Azabu Gardens Journal

Lunch on a Tropical Terrace with a Tokyo Skyline

Azabu Gardens hosts another memorable BBQ


Following a week of cold, gloomy rain and thunderstorms, on May 12 a tropical breeze and the welcome sun helped lure residents and guests to the rooftop terrace of Azabu Gardens, where they enjoyed an Hawaii-inspired, annual BBQ party.

The lushly vegetated terrace was decorated with island motifs and the staff was dressed in festive Hawaiian attire, embellished with flower necklaces and sun hats that made for a resort-like atmosphere.

Even though Azabu Gardens has hosted many BBQs before, guests found themselves entertained yet again by new performances and a wide variety of mouthwatering food and drink. This time, the event featured three performers who had both children and adults alike grinning, laughing, and dancing throughout the afternoon.


For the first act, Udanji Katsura took the stage and kneeled on an elevated platform, looking out over children who made themselves comfortable and keenly awaited her performance. Katsura went on to perform rakugo, traditional Japanese storytelling, capturing her audience’s attention through elaborate gestures and sound effects that matched her comical narrative. A rare rakugo speaker who can perform in English, Katsura was a perfect entertainer for the venue, and offered the audience a unique experience.


Kamikiri, an Edo-period performance that features skillful paper cutting, was also a great hit. A paper cutter who has performed internationally and on the stage of TEDxTokyo, Imamaru Hayashiya spontaneously produced silhouettes of various figures in front of the astonished attendees. Eventually, he even took requests and created portraits that he gave to members of the audience to take home. The souvenirs made for a wonderful reminder of the event.

Ku’ulei Mamo and Yukie Sasaki gave the Hawaiian event even more authenticity with a ukulele and bass duet, accompanied by Mamo’s soothing singing voice and Sasaki’s graceful hula dancing. The music and dance seemed to fit seamlessly into the atmosphere, as tree leaves and delicate decorations swayed in the gentle wind. The performers also led a session to learn a single hula routine, which made the Aloha Summer experience even more memorable.


The combination of Japanese and Hawaiian cultures made for an experience that combined local ambience with a global flair: a perfect fit for Azabu Gardens’ highly international resident population.


The delectable BBQ, catered by East Gallery, offered an array of succulent meats grilled on the spot, deliciously roasted vegetables and Hawaii-themed foods such as juicy mini hamburgers, fluffy pancakes and flower petal–sprinkled sushi rolls. Sweet ice cream, thirst-quenching soft drinks and refreshing alcoholic beverages kept everybody cool and in a vacation state of mind.


The relaxing and friendly setting was also an opportunity for the residence to strengthen its sense of family, or ohana in the Hawaiian language. Residents conversed with neighbors, creating bonds through their mutual enjoyment of living at Azabu Gardens and attending its many varied events. Even after the entertainment and food was finished, happy residents lingered longer, making the most of the opportunity to build and strengthen friendships.