It’s Thursday the 2nd, and the fall weather’s finally like it should be—one of the nicest seasons in Japan, and ideal for getting out to festivals, local happenings or for drives in the countryside. Take advantage of it.
Socially, the city’s been swinging with something for everyone. Did you know that Nina Ricci held a fashion show on the 16th? Few people did. Since Michaela von Habsburg wasn’t here to help them get it all together, many of the VIPs who were invited before weren’t invited this year.
Matsuzakaya has never been one of Japan’s more progressive department stores, and from what I hear “aren’t all that interested in the foreign community.” Perhaps that’s exactly why they get so few foreign customers. Michaela, by the way, is back in Tokyo for a few weeks before going on to Hong Kong, Manila and the USA for Nina Ricci.
Dunhill and Christian Dior Launch Parties
This week, let’s go back to Wednesday the 1st and over to the Okura where Dunhill was hosting a luncheon press conference to introduce their new quartz watch range. A. A. Greener, president of Alfred Dunhill Ltd., was here for the occasion. John Hurter, merchandising manager, Far East for Dunhill Ltd., made a dynamic presentation of the prestigious new line. This was followed by a superb buffet. The watches are available at Dunhill’s outlets throughout Japan.
On Friday the 3rd, D. K. Newbigging, Chairman of Jardine Matheson & Co. Ltd., was host at a grand reception at the Tokyo Kaikan. The occasion was to say goodbye to Martin G. Barrow, who’s headed Jardine Matheson’s operation here for seven years, and to introduce Martin’s successor Rodney Michell. Martin by now is in Saudi Arabia where he’s taken on a new position as executive vice president of an associate company of Jardine’s.
The huge crowd at the reception was an interesting and impressive mix of Japanese and foreign business leaders, bankers and diplomats. There were also a dozen or so young sumo wrestlers and did they ever enjoy the elaborate buffet! As a matter of fact, so did I . . . along with everyone else there.
I also enjoyed meeting British climber and adventurer Chris Bonington. He was here to interview Japanese climber Naomi Uemura for a book he’s working on.
We also planned to go to the opening of an exhibition by Toko Shinoda The Tolman Collection Ltd. was hosting . . . Kazutomo Matsuoka and Lynn Sturm-Levy’s wedding reception at the New Otani . . . and a Daryl Hall and John Oates concert at the Tsubaki House in Shinjuku—but sometimes things just don’t go as planned.
I had planned on going to Martin and Noriko Barrow’s home the next evening for a big sayonara bash they were throwing, but got tied up with people in Roppongi and never did make it. In talking with Wes Benson later, learned that there were about 350 people who did make it, including such people as Prince Tomohito Mikasa and his fiance Nobuko Aso, international star Toshiro Mifune and some of Japan’s top sumo wrestlers.
The people I was involved with in Roppongi were also very interesting: film actor Richard Gere, film writer and director Paul Schrader, Richard’s friends, Brazilian artist “Sylvia” and TV personality Kay Ana, Richard and Paul were here to promote the film “American Gigolo,” Sylvia to keep Richard company and to shop. We were at The Lexington and she wanted to dance. Richard said, “I’m not a dancer; I’m a lover,” and with that, they decided to leave. I stayed on as we had scheduled a party for Daryl Hall and John Oates, coming over after their Shinjuku concert.
Japanese actor-director Katsu Shintaro was there that evening and asked me if I could line up a couple of young foreign couples for a disco scene he was filming next a.m. at The Samba. I found the couples and somehow got them over there at 10 a.m. Sunday. I wasn’t all that happy about getting up and out, but once I got there and found out Judy Ongg was the star of the film, that made it worth while. I hadn’t seen Judy for quite some time and in between takes we had a chance to sit around and rap. She’s a very talented and lovely woman.
That evening Michi Otagaki had invited friends for the opening party of his new “singles bar’ Ladybug. The new decor is very high tech with lots of chrome, neon and blinking lights. The crowd there was fun and included dancers, fashion models, musicians and some of Japan’s most successful young businessmen. They were video-taping the happenings and showing them on a large TV a few minutes later. The exhibitionists were having a ball!
German Democratic Republic 31st Anniversary
On Tuesday Oct. 7 Ambassador of the German Democratic Republic and Mrs. Horst Brie hosted a reception at their residence to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the German Democratic Republic. It was a midday affair with a large turnout. The weather was nice and after congratulating the Bries and their staff, most of the guests moved to the garden where they chatted and enjoyed frankfurters, potato salad, pickles and potato salad.
Tokyo’s had its share of balls, too. The Canadians had their Thanksgiving Ball on the 10th, the French had their ball a few days later, the Black and White Ball was on the 24th and The American School in Japan’s Chrysanthemum Ball was on the 25th. Incidentally, they were all at the Tokyo Hilton which really says something for what most of us consider a very special hotel. There have been all kinds of interesting people in town, too with the variety ranging from pro golf great Jack Nicklaus to rock star Boz Scaggs to Mexico’s former President Miguel Aleman.
On Tuesday the 14th, friends got together and threw an after-the-concert party for Boz Scaggs and his band at the Samba Club in Roppongi. It was a glittering gathering of many of Tokyo’s most beautiful people that included Folio Inc.’s models, people in showbiz and an assortment of friends of the boys in the band. There was a typhoon warning that night so Boz showed up in faded jeans, white sneakers and a Thierry Mugler-type raincoat which he wore all evening.
It was a fun, fashionable, sometimes-frantic night on into the next morning. At the party everyone also had the chance to toast Boz’s keyboard player Randy Kerber and his fiancee, Madeline. They were married a few days later at Hie Shrine.
Our first stop the evening of the 15th was the Sri Lankan Embassy where Ambassador Susanta de Alwis held a reception to introduce M.W. de Silva, chief editor of the Ceylon Observer. Newsman de Silva had been invited by the Japanese Government, toured around Japan for two weeks and was to leave for home in a few days. Guests were mostly people from the Japanese media and the Gaimusho. I didn’t have much time to talk with the visiting journalist, but did enjoy going over some of the great travel experiences I had in his country a few years ago. Sri Lanka’s a beautiful, diversified country, easy and fairly inexpensive to travel in. You really should get there while you’re in this part of the world.
Our next stop was the Imperial Hotel where two separate receptions were scheduled at the same time. The first was sponsored by the Monaco Tourist and Convention Bureau and Loewes Monte Carlo Hotel. I couldn’t stay long but had a chance to meet the people from Monaco and pick up their latest brochures. I was a guest at the spectacular three-day opening of the Loewes Monte Carlo a few years ago and have a lot of pleasant memories of my stay there.
The next evening, the 17th, started off very special, too, at a cocktail reception the Mexican National Tourist Council and Mexicana Airlines were hosting on the occasion of the inauguration of Mexicana’s office in Tokyo. The reception was held in the Royal Hall of the Akasaka Prince Hotel. Special guests included Miguel Aleman, former president of Mexico; film actor Toshiro Mifune, and artist Taro Okamoto.
It was a Mexican evening in every way. Long tables groaned under trays of carne asada, gazpacho, tamales and all the makings for do-it-yourself tacos. Off to one side of the room a bar had been set up and four bartenders were serving king-size margaritas as fast as they could make them. There was music by a large group of mariachis from Guadalajara and a fast-paced program of dances by a Folkloric group from Jalisco. Bravo to Adolfo Funaba who leads the Mexico National Tourist Council’s office here for a job well done; Viva Mexico—and I can hardly wait to get down that way again.
We were late, but got over to the Hilton before the reception Epic/Sony had to introduce the Nolan Sisters, a popular singing five-sister act rom England. The girls have a single and an LP doing very well here; they were brought over to promote their records. Hideo (Joe) Morita, in charge of the group, introduced us to the four girls . . . one was home “very pregnant.” it was one of the Nolans’—Bernadette —birthday, and Shig Fujita, always helpful, offered me a photo of her cutting a birthday cake earlier in the evening. By the way, Shig, congratulations on your new job with Billboard. They couldn’t have found a better man!
Later that evening Joe brought the girls down to the Lexington, and we had the opportunity to dance to the girls’ records and get to know them better. A nice, nice family!
Starting out on Saturday the 18th, we dropped by Takenosuke and Chizuko (Chichan) Sakakura’s ultra modern and chic home in Roppongi. The Sakakuras are one of the most popular young couples on both the foreign and Japanese social scene. He’s an architect, she’s from the Yokoi family who, among other things, own the Hotel New Japan. It was a beautiful evening and everyone moved out into the garden. Even though we were right in the center of the city, the well-planned house and garden give a feeling of being in the countryside.
Guests who were there, or arrived while I was there, included Turkish Ambassador Nazif Cuhruk and his wife Ilgun, Italian Ambassador Boris Biancheri and his wife Flavia, Moroccan Ambassador Abdeslam Tadlaoui and his wife Zoubida, Uruguayan Ambassador Alberto Rodriguez Nin and his wife Susana, Georges and Koko Toby and Dr. Matsuki who runs the prestigious Shin Akasaka Clinic with his psychiatrist wife.
Shokichi Shibata, now retired from auto racing and concentrating on the family business, was there with his wife, singer Oyan Fifi. She’s a beautiful woman . . . “a classic Chinese beauty” from Taiwan. Adventure skier Yuichiro Miura (he skied down Mt. Fuji) was there, and everyone enjoyed hearing him tell of some adventures he has planned.
Just as I was leaving Belgian Ambassador Herman Dehennin and his wife, Mimi arrived. She was all excited as she had just received the first check (a very substantial one) for ILBS fund-raising ball. Mimi’s the chairperson of the prestigious ball this year and, knowing her, it should really be a winner.
I did feel I should go on to Lebanese Ambassador Joseph Naffah’s home where he was having a sayonara dinner for our dear friends Nick and Adele Bou Saba. The guests had already gathered there and included Kuwait Ambassador Ahmad Ghaith and his wife Noha. They were just back from summer holidays and it was nice seeing them again. (The Ambassador left a few days later for an official visit to Malaysia where he attended the wedding of a Sultan.)
Jane Scolinos had brought two of her daughters, Kay and Pat, and her pretty niece from Los Angeles. It was my first chance to really talk with recently arrived Jordanian Ambassador Zahayr Mufti, and my first opportunity to meet the new Sudanese Ambassador Mohamed El Amin Abdalla and his wife Awatif. Dinner was served about 9 and what a dinner it was! The long table groaned under silver platters of favorite Arab foods and Lebanese specialities.
It was a full evening of good food, good friends and good vibes. Hadi and Maha Debs left after dinner for the Sakakuras. I never did get back there, nor over to Loy Weston’s where he was having a get-together for friends.
Sunday the 19th I spent two stimulating and exciting hours in the afternoon at the Shinjuku Bunka Center where the Paul Taylor Dance Company was performing. We went backstage after the performance to congratulate the dancers and invite them to the Lexington some evening.
Consequently, I got to the Hie Shrine too late for the actual wedding ceremony of Boz Skaggs’ keyboard player Randy Kerber and his lady, Madeline. Brenda Welch, who was there from the beginning, told me all about it, and even loaned me a few photos she snapped. After the wedding, everyone went over to the Starhill Chinese Restaurant in the Hilton for a dinner party.
Monday the 20th, Kenyan Ambassador and Mme. Kefa Onyoni gave a mid-day reception at the Azabu Prince Hotel to celebrate their National Day. The weather was miserable that day, but still there was a good turnout. The guests were a mix of diplomats, Japanese government officials and leaders in the business world. There was also a delegation of mayors from Kenya who were on a two-week mission in Japan. In talking with recently arrived Ugandan Ambassador David Nsubuga Barlow, I learned that Sam Bigombe is working in the Ministry in Kampala and that he and Betty are fine. It was a nice reception. Our sincerest congratulations to Kenya and its people on that special occasion.
Early evening we went to the home of Venezuelan Ambassador and Señora Jesus Maria Ponce where they were having a dinner party in honor of General and Señora Rafael Alfonso Ravard. He’s president of the Venezuelan Petroleum Corporation and was in Japan on a private visit for a week before going on to China. During his stay here, he met with leaders in the petroleum business, visited Ishikawa Heavy Industries and spent a few days in Kyoto. Guests for the most part were businessmen, and included some of Japan’s most important and influential.
Two of the Ponces’ children were at the reception. I had met the older son, Carlos, before but this was the first chance to meet Alejandro, just 11. He’s a real charmer. The Ponces also have two daughters, Cristina and Beatriz.
Thursday the 23rd, our first stop was the New Otani where Brazilian Ambassador and Señora Ronaldo Costa, with the presence of Brazil’s First Lady Madame Dulce Marie de Castro Figueredo, were hosts at a reception in honor of Sir Yue-Kong Pao, chairman and chief executive of the World-Wide Shipping Group.
Brazil’s First Lady was in Japan to christen a ship for Y.K. Pao that bears her name, “Dulce.” That evening, she also received a list of 10 Japanese works of art from Kentaro Hayashi, president of the Japan Foundation. In 1978, Rio’s Museum of Art was destroyed by fire and the Japan-Brazil Central Association and Mainichi Shimbun sponsored a fund-raising campaign to commission Japanese artists to do 10 paintings for Rio de Janiero’s new museum.
Antonio Inoki, president of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. Ltd., was there and stood a head above most of the crowd. All, that is, except Patricia Snaric, coordinator for the Samba Club Regency. A New Yorker, Patricia stands 6’5″ in heels and Antonio was surprised to meet a woman he had to look up to. Madame Figueredo, speaking through an interpreter, jokingly said as she looked at Patricia, “I don’t think I want to have a photo taken next to her.”
Mitsukoshi President Shigeru Okada stayed on longer than he usually does at receptions and we talked about some of the cultural events he has planned for Mitsukoshi in the next year. It was nice seeing U. Galera, manager of Varig Airlines here, again and I also enjoyed meeting and talking with Sergio Telles, Cultural Counsellor at the Brazilian Embassy. Both Galera and Sergio are accomplished artists. I also appreciated the opportunity to talk with Y. K. Pao . . . what a dynamic man! It was difficult to leave, but were already late for the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s gala dinner, so excused ourselves and headed for the Okura.
We got there right in the middle of the dinner show, and the entertainment, arranged by Tatsuji Nakatani, included several Japanese chanson artists. French Cultural Counsellor Gerard Coste saw us as we came in, and he and Emcee Hubert Joignant made sure we got seated at a table full of friends. They included Gerard, Andre and Yasuko Lecomte and Yves and Pascale Alemany. Yves was representing the Commercial Section of the Embassy at the dinner that evening.
After the show, we moved around a bit, and had a chance to say hello to French Ambassador and Madame Xavier Daufresne de la Chevalerie and to congratulate Bob and Terangi Legeay on the dinner and the party. Bob, head of U.T.A. Airlines operation here, is President of Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Francais du Japon. Prominent guests at the dinner included former Japanese Ambassador to France and Mme. Hideo Kitahara, Former Japanese Ambassador to France, Nakayama, Japan Airlines Vice President and Mrs. Ito, Mr. Keck of the European Economic Community and many VIPs from the JETRO offices and private enterprise.
Celebrating Turkey’s National Day
On Thursday the 29th, Turkish Ambassador Nazif Cuhruk hosted a mid-day reception at the embassy on the occasion of the celebration of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic. It was a beautiful fall day and there was a large turnout.
Holli Ferretti of the Mainichi Daily News was wearing a very chic red dress and really added charm and color to the gathering. Talk that day pretty much centered around the US election and more people predicted wrong than right. Guests stayed on longer than they usually do at a noontime reception and took advantage of the sun in the embassy’s unique garden (architect Kenzo Tange did that.) Our congratulations to our Turkish friends on that special occasion. Incidentally, I heard former Turkish Ambassador to Japan, Celal Eyiceoglu is now president of Coca Cola in Turkey and that he and Neli are living in Istanbul.
Early that evening I had the privilege of sharing a very special experience with most of the Spanish community in Japan, and several who had flown in from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Manila. It was a reception arranged by Spanish Ambassador and Señora Jose Aragones at the embassy to give the Spanish people in this area the opportunity to meet and exchange greeting with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia, in Japan on a five-day official visit. There are about 800 Spanish people living in Japan (400 are religiously affiliated), and judging from the size of the group, they all must have shown up that evening.
Guests gathered in the garden where brightly colored tents had been set up. Once the handsome royal couple arrived, and their arrival was impressive, people filed through the embassy where each had the opportunity to greet the popular rulers. From there, they moved back into the garden for drinks and food.
King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia are both just 42. This was his fourth visit to Japan . . . the first three times were as Prince. He speaks five languages, excels in sailing, has a black belt in karate and is an avid squash player.
Their schedule was very tight while they were here and they must have been tired, but one look at their countrymen’s faces was proof positive that the extra effort and thoughtfulness on their part was well worthwhile. Ambassador and Monica Aragones were also very busy before, during and after the visit, and we really appreciate them remembering us for that very special evening. We’d also like to congratulate Spain on their lovely entry to the Miss International Beauty Pageant. Her name is Maria Agustina Garcia Alcaide, she’s just 18 and took third place.
Thursday the 30th, a big delegation from Las Vegas staged a huge reception at the Tokyo Hilton. That same evening Kuwait Ambassador Abdullah Ghaith and his wife had a dinner at their residence for the Hagedorns and Bou Sabas. Later, Folio Model Agency and friends got together with the pop group The Cars after their SRO concert and had one of the best costume parties Tokyo’s ever seen at the Samba Club Regency. On Friday the 31st, Channel 12 covered another super Halloween party, also at the Samba Regency.
In and Around Tokyo
Several new discos opened in the last week or so, including Climax and Cosmopolitan, both in Roppongi. One of Roppongi’s first discos, Castel’s, is disappearing from the scene and will be replaced by the Tama Tsubaki, a “sister-club” of the popular Tsubaki House in Shinjuku. On the 9th they had a pre-opening party that featured a Giorgio Armani fashion show; they’ll officially open Nov. 1 with an “American Gigolo” party.
PEOPLE IN TOWN:
• Madame Dulce Maria de Castro Figueiredo, wife of the president of Brazil in Japan to christen a ship in Kyushu for Sir Yue-Kong Pao, chairman and chief executive of World-wide Shipping Group.
• World-famous golfer Jack Nicklaus was here for his Japanese licensee Asahi Kasei. During his week in Japan, he played matches with many department store and business executives, lost a putter and had it returned a few days later. And tied Japan’s ace Isao Aoki in a special charity match.
•A large delegation from the Las Vegas Convention/Visitors Authority currently in Japan showing the travel business here what they have to offer to the Japanese tourists going abroad.
• Susan Carrera, internationally known model, film actress and very close friend of showbiz personality Sonny Bono. Susan’s here for Folio Inc. to do an advertising campaign for a Japanese company.
• Allen H. Burgi, promotional director for California Cling Peaches, in town meeting with his man in Japan, Emile Yamano, discussing future promotions and bringing more of their product to the market here.
• Designer Kenzo is here from Paris, working with Toho on a film called “Dream after Dream.” During their tour here, the group Journey recorded the soundtrack for the film.
•Chiqi Ang, one of the Philippines’ best-known public relations personalities. She’s working with the Sheraton Hotel in Manila and was here on a business and promo trip.
• Martin Prey, vice president, marketing for the newly opened Pacific Islands Club on Guam. His company recently purchased the Guam Continental Hotel and now offers “three entities of accommodations—something for everyone and anyone.” We’ll be talking about this later.
• Harry Fields, president of International Flavors & Fragrances (Japan), Ltd., in Tokyo for business meetings with his sales director Gary Slangan who runs IFF’s operations here.