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Event Reports

Centenary Event Reports

Centenary Golf Match at Shin Numazu Country Club, 25th March, 2005

The ‘final list’ for the Centenary Golf Match included eleven names, but two hard-working British businessmen, perhaps in imitation of their pre-bubble Japanese counterparts, had to cancel the day before, citing ‘pressure of work’. Among the nine who did participate were one former President of C&O, Sir Stephen Gomersall from the UK, and two former Presidents of the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong, Colin Cohen and Peter Earnest Wong. These overseas visitors were cordially welcomed by the C&O Golf members in attendance represented by Steven Thomas.
There were two potential pitfalls to this the first event in the Centenary programme: traffic conditions and the weather.
The golf course is located a little over 100 kilometres from the Tokyo entrance to the Tomei Expressway, which links Tokyo with Nagoya, where it then joins another motorway to Osaka and eventually Kyushu. Needless to say, the traffic is usually heavy in both directions. Tony Fordyce and Rupert Middle were kind enough to rise very early in the morning and collect the three visitors from Hotel Okura. Fortunately the traffic was running smoothly and everyone arrived on time, having enjoyed on the way the splendid view of snow-capped Mt Fuji nestling behind the Hakone mountains.
The organiser of this event, Tomoyuki Imai, had been planning to travel to Numazu on Thursday evening, but the second of the potential pitfalls prevented him from doing so. Much to his consternation, the clouds rolled in and the Kanto Plain was lashed by torrential rain, high winds, thunder and lightning. However, Friday 25th dawned bright and clear, although it was still rather windy and cold. These favourable weather conditions prevailed throughout the day, and indeed the entire weekend, and added to the splendour of the scenery. The mountains of the Izu Peninsula rising out of Suruga Bay were clearly visible above the greens and through the tall trees of the golf course, and the whole combined to form a beautiful picture. Colin Cohen asked what the large ‘lake’ (Suruga Bay) was called!

Posted in | Submitted by tim.minton on Sun, 2005-03-27 15:00.
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2003 C&O Golf Match

On Saturday, 15th March, 14 C&O golf enthusiasts, joined by two guests, journeyed across Tokyo Bay (most at least under the sea via the Aqualine!) to Fuji Country Club Ichihara, for the C&O Spring Golf Meeting. This was the first time for the Society to try out Fuji Ichihara, a good test of golf designed by Robert Trent Jones, and opinions were generally positive as to the quality and condition of the course and facilities, as well as the chance to take advantage of the group package rate of \25,000 all-in for golf play, all food and drinks.

The early spring weather was not quite what had been hoped for, but the rain held off for the most part. The morning nine saw some steady play from a number of participants, with Sir Stephen, Dalby, Thomas, and our two guests Miko Fordyce and Yamamura-san all scoring around their handicaps or better. A good lunch was enjoyed by all and then it was a return to the course where the strengthening wind in the afternoon provided an extra challenge. Both Dalby and Thomas were blown off course, finally recording the same scores of 81 gross. Our guests were again steady, and finished 2nd and 3rd in the final rankings. However, at the end of the day, it was the President of the Society, and surely one of the keenest golfers, Sir Stephen Gomersall, who recorded the best net score, a solid 73, to take the first place and ownership, until the next time at least, of the C&O Society Golf Trophy. Congratulations again to Sir Stephen.

In the University Match, Cambridge were too strong for Oxford on this occasion and scored an easy victory to edge ahead once again in the historic rankings.

The C&O golf programme is particularly strong for 2003, with a return to Hodogaya scheduled for July 5th and the prospects of a trip to Karuizawa later in the year. All are welcome to join and we look forward to seeing a few more C&O members on the links in future. Thanks always to Terry Nakamura for his organisation of the event.

Flight report b

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2003-03-14 15:00.
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General Meeting, Thursday, March 13, 2003.

A General Meeting, chaired by the Society’s President, Sir Stephen Gomersall (Queens’ Cambridge 1966), was held at the New Hall, British Embassy on Thursday, 13th March, 2003, starting at 6:30 p.m. It was attended by 38 Members. The agenda was as follows:

Report on current membership and C&O activities over the past 3 years
Presentation of financial statements for the past three years and the draft budget for the coming three years (2003 ~ 2005)
Presentation of proposed amendments to the Constitution
Election of Honorary Secretaries and Treasurer for 2003 ~ 2005
Election of Members of a Special Committee to prepare a programme of events for the Society’s Centenary in 2005
The General Meeting opened with a speech by the President, in which he emphasized the unique character of the Society as compared with other alumni and British-related organisations in Japan and reaffirmed the Embassy’s support for the Society’s activities.

Mr Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester Oxford 1964) then gave a brief report on the current membership (Honorary Members: 4, Ordinary Members: 242, as of the end of February 2003) and on the events held over the last three years, outlining the events themselves and the moderately declining trend in attendance, except for the early summer Spouses’ Party hosted by the President.

This was followed by a presentation of financial statements, delivered by Mr Yuhiko Yasunaga (Wolfson Cambridge 1980), who took over the Treasurer’s duties from Mr Masaharu Kurata on 18th February 2003. The Treasurer pointed out that the Society’s cash flow position is robust, even when the anticipated additional expenditure on the Centenary programme (yet to be agreed) is considered, and expressed the hope that the budgets for the forthcoming years would remain within the confines of the limited cash balance and annual subscription fees to be collected from Members.

The lengthiest item on the agenda was a proposal by the outgoing Committee to amend the Society’s Constitution. The proposed amendments and additions were outlined by Mr Timothy Minton (St John’s Cambridge 1977), and two further additions were proposed from the floor following his presentation. One of the major amendments is that, in future years, one General Meeting shall be held triennially (in lieu of an AGM). The revised version was approved by the unanimous vote of those Members in attendance and may be viewed here.

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Wed, 2003-03-12 15:00.
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2002 C&O Autumnal Golf Match

Saturday, 9th November 2002

The day dawned fine and clear, with a gentle breeze, for the dozen participants at the C&O Society's 3rd and final golf outing this year. The venue this time was Kyo Country Club, close to Narita Airport; indeed at times it appeared so close to Narita Airport – being directly beneath the flight path in fact – that a well-flighted approach shot could have caused a major disaster, and several participants decided to avoid this possibility by keeping their shots close to (or even along) the ground. Passengers looking out of the windows could be seen applauding these efforts.

Upon our arrival at the course, a notice warned us that our scores would probably be around 5/10 strokes more than we would normally record, and this turned out, in many cases, to be an optimistic estimate; indeed, Tim Minton, on his golfing debut, could have been forgiven for thinking that this referred to 5/10 shots per hole.

It may have been due to the enormous size and undulating contours of the greens (one of your correspondent's playing partners who shall remain nameless – it wasn't Tim – had a 3-foot putt for a par 4 on one hole and was still putting when we agreed to put him out his misery and record an 8); it may have been because of the large amount of water (no less than 11 holes had water hazards); or it may have been because of the wind which rose to near gale force by the end of play. In any event, all were agreed that it was a very tough course.

We played the 'in' course first, and were perhaps lulled into a false sense of security. Scores on the 'out' half were almost without exception higher, and it is a measure of the improvement in Tim's play that he was one of only 2 players to score better in the afternoon. Play was unfortunately rather slow – not due to any of our groups, it should be said – and we finally finished in quite chilly conditions at around 3.30 p.m., making it quite a lengthy day considering the 9.15 a.m. tee-off; thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2002-11-08 15:00.
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C&O Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, 7th July 2002

"Cambridge draw level at Hodogaya"

C&O golfers were once again most fortunate to play the annual summer tournament at Hodogaya Country Club in Yokohama thanks to the several members who are also Hodogaya members. Hodogaya is a beautiful course that was generously laid out at a time when wide open spaces were available near the capital and is further distinguished by a fine club house designed by C&O member Hidehiro Takaki (Gonville & Caius, Cambridge 1927).

As usual the weather was hot and humid though the heat was tempered somewhat by a steady breeze. In all 19 golfers competed and the light blues were heavily represented with 12 participants including regular guests. The course played long following heavy rain in the days before the tournament and the wind also played its part in preventing anyone from beating par on net scores and the best gross score on the day was an 80 by Simon Dalby (Trinity Hall, Cambridge 1977). The winner on net scores was Mrs Miko Fordyce, a guest representing Cambridge who carded a fine net 73 to win by four clear strokes.

The varsity match (sum of the best four net scores on each side) was also won by Cambridge with a clean sweep of the top four scores bringing the history of the C&O Tokyo golf contest to a 10 -10 draw in the 13 years since records are available.

The next date on the golfing calendar is the Autumn Golf Match planned for late October/ early November and new participants are cordially invited to join in.


Buffet Supper at The Agnes Hotel, Kagurazaka

Tuesday, 19th March, 2002 (18:30 - 21:00)

The rather peculiarly named Agnes Hotel (the owner's name spelt backwards, apparently) came with strong recommendations from the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, so we booked it without hesitation for our March dinner. It's a small, elegant, modern place, and the high-ceilinged "Agnes Hall" fitted our needs perfectly. One felt that the manager and his staff had gone out of their way to provide us with good homely fare of a high standard at an extremely reasonable price (\5,500 including drinks - the menu is attached below). Unfortunately, someone seemed to have absconded with the Fish and Chips before we arrived, but its absence was more than compensated for by the wonderful roast pork and roast beef. Several members eyed the latter suspiciously at first, but most tucked in after assurances had been issued that it was Australian. During the course of the evening, two new members were introduced: Mr Paul Etheridge (Pembroke, Oxford) and Ms Mika Tsuchiya (Trinity Hall, Cambridge). Five of us finished off with a few post-prandials in the hotel's bar. This was possibly slightly too cozy for the presence of a pianist, whom David Turner had to be restrained from throttling. Nevertheless, we will undoubtedly make return trips to The Agnes. (TDM)


Assorted Italian salami and cold meats
Salad of shell pasta mixed with garden vegetables
Assorted sausages
Welsh rarebit
Shepherd's pie
Fish & Chips
Spaghetti Bolognese
Gnocchi gratin
Chicken pie
Roast pork with apple sauce
Roast beef
Fried rice with bacon and mixed vegetables
Fruit punch

2002 Spring Golf

"Cambridge romp home"

This year's Spring Golf Match took place in balmy Spring weather at the Taiheiyo Club, Gotemba Course, on Saturday, 16th March 2002, and was kindly organised by Guy Heald (Queens', Cambridge). The Cambridge's best four beat Oxford's by 30 (net) strokes thus bringing the abridged (records prior to 1989 are not available) history of the Varsity match to Cambridge 9, Oxford 10.

The Taiheiyo' Gotemba Course is one of the best golf courses in Japan and is well known for the Taiheiyo-SMBC-Visa Masters Tournament in which top world pros such as Mr Tiger Woods compete for big prize money. Fortunately we were not under such pressure and our 13 participants, including 2 guests from the Cambridge side, thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful landscape with Mt Fuji in the background throughout the 18 holes (regular tee: 6,818 yards with a 69.7 course rate). The fairways are wide and long but the course is strategically designed with several lakes and guard bunkers. The greens were subtle and fast with the majestic Mt Fuji ever present.

Mrs Ohtawa conquered the tricky greens and the rest of the field to come in as the winner on net scores. Peter Y. Sato (St Catherine's, Oxford) was justifiably delighted to return a two digit gross score, while none of the rest of the field broke 100. Very sad indeed. However, Sir Stephen Gomersall (Queens', Cambridge) must have been very happy with his golf on the day. In spite of the relatively high course rating, his score was second only to that of the winner and apparently was his best achievement ever realised (gross: 103) since he picked up a golf club for the first time three years ago. Unfortunately, many of us missed his fine congratulatory speech since, all of a sudden, most participants had to dash to the Club bus to catch the train back to Tokyo.

Participants were as follows: Sir Stephen Gomersall (Queens', Cambridge), Peter Y. Sato (St Catherine's, Oxford), Yoshi Shimizu (Worcester, Oxford), James Lawden (New, Oxford), Toshi Ohtawa (Addenbrooke's, Cambridge), Taka Hashimoto (Gonville & Caius, Cambridge), Tomo Imai (St Antony's, Oxford), Terry Nakamura (Worcester Oxford), John Sunley (Pembroke, Cambridge), Yasuzo Takeno (Worcester, Oxford), Guy Heald (Queens, Cambridge), Yoshi Ishikawa (Guest-C) and Mrs Hiroko Ohtawa (Guest-C).

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Fri, 2002-03-15 15:00.
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Buffet Lunch at La Bisboccia

Friday, 22nd February, 2002 (12:15 - 14:00)

Hiroo's La Bisboccia must be one of the finest Italian restaurants in Tokyo, and it has long been a regular venue for C&O lunches. Apart from the excellent cuisine, a definite attraction from our point of view is that it isn't open to the public for lunch, which means that our boisterous presence doesn't bother anyone else. The meeting on 22nd February was actually rather less boisterous than usual as numbers were low: only thirteen members and two guests. There were no new members to be introduced, but no no-shows, either. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and we are grateful to La Bisboccia for providing the usual five-star Italian feast. (TDM)

Bounenkai at Takanawa Wakyokan

Friday, 21st December, 2001

This was, as far as we know, only the Society's second official bounenkai (year-end party), the first one having taken place on December 27th, 2000 at Hokkaido in Shinjuku. Both events were extremely successful, so it seems likely that a bounenkai will feature regularly in the Society's programmes in the future.

It is not easy to find a suitable venue at such a busy time of the year, and we are indebted to Professor Makoto Taniguchi (St John's, Cambridge) for securing Takanawa Wakyokan for us. This is a private club for employees of Hitachi Metals, but the atmosphere, while certainly exclusive, is by no means forbidding. We were treated to a splendid buffet meal in the club's main hall, and no pressure was put on us to leave even well after the official closing time of 8.30 p.m.

The sixty or so members and guests who attended were also treated to the company and singing of the 35 members (17 choristers aged 8 to 13, 17 clerks and the Director of Music) of The Choir of New College, Oxford, who took time out of their Japan Tour to attend the party. Mr Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester, Oxford) welcomed them on behalf of the Society, and Dr Edward Higginbottom (the Organist and Director of Music) replied for the Choir. The latter made the interesting observation that as the boys of the choir are full members of the Foundation of New College, they should be eligible for membership of our Society regardless of whether they attend either Oxford or Cambridge University in the future. We'll be pleased to put this to the test!

The full choir delighted us with three Christmas Carols, and later in the evening the adults of the choir, most of whom are undergraduates at New College, made a more light-hearted contribution of several close-harmony arrangements. We realised once again how important it is for the Society to keep abreast of and participate as far as it can in Oxbridge-related visits to this country.

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Thu, 2001-12-20 15:00.
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Buffet Lunch at New Hall

Wednesday, 21st November, 2001

November is a busy month in Japan but nonetheless a goodly number of members (28) graced the Society's lunch on the 21st held in the New Hall of the British Embassy. Also present were a few guests (5) and, very happily, two "returnees", Mr Martin Blakeway (Trinity, Cambridge) and Mr John Brodie (Christ Church, Oxford). It was a brilliant late autumn day outside and within both wine and conversation flowed. Jane Cooke produced one of her excellent lunches (good English fare, though a lasagna lurked and at which Ms Doreen Simmons [Girton, Cambridge] was seen looking suspiciously). Mr Stuart Jack (Merton, Oxford) welcomed new members (Dr Geynor Sekimori [Darwin, Cambridge], Mr Clement Tam [St Edmund Hall, Oxford], and Dr Francesco Stajano [St John's Cambridge]), and Mr Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester, Oxford) told us of treats to come. All most enjoyable. The secretaries are to be thanked most warmly for arranging yet another jolly function, and indeed for all their hard work for members.

Hugh David Turner (Christ's, Cambridge)

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