The following letter from Club President John Durkin appears in the February issue of the ACCJ Journal, the monthly publication of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
A Bright Future
When I was elected president of Tokyo American Club (TAC) for the first time, in 2012, the situation at the Club was not good. A sizeable ¥28 billion had been invested in the Club, but the global financial crisis had decimated the Club’s membership count and 2011’s earthquake had aggravated the situation. The Club’s financial condition was precarious.
Since then, things have completely changed. The Club has recorded three consecutive years of strong membership growth and our finances are stable. We expect to soon exceed 4,000 members, the most since the Club’s founding in 1928.
TAC has become more relevant than ever to the lives of the Tokyo international community. This has been one of my main objectives.
We have improved our dining options for both adults and families, and last year we opened an American-style steakhouse, CHOP, modeled on the best venues in New York and Las Vegas. The restaurant promptly won awards of excellence.
Sports and fitness at the Club represent the best in Japan, and our fitness hours have been expanded from early morning to late at night. Lessons and classes with professional instructors are in English. Racket sports, swimming, golf, basketball, volleyball, running, indoor cycling, bowling and many other sports are all available.
We have also introduced frequent, inexpensive social events to bring together the community.
Family is key at TAC, and the Club is an essential hub for many families in Tokyo. It’s a great place to grow up.
With membership approaching capacity, it’s likely to become more difficult to join the Club in the future, both in terms of availability and price.
The purpose of this letter is to reach out to my friends and colleagues in the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) community. The Club still has preferential, excellent-value entrance fees for the international community. Dues are comparable to high-end fitness clubs, but include a broad array of community, dining, social and cultural benefits.
The Club is a nonprofit organization, so any profits go back to the members. Last year, we were able to host free holiday shows and an event for more than 2,000 members and their families.
I would be delighted to personally sponsor any ACCJ members who apply to join the Club.
John Durkin President/Representative Director, Tokyo American Club
Former Club governor Ira Wolf has passed away following an illness.
A longtime Japan resident, he twice served as a diplomat with the US Embassy and was a senior executive at various companies and organizations in Tokyo.
Besides serving on the Club's Board of Governors for three two-year terms, he was a member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and served as vice chairman of the Japan-US Friendship Commission.
"Myself and the entire Tokyo American Club community are saddened to hear of Ira's passing," said Club President John Durkin. "The community is forever grateful to Ira for his contributions, and we will miss him very much. I personally found Ira's advice over the years to be thoughtful and wise. Ira's contribution to Tokyo American Club is one reason we are so successful today."
Ira is survived by his wife, Jeanne.
Congratulations to the four Members who were selected from the Membership satisfaction survey lucky draw.
Matthew Tappenden won catering for 20 people, Paul Hardisty will enjoy dinner for two at CHOP Steakhouse, Ralph Wintrode has the opportunity to unwind in one of the Guest Studios and Matthew Meritt won a massage at The Spa.
The extensive survey, which was conducted in September, revealed a significant improvement on the results of the last survey in 2013.
In the most recent questionnaire, 39 percent of Members said they were very satisfied with the Club, more than double 2013’s figure, while 50 percent indicated they were satisfied.
In addition, 73 percent of Members either strongly agreed or agreed when asked whether Club membership represented good value.
Review a summary of the results here.
Longtime Member Shizuko Tani donated ¥1 million to the Club's Jiro Matsumura Memorial Fund.
The late Matsumura was a Member for nearly 30 years and the fund in his name is used for a Club staff overseas internship program.
Most recently, CHOP Steakhouse's Kevin Nishino and Michiko Suzuki spent the month of September at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles as part of the Jiro Matsumura Internship (JMI) program.
Tani, of Homat Homes, the company established by Matsumura, presented the check to the Club's general manager, Tony Cala.
The Club's American Bar & Grill restaurant is set to offers dinners of exceptional Tsukiji-fresh seafood and prime rib from December 14.
Highlights of this surf 'n' turf-oriented menu include authentic San Francisco cioppino, a tomato, wine and crab broth with scallops, prawns, clams and fish, clam chowder in a sourdough bowl and salt- and herb-crusted Certified Angus Beef prime rib.
“We spent some time perfecting these recipes,” the Club's executive chef, Lindsay Gray, recently told iNTOUCH magazine. “We’ve already had a couple of US passport holders try the sourdough and say, ‘It feels like I am eating on Fisherman’s Wharf.’”