Our current emperor’s birthday is Dec. 23rd and is a public holiday. This year he became 80 years old on that day and as usual the imperial palace was open to the public for the general audience.
In 10:20- 11:40 the emperor, empress, crown prince and princess, prince and princess Akishinonomiya, and their daughter princess Mako appeared three times on the terrace of the building and waved to the vistors who waved Japan’s national flags in celebration to them. 28,945 visitors including those signed on the memorial notebook were there in total. The emperor gave a special speech there in which he expressed his joy and gratitude of people’s celebration, his grief and sympathy with the victioms and sufferers of 3.11 and those who are suffering from the aftermath of the storm damages in Izu island.
Actually, I was there on that memorable day and saw the emperor and other imperial members, joining a tour training program of a tour guide school. I happened to see three friends of mine who were all English tour guides there in spite of the huge crowd. In addition, I met a group of people from Twaiwan who came to Japan to show their friendship and for goodwill with us Japan. They were very friendly and talked in Japanese with us. I hope such international friendship and peace are quite important.