Great benefits of the club

Some of the great benefits of the club are the classes. Boxing, golf, personal trainers… the list goes on.

One class that every mature member needs is the stretching class. Running every Thursday this is a must for those who recognize they need to stay flexible to avoid injury and is a huge benefit to members.

TAC Board Begins To Lead By Example- No More Silly Restrictions

Today our very able general manager announced the end of forcing members to wear mask at Tokyo American Club.

Show Us That Smile NOW!

Wearing masks at Tokyo American Club is now what it should be, OPTIONAL

Mask wearing at the time was an understandable attempt to prevent that sickness from spreading. It ended up becoming more of a tool of control and discrimination by both overzealous staff and some anxious members. Based on Japan infection counts, masks were not all that effective.

National governments around the world have been the most notorious for trying to control their citizens though masks and for what some see as forced experimental vaccinations. Some governments continue to try to control even now.

Sick people should stay home. For sick people, out and about, wearing masks is considerate and cultural in Japan.

It’s fabulous to see TAC lead by example. The Tokyo American Club is an international community. Members are considerate and don’t mind if a member wants to wear a mask, but it should NEVER forced upon us again. We should not be doing things the rest of the international community around the world has already tagged as meaningless and left far behind.

Great things happening at Tokyo American Club under a new member board but more importantly, under a seasoned general manager with years of experience. He has been entrusted to run the business 100%. He is respected by members and staff alike for doing the right things. Well done!

From the GM: Mask Usage at the Club
Thursday, May 26, 2022 9:17:10 PM

Dear Member,

After careful deliberation, the Board of Governors and Club management have decided to make mask usage at the Club optional from May 27….

Do We Really Need To Spend Money Counting Paper Towels (AKA Sustainability Burdens)?

Members have received an email from a volunteer group of members seeking to plunge the Tokyo American Club into the SUSTAINABILITY black hole.

Of course, we must do our best to make sure we’re using our facilities efficiently and avoiding wastes that damage our environment. But as we’re a social club, spending money on corporate fads is not wise for the club.

The MABT members unanimously recommend that you respond to the survey with recommendations that they spend money on things that matter for the well-being of staff and members.

Let’s be great global citizens but NOT turn our club into a financially bleeding recycle center with more burdens on members and staff. Please let them know in their survey!

This group was formed under the old board. It should probably remain in the past. Let’s let it die with the other issues and focus on the future.

Here’s the note-

Sustainability and Your Club Dear Member,

The Sustainability Task Force, which was formed by the Board of Governors and started its work in February 2021, is keen to hear your thoughts about Club sustainability through a short survey.

As sustainability is an increasingly important topic for organizations of all types and sizes both in Japan and globally, the Board felt it important to explore how the Club could improve its sustainability.

Since its inception, the task force has been learning about the steps taken thus far and formulating ideas on how to accelerate sustainability at the Club. Its initial assessment was presented at the Annual General Meeting last November.

The task force believes that taking effective action on this topic requires the engagement of all stakeholders in our community, in particular, our fellow Members. This survey is an important step in that effort.

Once we have concluded the survey, we will conduct focus groups to gather further feedback and ideas from Members. Consolidated results from both initiatives will be shared with the membership.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Sustainability Task Force Chair
Tokyo American Club

Sustainability Task Force
X• X • X• X• X• X • X

Board Election Slate Announced- Who Can Lead the Club Better?

The Nominating Committee-proposed list of candidates is as follows:

  • American Citizens (four to be elected)
    Jeffrey Behr
    Joseph Billi
    Joseph Bodenheimer
    John Flanagan
    James Hawrylak
    Catherine Onaka (Ohura)
    Nils Plett
  • Japanese Citizens (one to be elected)
    Kenji Ota
    Reiko Saito
  • Other Nationalities (one to be elected)
    Rune Soelvsteen
    Christa Wallington
  • Connections (one to be elected)
    Olivia Smith

TAC Nihonbashi Starts ‘Highlights Newsletter’

Welcome to Nihonbashi Highlights

Dear Member,

A key part of making the most of your Tokyo American Club membership is staying in the know about your “second home.”

To ensure you don’t miss out on the latest Nihonbashi Club news, announcements and offers, we’re excited to launch this monthly e-newsletter. Look out for it in your inbox on the first Monday of every month.

But we’re also keen to hear from you. If you have any ideas or comments on how we can further enhance the Club experience for all Members, please share them with the TAC Nihonbashi Committee.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you around the Nihonbashi Club.

Ginger Griggs
TAC Nihonbashi Committee Chair

In Memory Of Michael Van Zandt

The Tokyo community and Tokyo American Club lost one of the good ones when Michael Van Zandt passed away recently in Florida from complications related to COVID-19. Mike contracted the virus after he had proudly taken his daughter Hannah to her freshman year at college in Colorado and went on to visit his family in Florida. He was hospitalized but lost the battle on Thursday last week.

He leaves behind his beautiful wife Naoko and his two amazing daughters Hannah and Anne.

The more than 350 online posts within 24 hours of Hannah announcing his passing are a testament to the love and high esteem that all of us had for Mike. He was one of the most friendly, loving and loyal people I have ever met. His smile lit up every room he entered, and his intelligence and sharp wit were the stuff of legend. My life is better for having known him, and I was proud to count him my friend.

Many of us are still in shock, but I am sure that Mike’s message to us would be to get vaccinated, wear a mask, and get on with things!

Mike had invested much of his assets in the new business he was leading to an IPO. To put it plainly, his daughters need our help to finish their education. Every single yen will go towards this important task.

Please donate with this link. No donation is too small (or too large).

Message From Volunteer Member Leaders- State-of-Emergency Extension

August 5, 2021

Dear Member,

Following the Japanese government’s announcement last week of an extension to the current state of emergency, alcohol service at bars and restaurants at both the Azabudai and Nihonbashi clubhouses will continue to be unavailable through August 31.
The Club’s operating hours will remain the same during this period. As usual, you’re encouraged to check the Club website for the most up-to-date information on events and programs.

With Tokyo and other areas experiencing a new wave of Covid-19 cases, please be sure to follow the Club’s safety guidelines when visiting.
If you travel overseas this summer, you are asked to not visit the Club for a quarantine period of 14 days following your return.

On a more positive note, the Club’s vaccination center for Minato Ward is into its second month of operations, with many Members and staff having been vaccinated.
The ongoing success of this community initiative is a testament to the hard work and innovation of so many Members—led by Sam Rogan, the Club’s first vice president—who volunteered their time and expertise.

Whether you are in Japan or abroad, have a relaxing—and safe—summer.

Michael Benner
Representative Governor
Tokyo American Club

The Club Needs A CFO (Chief Financial Officer)

Who can manage the TAC finances?

Since 2010, we’ve seen a number of fellow members working with the TAC management team to run the club. We were told that the financials were solid… before the vote to demolish the old clubhouse. Then when the financial disaster hit, the board changed it’s tune saying.. time to raise the fees for members… This was despite the member board of governors promising that there would be no increased pricing for members. (That was when 30+ members decided it was time to talk and this TAC member site, ABTAC was formed (A Better American The Club finances always seem to be easily pushed to the brink.

Invaluable Community

Tokyo American Club is a fantastic slice of the community of Americans, locals, and many other nationalities. TAC is gathering place for leaders from many industries who want to socialize, exercise, and eat. This is what pays the bills.


As the club leadership has gone extreme on the ‘safety first’ (revenue last) route, finances have suffered as people are apparently having a hard time using the club. Some members have joked that someone seemed to have confused COVID with Ebola.

Managing the club is no easy task. With COVID you’ve got a vast range of members from the ‘double-maskers’ to the ‘why must I wear a mask in the gym’ crowds that illustrates just the varying opinions and voices in the community. Wear ‘your mask between sips’ thinking in the restaurants has pushed some members to other clubs and the vast choices of restaurants around the Tokyo metropolis. Other members have just been concerned about going to public places and have avoided going out all together. The die-hard members have attempted to use the club normally… with much less service. The actions so far have apparently severely hampered the finances. (Maybe members should be asked in polls on what rules they want regarding masks, operating hours, available equipment, and club staffing of what facilities they might use?)

The Failed Loan Votes

There were two votes pushed by the former Representative Governor to get a loan that was ‘just in case’. Members rejected the loan as it was pushed as being unnecessary, and lacked any direction on who was to manage it in the Club. That brings us to the root of the problem-

As TAC is a multi-million dollar business in Azabudai, clearly member management is insufficient. Few board members have time or expertise in running this size of business. TAC, unlike other hospitality (hotel) businesses that had to work out survival plans TAC has some 3,000+ members paying monthly dues.

To avoid another financial disaster such as happened with the board of governors in 2010 and again in 2020, isn’t it time to get someone who knows how to crunch numbers managing the business? We believe so. Let’s recommend TAC allocate a finance boss that can better manage the funds of the club. TAC needs a solid CFO to make the tough decisions and report to the members! After-all, all members would like to focus on why we joined the club… socializing, exercising, and eating! 😉

Maybe Time That Michael Start Talking To Members?

A Message From Michael Benner- Supporting Our Club

Dear Member,

This is a year of milestones for the Club. After marking the 10th anniversary of our Azabudai home last month, we open the doors of Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi, our first-ever satellite facility, next month.

These historic moments follow a year of unprecedented challenges for the Club. But throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put the safety of Members and Club staff first.

By following government guidance and introducing rigorous safety measures (in combination with the Club’s state-of-the-art ventilation and sanitizing systems), we have created an environment in which Members can relax and feel safe.

However, Member usage of the Club has declined, and spending in the dining outlets has decreased significantly. To encourage everyone to visit the Club more frequently, and dine and spend at the Club, let me share some good news:

At its most recent meeting, The Board of Governors eased the guest policy to help you further enjoy the Club.

From March 1, Members’ guests will be able to use the Guest Studios and visit Rainbow Café and Café Med seven days a week. In addition, the monthly limit of two visits per guest will be increased to eight visits. The Board will periodically review these changes.

Last week saw the launch of a brand-new food delivery service. This is the latest example of our adaption to shifting Member needs and follows the introduction of last year’s takeout service, the conversion of CHOP into an all-day lounge, the opening of the Guest Studios as a daytime WFH alternative, and the creation of hybrid meeting packages and numerous online cultural and fitness classes.

All of these services and programs offer Members more opportunities to connect with one another. I encourage you to make use of all that the Club has to offer.

With your support, I strongly believe that we can ensure that our community continues to thrive.

Stay safe.

Michael Benner
Representative Governor
Tokyo American Club