Hollywood on the Potomac

Uji Tea Ceremony

May 29, 2018

“It’s a great moment to emphasize the Franco-Japanese relationship,” said Gérard Araud, The  Ambassador of France. “We have enjoyed diplomatic relations for one hundred and sixty years and actually, we have celebrated this anniversary. It’s always good to celebrate friendship and it’s always good to do it with good food and also good dreams.”

Ambassador Kazutoshi Aikawa, Deputy Chief of Mission of Japan, co-hosted a reception pairing French Gastronome & Japanese products with a traditional “Uji” Tea Ceremony presented by Sobin Koizumi Sensei from Kyoto. While a tea ceremony at the French Embassy may seem incongruous to the French way of life where Champagne flows from dawn to dusk, on this night it was where the two cultures formed a strong duo pairing French chefs that cook dishes which use tea.


“It all started with a type of tea – Uji Matcha Tea – and now The French and Japanese are starting to host these events around the world,” added Amb. Araud.  “We have things in common because the intrinsic qualities of the Matcha Teas are derived from the particular region where it is produced which sounds like what we call in French a geographical [education].  And to be honest, since French production of tea was probably zero, there is no question of competition between France and Japan; it’s only a question of cooperation. On our side, we are always excited by the idea that the qualities of the French gastronomy is recognized.”

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May 28, 2018

Like years before and after 1968, memorable events have shaped history; but 1968 was a pivitol year.  It was a year of fierce social and political change with two major factors that shaped the country like none other:  The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.  It was the year that Dr. Benjamin Spock was indicted for conspiring to violate the draft law; “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” premiered on NBC“In the Heat of the Night” stars Rod Steiger & Edith Evans won The Golden Globes; President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election; Glen Campbell and Lynn Anderson won the Academy of Country Music Awards; Arthur Ashe became the first African American to win the US singles championship; O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy Award; Republican candidate Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States; and in case anyone cares Evil Knievel (look it up ) failed a jump in Nevada; Frank Sinatra ended the year with My Way; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.

From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog comes a CNN Original Series Event, 1968. Using never-before-seen archival footage and contemporary interviews with journalists, historians and notable figures, the series maps the tumultuous events of the entire year, from the assassinations of MLK and RFK to escalating anti-Vietnam War sentiment and civil rights struggles. A post-screening discussion moderated by CNN anchor, Don Lemon included Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Hassan Jeffries, Ph.D., professor of history, The Ohio State University, and Renee Graham, Boston Globe took place at the Smithsonian’s African Museum of  History and Culture“1968,” A Four-Part CNN Original Series Event, Debuts Sunday, May 27, at 9 P.M. ET.


“I was a kid, but I grew up with Dr. King. The pictures on the mantel, on the dresser, that would be Dr. King,” Lemon remembered.  “There would be John F. Kennedy and Jesus. And those were the three pictures that were on the dresser, so even though I wasn’t actually old enough to remember 1968, my family certainly made sure that they filled me in on it. I didn’t learn as much in high school. I learned more in elementary and junior high school, because I went to a predominantly black school. Then I went to a school that was predominantly white and they just, they didn’t teach it.  We did civics, trigonometry, and all that. But we didn’t learn a lot about black history.”

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Young Concert Artists

May 24, 2018

"Yoko and I are delighted to welcome you.  Since we are new here, I was thinking—what should you know about us?  The important thing is this: WE LOVE MUSIC,” said Shinsuke Sugiyama, The Ambassador of Japan, who hosted a Gala Evening to benefit Young Concert Artists of Washington at his residence along with his wife Yoko.  “Our son started playing piano at age 3 and is a very good pianist. He still practices—even with four children. Our daughter also started playing piano when she was three. She was very good, but what’s interesting is that her happiness migrated toward color rather than sound, so she is a fashion designer in New York. Yoko says that I’m just being a proud father…but I honestly believe that both our kids have perfect pitch. Yoko herself loves opera…but we argue because I loved it before she did, so I think I love it more.”

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