Days fly so fast! It’s been a week since I visited the Imperial Palace and I haven’t posted yet my captured memories of this annual downtown Tokyo adventures commencing from Route 1 of Japan. Oh yes, years fly faster than I thought…It’s my 10th year doing this “pilgrimage” with different groups of foreigners. Each year is unique and companions to this exploration at the start of the year create interesting memories.

What a way to begin the New Year — listening to the greetings of the Japanese Emperor with the locals! Great chance to see the Imperial Family up close & personal, too. With throngs of people lining up for hours just to enter the palace and watching their reactions are good collage of what this society is.

This 2019, our former teacher at Olives School joined me in this very special tour. Like her and my Japanese students, they knew it’s my routine to visit the palace on January 2 — the first day of the year to open the grounds to the public and for the royal family to appear 5x throughout the day. Ms. Pura Crisologo Yajima gave me a surprise visit on the last week of 2018 with her Filipino delicacies and garden produce (citrus fruits from her garden). She asked me if I can tag her along to the palace and I was more than happy to take her with me. It’s always free talk, no agenda and from the conversation with my companions, I go from there…

It’s the last New Year greetings of Emperor Akihito and the end of his 30-year Hesei Era. Glad to have witnessed his peaceful reign in my almost 27 years in Japan. For a decade of observing his first public appearance with his family & people at the start of the new year, I have deeper respect how they preserve their unique culture & tradition, promote “wa” (harmony) in this fast changing times and reach economic heights with quality produce to the whole world.

A lot of things for me to reflect on the past and what to do in the future….a wonderful walk & talk with my Creator God while enjoying His creation on the 2nd day of each new year. Climbing Japan’s tallest mountain or a smaller one to have the first glimpse of the sunrise of the year, like brave locals & internationals do this winter season, could be more romantic to live the country’s name as the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Healthwise, I prefer to go downtown at the heart of the country and start from there my new year. Reflecting & responding God’s purpose for me to the host citizenry….

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