The prince, in Japan, also received a gift for son George – and joked that it should be for his brother, Harry

By John Matthews
February 27, 2015 04:00 PM
Tim Rooke/Rex

Prince William is a star in his own right – and once wanted to shoot to the stars.

The revelation came as William, 32, rubbed elbows with some of Japan’s most famed citizens at the launch party of a technological innovation campaign in Tokyo on Friday.

Not that William hadn’t already met the top of Japanese society – he had lunched earlier in the day with Emperor Akihito, the world’s last emperor, whose father (and those before) had claimed to be descendants from heaven.

The prince met Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, known for his two tours of duty on the International Space Station, at the launch party – and the second-in-line to the British throne made an interesting revelation about his boyhood wishes.

“When I was younger, I dreamed of being an astronaut, but I also wanted to be a policeman or a fire-breather,” he admitted. “That might have been a bit alternative.”

He added, “I don’t think my Eurocopter will make it that far up. It seems like an awfully long way from the ground.”

Noguchi and Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer also joined the prince in red “happi” coats at the launch party as they broke open a barrel of Japanese sake.

Prince William also addressed the gathered dignitaries, media members, and other attendees expressing regret from pregnant wife Kate, who could not make the trip with him. He said Kate “looks forward to visiting Japan in the future.”

Using an initial greeting in Japanese, “mina-sama, konnichi wa” (good afternoon, everyone), William took the room by surprise – many non-Japanese speakers eschew the polite address to the audience, inadvertently or otherwise, despite it being standard fare for native speakers.

Prince William and members of Japan's Rugby World Cup Squad
Rex

Space seemed far from his mind when he met some rugby players at a reception in Tokyo also on Friday – and picked up a gift for little Prince George.

He was presented with a child-sized rugby uniform, but William couldn’t resist a dig at his brother, Prince Harry. Receiving the uniform, William quipped that he had thought it might be for his younger brother, 30, instead, Japanese media outlet NHK reported.

The prince’s third day in Japan is expected to take him to northeastern Japan to survey damage from the nation’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, as well as ongoing recovery efforts. Many in the northeast still live in temporary housing despite being promised more permanent residence by officials, and the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant’s decommissioning is expected to take decades to complete.

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