Great moments in diplomacy:
President Barack Obama to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on their way into one of the world’s best restaurants, in Tokyo: “Hi, how are you?”
Great moments in dining:
Abe played host to Obama at a private dinner at Sukibayashi Jiro in Tokyo’s Ginza area.
Sukibayashi Jiro’s owner and sushi master, Jiro Ono, 90 next year, is said to be the world’s best sushi chef.
Air Force One landed in Japan before 6 a.m. Washington time today, which of course is dinnertime in T0kyo.
The president and aides, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice, left the restaurant shortly after 10:00 p.m. Tokyo time.
“That’s some good sushi right there,” said Obama, emerging from the hour-and-a-half dinner. “Terrific.”
What’s it like to eat at “the world’s best sushi bar?” CNN’s travel guide says the first sushi chef to earn three Michelin stars is known not only for his fish, but also for his rice: “The quality of the fish is already apparent in these first two pieces, but what’s also become clear is that Jiro’s special grade of rice, made available only to him, is the unsung hero of this sushi combination.”
This is the start of a four-nation tour carrying Obama through South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines — where the subject of the week will involve the one nation the American leader isn’t visiting: China. See Bloomberg’s David Lynch reporting today on Obama’s Asia pivot.
Caroline Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan, was on hand with husband Edwin Schlossberg for the tarmac arrival greeting. So was a delegation of Japanese officials and Lt. Gen. Sam Agelalla, chief of U.S. forces in Japan.
At this hour, the president was off to bed.
Tomorrow, it’s another dinner — a state welcome by the emperor.
21 photos of Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi, probably the best in all the world! http://t.co/JFRKxAfSHb
— Sushi Master Tessa (@TessaLovesSushi) March 26, 2014
With thanks to Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly, traveling with Obama in Asia, and fellow White House press poolers reporting from Tokyo.