Prince William says him and Kate ‘love sushi’ as he opens new Japanese cultural centre

The Duke of Cambridge said him and Kate ‘love sushi’ as he officially opened London’s new Japan House to ‘build new and lasting cultural and economic bonds with the country’.

Prince William joined Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and UK Ambassador to Japan Koji Tsuruoka as they sampled sushi, drank sake and toured the space used to promote and expand links between Japan and the UK.

Prince William tried Executive Chef Akira Shimizu’s signature bento box, and Mr Shimizu told he found it ‘hard to even look directly at the Duke when he complimented his food’.

William told the chef, ‘my wife and I love sushi’ and that they would have to come back down to the Kensington restaurant for lunch.

Mr Shimizu said: ‘It was like time stood still. I’m incredibly grateful.’

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The Royal Family is advised not to order seafood when eating out, so William added that they had to come down ‘when there’s no-one else down.’

William joined in with local children learning the art of using chopsticks, which is part of their wider work of learning about Japanese food and culture.

The Duke asked the schoolchildren if they had eaten ‘much Chinese food’, before looking uncomfortable and swiftly correcting himself, saying ‘sorry I mean Japanese food’.

He then had a go at metal hammering alongside the children. The workshop was led by Mr Tatsushi Tamagawa a craftsman from the 200-year-old metal workshop, Gyokusendo in Tsubame-Sanjo.

Mr Tamagawa told Metro he was very ‘pleased’ with William’s work and that he was keeping the copperware that the Duke had hammered on as a souvenir.

The Duke went on to unveil a plaque, officially opening Japan House London.

William gave a short speech in which he said: ‘This amazing building – Japan House London – is intended to be the bridge across which the best in ideas and creativity between the UK and Japan will flow.

‘Here, we can build new and lasting relationships in culture, education and business and forge a better understanding of your wonderful country.’

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The Duke ended by inviting those present to join him in a kampai toast (a celebratory toast equivalent to ‘cheers’) – this comprised of a small serving of Fukugao sake from Sanjo City served in a masu, a square, wooden sake cup used on celebratory occasions.

UK ambassador Tsuruoka said: ‘Our goal is not simply to open Japan House London, but to make it the new epicenter for Japanese cultural engagement in the UK and to make it one of the cornerstones for deepening the Japan-UK relationship.’

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