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Imperial jazz festival 2009

The Imperial Hotels in Tokyo and Osaka will swing to the sound of jazz in August when they hold their annual, star-studded “Imperial Jazz Complex 2009″ festival.

The festival takes place at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo on Aug. 11 (Tue.) and 12 (Wed.) and the Imperial Hotel Osaka on Aug. 14 (Fri.) and 15 (Sat.). With one-day tickets, guests can enjoy any of some 20 performances.

Outstanding Cuban percussionist Oscar Valdes, violinist Pupi Legarreta, and Hawaiian jazz vocalist Paul Simomoto and the Hawaiian Jazz Ensemble will perform at the two hotels.

Among over 100 artists from Japan will be pianist Norio Maeda and vocalists Yasuko Agawa and Kei Marimura.

Performances will be held daily from 2 p.m. to 8:10 p.m., and a daily ¥15,000 ticket allows you to move from venue to venue while the performances are under way. Each ticket includes two drinks and a canape. A two-day ticket is ¥19,500.

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is a three-minute walk from Hibiya and Uchisaiwaicho stations. The Imperial Hotel Osaka is a five-minute walk from Sakuranomiya Station and has a shuttle bus service from Osaka Station. For more information and reservations, call The Imperial Hotel Tokyo at (03) 3504-1255 (10 a.m.-5 p.m., not on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) or The Imperial Hotel Osaka at (06) 6881-4650 (10 a.m. -8 p.m.).

Italian summer menus

The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo is serving special summer courses at its signature Italian restaurant, Piacere.

Through July 31, you can enjoy lunch and dinner courses, prepared by Paolo Pelosi, chef de cuisine of the Piacere, paired with exquisite Italian white wines selected by the sommelier.

Pelosi worked with chefs Andrea Accordi and Massimiliano Blasone at the Onice Lounge and Restaurant in Florence, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2003 after being open only a few months. A practitioner of contemporary Italian cooking, Pelosi favors a culinary simplicity centered on the freshness and natural flavors of organic ingredients.

The courses focus on seasonal items such as tuna panzanella, a typical Italian summer salad from Tuscany, Pelosi’s home region. The salad is served with a chilled avocado sorbet and tomato vinaigrette, just perfect for the season.

Un pranzo bollicine (“a sparkling lunch”), a four-dish lunch course for ¥12,000 per person, includes starter, “surprise pasta” — the restaurant’s signature dish, which features three kinds of pasta on one plate — a main course and dessert, paired with three spumante wines recommended by the sommelier.

The five-dish dinner course, Un giro con i vini Bianchi (“a tour with white wines”), is ¥22,000 per person and includes a starter, surprise pasta, a main course and dessert — paired with a spumante and four different white wines.

The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, is a five-minute walk from Tokyo Station. For more information or reservations, contact (03) 6739-7898 or access the restaurant booking Web site at www.shangri-la.jp

Drink until the sun goes down

The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is offering an “Ekki Summer Sunset” all-you-can-drink plan through Sept. 30.

Enjoy a Tokyo sunset from the seventh-floor Ekki Bar while quaffing unlimited amounts of more than 300 kinds of drinks for two hours from 5:30 p.m., for just ¥2,900 for women and ¥3,800 for men.

The drinks include 15 kinds of beer, more than 30 cocktails, wines and Ekki’s original “spoon cocktails,” which you eat with a spoon like a dessert. Spoon cocktails include Maccha Brulee, Peach Sangria and Inside-out Gin and Tonic.

The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Marunouchi is adjacent to Tokyo Station or a three-minute walk from Kyobashi Station. For more information or reservations, call (03) 5222-5810.