After a breakfast of a chocolate sandwich (exactly what it sounds like) and onigiri (a magical delight of rice wrapped in seaweed with a meat filling. My favorite is salmon).
We then took the subway to the imperial palace to see the emperor’s New Years speech. Melissa said the the palace is only open on New Years day and the emperor’s birthday. Very crowded times. The palace is beautiful. It’s like a huge park in the middle of the city. There’s even a moat! There’s tons of trees and grass, like something out of a movie. The emperor’s speech was awesome, President Obama could learn a lot from this guy. He came out and basically said he was praying for world peace and everyone’s happiness, and happy new year, then waved and went back inside his palace not to come out again for another year. I love the emperor.
After walking around the grounds for awhile, we hopped on the subway to go to the Meiji shrine. This place was also incredibly crowded. Apparently the first shrine visit of the year is a really big deal, so we had to fight the crowd of several thousand people. We went through the traditional purification processes of washing our hands and our mouth before proceeding to the actual shrine, tossing in our money and making our wishes for the new year. It was a really awesome the experience such a major tradition for one of the world’s oldest religions.
Yesterday was such a full day and this place is so amazing, I could write and write and write about everything I saw and did… but it’s late and I’m tired so I think I’ll go to sleep and try and recover for another full day tomorrow. Hopefully blog about today when I wake up haha.
more photos will be going up on my flickr stream