BY MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) — While her husband chased golf balls with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Japan’s premier course, U.S. first lady Melania Trump focused on a more iridescent sort of orb: pearls.
Abe’s wife, Akie, greeted the first lady with a bow as she arrived at the Mikimoto Pearl flagship store in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza shopping district on Sunday. The two ladies had a brief chat after posing for photos in the store’s VIP lounge.
Two “ama” pearl divers in their traditional white costumes, their goggles pulled up on top of their heads and carrying the baskets they would use to collect the pearl oysters, joined them as a store manager explained different types of pearls and how they are gathered and assembled into jewelry.
The first ladies toured the shop and posed with staff during the brief visit. Mrs. Trump, a former fashion model who once sold her own line of jewelry on the QVC television shopping channel, made no purchases.
Hundreds of people ogled the store from the street, which is turned into a pedestrian walkway on weekend afternoons. Roads in Ginza and other areas near the hotel where the Trumps are staying were heavily guarded. A large portion of the park across from the hotel was cordoned off.
Mikimoto’s founder, Kokichi Mikimoto, is said to have invented cultured pearls in 1893. The shop in Ginza opened in 1899. The company is the official provider of jewelry to Japan’s Imperial family.
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