July 17th – July 30th, 2009

Bill's People, Parties, Places - July 17th, 2009

by Bill Hersey

Looking back I clearly remember my grandmother saying, “The older we get, the faster time goes.” I’m afraid I find that, as well as the saying “time flies when you’re busy,” really true. There’s not much we can do about it, but it’s nice if we stand up for what we think is right as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Help the less fortunate when possible, be thankful for our blessings, and enjoy life. Remember: no matter what, “time marches on.”

Thanks to retired business leader Koichi Yoshikoshi and his wife Daniele, we have had a strong reminder, actually several, of how it is really more gratifying to give than it is to receive. After retiring as president of the top German swimwear and lingerie company, Triumph, Koichi decided to go casual chic and only wear a suit when it was absolutely necessary. His closets were full, so he asked his wife Daniele what she thought he should do. She has always supported my charity projects here, as well as in the Philippines, and suggested they give the suits to me to give to others. Koichi’s been on Japan’s best dressed lists for years, so I ended up with 30 expertly cut, high fashion suits by Saville Row tailors and top international designers including Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, and Pierre Cardin. Koichi is well over six feet tall and keeps in good shape. Sadly, the suits were all too big for me. Through friends and just by asking around, I found a couple dozen big Japanese guys working for hotels, restaurants, and clubs. For most, this was their first designer suit and believe me, the Yoshikoshis really helped me make a lot of people happy. I’m so lucky to have friends like them. Good things happen to good people. They are now relaxing for two and a half months at their wonderful home in Southern France.

The Queen’s Birthday – Celebration at the British Embassy

This was the first time British Ambassador David Warren and his wife Pamela have hosted a reception in Tokyo to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. Believe me, they did the highly respected grand lady proud. Luckily the good weather held out that day, and once guests congratulated the host couple, most moved out to the residence’s spacious and beautiful garden. It was a bit cloudy that day, so to be on the safe side stylish white tents had been set up, where the embassy staff served traditional food (I love those fish ‘n’ chips), a variety of ethnic dishes, and drinks. It was really nice seeing some long-time friends, including Miranda Kernick and others. The Warrens had turned one large room in the residence into what seemed to be a tasteful, relaxing tearoom in a countryside teashop. The tea and scones were excellent. It was a great day in every way, perfect for the occasion, and it was really nice to see David and Pamela again. I’d also like to thank Kazuko Kon of the embassy, who really went out of her way to see that I met some very interesting people.

Still on things British, I’d like to thank Alex, a member of the pop group Blur. A friend of mine sent me his book A Bit of Blur, and appreciate his kind words about me and the Lex.

Tolman Party

Everybody who really knows Tokyo knows the Tolman Collection’s owner, Norman Tolman. He really knows how to throw a party. He, his daughters, and his staff went all out recently when they invited friends to Norman’s grandson Lucas’s birthday party. At the same time I was able to see former Tokyoites Ron and Maria Anderson, who were visiting from New York. Another former Tokyoite, Jane Rees who lives in San Francisco, was also there.

Norman’s daughters Hillary and Allison had prepared a gourmet buffet. Allison runs the Tolman Gallery in New York, and Hillary married French chef Patrice Martineau. Hillary and Patrice are the parents of Lucas, who was dressed as an astronaut that day. Patrice is the executive chef of the trendy and prestigious Peter Restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel here. Interesting people, good food, and a relaxed, warm ambiance added up to another great day with the Tolmans. Really sorry I couldn’t get to Shanghai for Norman’s exhibiton Kaifeng Jews by Yin Xin. The event took place on the 86th floor of the awesome Park Hyatt Shanghai. What a hotel that is.

Ladies Friendship Society Charity Festival

Congratulations as well to the many ladies who put so much time and effort into making the colorful and exciting Ladies Friendship Society Charity Festival the huge success that it was.

The popular event, which was, as always, held at the ANA Intercontinental, had a big crowd eating, shopping, and enjoying themselves. Special guest HIH Princess Hitachi joined the society’s president Datin Jazila Radzi of Malaysia and the festival chairperson Le Thieu Ngan of Vietnam in officially opening the event. She also visited each of the participant’s booths and did some shopping.

Proceeds went to many worthwhile charity projects in Asia and the Pacific. This was Jazliza’s last project as president of the society, as she and her family have now returned to Kuala Lumpur, where her husband, Dato Mohd. Radzi Abdul Rahman, is now First Deputy Secretary General of Foreign Affairs. They will really be missed by their many friends here.

And More…

Other special events I couldn’t get to include Luxembourg Ambassador and Mrs. Radhika JHA Steinmetz’s midday reception at their home on the occasion of Luxembourg’s National Day, June 23. Panamanian Ambassador and Señora Alfredo Martiz hosted a reception to open the exhibition Molas: The Traditional Textile Art of Panama at the Tobacco and Salt Museum. The Martiz family are really good friends, and I’m sorry to say they returned to Panama recently. Alfredo has left the diplomatic corps to go into private business. The highly accredited man (medical doctor, lawyer, etc.) plans on visiting Japan often. We wish him, his lovely wife, and their two daughters all the best back home.