Imperial Tea Party

April 17, 2008 12:00 AM

An MP gets an Imperial invitation once in a couple of years!

"His Majesty invites you to the Imperial Garden Party at the Akasaka Imperial Palace".

You need to wear a Morning Coat. Your wife probably goes in a kimono for the first time.

You are supposed to enter the palace from one to one fifty. You should go at one. You can enjoy the palace garden and try the Imperial BBQ. All the meat comes from the Imperial ranches. Lamb is the best, and its sauce is the Imperial Secret. You must try it.

Now, at latest by one thirty, you need to position yourself. The best position is at the bottom of the hill where the Imperial Tent is placed. His Majesty begins his procession at the bottom of the hill. If you stand there, you do not have to wait long to meet His Majesty. But you have to be there by one thirty, or there will be no room for you.

His Majesty is timed to appear ten minutes past two, but the schedule always runs behind. His Majesty is followed by the Empress, then the Crown Prince. You are lucky if Princess Masako shows up. Prince Akishino and his wife will follow. Princess Takamado, the wife of the late Prince Takamado is always at the end of the procession.

After meeting the Imperial family, you can visit the tents again. You might want to try looking in the main tent. The prominent guests are situated there every year. You might be able to take a photo with Sadaharu Oh, or Asashoryu, or famous singers, athletes etc.

You can even walk up the hill to the Imperial Tent, and if you cross the little creek there, you see some tents for the Cabinet Ministers and Diplomats. They get to meet the Imperial members separately there.

You should plan to head back around three thirty or so. You need to take a bus to the parking lot, and sometimes you need to wait in the line for the bus. You might want to wait in the food tent longer and enjoy the traditional music and the Imperial Sake.

On the way out, you receive a box of sweets. It is so good!

The Imperial Garden Party is held twice in a year. The Imperial Household Agency assigns each political party the number of MPs who could be invited. So, be good if you are invited. There is an Imperial duck hunting in winter, too.