The 2011 Tokyo Marine Ball was on the wettest, blusteriest night we’ve seen here so far, so we all waited for the van to pick us up huddled under umbrellas in our nice clothes. Jen and I got a ride with Molly, Kris, and some Military guys, and joined them all for a few drinks in the bar before we headed into the ball proper. Vida was also in town for her birthday, so we met her in the lobby where she took some pictures for us. The ball was held at the New Sanno hotel, which is a military run hotel in downtown Tokyo. It’s a beautiful facility, particularly well-known for their Sunday brunch, but is also a very convenient location for big Embassy events.
After our first round of the ballroom, telling everybody they looked wonderful (the trend amongst the ladies seems to be denying being at all prepared for a ball — “oh, this old thing? I just had it lying around my closet”), and wrestling our way up to the bar for some wine, we settled down at our table in the back and the ceremony began. The ball marks the birthday of the Marine Corps, and is held about this time at every embassy around the world (as well as the bases, I presume). We have a small group of Marines, but they diligently put on a show, guarded and cut the cake, and then preceded to get quite drunk and dance energetically.
By the way, I apologize for the writing across some of these photos. They were posted online with protection over them, so I had to perform some hijinks so I could post them on the blog. We will eventually get high res clear copies, but that won’t be for another couple weeks, and I didn’t want to wait that long for this post. Which all means that Keyshots East West Photography will get their due on most of these photos. (You may also follow that link to look at hundreds of other photos from the ball.)
The whole thing went off pretty smoothly, with the exception of some audio issues with the Marine Corps anthem, and one speech that was slightly more entertaining than prudent. He started out with “Well, I’m gonna keep this short, because I wanna go get drunk…” and ended with “But the key thing is love. There are all kinds of love — the love a parent for a child, the love of a man for his wife, the love of a patriot for his country… but the most pure, ecstatic sort of love there is, is the love of one drunk marine for another.” End speech. The woman in the seat next to me (the wife of some relatively high ranking officer I believe — unlike Jen I am totally deficient in understanding all the military regalia, the only indicator I know is that stars on the uniform and an ability to tell really bad jokes and get other people to laugh generally indicate a pretty high rank. 😉 ) anyway, the woman next to me kept threatening to dance on the table, and was methodically stealing wine off the tables around us.
Then we had dinner — salad, bread, roast beef… nothing special really, to be honest, but not bad. We had one Japanese couple a the table — a fellow from the Japanese Defense Forces who was apparently a hero of the Tohoku recovery, and his girlfriend. He was quite stiff and seemed concerned he make a proper impression, but his girlfriend got dragged onto the dancefloor quite early and seemed to have a good time.
Jen and I went and got some formal shots taken at that point — we declined to pose with the rifles, like the photographer suggested, and he was a little confounded by Jen’s lack of tie (one of the poses he wanted involved me pulling on it) but I think we got some cute shots.
As I said, we’ll get good copies of these formal ones that we can print out, but for the moment these will have to do.
At any rate, after this the dancing commenced, but for the dignity of all involved we will skip the awkward drunken dancing photos. Suffice it to say that there were some colorful characters shimmying, shaking, wiggling, and otherwise getty jiggy with their bad selves.