SINGAPORE - Used to meeting Singaporeans on his travels, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this week found the Merlion during his holiday in Japan.
In a Facebook post on Saturday (June 18) morning, PM Lee shared how he came across Singapore's tourism icon at a kimono shop in Karuizawa, a resort town near Nagano.
While he frequently met Singaporeans on vacation across the world, PM Lee said he seldom encountered a Merlion.
The shop owner told him that he had purchased the shoulder-height statue some 35 years ago after enjoying a visit to Singapore.
"The shop has since passed to his descendants. The business has been in the family for 18 generations (the signboard says 17, because it has not been updated)!," PM Lee wrote.
He also shared more scenic shots of Japan's countryside, including sunset at Lake Shiozawa in Karuizawa and Daruma dolls at the Daruma Dera temple in Takasaki.
A photo of an empty shell of a cicada, left behind after it moulted, was "a reminder of the constantly changing nature of life", wrote PM Lee in his post.
While he enjoyed the break, PM Lee said he was looking forward to returning home on Saturday night.
He said: "Have been keeping tabs on events happening at home and abroad. We must continue to look out for one another and stay safe. Back to work on Monday."
Read also: PM Lee and wife on vacation in Seoul, share rare glimpse of their private lives
This article was first published on June 18, 2016.
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