26 May 2019: Donald Trump is back in Japan. And that means some golf and sumo are on the menu besides some delicious food and drink between two men who have become close allies. Trump and Abe Shinzo will spend a significant part of the next three days deepening a relationship that has grown stronger during the past few years.
Abe and Trump are believed to have engaged in over 40 conversations during the Trump presidency. And the two are golf buddies having indulged in a fair share of conversation on the golf course.
Trump was singled out for praise by Abe quite often, highlighting strong chemistry between the two leaders. The US President also suggested that Japan had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, a claim which Tokyo maintained a stoic silence on, neither confirming or denying the suggestion.
As has become customary on important state visits, Abe will indulge Trump over an informal barbecue dinner at a local restaurant. The setting will allow the two men to break free of the rigid conventions that punctuate formal business meetings in Japan.
“Going to a robatayaki restaurant is a very visual experience, it has a theatrical point to it,” Tokyo-based food journalist Phoebe Amoroso told the BBC.
“There’s seasonal vegetables and seafood all laid out for you. You pick what you want to eat and then it’s prepared for you on this charcoal grill. It’s quite a performance and visually very striking.”
Trump will also be the first foreign dignitary to have an audience with the new emperor Naruhito. “It’s a very big thing going on with the emperor,” he told reporters earlier this week in Washington. “It’s something that hasn’t happened in over 200 years. I am the guest, meaning the United States is the guest, but Prime Minister Abe said to me very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honour. There’s only one guest of honour. You are the guest of honour.”
But that isn’t the only honour awaiting Trump. In a significant cultural honour, Trump will be ringside for the Summer Grand Sumo tournament.
The winner of the event will receive the “Trump Cup” from the President of the United States.