyo for quite some time and has many friends here. Patricia married a year and a half ago . . . her “married name” is Graziioli-Venier and she has a six-month-old son, Saverio.
First Annual General Meeting of TCAC
That same evening the recently formed TCAC (Tokyo Consular and Administrative Corps) was holding their first annual general meeting in form of a dinner-dance at the Tokyo Hilton. We had planned on getting over to the Hilton, but by the time we pulled ourselves away from our Italian friends, it was just too late. I talked with Keith L. Brown from the Australian Embassy (and chairman of TCAC) a few days later, and he happily reported it was a big success.
Briefly, TCAC is designed as a vehicle to bring together consular and administrative officers of all embassies and consulates in Tokyo for mutual assistance and social intercourse, and develop a professional corporate identity. The elected committee members are K.L. Brown (Australia), H.O. Egger (Switzerland), F.D. Oblens (Philippines), B. Concha (Chile), H. Bennaceur (Tunisia), Ronald Gaiduk (U.S.A.) and Mr. Tebeje (Ethiopia). Special guests at the Hilton dinner dance were Mr. and Mrs. Keijiiro Matsumura (he’s Deputy Chief of Protocol for the Gaimusho). Congratulations, gentlemen, on the formation of your new organization.
UAE Dinner Party Hosted by Ambassador Al-Mokarrab
That evening the 25th we joined United Arab Emirates Ambassador Ahmed Salim Al-Mokarrab and his wife Selwa at the Hilton’s Keyaki Grill for dinner … an exceptional young couple. He was just 25 when he first became ambassador and has served as a delegate to the United Nations on three occasions. Selwa is very busy . . . her current project is working with three other ambassador’s wives on an Arab food demonstration for NHK. They have one little boy Waleed who’s just 3 and another on the way. A relaxing evening at the Keyaki with good friends. What more could anyone ask?
In and Around Tokyo
IN TOWN • Nicole Benols, the famous Italian painter who does the sets for the Scala Opera House in Milano. I was having breakfast with Giuseppe Di Stefano at the Hil-ton’s Origami coffeeshop (“Maria Callas loved this place”) when I heard someone shout, “Giuseppe?’ It was Signora Benols. They’ve been friends for years and ran into each other here by accident. Small world, isn’t it? • Rear Admiral Joy Koala Amedume, Navy Com-mander and a member of the Supreme Military Council of Ghana, here for a few days as part of his goodwill tour of Asia and Oceania countries. On Monday, the 17th, Ghana Ambassador and Mrs. Victor Esem Wood hosted a reception at the Imperial in honor of Admiral and Mrs. Amedume’s visit. More on that later.
There was a swinging party over at the Playboy Club. It was a sayonara hosted by Tak Game (Blue Chip Stamps) for popular foreign fashion models “Dina” and Pamela Harris. Both girls will be returning to the U.S.A. after a very successful stay here. There was a huge gathering of the girls’ friends, including Loy Weston, Aki Mori (he’ll be lonesome), Yoshi Taniguchi, Yoll Shimazu, Hide Matsuoka and Andrew Simmons at the Playboy sendoff.
Rushed over to Akasaka Zakuro’s to join the Nina Ricci people for a Japanese shabu shabu dinner. The guest of honor was Nina Ricci’s Jacques Le Brigant, visiting here from Paris. Another out of towner was Laurence Wong, Nina Ricci’s rep in Hong Kong.
• Shigeki Sakagami and Harumi Tanaka on their marriage Apr. 28 at the Tokyo Prince Hotel. Many of you know Sakagami-san through his work at Ken Corporation (real estate). We wish the newlyweds a long, happy life together.
• Aeroflot, which began its 12th year of Japan-Moscow service with Japan Air Lines as a pool partner on Apr. 18. Its service between Tokyo and Moscow over Siberia began Apr. 18, 1967.