My stint in photography drew me to this annual trip up to the Imperial Palace.  The lingo to downtown flat Route 1 is “going up” though locals come from the mountain areas.  Grateful to my adult student who taught me this yearly event.  I’m learning a lot here as a teacher.  

Tomorrow’s a big day for me as it marks my 10th consecutive year going to the Imperial Palace. And, this is the last New Year’s greeting of the current Japanese emperor so I don’t want to miss it. The one & only living emperor whose reign kept Japan in peace and no threat of war. In respect to his wishes, the local government accepted his abdication in Spring. Every year I tag along various foreigners as I think it’s the highest or deepest cultural exposure and experience.

Imagine the throngs of both locals and internationals rushing to enter the “sacred palace” despite the very cold weather. I’ve witnessed some local’s deep admiration as they stoop low and some even kneel upon reaching the grounds of the palace. Many wear the traditional kimono. What a sight to behold a “sea of humanity” yet very solemn walk and people are prim & proper. What a blessing that I live in Tokyo!

I expect more buses from the provinces and tourist coaches moving towards Road 1 in Japan tomorrow. Many locals now are emotional of the emperor’s final greetings at the onset of the new year. Glad that one of our school teachers approached me last week that she would like to see the Imperial Family for the last time. Seeing the royal family is like a fairytale and the ambience in their residence is like a magical. They’re human yet feels like they’re over and above ordinary folks like me especially a foreigner in their land.

Check the detailed information of Japan’s Royal Highness’s rare appearance: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-event/sanga01.html

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