Of course she was very happy, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. It’s about 600 million US dollars that your country earns annually from the sale of kiwis in Japan alone. Kiwis, these are these fruits, which are actually called “Chinese gooseberries” and which were also introduced to New Zealand in 1904 by a teacher named Isabel Fraser. From there they began their worldwide triumph as a spoonable natural fruit dwarf. However, not under the name “Chinese gooseberry”, but: kiwi.
For centuries, New Zealanders have called everything like that, including themselves, which in turn has to do with their national bird, which has wings but can only walk and has long been called that. Its feathers also look more like bristles, which is why it is definitely suitable as a namesake for berries.
In any case, Ardern is currently visiting Japan, it is her first trip abroad since the beginning of the pandemic, and of course the talks so far with the Japanese officials have not only been about the secret service cooperation to defend against the Chinese power apparatus, which is perceived as quite prickly in the region. It was also about the trade in kiwis.
And so, in honor of the New Zealander, two people dressed up as gooseberries danced as an advertising medium for the world’s largest kiwi fruit trader. A journalist made a video that went viral, which made the retailer, whose green-brown testimonials have had a rather unnoticed existence in comparison to Master Proper or Ronald McDonald, very happy.
And even if the Japanese music, to which the Kiwi performers hopped, was melodically rather sad: Jacinda Ardern told a television crew immediately after the event that she was very happy about the dance of the “Kiwi Brothers”.
Perhaps even more so than one of those strange guest gifts that are otherwise common on such trips. One remembers Elizabeth II when, in 2015, she received this enigmatic oil painting from the German Federal President Joachim Gauck, in addition to a box of Lübecker marzipan. It supposedly showed the Queen on a blue horse.
In international diplomacy, musical performances to greet prominent guests are considered to be particularly satisfying. This could also be observed recently with the Danish Queen Margrethe II, who gave a company of honor of the Bavarian mountain riflemen in the Munich Residence with a cheerful serenade of Gamsbart.
But as a representative you often need strong nerves when traveling abroad. Angela Merkel, for example, had to experience this in 2014 when she had to kiss a Maori representative on a detour on her way to the G-20 summit in Brisbane in Auckland, New Zealand. Merkel passed the task with flying colors.
As long as Rudy Giuliani doesn’t jump out of a box somewhere on a state trip (as he did recently in the US version of the television show “The Masked Singer”) or someone digs out the old T-shirt that Matteo Salvini, who was recently a guest in Poland, years ago wore when he thought Putin was really great, almost any greeting ritual is fine.
And apart from the heat development and the lack of air for the actors in Japanese mascot costumes, a small welcome dance, it doesn’t have to be a boisterous one, is a nice sign of hospitality. Afterwards you can perhaps spoon out one of these vitamin-rich fruits with your state guest, which are named after birds that – unfortunately – cannot fly.