Dara writes:

It is not often that an article on the front page of the New York Times makes me laugh out loud. Not the hysterical laughter that issues forth involuntarily from bad news, since that is what typically mars an NYT front page. No: laughter of hilarity, of mirth. Yet, this is what came on Saturday, during my breakfast, at this, an article about crime fighting techniques in Japan, a country with a low crime rate.

According to the article, since the Japanese are averse to confrontation, their crime-fighting techniques facilitate hiding from rather than facing would-be attackers, muggers, etc.. To make hiding easier, one woman has created a skirt that turns into a vending machine. Apparently, a row of vending machines is a common site on a street in Tokyo. All a woman would have to do, were she being pursued, aside from having had the perspicacity to don her vending-machine-skirt that morning, would be to unwrap her skirt, put it over her head, and voila, she looks like she can start dispensing Cokes.

I'm not kidding. The amazing thing, in the photo to which I link, is that you can SEE her blue sneakers sticking out from under the skirt/machine. But maybe the attacking would be running and wouldn't notice that??

Other camo of which the woman has thought is a bag that becomes a manhole and a backpack that becomes a fire hydrant. If you feel someone following you for your money, you can drop your purse on the ground and presumably the thief will walk over it because it looks like a manhole. If your child is being followed, he can slip his pack over his head and become a hydrant.

I adore Japanese writing utensils, notepads, stationery, etc., because it's so inventive. The Kinokinuya store in Rock Center satisfies my yen. This recent NYT story further convinces me I have to get myself to Japan someday.