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110th Anniversary Dinner celebration at Hotel Okura

Now well into the second century since the historic founding of The Cambridge & Oxford Society, Tokyo, on the evening of Saturday 28th March, over 130 members and guests gathered at Hotel Okura for the Society’s 110th Anniversary Dinner celebration.

As at the previous dinners for the Society’s 100th Anniversary and Cambridge University 900th Anniversary, we were again honoured by the presence of HIH Princess Takamado (Girton, Cambridge 1972).

The setting for this special evening was the splendid Akebono-no-Ma in the Okura main building, followed by after-dinner drinks in the Baron Okura private wine bar, discreetly located on the top floor of the South Wing.

Festivities opened with a cocktail reception, with diners attired in black tie or evening dress getting into the spirit of the evening to the accompaniment of live jazz music expertly played by students from Keio University Medical School.

As we sat down to dinner, Tim Minton (St. John’s, Cambridge 1977), Honorary Secretary of the Society, opened the formal proceedings by reading out congratulatory messages received from the Vice-Chancellors of the two Universities.

Senior member, Masaji Takahashi (Jesus, Cambridge 1961) then proposed a toast to the continued prosperity of the Society and good health of all in attendance and dinner was served. Amidst lively conversation, diners enjoyed an excellent five-course meal and fine wines from Hotel Okura’s cellars.

As the dinner drew to a close, we were then treated to two excellent speeches. Firstly, Princess Takamado recalled her happy times at Girton College and her conversations years later with her daughter as to how much her experience at Cambridge had meant to her. Then, Julia Longbottom (Cambridge 1982), Minister (Deputy Head of Mission), British Embassy Tokyo, inspired memories all around the room of our own university days as she spoke of her experience in going up to Cambridge and finding her own place in the social whirl that sweeps up all new arrivals.

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Sat, 2015-03-28 09:00.
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Summer Party at Tsunamachi Mitsui Club, July 10th, 2014

On Thursday July 10th, the Cambridge & Oxford Society and the Harvard Club held a joint party at the beautiful Tsunamachi Mitsui Club in the Mita area of Tokyo. It was Camford’s third time in this handsome building overlooking a large period garden that slopes steeply downhill almost to the boundary wall of Keio University. It was designed by the British architect Josiah Conder as a reception and guest house for the Mitsui family and dates from 1913. If it reminds you of the Akasaka Palace (now the State Guest House), it could well be, for that was designed a few years earlier by Conder’s talented Japanese student Katayama Tokuma and opened in 1909.

Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 2Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 2
To give attendees a chance to enjoy the garden while it was still daylight, the Club authorities kindly allowed us in at 6:00 p.m., half an hour before the official starting time of the event. Some attendees stayed and chatted on the lawn near the fountain with its mythological guardians, while others, more adventurous, went down the steep stone paths and explored further. A sudden deluge of rain, however, got us all back into the building at exactly the right time for drinks followed by an excellent and varied buffet, served with the customary style.

Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 3Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 3

Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 4Mitsui Club 2014 Photo 4
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Wed, 2014-07-09 05:30.
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Sept 25 2013 Dinner at Mitsubishi Club in Marunouchi

On Wednesday 25th September we were very kindly invited to the exclusive Mitsubishi Club in Marunouchi.

The Mitsubishi Club was founded by the 28 members of the Friday Club – the 28 core members of the Mitsubishi Group – in April 1973 to commemorate the centenary of the foundation of the Mitsubishi Group. These 28 Friday Club companies are all famous Japanese industrial companies, including Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Banking Group, Nikon and Asahi Glass, to name but a few.

25/9/13 Dinner at Mitsubishi Club 125/9/13 Dinner at Mitsubishi Club 1

The Mitsubishi Club can only be used by the Board Members of these 28 core Mitsubishi Group Companies for celebrations and other occasions, and by no-one else (almost), except the Cambridge Oxford Society by very kind invitation and gracious arrangements of C&O member Buhei Okumura (Trinity Cambridge).

The Mitsubishi Club is at the top of Mitsubishi Corporation’s headquarters and commands fantastic views over Marunouchi and the Imperial Palace Gardens.

25/9/13 Dinner at Mitsubishi Club 225/9/13 Dinner at Mitsubishi Club 2

Feeling honored by this exquisite location, we had good turnout, and we welcomed several new members: Gregory Hadley (Kellogg Oxford), Dong Gyoon (Hans) Hyun (St John’s Cambridge), James Nepaulsingh (Keble Oxford) and returnee Yasui Hayashi (Christ Church Oxford).
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Wed, 2013-09-25 09:00.
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Cambridge & Oxford 2013 Spring Golf Meeting

A beautiful calm early Spring day at the venerable Hodogaya Country Club greeted the sixteen C&O players on Saturday March 23rd. This time we were graced with a guest – David Jones from the London wine merchant Berry Brothers, as well as the welcome participation of one of our lady members, Carolyn Macdonald.

Everyone was delighted to welcome back to active golfing duties Terry Nakamura, who acquitted himself extremely well on the day.

Four fourballs, two ‘In’, two ‘Out’, eight Oxonians, seven Cantabrians; the stage was set for another close battle for not only the prized individual trophy (defending champion: Yoshi Kawamura) but for the ‘varsity’ match based on the top four scores from either University.

Our guest David Jones, a smooth swinging 3 handicapper from The Berkshire, actually posted the best score on the day, with a fine 75 gross. But the individual honours went to Simon Dalby whose 76 was enough to win the day.

The Varsity match was finally won by Cambridge thus halting a run of Oxford success.

A very enjoyable day was had and we all look forward to the Autumn meeting. Many thanks to Steven Thomas for organizing the day.

Oxford players: Peter Sato, Terry Nakamura, Charles Postles, Yoshi Shimizu, Tomo Imai, Steven Thomas, Yasuzo Takeno, Alex Miller.

Cambridge players: Simon Dalby, Peter Itoh, Jim Weeks, Alastair & Carolyn Macdonald, Yoshi Kawamura, John Sunley.

Guest: David Jones.

Welcome dinner for new C&O President HE Mr Tim Hitchens and his wife. Tokyo Club, Feb 5th 2013

On February 5th, 2013 fifty-two members of the C&O Society, including two of our most senior members, Hugh Wilkinson (King’s Cambridge, 1946) and Doreen Simmons (Girton Cambridge, 1950), and seventeen guests attended a dinner in the Tokyo Club to welcome, as our newly appointed President, the new British Ambassador, HE Mr Tim Hitchens (Christ’s Cambridge, 1980) and his wife, Sara (Christ’s Cambridge, 1981). We were also honoured with the presence of HIH Princess Takamado (Girton Cambridge, 1972), who gave the toast to our new president, after which we were treated to a splendid six-course dinner impeccably prepared and served by the Tokyo Club staff.

Welcome dinner for new C&O President HE Mr Tim Hitchens and his wife. Tokyo Club - 3Welcome dinner for new C&O President HE Mr Tim Hitchens and his wife. Tokyo Club - 3

A number of those present recalled Tim and Sara Hitchens from an earlier posting to Tokyo, when Tim, as a more junior member of the British Embassy staff, reported to another Cambridge graduate and staunch member of the Society, who subsequently became British Ambassador to Japan, Sir Stephen Gomersall. By a happy coincidence Sir Stephen happened to be in Tokyo on a business trip, and so was able to attend the dinner. In his after-dinner acceptance speech, Tim Hitchens spoke fondly of his time at Christ’s Cambridge. He had had the privilege of spending one of his years in the very rooms occupied centuries earlier by the blind poet, John Milton, as evidenced by words crudely carved on one of the room walls – “John Milton lived here”. It was, of course, at Christ’s that Tim and Sara met.
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Wed, 2013-02-06 09:00.
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2012 Autumn Golf at Fuji OGM Ichihara GC

The 2012 C&O Autumn Golf Outing was held on October 20th; it was a beautiful, sunny autumn day - most welcome to all golfers after the abnormally hot summer endured this year.

Camford Golf Tournament Autumn 2012Camford Golf Tournament Autumn 2012

The course was Fuji OGM Ichihara GC; that morning, the traffic on Aqua Line was not so bad, resulting in the fact that everybody arrived without any frustrations from a long drive.

A total of eight people joined: four each from Oxford and Cambridge. While the Oxford players tried their best, on this occasion Cambridge team won the University Match by a slim margin of just 4 strokes (331-327). The historic record now stands at Oxford 23 vs. Cambridge 18.

In the individual competition, Yoshihiko Kawamura won the C&O Trophy for the first time with a solid score of 97 gross and 77 net.

The new Champion said that even though he was enjoying a high handicap, he did not expect to win at the tournament at all, because his driver and fairway woods had not been stable for the past months. However, he was very much helped by an excellent caddy who found his ball even in the bushes and gave effective instructions on the greens. In addition, his game benefited from the enjoyable company and friendly encouragement of his playing partners, Charles Postles, Steven Thomas and Jim Weeks.

On such a wonderful Kanto autumn day, all participants enjoyed the tournament, and promoted our friendship. We promised to get together for the next C&O Spring Golf Outing at Hodogaya CC, scheduled for March 23rd 2013.

Yoshihiko Kawamura, Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1992

July 6 2012 Gokurosama Party for Mr Terry Nakamura at Mitsubishi Club

Mr Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester Oxford 1964) retired from the C&O committee at the Triennial General Meeting held on April 20th 2012, having devoted himself tirelessly to the day-to-day running of the Society for more than 30 years. As a small token of our gratitude for his dedicated service to C&O, we planned a Gokurosama Party (as distinct from a farewell party) in his honour at Kojunsha in Ginza as our main event for June. Unfortunately for us, but happily for Terry, just after the notice for the party was distributed to members, he received and accepted an invitation from the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Oxford University to the 2012 Encaenia on June 20th. The Gokurosama Party was, therefore, postponed until July 6th when, thanks to the kind arrangements of Mr Buhei Okumura (Trinity Cambridge) and his wife Yuko, it was held at Mitsubishi Club at the top of the Mitsubishi Shoji Building in Marunouchi.

The party was attended by 39 people (including Terry himself and our President, Sir David Warren), all of whom are likely to remember it fondly. Terry with Sir David WarrenTerry with Sir David Warren

The text of the speech Terry prepared for the event constitutes a valuable historical document; it may be viewed on the history page of this site (or click here for the full text).

Gokurosama Party  at Mitsubishi Club, Terry with TimTerry with Tim Minton
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2012-07-06 09:00.
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2012 Spring Golf tournament Hodogaya Golf Club

Saturday, March 24th 2012

Hodogaya Country Club once again hosted the C&O for their Spring tournament. This splendid venue – just thirty minutes saunter down the Tomei – remains our favoured ‘home’ ground.

2012 Spring Golf tournament Hodogaya Teams2012 Spring Golf tournament Hodogaya Teams:

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our stalwart golf organizers Steven Thomas (just elected a member at Hodogaya – congratulations Steven) and Terry Nakamura, Tokyo’s recalcitrant Spring weather failed to deliver which possibly explains the rather slim turnout on this cool, damp March day.

The ten hardy souls that showed up however greatly enjoyed the day’s golf. In such an august setting, grim thoughts prompted by any three putts on the notoriously slick greens are almost invariably banished by the beauty of the plum blossom, the professionalism of the caddies and the warmth of the camaraderie.

Oxford have enjoyed a substantial lead in the ‘University match’ rankings but this time it was Cambridge’s day with the light blues occupying all of the top four slots and thus prevailing by the margin of 44 strokes.

2012 Spring Golf tournament Hodogaya Winner2012 Spring Golf tournament Hodogaya Winner

Simon Dalby won the individual with a polished round of 72 gross. Peter Itoh came second and Alastair Macdonald third.
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Sat, 2012-03-24 00:00.
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2011 Autumn Golf Outing to Shin Numazu Golf Club

Saturday 8th October saw the C&O Golfers group returning to Shin Numazu CC in Shizuoka for the first time since the Centenary Golf Outing in 2005. Our host once again was SNCC member Tomo Imai, who did an excellent job of setting up all the arrangements for the day.

With a number of regular C&O golfers otherwise occupied, for this visit we numbered a modest 10 players, 6 from Oxford and 4 Cambridge. Those in attendance were able to enjoy the golf course in excellent condition, despite a recent period of sustained wet weather. The natural beauty of the course, its surroundings and views over Suruga Bay were remarked upon by all, and surely took our minds off the occasional errant shot or putt.

After the long trip down from Tokyo, the morning nine saw a slow start for most players, although Cambridge stalwart Simon Dalby raced out of the blocks with a one under par 35. A very good lunch of local fare was then enjoyed, along with a glass of beer (or sake for Imai-san) to fortify us for the remaining 9 holes. Indeed 8 players improved on their morning efforts in the afternoon.

When we tallied the results over the traditional post-game party and prize-giving, Simon Dalby was declared the winner with an excellent gross 71, net 69. Trailing by just two shots was Yasuzo Takeno, who was the only other man to play to his handicap on the day, with Alastair Macdonald and Alex Miller close behind in joint 3rd place.

In the Varsity match, Oxford came out as winners by a seven stroke margin, and the historic record now stands at Oxford 23 and Cambridge 16.

Our sincere thanks to Tomo Imai for hosting us at Shin Numazu CC, and to the Club for their warm welcome and gift of excellent locally-produced yoghurt.

The next Spring 2012 C&O golf is planned to take place on Saturday March 25th at Hodogaya CC (subject to confirmation).

Steven Thomas Merton College, Oxford 1979

2011 Summer Golf Outing to Hodogaya Golf Club

The golfing members of the C&O Society were all the more pleased to be able to get together at venerable Hodogaya CC on 16th July for our summer outing. Indeed this golf day had by necessity been rescheduled from the original spring time date, just after the tragic events of March 11th.

Fourteen members and two guests braved some particularly hot and humid mid-summer weather to enjoy the immaculately prepared Hodogaya course and its ever-swift greens. Despite the tough conditions, 10 players broke the 100 mark and 5 recorded scores of 90 or below. Scoring apart, it was an ideal opportunity to renew old golfing friendships, both on the golf course and at the post-game party. At the end of the day, the top placings went to James Lawden in 4th spot, Steven Thomas in 3rd, Ambassador Masaji Takahashi in 2nd place and with Hodogaya member Peter Itoh a clear winner with a net score of 70 (for which his reward was the C&O Trophy and a handicap reduction to 18).

In the Varsity match (4 best scores), a rather strong showing by Cambridge gave them an easy 10 stroke win, with the historic totals since 1989 now Oxford 22 and Cambridge 16. We are already planning the next outing, to Shin Numazu CC on October 8th. Next year we will revert to the regular cycle of Spring and Autumn Golf Meetings.

Steven Thomas Merton College, Oxford 1979

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