Thursday, April 17, 2014

Research 研究

The moat of the Imperial Palace.

 Today was a beautiful spring day here in Tokyo, one which I spent the majority of indoors, in the basement of the archives of the Imperial Household Agency (Kunaicho). The archives are located at the Imperial Palace, so the walk from the subway along the large moat is lovely. The entrance to the Agency is through one of the north gates, verdant and reminiscent of the Palace's history.
The approach to the gate.

The process of using the archive began over a month ago, when I started searching the online database. After that, I had to make a desk appointment, and then fill out request forms for the materials I desired to see, sending the final hand-written request via post. With my appointment time set, I checked in upon arrival. All visitors to the Imperial Palace receive a check-in tag, in order to track how many guests are wandering the gardens or touring the museum, but as an archive user I received a special badge. This green badge allowed me to enter the Kunaicho building, which otherwise had a large sign labeling it as off limits (check the sign below!).
OOOOH, official.
Special green badge only!

Despite what might seem like tricky rules, the archive was actually quite usable. I was granted use of a small locker, and given special archive slippers (!), as well as pencils, as my mechanical pencils were deemed forbidden. As with most archives, I had to remove my rings and watch. I opted for no nail polish as well, knowing that this is sometimes a problem. I was pleased to have the opportunity to share my day with a fellow researcher pal, who made lunch all the better. At the end of the day, the lovely weather and blooming azaleas made for a nice finish to a productive day of research. I'll be back for more tomorrow. 
More fun with research.
A scenic end to a productive day. 

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