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It's not everyday one gets invited to a black tie dinner, and certainly not to the White House. Yet that's exactly what happened to Gary and Beverly Yamamoto. The couple were invited by President Bush's office to attend a welcome ceremony and dinner reception at the White House for Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the evening of June 29th.

Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto were among 130 guests. "The guest list was an interesting mix of important government officials from both countries, and many of the guests were notable members of the Japanese-American community," says Gary Yamamoto.

"Before dinner, as guests arrived, we gathered in a reception room and had a chance to mingle," mentions Gary.
"Japanese country-western musician Shoji Tabuchi was one of the guests whom I already knew, and I introduced Beverly to him and we chatted."

"At dinner, Beverly and I were quite honored to be seated at two of the head tables. I was seated at the table of President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi. Beverly was seated at Vice President Cheney's table," says Gary. "I was seated next to Mrs. Joyce Rumsfeld and President Bush was seated next to her," says Gary.

"Many of the persons at dinner were important or famous persons, but the conversation throughout the evening was very much like what you'd expect among ordinary people,"
adds Mrs. Beverly Yamamoto.

"Couples were not necessarily seated together for dinner,"
says Beverly. "I was delighted to be seated next to Masaharu Morimoto (the "Iron Chef" on TV) and on my other side sat Brett Hedican of the NHL champion Carolina Hurricanes who is Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi's husband," says Beverly.

"I was a bit nervous choosing a dress to wear since Gary was on the road fishing the FLW tournament on Lake Champlain, New York at the time," says Beverly, "So Gary didn't have a chance to see what I would be wearing until the evening of the dinner."

"Being invited to dinner at the White House is quite an honor and it's something Beverly and I will always remember the rest of our lives," says Gary Yamamoto.
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