Rikugien is open at night too, with the trees all lit up! Even though it's crowded, you don't notice the people so much because it's dark, plus there's a little stand selling totally delicious miso dango that are toasted the old-fashioned way over charcoal with the skewers stuck in a rice straw wreath.
But if you don't want crowds, there are a lot of other really great places to see leaves in (or near) Tokyo. My favorite places with maps and directions are here, arranged by early to late: http://bit.ly/1tValby
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These are awesome! Traditionalists should be kissing Yoshiki's feet even if they don't like his designs, because when fashion stops breaking rules, it just dries up and dies. I was sad when the only time I saw kimono being worn was by elderly ladies at the kabuki theatre, but these days I'm seeing more crazy gyaru-style miniskirts for Coming-Of-Age Day (like these http://bit.ly/1eFhGIM) and a very cool style called kimono hime, that mixes vintage kimono with Western accessories (like this http://bit.ly/1HBNRZk).
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First of all, why are these discussions always about the choices WOMEN have to make? Last time I checked, it took two to make a kid, so why aren't we talking about the things MEN ought to be doing so they are able to a) share the financial responsibility of supporting the family with their wife and b) have time to do more to help raise the kids than take them out in the stroller once a week on Sunday afternoons? Men have to push for change (and accept it) too, if women are going to "shine."
And second, a few years ago, I noticed something interesting about the Japanese families that send their children to the American School, and (contrary to the optimism in this article) I think it's pretty telling about how little things are actually changing in Japan: the families at ASIJ all had a lot more daughters than sons. That's odd, I thought, until I began talking to them and discovered that of course they had sons too. But when they returned from living abroad, they slapped the boys straight back into the Japanese school system, so they could rise through the Japanese universities and get themselves plum jobs and be set for life. They put their girls into the American school, so they could keep up their English and head off to foreign universities. That way, if their daughters wanted a career, they'd be primed to work for foreign companies in which they actually had a chance of being promoted to positions of power. And if they chose to get married, chances were they'd marry a foreigner, who would pitch in like a partner when it came to running the household and raising the kids. These families had seen what it's like to live in a society where their daughters had nearly as much chance of succeeding at a career as their sons, and they were doing everything they could to make sure their girls didn't get stuck in Japan.
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I've always loved the way Takarazuka has turned kabuki on its head and cast women in all the roles. They're totally fearless, maerial-wise. They've taken on playing the scalawags of Ocean's 11 (http://bit.ly/1t6ev19), sweeping Scarlett off her feet (http://bit.ly/1u08Nl1) and even been cast as American servicemen fighting a war (against the Japanese WAT?) (http://bit.ly/1u08Nl1).
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The quality of recycled polyesters I've seen in new clothing has always surprised and impressed me, and now that there's a technique for recycling the material over and over, I'm looking forward to seeing what forward-thinking designers make of it.
I'd especially like to see couture designers follow Issey Miyake's lead and use recycled polyester in high-end clothing, like his 1325 line. I was amazed to learn that Miyake's skirt that folds up like an origami chrysanthemum was made of recycled PET bottles! http://bit.ly/Qflpz0
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Actually, as a writer, I won't say Amazon isn't scary in the way they control the market, but one of the points you're basing your argument on isn't quite right. Amazon isn't refusing to sell Hachette titles, they're just refusing to do pre-orders. As I understand it, all Hachette titles that have been previously published are still being sold, and all Hachette titles still to be published will be sold, starting on the day they're published.
What Amazon is doing is denying Hachette the marketing boost of allowing people to pre-order books, thus front-loading the first-week sales and producing numbers that impress reviewers, readers and those who compile best-seller lists. Without presales, Hachette has to scramble to get the word out some other way, to make sure all those people click "buy" in that first crucial week. FWIW.
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