Japan and Royalty

Klutz and the Prince
Klutz and the Prince
Prince Charles as a young man
Prince Charles as a young man

In 1970 the Republic of Cyprus was just ten years old, so a 21 year old boy must have looked like a Methuselah to it. As a result, in its infinite wisdom, it decided on a cunning plan to invade Japan with an attack of my acumen and learning. To this end they sent me under cover as the manager of the Cyprus Pavilion at the 1970 Japan World Exposition with clear instructions to reverse the 100 – 1 trade imbalance from Japan's favour to ours.

Just to give you an idea of the type of chump the YoungRepublic was at the time; my colleague of the Dutch Pavilion was an ex-Prime Minister. Yeah..... I thought so too at the time. Absolutely insane.

The Expo is held in different countries every four years. The Japanese version ended up with sixty million visitors, meaning the population of the UK visiting the Expo over a period of six months.

There were, I think, 92 pavilions from 80 countries give or take a few and the investment some of the big countries made in constructing their pavilions were in the millions of dollars. The Russian pavilion was three stories high and the American one, naturally, three stories under ground.

When the Japanese officials saw me, still wet behind the ears without an inkling of protocol and the proper way of doing things, they must have had a good laugh at first, but their inherent politeness, kindness and gentleness would not allow them to take advantage of a foreigner and an orphan, so they did the next possible thing. They adopted me. Since everyone was older than I, they would gently let me know the correct way of doing the expected and when I would mess up, which was all the time, they would gently take over and do my work for me.

They also passed on the word to the media and I was in the news on a regular basis. One reporter told me that they liked me because I was big, had a big nose and I looked like a boxer who could take a joke. The nose part I understood but the rest went over my head.

I was on TV a number of times and they would even invite me to go when they were doing national days of other countries, which was quite odd. The female reporter in charge of one programme treated me like a son and in fact when I was about to leave at the end of the Expo she came to say good bye to me and was crying her eyes out. We De Greeks have this affect on women. We bring out the mother in them.

The same happened with the wife of the Osaka Mayor. A sweet old lady who took a shine to me and would have her driver drive up to my pavilion in the official car and pay me a visit fairly often.

There were official receptions practically every day, with lavish buffet tables groaning under the weight of champagne, caviar and every imaginable prohibitively expensive delicacy. Being an uncouth idiot I naturally did not like champagne and caviar at the time. The taste was acquired later, when I had to pay for these items myself.

Prime Minister Eisaku Sato
Prime Minister Eisaku Sato

Even though the Cyprus pavilion was the smallest of the lot, I had a lot of official visits including Prince Akihito and his wife princess Michiko, currently the Emperor and Empress of Japan, The Emperor’s younger brother and his wife, Prince and Princess Hitachi, Prince Charles of the UK, the Prime Minister of Japan and a number of other dignitaries.

Again, the Prime Minister of Japan appeared to like me as he spent time talking with me and asking me questions as if he was really interested. He was a kind old man (of course to me everyone was old at that time, so it may very well have been that the he was not actually old in years) and he had a humorous and mischievous look in his eye, just like a child. I really liked him. He showed that he actually liked me when he gave a reception in Tokyo where he invited only the big countries taking part at the Expo, like the USA, Russia, France, China, Germany the UK and, wait for it, tiny Cyprus. I could not believe it.

The most impressive of the lot, though, was undoubtedly Princess Michiko (now Empress of Japan). The first time I met her was on an official Royal visit to the Cyprus pavilion and I was waiting to welcome her and her husband at the entrance to the pavilion. She was walking towards me next to her husband and I just saw an attractive Japanese couple approaching.

However, when she got within 5 - 6 feet of me, I felt an unbelievably powerful aura of kindness and goodness emanating from her (and only her), encompass me. I must have met her four of five times during my stay in Japan at official receptions and every single time the same thing happened, but I could never understand or explain this. It is something that I have only experienced with her. Others told me that they also felt the same aura engulf them.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko(Prince & Princess at the time)
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko(Prince & Princess at the time)
Prince and Princess Hitachi
Prince and Princess Hitachi

I received a real lesson in manners, gentleness and grace when the younger brother of Prince Akihito, Prince Hitachi and his wife came to the pavilion on an official visit. Like the Klutz I am, after shaking hands with the Prince, I tried to follow him inside, almost turning my back on Princess Hitachi. I realised how rude and idiotic such a move was and turned really distressed and apologetic towards the Princess, who, without saying a word, but only with a look, immediately made feel as if it was nothing and I should not worry about my clumsiness. The camera caught the actual moment and you can see it on the right.

Lady-in-Waiting & Klutz
Lady-in-Waiting & Klutz

 

 

The fact that a moron had been sent to represent a country, albeit a small one, must have been a subject of mirth in high society because one of the ladies-in-waiting accompanying one of the Princesses, thought that it would be fun to tease me by offering me her hand to kiss. The De Greeks may not be brain surgeons, but we know what is being asked of us by a lady and we happily make fools of ourselves when the situation requires it.

 

Most of the foreign pavilions had hostesses from their mother countries participating, so in true male style I bought a map of the Expo, which I pinned over my bed and every time I slept with one of the girls, I would cross out the pavilion in red ink, fully aware that no other hostess from the same pavilion would be tempted to stray with an irresponsible fickle moron such as me.

Japanese girls were also curious about foreigners and I was rather in demand. There were times when I slept with three different women in a single day.

In the end, though, I run out of pavilions to cross and I took advantage of the fact that the image of the Mitsubishi pavilion was represented by five circles and made use of those as much as I could. I told this detail to my German teacher of Japanese over a drink, and after she slept with me she came back to see if I had crossed out the German pavilion. Hi Ilka!

I spend probably the best six months of my life there and I could go on telling you stories from that period, but one does not want to bore.

Is it then a wonder that I fell in love with Japan?

Dimitris Mita

De Greek

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Comments 42 comments

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Wow!! Oh we share the same love for Japan!!

Lucky you to have met Empress Mitsuko!!!

Yes, I will always go back to Japan..it is the one country I will not tire of.

Thank you for this lovely hub!!


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Oh, I forgot to mention. The first time I went, my husband and I had tea ceremony with a Zen Master...wow..

Although I was properly formally attired, I had no idea then what it was all about [smiles]

It would be nice to do so again sometime, although I have no idea where I would find two women to dress me up again.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Ah MS, what a wonderful place and nice people:-) Thank you for commenting


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Wow DG, what an amazing experience you had. I can believe that Japan is a wonderful place to visit. Some friends of mine here lived there for two years (he works for Nissan) and what they have told me about the country is simply amazing.

And about the last part of this Hub - should we re-name you Casanova?

Thanks for sharing this unforgettable experience.

Love and peace

Tony


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

What a handsome young devil you were DG! No wonder you charmed them all..and with your experience and dashing smile it's no surprise that you still succeed in doing so today. Klatz? Never. Klutz, maybe if you refer to the yiddish expression for one who bungles things with innocence :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Tony, a 21 year old let loose in a place full of willing women, does not a Casanova make :-) Do visit Japan if you get a chance :-)

Green Lotus, it was a different time and VERY different circumstances. But thank you for your kind words :-)


De Cuz profile image

De Cuz 6 years ago from Portsmouth

All these years and I never knew of this episode of your so varied life D.G. I feel an underlying sense of envy here :)

I have a retired brother in law who, during the 70's; was elevated to the post of no.1 representative of Lloyds of London incharge of Yokohama and Hokaido Shipyards. When I listened to their memories of Japan there was a marked difference. Although she loved the feeling of being important and a lady of substance, she was also aware of her status as a woman in their culture. He on the other hand was feted for his status and his favour. The Japanese generosity knew no bounds...when an insurance contract renewal was imminent. Jewelry, holidays, endless long weekends afloat vessels that Abramavitch would have envied. They were introduced to heads of state, visiting dignitaries, their own royalty. He told me that he lost count of the most lavish of evenings he and his wife were invited as guests of honour. She told me that these lavish evenings were drawn to a close when the convoy of limmosines turned up to take ALL the wives home. The gentlemen then were left in peace, free from any domestic distractions, while the "specially selected" cultural ambassadors, brought the evening to an exquisitly ejaculative climax.;)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Yes, this kind of bribery is pervasive and it is up to individuals and their personal morals whether they will accept gifts from business which have anything to sell them. I have systematically refused to accept such gifts.

Good to see you Cuz :-)


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Rubbing shoulders with Royalty and kissing the hands of hand maidens...what a fascinating life you've led, DG! As usual, you tell an entertaining tale! :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi FP :-) Why is it that I expect the worst of you? :D Why does my mind translate your comment as "As usual you tell a tall tale"?........:-))))


_cheryl_ profile image

_cheryl_ 6 years ago from California

Hello De Greek! Awesome that you were able to meet Prince Charles along with the Emperor and Empress of Japan. I love your photos. I always look forward to learning more of your experiences. =)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Cheryl, always pleased to teach the youth of this world :D


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Poor misunderstood me!!!

I think I'm going to have to stop commenting on your hubs, DG. Looks like I just can't win...even words of genuine praise are suspect!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Oh, come on FP! You know that I can't live without you!!! :-)


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Fascinating experience. God Bless


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

The term 'getting around' surely seems to apply! You write it all with such humor and modesty though it is hard not to laugh and chuckle and say 'ah - he is just being a man after all'. It is wonderful that you can laugh at yourself though and your experiences sound most delightful! What a gift to give off such an aura - I'm not sure I'd know what to do with one to tell the truth but wouldn't it be nice? Wonderful imagery of all your bumbling though how nice to have such warmth and hospitality (on so many levels) come your way!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you Stars :-)

Akirchner, of course I am just a man! Clumsy, indelicate, insensitive, frisky and everything else that goes with being a man. But I try to acknowledge my faults as if in a confessional, in the hope of being forgiven. :-) And that Aura was unique and, indeed,, enviable. I have no doubt that the Prince married her because he also felt it. In fact, becasue she was a commoner, many Japanese were against the marriage! But it turned out to have been the right choice after all :-)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

D.G. you never stop to amaze me. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome experiences.

You have to chalk up another one onto your 'Great hubs list'

I enjoyed the great pics too.

kindest regards Zsuzsy


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

And I bet you thought that I was just a pretty face :-))


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

What a wonderful memory! I was particularly interested in the aura you felt from the Empress. I have experienced this type of feeling, too.

You certainly didn't waste your youth!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Lee, a completelly wasted youth, I assure you :-)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Your good looks have only improved with age, like fine wine!

It's amazing how young everyone looks in the pictures! All the royals, dignataries,attendants and visitors. Well - with the exception of Prime Minister Sato! But he can be forgiven since "he had a mischiefous look in his eye just like a child".

There is certainly ample reason for you to have fallen in love with Japan!!

Lovely to get to share your visit there; indeed, you've lived a most fascinating life! Hope you'll share more of these priceless treasues with us!


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio

What a fascinating experience. Very interesting read and I enjoyed the photos.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you Kay :-)


bingskee profile image

bingskee 6 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

you look so handsome in that photos. and i say, that was just a lovely experience. :-)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

How kind you are to say so Bingskee. The De Greeks are a handsome lot though; I must concede the point there and agree with you :-))


jcwin228 profile image

jcwin228 6 years ago from Yonago, Japan

Great hub De Greek! I didn't know they had foreigners before I came. You look so dashing, lik a spy or something. You right bout the Japanese being so welcoming and taking you under their wing, or under the covers so it seems in your case, you wild greek you. They can be a very generous people. But, be careful, my wife assures me that it's Empress Michiko, not Mitsuko :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Oh my God, Michiko, of course! Pls thank your wife for me. But you see how sweet she was when young? :-)


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Excellent Hub, very entertaining. You relate these things so well, as to almost make the readers feel that they were there with you. Keep up the good work.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Christopher, how kind you are to say so. I am really flattered :-)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

You've had an amazing life! No wonder your hubs are so fascinating.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Habee, you are addictive to me! Thank you for always being so generous with your comments. Kiss you :-)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

If that wasn't leading a charmed life then I don't know what is! Sounds like the stuff legends or tall tales for grandkids are made of, only they're enviably real! Ah well some guys have all the luck :D


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

So, Cris, it's lucky I have the photos then, or you would not believe me??? :-)

And it was from crossing out the Philippine Pavilion in red ink that I acquired a love of that wonderful country! :-) Still have the photo of the Filipina involved :-)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Alas I do not have a proof otherwise so there's no point to your assumption :D

The Filipinos are a hospitable lot and it was the make-love-not-war 70s - the gods conspired in your favor! Haha


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

The De Greeks and the Gods have a special relationship. Cris. And where have you been all this time? :-)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Oh I've been drifting in and out of HP. Work and PS3 get in the way! Haha


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

A very interesting hub, You have a really fascinating career, and getting to meet people, that most of us only read about and only see get to see on television, must have be amazing for you. I would imagine, that if I was in your shoes and so young, I would have probably made many mistakes and far worse ones, than the ones you described, especially when in the area of protocol. I could never imagine how nerve recking, a lot of it must have been for someone so young. I do say, you handled everything with grace and style. An excellent hub, and a true intimate portrait into the world of the political movers and shakers.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

DG..Peter Sellers would have been proud of your choice of words, moron, uncouth, and idiotic. I can just see him there fumbling and twitching his way through the protocol. Although he would have kissed the emperors hand.lol. It's a shame the inexperience we had in our youth,only to like you say, have to pay for the caviar and champagne later in life out of our own pockets. Hey all was not lost you got to sleep with three beauties every day, it's to bad though you ran out of pavilions to scratch off, surely you could have added a few extras:0) great post as usual DG..made me chuckle out loud.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

@ Internetwriter, many thanks for your kind words. I regret not seeing your comment earlier. :-)

@ Brother Saddlerider, SOMETIMES it was up to three in one day, but not every day three. :D Glad it made you laugh :-)


buffaloking04 6 years ago from 9 Nguyen Cong Tru

I sound so great. Many thanks for your sharing information


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank for visiting Buffaloking :-)

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