July 3rd – July 16th, 2009

by Bill Hersey

Just about everyone I know is, as we get older, on the lookout for healthy food, drinks, skin creams and anything else that will give us more energy and hopefully make us look and feel better. When I was in the Philippines recently, I came across a newspaper article on the many health and beauty benefits of coconuts. The article came from the best selling book called Coconut Cures by Dr. Bruce Fife. I went out to Manila’s best bookstore, Fully Booked, located in the Rockwell Shopping Mall, got the book, and dropped by the Sanctuario Spa near Remedios Circle in the tourist belt to buy several bottles of pure virgin coconut oil. I brought these back to Tokyo and got together with a few friends here that are really into coconut. These included Joe Sweeney of the U.S. embassy, who has studied and really knows the many benefits of coconut meat, milk, and water, as well as how to prepare and get the most of these products the Pacific islanders swear by. Here in Tokyo you can get grated coconut, coconut milk, coconut cream and Dole’s delicious Nata de Coco at National Azabu supermarket. Coconut
oil is available at the Indian Spice Home across the street from the back of the Grand Hyatt. I also talked with two well-known Japanese doctors and both felt that coconut products in moderation are beneficial. Other good books on the subject include Rx: Coconuts (The Perfect Health Nut) by Dr. Verallo-Rowell and The Truth About Coconut Oil: The Drugstore in a Bottle by Dr. Dayrit. You’ll also find a lot of information on the subject on the internet.


Late but truly sincere congratulations to the many young graduates of the international schools here and universities and colleges both here and abroad. I’m sure that their parents are justifiably proud at this time. Times, as we all know, are tough, but knowing many of the grads, I’m sure they’ll all meet the challenges they come up against, do well,
and make this old world of ours a better place for all.

South African Freedom Day

It was South African Ambassador Gert Grobler’s first time to celebrate his country’s freedom day here in Tokyo. The reception at the Japan Press Center, with its many interesting guests, had a bountiful buffet that included one of my favorites, boerewors, which is a homemade farmers sausage. The warm South African hospitality, with a touch of excitement about the world soccer cup that will take place there next year, was very nice. Special guests that evening included the
very active former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and business Tycoon Yasayuki Nambu. South Africa will have some very special musical events coming up soon. Put these dates on your calendar: Drumstruck, August 18–30 and Umoja, September 19–23.

Philippine Food Festival

Filipino Ambassador Domingo Saizon, Jr. and his wife Kazuko (Kay) invited a large group of special people to a dinner party at Hilton Tokyo on the occasion of the Filipino Food Festival at the Hotel. It was a laid back evening of interesting and casual conversation, live entertainment, and some of the best Filipino food I’ve ever had. Kudos to the Filipino chefs who Philippine Airlines flew in for the promotion. It was a very successful event. I would also like to congratulate the Filipino people on their Independence Day celebration, which fell on June 12.

Diesel Party at Fiat Cafe

It was fun at Fiat over on Aoyama Dori when the auto company joined fashion leader Diesel in sponsoring a reception at Fiat Café. Fiat’s country manager, Tiziana Alamprese, is a dynamic lady who has friends from all over the world and from all walks of life. Consequently all three floors of the venue were wall-to-wall with interesting and wordly people. I enjoyed talking with Tiziana and appreciated her introducing me to artist Carmela, who is the wife of Israeli Ambassador Nisim Ben-
Shitrit. I hope to see her work sometime soon. It was also nice seeing one of Japan’s top pottery artists, Kosei Tsuji, and his wife Takako. Their son Koji, also a renowned ceramics artist, told me he is in the party and event planning business now. Unlike so many who say the same thing, he has the personality and connections to do that kind of work. Frankly there’s a surplus of so-called party planners now who really don’t know what they are doing. Years ago when people didn’t have a job they would often say, “we’re in public relations.” Now it is all too often, “we’re in event and party planning.” Oh well, I wish them all well. My congratulations to Tiziana on Fiat’s buy-out of Chrysler and I sincerely wish them the best.

Mexican Garden Party

Nobody stays busier than the popular diplomatic couple of Mexican Ambassador Miguel Ruiz Cabanas and his wife Martha. Their recent activities have included endless events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Mexico-Japan friendship. Just to mention a few of the events, there have been garden parties, art exhibits, piano concerts, and a visit by the majestic Mexican naval officers training ship Cauthemoc. Martha was the chairperson of the year’s ILBS Cherry Blossom Ball, and as everyone knows, she did a great job. I knew she would. She’s one of the most capable, organized, and nice people I have the privilege of knowing. At another party recently I complimented Martha on a beautiful gold chain with two large gold keys she was wearing. Miguel heard me and said, “do you like it? I just gave it to her for our wedding anniversary!” Later I learned that it was their 26th anniversary. A big and sincere congratulation to this truly exceptional couple—I wish them and their beautiful son and daughter a long and happy life together.

Just Talk

Hilton Tokyo is just a ten minute drive from my apartment, and I try to get over there at least three times a week to swim, take a sauna, and even pump a bit of iron. I was looking at myself in one of the gym mirrors the other day when the elevator door opened and four of the biggest guys I have ever seen got out and came in to work out. I started talking with them and learned that they were actually members of Fiji’s national rugby team. One was so big that the tattoo on his upper arm
looked like a mural. I decided that my workout for the day was over and let them take over the gym. Their coach dropped by and he told me that someone in the gym had told him I ran a club in Roppongi. I told him I did, but was honest and said that I have had trouble in the past with sport teams. They’re fine when they come in but after a few beers some can get pretty loud, intimidating and aggressive. Consequently I am pretty selective about who I let in. He told me he completely understood and told me not to worry as it was against the rules for his team members to drink, and that they followed the rules. I got to know some of the players and feel I now have a few friends in Fiji. A week or so later when I was working out, four of the top women wrestlers were there. I can tell you, I wouldn’t want to get into it with any of them. Talk about muscles.

One Last Thing…

If you’re into poetry you really should try to get to the presentation of an English/Japanese poetry book by Drago Stambuk (the ambassador of Croatia) and Kuroi Nami. The special event takes place at the Japan Foundation headquarters, 4-4-1 Yotsuya, from 6pm on Tuesday, July 7.