（Contributed by Rhonda）
On May 13th I had the honor and privilege to meet Her Highness the Empress of Japan for the 4th time at the Red Cross appreciation event.
This event is held every year in May to give thanks to volunteers for their dedication and service to helping people in their time of need.
I am so grateful and honored to have the chance to be an Ambassador representing Americans and all volunteers.
Her Highness is amazing and she speaks English very well. Last year when she greeted me she used my first name which is very foreign style. This year she greeted me by my last name which to me is an indication that I am being accepted as being part of Japan.
The event was wonderful many Japanese people received awards for their service and 2 Red Cross volunteers gave speeches on their volunteer service.
After the event finished I was escorted down stairs and had a very nice lunch box meal with other Red Cross key leaders including Konoesan. It was very delicious.
Lunch was followed by an excellent concert performed by Sayuri Ishikawa. Her concert was very entertaining. During the concert she asked different people where they are from. She asked me and was surprised by my response as I said I am from Yamanashi. Yes, I may be from the States but now I have lived half my life in Japan and Yamanashi is the longest place I have lived so I feel like I am from Yamanashi.
The day continues with my family being invited to the Red Cross office.
A special party was prepared for my family and I to give thanks to me for helping them with proof trading documents about the Fukushima disaster.
It was nice to meet the team face to face as we usually communicate via email.
After the small party my family and I were given a VIP tour of the building including the rooms the the Emperor and Empress wait in before attending meetings.
It was an amazing tour and I will cherish the days memories for years to come.
The wonderful day continued as we drove to Haneda to meet my daughter to have dinner together to celebrate mothers’ day and my birthday.
Needless to say i had a wonderful , fabulous very memorable day.
I want to say thank you to the Japanese Red Cross staff for such a rewarding experience.