A few times as my father and I waited in this preliminary line the pages warned that a VIP was coming, although my father and I never saw anyone coming in except for other pages and people joining the line. The critical question: was the desk we saw the front of the line, meaning we were in a good spot to be one of the 210 admitted, or did the line wrap around a hallway off of that, potentially hiding hundreds waiting? We could find out just by walking over and looking, but I didn't want to know.
As we waited, my father got a call on his cell phone: my other brother, late of California, who was visiting my mother so they could work out his taxes, had found his camera. This had gone missing at the end of his and my father's cross-country drive, and my father had taken the blame for this from everyone and taken a lot of harassment --- though not a word from me --- for losing it in his endlessly disorganized garage. The camera was found, though, in one of the boxes my brother had left with instructions that they were all his things and needed no attention. My father was blameless in their disposition. So he was having a good day regardless of whether we got in to the show.
Finally we got somewhere around 3 pm and a fresh page told us to have our e-mails and photo identification out as they would be giving tickets out based on the numbers there, and those with VIP reservations please come to this second line. This set off fresh wondering to me: did I have a VIP reservation? At the risk of sounding egotistical I had got my tickets partly by pointing out my experience as an advanced watcher of the show. And the e-mail had a little question mark box where an image had been intended but could not be loaded by OS X Mail. Did this mean something? If so, what?
The desk we saw was, indeed, the start of the line, so that we could not have been more than about the 50th people in line. Very good sign. And we were given tickets, actual physical tickets identical except in color to those I'd got in the mail in the 90s. Also wristbands, which were new. The tickets were numbered which, we were told, would determine our place in the audience. My father and I had number 14. And we should leave, to return at 4:15. My father gave me both tickets and wristbands and we thought of what to do for an hour.
Trivia: The Imperial Palace in Tokyo had been named the 'temporary court' until 1889. Source: A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon.
Currently Reading: Flash Of Genius And Other True Stories Of Invention, John Seabrook.