Brian Marcus

Brian MarcusOccupation:
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club

Time in Japan:
Two years (this time)

Where are you from?
Born and raised in LA.

What brought you to Japan?
This time around, the Tokyo American Club brought me here. Actually I wanted to come back to Japan.

What were you doing first time around?
Originally I was here with Hyatt International, who were opening up the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku. I was opening the New York Grill six years ago. At first there was nothing there - bare walls and bare floors. But I had the chance to watch it grow and become one of the best restaurants in Japan.

What do you do now?
I am Food and Beverage Director of the Tokyo American Club.

What is the Tokyo American Club?
We are one of Asia' largest private clubs and one of the top five largest clubs anywhere in the world. We have a membership of about 12,000 active users. One third of the members are American, one third Japanese and one third made up of 56 other nationalities. Some of the services on offer here are a FedEx counter, the third largest English library in Tokyo, the largest English video library in Japan where we get videos released the same day as in America, recreation facilities like squash courts, tennis courts, a swimming pool, etc., and tons of activities for families and pre-school kids the works. We also offer services and support for accompanying expat spouses, like Japanese classes and orientation programs.

What does the Food and Beverage Director do?
I am responsible for anything to do with food and drink at the club - service, production, training and staffing. In peak season there are nine restaurants and bars and lots of banquet events. The club is about the size of a 850 room hotel without the hotel rooms. In a hotel customers check in and check out, but here you get to know people very well because they never check out. It's very personal and that's one of the nicest aspects of working here.

Did you always want to be in the hotel business?
No, I wanted to be an attorney. When I was at the University of Jerusalem my major was Middle Eastern Affairs and International Law. Much to my family's disappointment I got my first job with Hyatt when they were opening their hotel in Jerusalem. I was a bartender. I just progressed, worked in different areas, and eventually became Food and Beverage Director. It's been a long eleven years but it also feels like yesterday.

What's your weirdest experience in Japan?
It was actually a cultural learning experience. When I first arrived, I was on the shinkansen eating a bento, and there was a family of four sitting around me. I had to do something that required both hands so I had to put my chopsticks somewhere. So I stabbed them right in the middle of my rice. I've never seen four people get up and run so fast. I learned a valuable lesson, of course, never to stab chopsticks into rice because it's symbolic of death. We all learn Japanese culture and traditions the hard way!

What's your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
A lot of understanding, a circle of really close friends and the ability to absorb what's going on around you and blend into Japanese traditions and culture as far as possible.

Brian Marcus spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
345: Chris Chavez
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel

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Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199
Issues 138-149