Friday, January 18, 2019

Emperor's Speech

I went to hear the Birthday speech by Japanese Emperor Akihito on December 2rd. I couldn't get in. Even though I waited two hours I arrived too late. So, I made a plan to go see His New Year's address on January 2nd. I left Okegawa at 6:54. I arrived Tokyo station about 7:45. Me and hundreds (maybe thousands) of others rushed towards the Palace grounds. But, we were all halted at the traffic signal at Hibiya Douri. Why? Because the Eki Den race started at 8AM and the runners passed right in front of us! Cool! Then we all crossed the street and made our way (walked to) the Palace. I waited a total of 2 hours. I went through the bag check and the body check. I was in row 7. It seemed far away.  But, we were allowed to enter and so was row 8. I was really happy. We all waited about 10 more minutes for the Emperor and Empress to make their appearance. Then they did! There were two hug monitors so all could see. Everyone was taking pics and videos. It lasted about 20 minutes. Then many of us walked through the Palace grounds to the most northern Gate. That was cool as it is rare to enter the grounds. You should definitely do this once. (Pic. Inside the grounds during the greeting. Can you see the Emperor?)

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