Summary of articles in Billed Bladet #44 & 45, 2011.
All written by our correspondent in Japan Trine Larsen. (*)
Arrival and Hiroshima.
Joachim and our Marie arrived in Japan Sunday and while Marie and her LiW, Britt Siesbye, went straight to Kyoto to rest, Joachim went to Hiroshima.
Here he laid down a simple wreath in red and white with the inscription Prince Joachim, Princess Marie.
Joachim did not hide the fact that the visit made him ponder deeply and moved him deeply as well, not least after visiting the museum.
Marie remained in Tokyo in order to spare her considering the long flight and her pregnancy.
While in Hiroshima Joachim visited the Andersen Bakery, which was founded here in 1963 by Shunsuke Takaki. From here Danish pastry (**) is sold. The bakery has now evolved into an empire with 500 bakeries all over Japan.
Shunsuke Takaki was made Knight of Dannebrog and a consul and upon his death the title of consul was bestowed on his sin, Sciicho Takaki.
Over the years the Takaki family has gotten to know the DRF well, so for Joachim it was a reunion.
Upon returning to Kyoto, Joachim and la belle Marie had some time to admire the city.
Workshop for children in Shibuya-Ku in Tokyo.
A Danish bank has set up that workshop and it’s aimed at children from Higashi-Matsushima, which was one of the most devastated areas after the earthquake in February. Present on the day J&M arrived were 40 children, busy toiling away making decoupages. All very quiet and well behaved. Something Joachim and Marie in particular quickly put an end to. They interacted, chatted and had fun with the children and in a short while the children were just as talkative as children everywhere else.
However the children are still dealing with the psychological aftermath of the quake.
Joachim appears to have inherited a good deal of his parent’s artistic talents and he was busy creating a neat decoupage. A talent the fair Marie seems not to have. She admitted freely: “I’m not so good at it. Joachim is much better than me. He is far more artistically disposed”, so she devoted more effort in interacting with the children around her. Not least in encouraging the artwork of nine years old Ai Koyama, who sat next to her.
Joachim said afterwards: “It has been a really, really good experience. And it’s a good idea to take the children away from a presumably bleak everyday-life with those traumas and nasty experiences which is connected to them being at home and to give them an experience like this. Just the fact that they probably for the first time ever are away from home and experience something different, is a part of giving them courage and hope. They get away and into a new universe where the imagination is allowed to play and they are allowed to have a good time. They were certainly very preoccupied”.
Joachim was by then still in possession of the decoupage he had made and despite claiming that it had no value, he nevertheless refused to accept a bid for 100 DKK for the work from the reporter Trine Larsen: “It’ll need more zeros behind (that figure) otherwise I won’t sell”. (***)
The exhibition of The Wild Swans in Tokyo.
That was the official reason for J&M to go to Japan, in reality it was just as much about promoting Danish commerce, not least in respect to rebuilding the areas affected by the earthquake in February. You may recall that Frederik was also accompanied by representatives from Danish commerce when he visited Japan shortly after.
At the exhibition it was Joachim and Marie who were hosts and the guests of honor was the brother to the Emperor, Prince Masahito Hitachi and his wife, Princess Hanako Tsugaru. Alas Prince Hitachi’s health is frail and he is rarely on the job these days.
However he gave a very moving speech, where he thanked Denmark for the support after the earthquake
Tokyo Women’s Medical Hospital.
See this post: http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ml#post1333304
Andersen Bakery in Tokyo.
J&M visited the first Anderson Bakery that was opened in Tokyo and they are promoting Danish specialties like Danish sandwiches (****) and M&J sampled the sandwiches. You may have seen the pics of Joachim in the process of putting the sandwich in his mouth, something you don’t normally take pictures of. Oh well…
(The sandwiches incidentally were very small in my opinion. They were the size of those you can buy three of for 25 DKK in most supermarkets. Take away sandwiches are more than twice as big – they calculate with three such sandwiches for each adult male by the way. And those you order at sandwich restaurants are at least three times as big!)
Anyway, Joachim commended the sandwiches as being very authentic and tasting like those at home.
The Danish embassy.
Here J&M presented a diploma from Danish Export Council and the Prince Henrik Honorary Medal to two representatives, Akiko Ogawa and Hiromitsu Endo, from a Japanese firm called I next Generation. No problem, except for the official photograph where Joachim noticed that Mrs. Ogawa held the diploma upside down. That was corrected to everyone’s amusement.
Marie told our reporter how bette Henrik is doing: “He’s fresh and well again”.
Trine Larsen observed:
That Marie clearly missed her son and that she a number of times stopped to go and say hello to Japanese children at about bette Henrik’s age.
That she was dedicated and didn’t seem tired nor troubled by the schedule, despite being pregnant and wearing high heels.
That Joachim and his Marie love each other, savoring the odd quiet moments together when not walking hand in hand.
During the train ride from Hiroshima to Tokyo Mount Fuji made a splendor of itself, bathed in the light from the sun.
The DRF apparently has a very good reputation in Japan, not least perhaps because Frederik was the first royal at all… to visit the disaster stricken areas after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year.
On the last day of the visit Joachim and Marie visited the Emperial Couple’s private home in Tokyo and here they were met in the afternoon by Empress Michiko. Her husband Emperor Akihito had fallen ill that same morning. (I’ve since learned that he was committed to hospital).
It’s unusual that visitors are received in the private residence.
Despite being seven months pregnant Marie managed a very deep curtsey.
The three of them spend a couple of hour together. (*****)
(*) Who has developed into a really good royal reporter in respect to get the royals to open up.
(**) It’s not called Danish at all in DK. Here we call it wienerbrød = bread from Vienna.
(***) This is where Trine Larsen is at her best. Even though it’s not unusual that royal reporters develop something bordering on friendship with the royals, it’s not many who have established a personal rapport with Joachim.
(****) Known as smorgasbord in English, except that smorgas is Swedish. It’s called smørrebrød in Danish, but you’d be forgiven for not attempting to pronounce that.
(*****) This is a part of the protocol. When royal visit another monarchy in an official capacity they always say hello to the resident family. Everything else would be an affront.