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My cousin (seen here on the right with her unidentified friend) was crazy about Elvis and was able to meet him after he enlisted and was brought to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. I remember that she didn’t wash her hand for weeks after he shook it.

This is cool. Back when we were kids our parents took us to Graceland. I wrote my name on Elvis’ wall. We collected acorns from the grounds of his estate. My Dad talked to Elvis’ Uncle Vernon. But that was back when Elvis was still alive and Graceland hadn’t become such a draw.

The king is getting big-time respect from the president and the prime minister.

Elvis, of course. As in Presley.

President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are going to Graceland.

A private tour through the late rock ’n’ roll legend’s Memphis mansion on Friday wraps two days of consultations between the leaders. The visit has spanned military pomp, the tinkling of crystal at a black-tie dinner and two hours of discussions on Iraq, North Korea, U.S. beef exports and other weighty matters in the Oval Office.

But their outing to the home of Koizumi’s undisputed musical hero, with its oddity quotient and celebrity patina, was the most-anticipated portion.

Swiveling hips, spangled jumpsuits and over-the-top decors aren’t Bush’s usual style. And this is a president who routinely skips even the most awe-inspiring destinations on his speed-travels — such as India’s Taj Mahal and China’s Great Wall.

So it’s a sign of his fondness for the Japanese leader that Bush is taking Koizumi to a tourist hotspot. Aides said the president decided a Graceland tour was the perfect way, along with a gift of a jukebox loaded with Elvis hits, to bid adieu to a leader who is departing office in September after being one of his most loyal defenders on the world stage.

“Prime Minister Koizumi likes Elvis. He’s made no secret of that,” White House press secretary Tony Snow said. “This is a fun thing to do, so they’re doing it.”