Today is the Emperor of Japan's birthday everyone. Conicidentally it is also a certain certain Ani-Pocker's birthday as well. *cough cough*
Akihito (明仁) born December 23, 1933. He is going to be 75, and is the current emperor of Japan, and the 125th emperor according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He is the world's only reigning monarch with the title of emperor. The date is determined by the present Emperor's birth date. Which, when switching emperors, they have to change it before hand so that they don't miss it if it is before when the change should be made.
On December 23, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace which, usually off limits to the public, opens its gates. The Emperor, accompanied by Empress Michiko and several other members of the imperial family, appears on a palace balcony to acknowledge the birthday congratulations of crowds of festive well-wishers, who are waving tiny Japanese flags. Only on this occasion, and on January 2nd, may the general public enter the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace.
To enter the inner grounds of the palace on December 23, visitors have to stand in line at designated areas across the street from the palace. The large, graveled plaza where the visitors can see Nijubashi Bridge is closed off by the police. At the designated time, visitors' bags are checked and they are escorted to the palace grounds. Admission is free, and visitors are given a free paper Japanese flag. Also, no food and drinks may be taken into the palace.
Visitors then stand in line near the famous Nijubashi Bridge, the symbol of the palace. At 9:30 am, they allow the first group of people to cross Nijubashi Bridge and enter the plaza in front of the balcony where the Emperor will appear. At 10:20 am, the Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Prince Akishino, Princess Akishino, and others appear on the balcony and wave to the crowd who wave paper Japanese flags and shout "banzai!"
If the Emperor speaks, then the crowd falls silent. When the Emperor ceases his oratory greeting (however brief), the crowd starts waving the flags again and the Imperial Family wave back. They appear for three minutes. The crowd is then directed to the exit. Most of them go and take a walk around the East Garden of the palace which includes the remains of the castle donjon. Meanwhile, the next group is led into the palace.
The visiting crowds are usually made up of significantly older portions of the Japanese population, as national interest in the Emperor has been on the wane since the end of World War II. Quite a few foreigners also attend.
((OMG sorry it's so bad, I have ONE bar of connection, and like I got this from Wikipedia... >w< And it's 1:50 AM. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_Birthday Thank you for reading everyone, Muddy out...))