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01 President Abigail Leonard 160

 

DEAR FELLOW MEMBERS,


I write to you from our new home in the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building on behalf of President Peter Langan, who is recovering from a bicycle accident (for more on that, please refer to his previous column on Murphy’s Law). We all wish him a very speedy recovery.

I’d like to extend the Board’s sincere thanks to all Club staff who worked incredibly hard and put many sleepless hours into making the move go as smoothly as possible. It was a massive undertaking and despite a few hiccups, most functions are operating normally.

To celebrate, the Club hosted a successful opening celebration, with nearly 300 guests who were treated to a Noh blessing, sake barrel breaking and performance by Club favorite Pikotaro.

Our daytime activities have been top-notch as well. The Professional Activities Committee kicked off events in the new space by wasting no time in hosting two major press conferences in one day on Nov. 9: Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, followed by journalist and former hostage Jumpei Yasuda. Both were well attended and filled our new briefing room nearly to capacity. A special thanks to Ito-san and the hard-working front desk staff for pulling off the events seamlessly and making sure all journalists found their way to the press conferences in time, which in some cases meant rescuing them from the basement.

There are some big happenings ahead: 

On Dec. 3, we’ll host Rugby Appreciation Night, when members will meet and raise a glass with Rugby World Cup, Japan Rugby Association and World Rugby Association officials, local ambassadors, and special guests. The World Cup relationship is certain to bring even more athletes and sports officials to the Club. 

We also hope to draw more students and to that end, the Scholarship Committee recently announced a call for entries for this year’s award for aspiring journalists, so please spread the word. We plan to hold a joint Scholarship/Freedom of the Press award ceremony in the spring.

Of course, it’s not all good news: Our food and beverage service is still in limbo but we are working hard on a fix. The Club is in talks with several companies and we hope to have a contract soon. One major problem is staffing – the inevitable consequence of a shrinking workforce – but in the meantime, we’re fortunate to have Marybeth Boller, the former US embassy executive chef, running the kitchen and turning out beautiful banquet food.

Thank you, everyone, for your support, and please be in touch with any questions or concerns.


● Abigail Leonard

 

 

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