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Friday, December 23, 2005

Emperor's Birthday Tenno no tanjobi

December 23 Tenno no tanjobi - Emperor's Birthday

The Emperor turned 72 today. The birthday of the current Heiwa Emperor (Akihito) is designated as a national holiday in Japan. When there is a change of Emperor, the date of this national holiday changes. The birthday of the previous Showa Emperor (Hirohito) was on April 29 but this holiday has been kept to retain the week-long Golden Week holidays. December 25 is not a public holiday, of course, in Japan.

The Emperor gives a televised speech, and crowds of well-wishers visit the Imperial Palace for a glimpse of him, though the cold weather may keep many people at home.

Bicycle in the snow

It's been a freezing week here in Nagoya, in particular, with the heaviest snowfall in six decades. Nothing, of course, to the conditions on the Japan Sea Coast and in Hokkaido. The white blanket does look very attractive, though it does play havoc with the transport links.

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