Everyone knows the Little Prince, I am sure, you too. If I told you that there is only one museum in the world that is dedicated to the Little Prince, where would you expect it to be?
The logical choice would be France, given the author is French and that is where the book was first published in 1943. But no, of all places in the world, it happens to be in Japan! Antoine de Saint-Exupéry must have had a lot of fans in Japan, as the museum has been established to celebrate his 100th birth anniversary back in 2000. Accidentally, today, June 29th, 2020, happens to be his 120th birthday anniversary.
The Little Prince Museum is a charming place outside the city in a mountainous countryside area, yet still easily reachable as a day trip from Tokyo.
Visitors can enjoy the garden, walk around “Paris”, have lunch or dessert at the “Little Prince Restaurant” and see the indoors exhibit that follows the life and travels of the author.
While the exhibit is mostly in Japanese, the language of photographs is universal. You can also see recreated rooms how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lived and worked at different stages of his life: in France, in Sahara, while working for the commercial airline Aeropostale, and in Argentina, where he was a director of the Aeroposta Argentina Company. Museum has numerous examples of letters and postcards that were delivered by these mail transporting airlines, many photos of Antoine and the planes, and finally, a collection of “The Little Prince” editions in different languages.
On July 7th, Japan will be celebrating Tanabata, also known as the star festival. As the legend goes, two lovers have been turned into stars and are separated across the sky except for the only one night a year when they can meet. These two stars representing the lovers from the legend, Vega and Altair in the constellations Lyra and Aquila can be seen in the northern hemisphere on summer nights. While the story itself has nothing to do with the one of the Little Prince, maybe it is because of the stars that Tanabata reminds me the Little Prince.
“My planet’s too small for me to point it out to you. It’s better that way. My star will be just another star in the sky. That way you’ll love watching all the stars.”
As the little prince said “when you look at the sky at night, because I’ll be living on one of them, because I’ll be laughing on one of them, to you it will sound as if all the stars are laughing”.
It happens that stargazing is a popular thing in Japan and there are lists of the top spots to go for the best starry sky views. Who knows, maybe indeed one little prince is living, laughing and taking care of his special rose somewhere out there in one of those five hundred and one million stars, and all we have to do is to watch the night sky more often.