Sake and Soul: White House State Dinner Was Like a ‘Bromance’

Watch Obama Toast Japan's PM with Haiku, Sake 0:47

The first White House state dinner in more than a year had plenty of sake, R&B soul improvisation and all the makings of a hilarious "bromance."

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe freestyled odes to each other.

The poet-in-chief recited a haiku:

Spring green and friendship

The United States and Japan

Nagoyaka ni

The last line means "harmonious feeling," Obama explained.

The Japanese Embassy was certainly feeling the harmonious vibe, too:

Prime Minister Abe, not to be outdone, told President Obama during his toast that U.S.-Japan ties were like the Diana Ross song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." (Actually, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell first recorded the hit.)

Through a translator, Abe declared: "Ain't no mountain high enough. Ain't no valley low enough. Ain't no river wide enough. To keep me from you."

"That's what the U.S.-Japan alliance is like," he said.

Abe also told the the gathering he loves "House of Cards", but doesn't want his deputy prime minister to watch the show. The joke went over well, at least according to Abe.

The love-fest continued through the night in a room festooned with pink accent lighting and floral arrangements of varied heights. The borders of the large mirrors were studded with pink blossoms.

And yes, they were drinking sake.

“Please enjoy yourself, but not too much,” Obama told guests.

— Kristin Donnelly and Halimah Abdullah