Year-end social season

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Tonight was the first of this season's bonenkai (forget-the-year parties) that mark the end of the year. This was the UBS party, a grand affair in the ballroom of the Westin hotel in Ebisu.

The theme was Las Vegas Night and in addition to a huge buffet spread, a magic show and a very good live jazz band, there was a casino with the proceeds going to charity. I won about 200 dollars in chips playing roulette, then handed them to the woman next to me to play with--gambling doesn't hold my interest.

UBS' charities (UNICEF Japan & the Children's Cancer Society) will be receiving a nice donation. A signed Manchester United jersey was auctioned for 350,000 yen (about $3,000) and one of the evening's prize winners auctioned his "trip to two to Las Vegas" prize for 150,000 yen.

Most people opted to keep their raffle prizes which ranged from a bottle of champage to a DVD player to two round-trip tickets to London. At one of the UBS parties a few year back, when the economy was surging, one lucky winner got an entire year's paid vacation.

I suspect that this was the most elaborate of the year-end parties we'll attend this year. Next Friday is the DigitalEve party which will be fun, but on a much smaller scale.

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