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I once met the Emperor of Japan! Well, kind of… At least he and his wife rode past me in a car and waved.
I was sightseeing with friends in Tokyo and we wandered through the Imperial Palace gardens. A lot of people seem to think the Imperial Palace is a must-see in Tokyo, but actually it’s not open to the public and only a small corner of the building can be seen from outside the palace walls. Still we did go over to have a look.
A guard at the palace gate asked me if I spoke Japanese. I optimistically said ‘yes’, but the only words I understood from what he said next were ‘wait over there’. Wanting to be polite, we decided to do as we were told. And five minutes later the palace gates opened and a fleet of cars surrounded by police vehicles drove out. Low and behold there was Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. We waved and they waved back. It was only afterwards that I realised I probably should have bowed. Oh well, next time!