On the 2nd of January, I met my friends Toshi and Aki-san in Tokyo to go to the annual address by Emperor Akihito. He only has two public appearances every year, once on his birthday in December, and again a few weeks later just after the new year begins.
The weather was cold and wet, but it was an exciting prospect to get to see a real live Emperor. Neither Toshi nor Aki had seen him before, so it was just as cool for them as it was for me. Unfortunately, Melody had to work, so she wasn't able to join us. But, I'll take her down next year, now that I know how it works.
We linked up at the Tokyo station, a hugely busy place, and started the short 20 minute walk over to the Emporer's palace area. As we got closer, security tightened. There were several folks handing out small Japan national flags to wave (which I unfortunately lost...another reason to go back next year), and a police woman on a horse.
Finally, we got close to the palace, and began the walk up to the viewing area.
"Move along folks! Nothing to see here!!"