10:40 p.m. (EDT)
Dinner’s over, and the “Jersey Boys” are serenading guests at Tuesday’s state dinner for Japan’s prime minister at the White House.
The cast of the film adaptation of the jukebox musical — a big hit in Japan — is performing for guests in the State Dining Room.
First up: John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli singing “Can’t Take My Eyes off You.” The cast’s doppelgangers for the rest of The Four Seasons then joined Young for hits like “Sherry Baby” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
9:05 p.m. (EDT)
Too much information from the Japanese prime minister?
During his remarks before Tuesday’s White House state dinner was served, Shinzo Abe told guests that he spent the past couple of nights “seriously practicing” the speech he’ll deliver Wednesday to a joint meeting of Congress.
But he said his wife, Akie, eventually told him she was getting tired of hearing it.
“So last night we ended up in separate rooms,” the prime minister said.
Abe is staying at Blair House, the government guest residence across the street from the White House.
8:50 p.m. (EDT)
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan have toasted relations between the U.S. and Japan, and dinner is being served.
Obama said Abe represents the friendship and bonds that both countries carry forward into this new century.
Then he read a haiku: “Spring, green and friendship/United States and Japan/Nagoyaka ni.” Obama said that last phrase means “harmonious feeling.”
Abe said the countries have such a close relationship it can be summed up in the words of the R&B classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
7:35 p.m. (EDT)
First lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to the nation of honor at Tuesday’s White House state dinner by wearing a gown by Japanese-born designer Tadashi Shoji.
Sleeveless, with an empire waist and floor-grazing chiffon pleats, the rich purple gown was at once regal and airy. The first lady’s hair was pinned back, revealing delicate applique details on the dress bodice.
Mrs. Obama wore a long-sleeved floral frock from the Los Angeles-based designer earlier in the day as well for a visit to a Virginia elementary school with Akie Abe, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Obama also chose a Shoji dress earlier this month for an appearance on “The Tonight Show.”
Shoji’s designs have also been worn by such Hollywood stars as Kate Beckinsale and Katy Perry. Both Mo’Nique and Octavia Spencer wore gowns by the designer when they won their Academy Awards.
7:25 p.m. (EDT)
Even at Tuesday’s state dinner at the White House, the unrest in Baltimore was an issue.
One guest was Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred. He was asked about the decision to allow the White Sox and the Orioles to play Wednesday at Baltimore’s Camden Yards — but with no fans in attendance.
“We made a series of decisions based on safety concerns in Baltimore,” Manfred said. “I think the two clubs, both Baltimore and Chicago, were great, very cooperative in moving through a very difficult situation.”
7:10 p.m. (EDT)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan has arrived at the White House for a state dinner in his country’s honor.
Abe and his wife, Akie, stepped out their black, chauffeured vehicle and walked up a red carpet that was laid out on the White House steps.
They were greeted — again — by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
After some handshakes, cheek kisses and posing for the news media, the couples entered the White House to spend a few minutes upstairs in the Obamas’ private residence before coming back down for dinner.
7:05 p.m. (EDT)
The big question before the White House state dinner honoring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan: How are your chopstick skills?
Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” waggled her hand uncertainly.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was unequivocal when asked the same question. “Fantastic,” he said.
6:55 p.m. (EDT)
Outgoing White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard breezed through the guest arrival area at Tuesday’s state dinner at the White House, exuding an all-business air.
Asked if he was feeling nostalgic about overseeing his last state dinner, Bernard said that would come later. “I will get nostalgic probably around 11 o’clock,” he said.
Bernard’s deputy is replacing him as social secretary as he moves on.
6:45 p.m. (EDT)
The first guests to arrive at Tuesday’s White House state dinner were Hawaii Gov. David Ige and his wife, Dawn. “I probably had to travel the farthest to get here,” he laughed.
Asked about his chopstick skills before the Japan-themed feast, Ige said, “I’m really good at chopsticks.” His wife said they’d be willing to help out anyone needing pointers.
6:15 p.m. (EDT)
Members of Congress are fixtures at White House state dinners, but few issue statements to announce they’ve accepted the coveted invitation.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, did just that Tuesday to point out that she’s attending the dinner and, the following morning, escorting Japanese Prime Minister Abe into the House chamber to deliver his address to a joint meeting of Congress. Hirono said she was honored to do both.
“I was born in Japan and lived there until I was nearly eight years old,” she said. “Our countries have much to offer one another and we must focus on continuing our enduring relationship and strengthening that relationship to meet our shared challenges.”
Hirono is the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She was born in Fukushima, Japan.
5:10 p.m. (EDT)
The guest list is out for Tuesday night’s state dinner, and the notable names include “Star Trek” luminary George Takei.
Other big names who made the cut for the big White House dinner include Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind the hit television shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. Also on the list is Japanese fashion designer Chitose Abe.
The Hollywood star quotient is low for this dinner.
4:50 p.m. (EDT)
Before Tuesday night’s big White House dinner for Japan’s prime minister, there was lunch to think about.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a State Department luncheon featuring food by Eric Ziebold, former chef of the acclaimed Washington restaurant CityZen.
The menu included poached Carolina white shrimp and Chesapeake Bay rockfish chowder.
And everyone got red, white and blue M&Ms with pictures of the U.S. and Japanese flags on them.
Abe joked at lunch that he wants to make sure he doesn’t overdo the drinking at dinner because he has to speak before a joint session of Congress Wednesday.
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