On June, 26th 1980 we drove to the New Japan Hotel where I met Akira and Olivia and we headed for The Bee where things were really buzzing. The occasion was a celebration of Sen Masao’s and Joan Shepherd’s 10th wedding anniversary and it was just what it should have been . . . a glittering, glamorous, star-studded evening.
The Bee’s always-efficient staff escorted us to the head table where we shared the happenings with many old friends and some new as well who rank at the top in Japan’s entertainment business. They included husband-wife film and TV stars Koji Ishizaka and Ruriko Asaoka, pop singers Ann Lewis, Goro Noguchi, Sonia Rosa and “the greatest singer of them all,” Hibari Misora. Sumo’s yokozuna Wajima and one of his big buddies joined our table and if things weren’t crowded before, they were then.
Actor Katsu Shintaro, about outgoing as people come, had time to tell us about a film he plans in Australia before he got up to emcee the program. First he brought Sen and Joan up, and proposed a toast to the handsome, talented couple.
She wore a satin and lace dress; he wore a black tux . . . they both looked great. This was followed by several songs by Hibari Misora a cappella, and she brought the house down. Akira Fuse said, “I’ve been in show business 16 years and have known her for a long time, but have never seen her do this. It’s really a first.” After an encore Hibari jokingly commented, “They’re really lucky; I’m not even going to send them a bill.”
Later in the evening after his last show, Issey Miyake, who makes many of Joan’s clothes, showed up with his entourage and they added color to an already colorful crowd. The fashions at the party incidentally ranged from tuxedos to fashions jeans . . . all very New Yorkish.
The foreign community was well represented by Dolly Baker, Bob and Jeritza McCarter, Corky, Bob and Suzanne Magnuson, Dick and Sanae Cropp, David and Joan Burk, Bill and Barb McGovern, Mike and Debbie Marcus and Dick and Jean Bush.
The Bee had really done things up beautifully. There was a sushi bar, a western buffet and flowers everywhere. All that, plus the interesting people added up to one helluva night on into the next morning. Congratulations, my friends, and our best wishes for many more happy, healthly and prosperous years together. I just heard Sen and Joan have bought a beautiful new home in Hiroo, and that’s a great way to start out the second decade of their life together.