Stammtisch and Urban Walks: Regular and New Activities of 2023

The year 2023 is drawing to a close, and we would like to reflect on some of our activities of the year.

The first one is our monthly gathering, the “Stammtisch” get-together at the Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo in Nihonbashi. “Stammtisch” is a German word which roughly translates into “reserved table for regulars”. The Stammtisch has been a feature of the Swiss Club Tokyo for many years, but before the onset of Covid 19, attendance was usually around five members each time. For some reason, this changed during the pandemic! To reduce the risk of infection, we started looking for a place where we could sit outside, and we found the perfect spot at the Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, which offers a covered garden-like terrace in the COREDO Muromachi shopping district. Not only the attractive location, but also the chance to meet during those difficult days proved to be a “magnet” for many people, and our get-together has grown in popularity ever since. Nowadays, an attendance rate of 20 or more participants is quite common. Every last Monday of the month, people from all walks of life come together to chat and spend some time together in a relaxed atmosphere, while enjoying a glass of wine and Gino Sorbillo’s delicious pizza. Everyone can participate in the Stammtisch, also “non members”, and it is possible to subscribe to a monthly reminder email. We invite all our members to bring their friends, get the reminder not to forget about the next Stammtisch, and see you at our next meeting!

Another activity we had this year was rather new and unusual: The “Urban Walk” offered by fellow Swiss Club Member Massimo Biondi. To give you an idea, here is a map of the route of the second Urban Walk he organized. For years, we have encouraged members to come forward with ideas for additional activities, and Massimo has stepped up with his idea to explore the city together on foot. His two Urban Walks this year were very popular, and we are hoping for more to come. Thank you Massimo! If you have any ideas for possible activities, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Regular and new activities made this 2023 a great year, and we are looking forward to an amazing 2024!

This article was written by Peter Woehrle (President) and Elena Laghi (Communications)

Stammtisch Facebook photo album

A Happy Outdoor Christmas 2023

On December 9, the Swiss Club Tokyo celebrated its yearly event “Outdoor Christmas” with the arrival of Samichlaus (Swiss Santa) and Schmutzli (Santa’s helper), in the beautiful garden of the Swiss Ambassador’s Residence. The weather was incredible, a gorgeous Saturday afternoon with the trees showing their autumn colours. 

Over 60 adults and about 35 children got together on that day. Not only the much anticipated chance of meeting Samichlaus, but also the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful garden of the Swiss Embassy was a strong incentive for many to sign up. No surprise that the event was sold out rather quickly!

The doors opened at 2pm and slowly guests started showing up. They were greeted with a cup of hot wine or hot lemonade at the entrance, and then guided to the garden, where a buffet, heavily loaded with home made cakes, cookies, and other delicacies awaited them. There was also a wide choice of cold and hot drinks. Once in the garden, the kids started running around and enjoying the pastries with their parents. 

At around 3pm, after most of the participants had arrived, the president of the Swiss Club, Peter Woehrle, greeted everybody and briefly informed them about the program of the afternoon, before leaving the stage to Ambassador Baum for a few words of welcome.

Guests then continued enjoying the pleasant environment, the buffet, and each other’s company, while the children had a ball skipping around the garden, which turned out to be the perfect playground with all its hidden pathways. The weather kept being perfect and unseasonably warm throughout the afternoon. 

It arrived the time to sing! Peter Whoehrle had his Ukulele, but also some musical instruments for the kids too! They were all excited to sing and play along. The president sang the most famous Christmas songs in English, and after this fun sing-along session, it was finally time for the highlight of the day: The arrival of Samichlaus and Schmutzli! The kids started screaming of joy “Samichlaus, Samichlaus!” until the couple finally appeared from behind the Embassy’s walls. 

Samichlaus and Schmutzli took their place in front of the children, who were sitting on Swiss Army blankets, waiting for their turn to be called. Samichlaus referred to his book of records when commenting on a child’s behavior. Slightly scary Schmutzli, stood ready to hand over a goodie bag to the kids at the end of each session, and then a photo together with the parents was taken to commemorate the occasion!

Unsurprisingly, due to the large amount of participants, the interaction between Samichlaus and the children turned out to be a rather lengthy process. Nevertheless, children (and parents) were on their best behavior.

At around 5:30pm, Samichlaus and Schmutzli said goodbye to everyone, and another outstanding Swiss Club Tokyo event drew to a close!

This article was written by Peter Woehrle (President) and Elena Laghi (Communications)

Facebook photo album

Incredible Year End Party 2023 at Hilton Tokyo

On November 22, we had another amazing Year End Party! “Winter Wonderland” was the chosen theme for this year, and we celebrated at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku. The glamorous annual event of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Club Tokyo proved to be extremely popular this year, with a crowd of over 250 people. Tickets were completely sold-out weeks before the deadline!

Registration started at 5pm, and guests mingled in the luxurious foyer for about one hour, having a first drink, before the doors to the Kiku ballroom were opened. From the very beginning of the party we were able to admire some extravagant costumes, waiting to be judged by the jury during the event.

After everyone took a seat at their table, the event began: Ambassador Baum opened the official part of the evening, followed by the president of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Brodbeck. Peter Woehrle, President of the Swiss Club Tokyo, wrapped up the formal introductions with his thoughts on the theme, and he concluded his speech with a rendition of the song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”. This impromptu performance was well received by the audience and people started to clap in rhythm almost from the start. A toast by Peter Woehrle followed the song and finally food and drinks were served.

After the main course, Keiko Itoh, who is a well-known Japanese yodeler, performed with her band, the Amsle Quartet, adding a touch of Swiss folklore to the evening. A dessert buffet allowed people to mingle again, and then it was time for the costume competition. The guests, who chose to dress up according to the theme, paraded on the stage and a jury of six were watching closely to determine the three best female and male costumes.

After everybody was seated again, the lucky draw began: The 13 most valuable prizes were drawn in front of the audience, whereas the remaining winners could find their names on the huge screen at the far end of the ballroom. Finally, the winners for best costume were called on stage, where they received their awards. After the award ceremony, guests started to leave and at around 11pm another successful Year End Party came to its conclusion. See you next year!

This article was written by Peter Woehrle (President) and Elena Laghi (Communications)

Facebook photo album