In Japan, the Emperor’s birthday is considered a holiday. Usually people go to the Imperial Palace on the Emperor’s birthday. The Emperor’s birthday is on December 23rd, so on the December 23rd I went to the Imperial Palace with my friends. There are usually many gates in the Imperial Palace which are open to public for visiting certain places. But on December 23rd it was quite different. People could only get into the Imperial Palace from the gate near Nijubashi-mae Station (二重橋前駅). While the other gates were only for exit. So my friends and I decided to meet with each other at Nijubashi-mae Station at exit 10.
Actually there was no exit 10. There were only exit 1-7. So when my friend who first arrived there looked for the exit 10, he couldn’t find the exit 10. Then we decided to meet at exit 6. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding because Nijubashi-mae Station was the 10th station at Chiyoda line, but my friend thought that it was exit 10. The other friends went out at the exit 1 (maybe, I don’t really remember). It was right across the small river surrounding the palace. So they had to walk to the exit 6 at the other side of the river. Luckily they didn’t swim in the river. 😀
After we met with each other, then we walked to the Imperial Palace gate. Before entering the Imperial Palace, there was examination on our belongings. Our bags were examined, and the examiners also checked everything we brought on our body. Women are examined by female examiners, while men are examined by male/female examiners. My friend was surprised when he was examined by a female examiner, maybe because he was not used to it. 😀
After the examination finished we walked to the place where the Emperor would give his speech. The emperor came out to meet the public three times. We got to see his third speech at 11.40. When the Emperor came out, people shouted banzai (万歳), meaned long live (literally means ten thousand years of age) and also waved the Japan flag. When the Emperor finally wanted to give his speech, everybody quickly became quiet with no need of the guards to ask people to stay quiet. After the Emperor finished giving his speech, people shouted Banzai again until the Emperor got in. That’s all, we were watching the Emperor for only several minutes.
After watching the Emperor, we found a grass land in the Imperial Palace to sit down and ate our lunch. After having our lunch, we started to act crazily. We made many strange poses and took pictures of the poses. But I don’t have the photo, so I can’t put it here. After crazy photo session finished, we went to Akihabara on foot.
In Akihabara we just walked for a while and then went to a halal Indian and Vietnam food restaurant. I ate spicy kebab (チリソースケーバブ) in that restaurant. But I don’t think it was very spicy. After that, I went to my host family’s house to have a small Christmas celebration.