Before any major building operation begins in Japan a ceremony is performed under the Shinto religion in which the participants pray for the successful completion of the project. It is known as a Ground Breaking ceremony and this morning all the gardeners who are participating in The Gardening World Cup, together with representatives of the contractors and the organisers, got together in the Royal Palace at Huis Ten Bosch for such a ceremony. It is conducted by a Shinto priest and involves the symbolic shovelling of earth and the sprinkling of rice wine. In former times the ceremony would end with the ritual drinking of rice wine, but so many accidents happened when people returned to work drunk that nowadays they make do with coffee. As we did too, regrettably.