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12.01.2016

The many attractions of Munich acquire a special flavor starting from December, when the German city turns into the perfect Christmas destination. Here are some of the major markets and events that mark the Holiday season. Toolwood Winter FestivalThe winter edition of this festival, which devotes special attention to environmental awareness, is held at Theresienwiese, home of the famous Oktoberfest. Live music concerts alternate with theatrical and acrobatic performances, offering an unforgettable experience. Do not miss the New Year’s Eve celebrations, including multi-ethnic food stalls and DJ sets.Until December, 31 Christkindlmarkt am MarienplatzThe largest Christmas market in Munich opens its doors on the day before Advent Sunday, with a solemn ceremony during which the mayor declares the official opening and Christmas lights are finally turned on. The Christkindlmarkt, daily accompanied from 5.30 pm  by a program of traditional Christmas music, boasts over 150 stalls and an impressive 30 meters-high Christmas tree standing in the center of the square.Until December, 24 Sternenplatzl am RindermarktLocated just a short distance from Marienplatz, this is one of the largest Nativity markets in Germany. Perfect for those who want to buy beautifully handmade figurines, it is rooted into a centuries-old tradition: the very first independent Nativity market took place in Munich back in 1757.Until December, 24 Münchner Mittelaltricher WeihnachtsmarktThe medieval market in Wittelsbacher Platz is one of the most peculiar ones that you can visit in Munich at Christmas time. The traditional wooden houses are mostly replaced with Medieval tents reminiscent of ancient knightly tournament camps, selling everything from mulled wine, ginger biscuits, roasted sausages and apple pancakes to wooden artifacts, handmade jewels, swords and armors.Until December, 23 

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11.29.2016

1,200 square kilometers of urbanized area, over 8 million souls of all nationalities, almost 11,000 people per square meter, and 800 ​​spoken languages. Sometimes numbers, far from being sterile, can truly prove revealing; and given these figures, it is not difficult to understand why all that matters most in the world seems to happen in New York City, at least since the beginning of modern history, in the second half of the nineteenth century - the era of the first skyscrapers and of the Industrial Revolution.Yet sometimes, lost between the city lights and its ever-changing skyline, we tend to forget the bigger picture, failing to find a historical perspective, let alone recover the roots of the contemporary metropolis.A comparatively simple and interesting way to do this is turning to the novels that, in every age, have managed to depict its many different incarnations, often even better than films and history books.Of course, the bibliography on New York City is virtually endless, and the choice will always be partial and personal. We simply chose to follow our heart and our memories, focusing on the city-related stories that we loved most. 1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, 1920The backdrop to this engaging story of an impossible and thwarted love is New York in the Gilded Age, around the 1870s, a period characterized by fast economic growth as well as by the fall of a supposed ‘innocence’ made of hypocrisy and social conventions gilding increasing social conflicts. 2 The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, 1925Set between the Big Apple and Long Island, home to the narrator Nick Carraway and to the main character, Jay Gatsby, an amazing romantic hero doomed to defeat, this great classic depicts the jazz era and the Roaring Twenties in New York City. But it is also a bitter tale on the fall of the American dream, focusing on the drama of loneliness and human frailty behind the glitter of lights, parties and sports cars. 3 Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon, 1946A dark love affair in a dark New York City as seen by a European in the Forties. This semi-autobiographical novel by Simenon tells the story of an amour fou set on a backdrop of smoky bars, seedy hotels and gloomy streets populated by tormented characters. A melancholy atmosphere that is somewhat reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s works. 4 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951This modern Bildungsroman, a real cult for generations, tells a series of events that take place over the course of a weekend in the late Forties in the life of protagonist Holden Caulfield. The novel, narrated with humor and delicacy from the point of view of a 16-year-old boy, is mainly set between Central Park and the Greenwich Village, and the city is seen as this cahotic, bizarre and gigantic monster, overwhelming as much as fascinating5 Just Kids by Patti Smith, 2010It was the late 1960s when a very young Patti Smith, not yet the high priestess of punk rock, left home and came to New York after an unwanted pregnancy. Here she met Robert Mapplethorpe, the soon-to-be master of photography, and the rest is history: the New York underground scene of the 70s, the Chelsea Hotel and its community of artists and lost souls, but above all a story of love, friendship and talent told with rare mastery. 6 The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, 2003From one of the most critically acclaimed literary voices of the city, a portrait of Brooklyn between the 1970s and the 1990s including racial tension, graffiti, music subcultures and gentrification, which serves as a backdrop to the semi-autobiographical tale of a friendship. A real contemporary classic, this amazing novel is crucial to understanding the path that led Brooklyn to become what it is today - that is the most unaffordable housing market in the US. 8 American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, 1991A true milestone, a hallucinogenic journey with a Dostoevskian finale suspended between genius and madness, dotted with endless lists of luxury designer clothes and accessories, creatively heinous crimes, music album reviews and digressions on the weight and texture of business cards. In the background is 1980s Manhattan, as grotesquely and clear-mindedly described as never before, complete with Wall Street brokers, cocaine and yuppies9 Underworld by Don De Lillo, 1997A masterpiece of American postmodern literature, this work by De Lillo paints a portrait of the US in the second half of the twentieth century through individual stories against the backdrop of the world’s great events, linked by the narrative thread of a baseball that passes from hand to hand. Lots of truly enjoyable pages are focused on an episode set in the Bronx at the beginning of the 1950s, where the author spent his childhood. 10 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2005Among the many excellent novels that appeared in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, this is perhaps the most moving one, despite the complex and experimental nature of its narrative structure. Venturing alone through the city streets in search of clues connected with his dad who died in the Twin Towers, nine-year-old Oskar Schell embarks on an epic journey borough by borough, constantly on the verge of emotional collapse. Photo credits: Chelsea Hotel. Photo by Velvet under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license 

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11.28.2016

Like it or not, over the past decade Amsterdam has changed profoundly. The city of canals and bicycles has been constantly attracting large companies, digital start-ups, masses of tourists, working-class immigrants and new wealthy inhabitants, and it is not immune to all these infuences. If on the one hand it has managed to retain its original charm, on the other hand it has necessarily changed and adapted to this new situation, and the results are not always convincing. On the up side, for those visiting the city the offer in terms of upscale and boutique hotels, museums, cafes and restaurants has definitely improved with plenty of amazing options either in the center or in the emerging neighborhoods such as the Amsterdam Noord area, a creative district crowded with cool hangouts. Here’s a small selction of places that might help you get an idea - and a taste - of the new Amsterdam. B. AmsterdamSimply the largest start-up incubator in Europe, an ecosystem that brings together creative professionals, start-ups and large companies in 28,000 square meters and two buildings, acting as a bridge among them and offering a multitude of services. Amenities include a nice rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views. Coffee ConceptsWork, food, art and lots of coffee. These are the ingredients of Coffee Concepts, a unique space around the corner from the Van Gogh Museum which houses a communication and PR agency, a gallery and a sandwich shop all at the same time. Expect young professionals sipping coffee as they work on their laptop, or enjoying lunch on the sofas. Hutspot A concept store selling clothes, accessories, furniture and household items from emerging designers and brands with a bent for sustainability, but also a nice cafe on the top floor where you can rest after shopping. All this is Hutspot, whose main location is in the multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan De Pijp district. Noordelicht CafeIn the heart of Noord, the former industrial area behind the railway station (and only reachable by ferry) where many large companies and start-ups recently set up their headquarters, this cafe hidden among old and reclaimed warehouses has a really laid-back and vibrant feel. Organic ingredients, plenty of vegetarian options and live music add further charm to the venue. De Vergulden EenhoornThe golden unicorn, a creature as rare as a country restaurant in Amsterdam, is just the right name for this truly special place set in a seventeenth century Oost farmhouse overlooking a canal. Quite like the atmosphere, the food is country-inspired, with wholegrain bread sandwiches filled with fresh vegetables, fish or meat. Perfect for a summer day-trip just outside the city. 

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11.24.2016

Perfect geometries resulting from rigorous mathematical calculations and looking like circuits or wiring diagrams illuminated by sharp and violent colors. This is the first impression you get as you look at the works of Italian artist Iler Melioli (born 1949) that have been selected for the upcoming Res Extensa exhibition at Yvonneartecontemporanea gallery in Vicenza. The concept explores the idea of ​network by establishing links among the works and between the works and the exhibition space, and allowing the paintings and sculptures to go beyond their own boundaries and "invade" the walls, thus evoking what is the predominant mode of our existence: interconnection. In a world where we are constantly connected and wired, in which asking search engines for answers and accessing to an infinite network of information is a daily and constant activity, even works of art must give up their formal isolation, being defined by their extensions rather than by their borders. And so they pervade everything that’s around them, turning the space that houses them and even the observer into hubs of their own network: a gesture whose symbolic value is so powerful that the affinity with the contemporary world appears crystal-clear. To the point that those apparently abstract images and sculptures end up acquiring a certain philosophical realism, triggering endless reflections on life in the time of the internet. A very involving concept for an art event that feels "immersive" in the noblest sense of the term. Galleria Yvonneartecontemporanea21, Contrà Porti, VicenzaFrom December 2, 2016 to January 22, 2017 

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11.23.2016

Vienna is a city with a an impressive urban structure, dotted with spiers, historic buildings and contemporary skyscrapers, in a harmonious mix that only a major European capital has to offer. The best way to appreciate it is, of course, from above, in order to embrace wide portions of it in a glance. To enjoy this view, a good idea is sitting at one of the city’s rooftop restaurants and cafes - yet you do not necessarily need to spend a fortune: there are plenty of lovely little places and terraces and beautiful cafes hiddden inside museum domes. Here are a few of them.Justizcafe This little-known cafe with a panoramic terrace is a pleasant surprise on the 5th floor of Vienna’s  Palace of Justice, home of the Austrian Supreme Court and a gem of new Reinassance nineteenth century architecture. Simple, spacious and bright, it is graced by a truly magnificent view. Das Ocean’skyThe cafe on top of the Haus des Meeres, Vienna’s Aquarium (housed in a former flak tower) is another little unexpected jewel, mostly for the view from the 11th floor - especially with good weather, when you can sit outside on the terrace. Café-Restaurant Kunsthstorisches MuseumIt is not the view of the city, but that the sumptuous interiors of the nineteenth-century dome of Vienna’s Museum of Art History, that makes this restaurant so unique. The gastronomic tradition is that of the great Viennese cafes, with a gourmet touch. Restaurant am DonauturmA true symbol of the city since 1964, when it was built, the Danube Tower features a panoramic restaurant 165 meters above the ground, from where you can enjoy the best views of the city and of the Vienna Woods. The menu is seasonal and strictly Viennese. Onyx Bar @ DO&CO hotelLiterally in the heart of the city, with its large windows overlooking the spiers of the St Stephen’s Cathedral, Onyx Bar is one of the most beautiful venues in Vienna, perfect for a sunset drink or a cocktail in the late evening, when the place gest pretty crowded. 

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11.23.2016

 The great thing about Japan is that the autumn foliage, as well as the cherry blossoms, can be enjoyed throughout the archipelago. If you missed momiji-gari, you may still catch a glimpse of the tail end of in Chūgoku, Shikoku or Kyūshū. Nametoko Gorge (Ehime Prefecture)In Uwajima, south Ehime Prefecture, is situated the Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park, where the nature is ravishing and the waters of the river Shimanto flow clear and blue. In the middle of the Nametoko Gorge, is the breathtakingly beautiful Yukiwa Waterfall. With a height of 80m, it creates snow-like patterns as it flows and it ranks among the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. Kiyomizu Temple (Shimane Prefecture)The Kiyomizu Temple in Yasugi, Prefecture of Shimane, was built by the Tendai Sect in 587 AD. It is dedicated to the eleven-headed Kannon, to ward off evil spirits. Built on the mountain-side and surrounded by a cedar forest, the Kiyomizu Temple has a great number of cultural assets, including the three-storeyed pagoda, but the main attraction in this season is the autumn foliage dyeing the entire mountain in flaming red. Kakuon Temple (Hiroshima Prefecture)Kakuon Temple is an Ōbaku-zen Buddhist temple in the castle town of Chofu. Ōbaku is one of the three main zen schools in Japan, and it began in the Edo period. It was founded in 1698, to welcome the seventh patriarch of the Ōbaku sect from China. The red autumn leaves attract ever so many people. Also opening nearby this November 18 is the Shimonoseki History Museum.  Akizuki Castle Ruins (Fukuoka Prefecture)The Akizuki Castle Ruins are located in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture. It was built according to the dying will of daimyō Kuroda Nagamasa in 1624. After that, the castle became the official residence of Akizuki’s feudal lords for successive generations. The castle began to decline in use in the early Meiji Era. The colorful leaves set against the gates combined with their beautiful contrast to the surrounding green cedars creates a unique feeling of the times. Mifuneyama Rakuen (Saga Prefecture)Mount Mifuneyama in Takeo City stands at 210 meters, and its western part is Mifuneyama Rakuen (rakuen directly translating into “paradise” in Japanese), a 150,000-square metre park which has over 5,000 sakura trees and 5,000 azaleas blooming in spring, while a stunning view of each red leaf will greet you during autumn. The varying foliage will also be lit up as part of seasonal festivals. Kanmuri (Kagoshima)Located in Kagoshima, Kyūshū, Kanmuri is the place of origin of Shingon Buddhism. It used to be known for the presence of medicinal herbs. The walking course around halfway up the mountain is about 10 kilometres. Here autumn leaves can be fully enjoyed. 

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11.22.2016

To embrace the history of Milan in a single glance, it would suffice to take a look at its cathedral, a majestic and magnificent work of which the famous American novelist Mark Twain wrote, "I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands”. Yet the Duomo is also a building that has been under construction for over six centuries, and that in a sense will never completed, because it will always require constant intervention from the Veneranda Fabbrica, at work ever since the year 1386. And quite the same goes for the city, which has been and still is in perpetual evolution. In this short journey through the architectural history of Milan, we tried to include some of the most interesting chapters of that evolution, represented by the city’s more or less known architectural gems from the Middle Ages to present times. Basilica di Sant’AmbrogioYear: 1129 in its present appearanceSimply put, one of the crucial places in the history of the city, whose origins go back to 386 when Ambrose, bishop of Milan, had it built on the site where Christians martyred by the Romans had been buried. A symbol of the Ambrosian Church and second in importance only to the Duomo, it is also a rare example of intact Lombard Romanesque-style building, dating back to the year 1099 when it was thoroughly rebuilt at the behest of Bishop Anselm. Ca’ GrandaYear: 1456This exquisite building designed by Florentine architect Filarete and commissioned by Francesco Sforza is one of the first Renaissance buildings in Milan, as well as a fine example of public architecture in the time of the Sforzas. Over time, it literally saw history pass through its rooms, halls and courtyards, becaming a hospital, getting badly damaged by the WW2 bombs and being finally restored to become the site of Milan’s State UniversityPalazzo RealeYear: 1773 in its present appearanceIn the shade of the Duomo, Milan’s Royal Palace, which currently houses a major museum, was first built in the time of Medieval Communes, when it was the seat of city government. Home to the Gonzagas, the Habsburgs, Napoleon, D'Azeglio and the Savoys, destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries (its present facade, designed by architect Piermarini, dates back to the mid-eighteenth century), and often devastated by questionable restoration works - including the dramatic changes demanded by Mussolini - it finally got to be significantly restructured only around the year 2000. Grand Hotel et De MilanYear: 1860With its neo-Gothic facade, this beautiful building sitting on the central Via Manzoni since 1860 has always been a luxury hotel, frequented by diplomats, businessmen (as it was among the first to offer a telegraph and postal service) and celebrities such as composer Giuseppe Verdi. Today, although mostly renovated, it still retains the sumptuous atmosphere of old-time MilanPalazzo CastiglioniYear: 1904Milan’s most famous Art Nouveau building, designed by Giuseppe Sommaruga, is located at 47, Corso Venezia and it was commissioned by a wealthy businessman, Ermenegildo Castiglioni. Embellished by a base of rough rock and decorations inspired by eighteenth-century stucco work, in its original version the building also had two great female statues representing Peace and Industry, later removed due to the scandal provoked at the time by their nakedness. Nevertheless, the latter earned the building the nickname of Ca 'di ciapp ("house of the buttocks"), which is still in use among the Milanese. Piazza Piemonte’s ‘skyscrapers’Year: 1923At a time when it was forbidden to build higher than 28 meters, architect Mario Borgato obtained permission to raise two 38-meter tall (almost) twin buildings – that back then were actually considered Milan’s first ‘skyscrapers’ - by virtue of the great extension of the Piazza on which they sat. Ever since, these unmistakable towers with their slightly different domes have been towering over the Piazza, guarding the entrance to one of the city’s upper-class districts and being gradually overshadowed by much taller buildingsStazione CentraleYear: 1931A true masterpiece for some, an incongrous, eye-catching ‘panettone’ for others, Milan’s main railway station - the second in Italy for passenger flow - never fails to impress. Inaugurated in 1931, during the Fascist Regime, it was designed by Roman architect Ulisse Stacchini, who magniloquently called it ‘the Cathedral of Movement’. Monumental, built entirely of Karst marble and stone, and scattered with celebratory symbols of the Regime, it is suspended between Art Nouveau and RationalismTorre VelascaYear: 1958A Brutalist icon, this unique100-meter high, mushroomy building at a stone’s throw from from Piazza Duomo designed by the firm BBPR (an acronym from the names of architects Barbian Belgiojoso, Peressutti and Rogers) has always been a subject of debate for its daring and disruptive design. Called alternately horrible and absolutely stunning, it remains an undoubtedly remarkable symbol of the optimistic and innovative spirit of Milan in the time of the Economic Miracle. Chiesa di San Francesco D’Assisi al Fopponino di Giò PontiYear: 1964Designed by Giò Ponti, the famous architect of the Pirelli Tower, this modern-day church near Piazzale Aquileia which stands on the site of an ancient cemetery is deemed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. Among its most significant features are the suspended windows on the central facade, which allow the sky to fill their space with its ever-changing colors, thus becoming an actual architectural element. Bosco Verticale Year: 2014Our journey ends with the building that has rapidly become a symbol for the new, after-Expo Milan, a city that rises up to the sky like all major international capitals. Defined “the most beautiful and innovative highrise in the world" in 2015 by the American Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Stefano Boeri’s innovative Bosco Verticale brings a piece of the earth to the sky in the form of trees and over 90 species of plants. Photo creditsBasilica di Sant’Ambrogio: photo by Randi Hausken under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseCa’ Granda: photo by Giovanni Dall’OrtoPalazzo Reale and Palazzo Castiglioni: photo by Geobia under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseStazione Centrale: photo by Thomas Ledl under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licenseTorre Velasca: photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseSan Francesco d’Assisi al Fopponino: © 2011 Parrocchia S.Francesco d'Assisi al Fopponino 

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11.21.2016

The recent beard and mustache revival gave birth to a brand new season for the ancient craft of beard care, and this did not spare Paris. The most tangible consequence of this new barberhshop wave, which is certainly far from unpleasant, is that today anyone looking for a good place in town for a nice shaving and neat haircut will be spoiled for choice among old-school shops, hip & hot addresses and authentic Master Barbers. Here are some of our favorite places. Alain Maître BarbierAlain is the Marais’ favourite barber, as well as "the only Master Barber in Paris", with plenty stars and VIPs among its regulars. Get the "old-fashioned shaving" on the background of a delightfully vintage-looking store that is actually an authentic museum of barber’s objects and tools. An unmissable experience. La Barbière de ParisThe (3) sophisticated and contemporary-looking salons of the only woman barber in Paris, Sarah Daniel Hamizi, who also works for major Parisian and international fahion brands, are deemed among the very best in town. Expect careful beard and mustache care,  perfect haircuts and a hue list of men’s beauty treatments. Les Mauvais GarçonsThree fine shops dedicated to the art of shaving and hair cutting, born from the passion of a woman barber in a small salon on rue Oberkampf (where the original store still is) and subsequently taken over by her brother on the wave of the barbershop revival. The "bad guys" also propose shaving lessons. La Cle du BarbierThese New York-style salons - one immersed in the contemporary atmosphere of a 5th arrondissement loft and the other on rue Saint Honoré - both specialize in beard care, with the addition of seeral wellness and beauty treatments specifically conceived for men. 

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11.17.2016

Here is a list of temples with marvellous garden, where you can contemplate the beauty of nature in complete silence. Enkō-jiIn 1601, shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa built the Enkouji Temple in Fushimi, Kyoto, as a school to promote scholarship in Japan. After its founding, the Enkouji Temple was moved into the premises of the Shokokuji Temple, and then to the present location in Kotani-chō, Ichijoji, in 1667. The temple possesses a number of important cultural assets, such as the six-fold screen with a picture by renowned painter Ōkyo Maruyama. As you enter the mountain gate, there will be a Japanese rock garden, and when you pass through the middle gate, the colours of the moss and autumn leaves in the so-called Garden of the Ten Oxen will overwhelm you. Bishamon-dōBishamon-dō is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, with the distinct features of a mountain temple. Named after one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Bishamon-dō has a history dating back to 703, when it was established by a monk, Gyoki, to fulfil the order of Emperor Monmu, but it was subsequently rebuilt in 1665 in the current location of Yamashina Anshu. During the New Year’s celebrations, it is crowded with people praying for business prosperity and home safety. Bishamon-dō is also very popular in this season for autumn-leaf viewing. Daigo-jiThe history of Daigo-ji starts in 874, with the foundation of the temple by Shōbō Rigen-daishi and the enshrinement of the statue of the Goddess Kannon. The Sakyamuni hall built in 926 and the five-storey pagoda built in 951 were spared from bloodshed and destruction and in December 1994 the temple complex was designated as a World Heritage Site. Daigo-ji’s collection is made up of 150,000 artifacts, which include 69,419 national treasures and 6,522 important cultural assets designated by the Japanese government. This time of the year, the trail leading to Benten-dō, adorned with autumn leaves, is particularly beautiful. Rurikō-inFamous for its architecture and its garden, Rurikō-in is located in Yase, on the way from The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa and Ōhara. A large-scale renovation by master architect Sotoji Nakamura and the construction of the garden by famous gardener Toemon Sano were held in the Nineteen Twenties, Thirties and Forties. The highlight of this garden is the color of moss and maple leavesHōkyō-inBuilt under the rule of Emperor Shirakawa (1053-1129) as a zen temple, in 1350 Hōkyō-in became a temple of the Rinzai sect in Sagano. By the end of the Edo period the temple had declined, but it was restored in the Meiji era. In autumn, the foliage attracts many people. To preserve the integrity of the site, as well as to avoid crowds, no tripods or larger cameras are allowed. Leaf viewing is part of the temple worship. Eikan-dō (aka Zenrinji Temple)Built in 873, Eikan-dō rose and declined repeatedly over the centuries. In the eleventh century, a high priest known as Eikan enlarged the premises for what was to become the predecessor of Kyoto Hospital. As a temple of the Jodo sect, it attracts a lot of worshippers of celestial Buddha Amida Nyōrai. Eikan-dō contains 58 artworks designated Important Cultural Properties. This year, Eikan-dō is illuminated until December 4.  

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11.16.2016

My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo. These are just a few of of the titles that brought worldwide fame to Japanese director, screenwriter, animator, manga artist and film producer Hayao Miyazaki, even leading him to be nominated for an Oscar. The fascinating world of Miyazaki and his animated filmd produced by Studio Ghibli, inhabited by spirits, ghosts and otherworldly creatures, generated a truly remarkable number of fans, and it was celebrated by a themed museum which opened in Japan back in 2001 and by a huge retrospective in Tokyo last summer. These days, however, even European fans can enjoy a tiny slice of Miyazaki's world thanks to the Paris Studio Ghibli pop-up store located at 26 rue Charles Baudelaire, in the 12th arrondissement, which will remain open until December 3. The store, which is called Le Château éphémère as a homage to the film Howl’s Moving Castle, is a true treasure trove for fans, selling gadgets, stationery, DVDs, dolls, bento boxes, music boxes, ornaments and various objects, all inspired by Miyazaki's masterpieces and characters. Of course, most of these things are probably also available online, yet the opportunity to plunge into the imagination of the Japanese master in the heart of Paris is simply priceless. Le Château éphémère12, rue Charles Baudeleaire, ParisUntil December 3  

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11.15.2016

Define comfort food: tasty, maybe even a bit greasy, with a reassuring scent of home. And, for many, a synonym for their grandmother’s cuisine. Because, let’s face it: noboby cooks better than granny. And it is often those flavors, those ingredients, those preparations and those scents that shape our taste and put an indelible imprint on our taste buds. Or at least it must have been so for Joe Scaravella, owner of a very unique restaurant in Staten Island, NYC. When he opened Enoteca Maria a few years ago, Joe was eager to bring back to life that "taste of home" he ald learnt to know thanks to the women in his family, stubbornly and jealously preserved and handed down from one generation to the next. The peculiarity of Enoteca Maria lies in the fact that there are actually grandmothers in its kitchen: Italian grandmothers in the main kitchen, and grandmothers from around the world in the second kitchen that Joe has made available to all the culinary cultures of the world, certainly not difficult to find in a city like New York. And so every day New York foodies have the privilege to get in touch with true tradition, and to try international cuisines in their most authentic, home version. To find out which grandmothers will be taking turns in the kitchen and which recipes they’ll be preparing, just take a look at the calendar on the restaurant’s website. Yet ​​Scaravella’s project is even more ambitious, and it goes well beyong the boundaries of the restaurant with the aim of creating virtual, crowd sourced book of international grandmother recipes, Nonnas of the World, to which everyone can contribute in their own native language. Definitely a very innovative way of making tradition interesting and contemporary again. 

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11.14.2016

This year it has turned cold in one go. That means 2016 is being a very good year for leaf-viewing. You won’t even have to leave Tokyo, since there are lots of scenic spots within the city. Shinjuku GyoenIn the Edo period, Shinjuku Gyoen used to be the residence of Naitō, lord of the Takatō Domain in the then province of Shinshū. In the Meiji Era it became an Imperial Garden and after the war it opened to the public. Over 1,200 trees grow in an area of 53,8 ha. Drinks and playthings are not allowed in the park. Contemplation in tranquillity is a mustNational Museum of Nature and ScienceNow considered an extant natural treasure within the boundaries of the city, the site used to be the suburban residence of Matsudaira, lord of the Takamatsu Domain. The garden was awarded a designation as natural monument and place of historical interest, under the name “Former Platinum Garden”. The garden is now part of the premises of the National Museum of Nature and Science. Rikugi-enThe garden was created by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu by permission of the fifth shōgun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. Yanagisawa himself supervised its construction and the creation of an artificial hill and a small pond, which took seven years to complete. It used to be one of the two greatest parks of the time – the other being Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden. Originally, it contained 88 allusions to famous scenes from the ancient poetry of the Kishū Domain. This year, the park will be illuminated until December 7. Inokashira ParkWith a total area of 380,000 square meters, this large park extends over Musashino and Mitaka. It is listed in the 100 best cherry blossom spots, but the clear air of the brisk, sunny November days makes autumnal leaf viewing equally spectacular. You can easily access the park from Kichijoji Station, south exit, taking a stroll along the promenade adjacent to the busy Nanaibashi Dōri. Showa Commemorative National Government ParkIt is a 180ha memorial park built as part of the Emperor Showa’s 50th anniversary project, comprising a Japanese garden and a bonsai garden. It is a scenic spot both for cherry tree blossoms and autumn foliage. This time of the year, a walk along the line of ginkgo trees can be very special. Mount TakaoIn Mount Takao you can enjoy autumn foliage a relatively long period, about one month. Take a look at the Yakuōin Temple Foliage Map and check out the schedule for the autumn festivals in the month of November. Mount Takao attracts crowds, especially in this season, but you can spend the day hiking, leaf-viewing and enjoying some delicacies you can only find in Mount Takao.  

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11.14.2016

Skiing and music. Snowboarding and music. Like all individual disciplines, even winter sports are practiced more willingly with music in your ears, choosing the right rhythm and the perfect atmosphere for your descents. Yet on the slopes music is not necessarily restricted to your headphones: every year, throughout Europe, plenty of winter music festivals celebrating the marriage between snow and sounds bring bands and DJs on the snowy peaks, right in the heart of the continent’s most renowned ski resorts. Here are the ones you shoud not miss. BergfestivalThe season begins against the magnificent backdrop of the Austrian ski slopes with a rock music festival including plenty of gigs and acts to be enjoyed when the night falls after a beautiful ski or snowboard descent on fresh snow.Saalbach Hinterglemm, AustriaDec. 2-4, 2016 SnowboxxOn we go in March, in the beautiful French alpine ski resort of Avoriaz (1,800 meters above sea level) for this legendary event dedicated to music (dance, hip-hop, rap, drum & bass and other genres) to dance to on the snow and under the stars. The "Festival Village" also incudes street food stalls, cocktails bars and igloos housing after-concert parties.Avoriaz, FranceMarch 18-23, 2017 Rock the PistesOn the same days of Snowboxx, the French slopes of the Porte du Soleil area (which also includes Avoriaz) will be hosting a series of free concerts and DJ sets to which access is granted simply by buying a ski pass. The gigs begins at 12.45 pm with DJ sets and continue at 1.30 with the main concerts.Portes du Soleil, FranceMarch 19-25, 2017 Horizon FestivalThe Pyrenees are the setting for this one-week festival dedicated to music and entertainment, with two stages at high altitude where artists take turns starting from 1 p.m. until well into the night, clubs, cocktail bars and even a secret elctro-music event in the forest.Arinsal, AndorraMarch 26 - April 2, 2017 SnowbombingBack to Austria for the last (but definitely not least) event of the season - perhaps the best known of all snow music festivals, a Glastonbury for snowboarders set at over 2,500 meters of altitude. Although it used to be entirely devoted to dance and electro music, in recent years Snowbombibg has successfully incorporated the indie wave. It also includes theme parties, an igloo village, saunas and whirlpools.Mayrhofen, AustriaApril 3-8, 2017 

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11.09.2016

800 works coming to life in 3,000 images projected onto the walls of a museum, becoming animated and involving the visitor in a literally "immersive" experience. These are the main reasons for visiting Van Gogh Alive, certainly not the first Van Gogh exibition and yet a pretty unique one, a huge traveling event that has just come to Rome, the second and final stage of the Italian tour, before moving to Poland and later to Colombia. The Roman location for this global blockbuster is the twentieth century Palazzo degli Esami in the historic and pictoresque Trastevere district, reopened after decades for the occasion. In its huge open spaces, which once housed state exam sessions, the world of the great Dutch painter comes to life through a 40-minute multisensory experience developed by Grande Exhibitions, a company specializing in the creation of major traveling art events, combining multichannel motion graphics, cinema quality surround sound and up to forty high-definition projectors to provide an exciting multiscreen environment. Synchronized to a powerful classical score, Van Gogh’s painting at enormous scale create a thrilling display that fills giant screens, walls, columns, ceilings and even the floor, immersing the visitor in the vibrant colours and vivid details that constitute his unique style.An invitation to explore the work and life experiences of this prolific artist during the period 1880 to 1890, and to travel through his thoughts, feelings and state of mind during his time in Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, the locations where he created many of his timeless masterpieces. Last but not least, Van Gogh Alive is also a charming journey into the creative mind of the painter, punctuated by colors, brush strokes, design and plenty of references to the artist's biography. Definitely not your average Van Gogh exhibition. Until March 26, 2017 

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11.08.2016

Kurikinton by SuyaWhen you say kurikinton, everybody will think of Suya, a wagashi shop located in the former post-town of Nakatsugawa, on the Nakasendō, the travel route that ran from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Kyoto. At Suya, each and every sweet is carefully handmade. In Nakatsugawa, a watershed between Mino and Shinano, Mount Ena is clearly visible everywhere. The delicious chestnuts picked on Mount Ena are boiled, mixed with sugar and reformed into a chestnut shape, the kurikinton, available for a limited amount of time in Tokyo, as well. Kurinattō by Kyoto KuriyaIn Kyoto the sweet taste of the giant chestnut is a synonym for autumn. Located near Kyoto Imperial Park, Kuriya is renowned for kuriohagi, rice cakes covered in chestnut paste, dorayaki (pancakes filled with chestnut paste) and kurinattō kin-no-mi, whole chestnuts glazed in honey. Kurikaoru Daifuku by WaguriyaThe Iwama area in the city of Kasama, Ibaraki prefecture, is said to be one of the places of origin of the Japanese chestnut. The ravishing scenery of chestnut forests seems to substantiate the thesis. Waguriya’s kurikaoru daifuku are made by hand, one by one, by sugar boiling the chestnuts and wrapping them in soft rice. The pale brown colour is given by the boiled chestnut skins. Kuridora by SurugaKnown for the original kuridora, Suruga is located in the Edoesque area of Kameari, Katsushika-ku. But what is kuridora? Kuridora is a dorayaki pancake filled with azuki beans from Tokachi, Hokkaido, and a whole chestnut, a perfect combination. Kurikanoko by TorayaThe chestnut is one of the seasonal flavours of the wagashi shop Toraya, established in 1586. Chestnuts are the main ingredient of kurikanoko, a traditional round-shaped sweet enriched with a honey-glazed chestnut, and of different snacks used during the tea ceremony: kurikomochi, kurimeigetsu and kurianmitsu 

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The great sci-fi dream of a vehicle able to smartly navigate city traffic and ride along highways or on rough and difficult terrain with no driver made its appearance in the human imagination back at the beginning of the twentieth century. The very first experiments in the field of autonomous cars, controlled via radio impulses caught by an antenna - a bit like modern toy cars - date back to the 1920s - a time when cars themselves were still rather primitive. However, it was only around the 1980s that the first autonomous vehicles equipped with computer vision and robotic control began to be developed – the most famous example being ALV, the Autonomous Land Vehicle funded by DARPA, which performed the first public road-following demonstrations. In the 1990s, the experiments continued and multiplied all around the world, but it was in Italy, and particularly at the University of Parma, that something truly amazing happened in 1997: researcher Alberto Broggi launched the ARGO project, enabling a modified Lancia Thema to travel in autonomous driving mode for 1,900 km along the highways of northern Italy. The technology consisted of a stereoscopic camera system - basically a couple of low-cost b/n cameras installed near the windshield, whose images were analyzed by a computer and sent to an electric motor that controlled the steering. Thirteen years later, in 2010, Broggi – who had in the meantime become a professor and founded VisLab, a start-up later purchased by Silicon Valley-based company Ambarella - promoted the first intercontinental journey of an autonomous vehicle, from Parma all the way to Shanghai Expo. Meanwhile, all major car manufacturers continued adding autonomous functionalities (such as parking assist and adaptive cruise control) and testing driverless car systems, and University researchers developed several projects of autonomous vehicles able to ride in the traffic of the world’s big cities. 2014 was the year of Google’s self-driving cars; the internet giant equipped various existing car models (and also developed its own driverless car model) with an alternative technology, a laser allowing the vehicle to generate a 3D map of its environment. The commercial availability of Google’s self-driving cars was estimated for 2020. In the meantime, Google has already released a new driverless car prototype with neither steering wheel nor pedals. 2020 is also the expected date for the availability of the first Nissan autonomous car, as anticipated in 2013 during the launch of the electric Nissan Leaf equipped with self-driving technology. More recently, Volvo and Tesla Motors, the innovative Californian electric car company led by visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk, raised the bar even higher. In 2015, Volvo anticipated that by 2017 the inhabitants of the city of Gothenburg, in Sweden, would be able to buy the new version of the company’s XC90 SUV equipped with a Level 3 automation system, which allows drivers to safely turn their attention away from driving tasks within known, limited environments such as freeways. And finally, a few weeks ago, Elon Musk announced that all Tesla cars are already provided the necessary hardware to be fully autonomous (Level 5 automation), consisting of cameras and ultrasonic sensors. In fact, the Autopilot technology system already operates in "shadow mode", sending data back to Tesla for software improvement. Therefore, according to Musk, in one year’s time we will have cars that can perfectly drive themselves, with software that will need to be updated regularly just like that of computers and smartphones. And so our daily life will be a little bit closer to what we once knew as science fiction, pushing forward the limits of imagination and technology. 

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11.07.2016

Although most of us have never actually been there, they are somehow familiar. We have seen them in films, as the background of some memorable movie scenes and TV series, or in famous shots of the city. New York’s most historic and celebrated restaurants have become icons in their own way, recognizable at first glance, maybe from their signs, or simply because their names evoke the atmosphere of a specific era in the history of the Big Apple. Here are a few of the most legendary ones. BarbettaThe Italian restaurant par excellence, in the heart of Broadway’s theater district, a favourite among politicians, celebrities and VIPs. This is where Toscanini and Caruso (and later Warhol and Paul Newman, just to name a few ) used to come to enjoy amazing food from the Italian Piedmont region. The restaurant also appeared in several films and TV series, including Alice and Celebrity by Woody Allen, Sex & the City and Mad Men. Katz DelicatessenThis much-loved Lower East Side deli was founded in 1917 and made even more famous by the cult fake orgasm scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally. Yet among New Yorkers it is mostly known for its delicious pastrami sandwichesLa GrenouilleA true classic that belongs to a time when French restaurants was the quintessence of refinement and elegance, and movie stars, music icons and famous designers used to seat at these tables. In the heart of Midtown, la Grenouille proudly remains the last French haute cuisine restaurant from the Sixties in townDelmonico’s Founded in 1837, Delmonico's has the significant distinction of being the first proper restaurant in America. This historic eatery in the Financial District, which now occupies the triangular space of a nineteenth-century palace at the intersection of Beaver and William streets, saw the birth of many classic dishes, including the famous Delmonico steak. River caféThe right place to sit at a table overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Opened in 1977 in an abandoned dockland area on ​​the Hudson River in Brooklyn, by virtue of its unique view it appeared in several films, commercials and TV series. The OdeonThis French-style Bistro in Manhattan is a veritable legend. Its unmistakable vintage sign has been shining like a beacon in the Tribeca nights since 1980, and it also appeared in the famous novel Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney.  

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11.03.2016

With its noble white stucco mansions, Belgravia, in the heart of London’s City of Westminster, is the symbol of a bygone era as well as one of the wealthiest districts in the world. Originally owned by the 2nd Marquess of Westminster, who had it developed from the 1820s, it has been home to famous actors and movie stars, writers and musicians, and it currently houses many embassies, especially in Belgrave Square, the district’s centerpiece. Recently, though, Belgravia has also become a pretty  remarkable foodie destination, particularly along Elizabeth Street, an elegant tree-lined street between South Kensington and Victoria where plenty of coffee shops, patisseries and gourmet stores have opened in recent years have opened. Here are a few addresses not to be missed while exploring this unexpectedly quiet corner of the city center. Pastry ShopsDominic Ansel BakeryAfter conquering the USA with his New York bakery and Japan with its Tokyo branch, last September chef and confectioner Dominic Ansel finally brought his most famous creation - the cronut, a hybrid between a croissant and a donut - to Europe. Exclusively for the London store, Ansel also created five special desserts inspired by English culture. Peggy PorschenThis pink cake design temple is said to be Kate Moss’ favourite pastry shop - although it's really hard to imagine the skinny British model as a confectionery enthusiast. But what is more important is that at Peggy Porschen even the smallest tea cake is a tiny masterpiece - not to mention their astonishing wedding and birthday cakes. Gourmet JeroboamsFine wines from all over the world and a selection of vintage and non-vintage champagnes sold by the glass or by the bottle: here’s the simple formula of one of London’s most beloved wine storesPoilâneThe London branch of this famous Parisian bakery sells bread made with stone-ground flour, naturally leavened and baked in a wood oven - a tradition that began in 1932 in Saint-Germain des Prés. Its round loaves are a real cult. Coffee and snacksBaker & SpiceA nice little place around the corner from Victoria Station, the ideal stop for coffee and a slice of cake, or maybe for a light lunch or a hearty saladTomtom coffeeCome here for (traditional English, alternative or sweet) breakfast, and enjoy Tomtom’s much appreciated ethical coffee, a made-to-measure mixture based on selected grains from different countries of the world and toasted in Dorset.  AperitifThe Ebury Wine barA great selection of wines to accompany classic dishes like roast cod fillet or sausages, mustard mash and red onion gravy, with touches of exotic Asian and fusion cooking. RestaurantsThe Thomas CubbittNamed after the master builder who created some of the most important buldings in Belgravia, the Thomas Cubbitt includes a ground-floor bar offering cocktails, fine beers and top-quality casual cuisine, and a first-floor restaurant serving British cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients to go with a wine list specializing in champagnes and aromatic whites and reds. OlivetoAn authentic Sardinian restaurant in Belgravia, particularly loved for the pizza but also for its genuine regional dishes. Reservation is a must. Cover photo by Amanda Slater under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license 

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11.02.2016

The warm, casual atmosphere of a hostel and the top-notch services of a proper hotel, with the priceless plus of a magnificent ocean view. ODDSSON, located in one of the most famous buildings in Iceland, the JL Húsið (JL House), a historic 1940s warehouse situated directly on the west bank of central Reykjavík with a spectacular view over the Faxaflói bay area, is a truly unique accomodation in town. Its most distinctive feature is a happy marriage between the integrity of the industrial architecture found in the original warehouse building and the eclectic aesthetic and custom pieces by Döðlur Design, whose concept revolves the idea of  contrast and of taking different extremes and mixing them together. The pieces, taking inspiration from materials that already existed in the building, are designed to fit both a hostel and a hotel: simple and practical design, often with multiple purposes. Older materials are treated as precious and preserved for their beauty and the memories they evoke - distressed walls, floors and ceilings direct the design and are reused as much as possible. The result is a mix of old and new, combining subtle colours and beautiful fabrics with cheap materials and some existing original walls, and modern furniture and art with a few odd design pieces. As for the rooms, ODDSSON can accomodate up to 230 guests and the rooms are as diverse as they are many, so that  virtually every guest’s needs and desires will be filfilled: pods, bunk beds, hostel rooms, small and large hotel rooms and a suite – the latter encapsulating all the best that ODDSSON has to offer in its 70m2 space, including design masterpieces from all over the world, art by renowned Icelandic artists and a breathtaking ocean view. Further amenities include a small but stylish yoga studio, a bistro and a restaurant serving Italian cuisine with a contemporary twist, a bar and a café.  

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10.31.2016

Fast and bright as a comet, Jeff Buckley crossed the sky of rock music leaving behind a trail of fans stunned by the purity of his musical genius, who died prematurely at the age of 31. A few weeks ago, the whole record collection that has built the musical taste of Buckley has been unveiled in the form of a dedicated website. It all started when Tom Mullen, Digital Marketing Director at Legacy Recordings / Sony, decided to go to the source of the cover songs featured in Buckley’s posthumous album You and I. While searching for clues, Mullen came across some photos of Jeff’s vinyl collection taken by his mother. This ‘Record Collection’ is now visible and accessible on the www.jeffbuckleycollection.com site, where you can scroll alphabetically through the catalog, select selct one record and listen to a 30-second snippet of each song. Alternatively, to access the entire album, you can click the Spotify link. Fans will surely be amazed and impressed by the vastness and diverseness of Buckley’s musical universe: only within the letter M, improbable ‘neighbors’ such as the king of reggae Bob Marley, politicized rock band MC5, Metallica heavy metal music, the restless jazz of Charles Mingus, stylish singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and pop miserabilist Morrissey sit side by side. And this is no exception: you could spend days trying to find the links between the Clash and Miles Davis, David Bowie and Fishbone, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jesus Lizard, Nick Cave and Jaco Pastorius or Rush and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The collection is inevitably comes to an end in the year 1996, with a handful of vinyls. Within a few months, Jeff Buckley would find his early death in the clutches of the Wolf River while humming one of the songs from his vinyl collection - Whole lotta love by Led Zeppelin. 

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10.31.2016

Tōhoku is a trove of places of historic interest and natural beauty. Go there for the ravishing spectacle of the foliage, stay a little longer for a tour of the monuments and temples. Every prefecture has so much to offer. And there we go. Towadako (Aomori Prefecture)Lake Towada is a double caldera, with trees all around. The excursion boat service offers visitors a different view of the breath-taking autumn foliage. If you want to go for a walk, you will love the promenade from the bank on the western side of Katsura-ga-hama to the Gozen-ga-hama beach with the Otome-no-zō, the Statue of the Two Maidens. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Lake Towada is forecast in late October. Kakunodate (Akita Prefecture)Kakunodate – a sub-fief of the Akita clan – flourished as the castle town of North Satake family. You can take a stroll in the city centre in the midst of the beautiful samurai houses of the Matsumoto, Aoyagi and Ishiguro families. Kakunodate is popular for the cherry blossoms in spring, but the autumn is equally charming, with the red of maples and the yellow of ginkgo trees. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Kakunodate is forecast from late October to mid-November. Omoshiroyama Momijigawa Keikoku (Yamagata Prefecture)At the foot of Mount Omoshiro, on the border between the prefectures of Yamagata and Miyagi, stretches a canyon. This time of the year, the gorge is made even more gorgeouswhen the vivid colours of the autumn leaves intermingle with the evergreen trees. The best way to enjoy the superb view of autumn leaves is to stroll on the trail that goes for about two kilometres along the river and a suspension bridge.This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Omoshiroyama is forecast from late October to early November. Chūson-ji (Iwate Prefecture)Chūson-ji, the mausoleum for four generations of the Ōshū Fujiwara family, is a temple complex comprising the historical Konjiki-dō – the Golden Hall – a temple and the most prominent treasure house of Buddhist art from the Heian period in north-eastern Japan. The temple was probably founded in 850 by Jikaku Daishi, a high priest from the Tendai monastery of Enryakuji on Mount Hiei, near Kyoto. According to other sources, Konjiki-dō was established by Fujiwara Kiyoe in the early 12thcentury as a memorial to the war dead and to eternal peace. What is certain is that Konjiki-dō is now considered a national treasure and in 2011 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From 1 to 3 November, the vivid colours of autumn foliage will be a gracious adornment for processions of children and Noh performances. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Chūson-ji is forecast from late October to early November. Naruko-kyō (Miyagi Prefecture)Naruko-kyō is a V shaped gorge formed by the Ōtani river, 100m high and 2.5km long. The rocks dotted with green pines and red maple compose a stunning landscape. It takes about 30 minutes to walk to Naruko Gorge from either Nakayamadaira Onsen or Naruko Onsen JR Station. If you don’t feel like walking, buses operate between the stations during the autumn leaf season, from early October to mid-November. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Naruko-kyō is forecast from late October to early November. Tsurugajō Park (Fukushima Prefecture)Also known as the Castle of Aizu-Wakamatsu, Tsurugajō – or Tsuruga Castle – was destroyed in 1874 and consequently restored on the remnant stonewall 1965. The castle is located at the centre of a park, which turns into a fantastic leaf-viewing destination in autumn, with colourful foliage all around, in the Aizu Plain and yonder on the surrounding mountains. The park is illuminated from 21 October to 13 November. 

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10.27.2016

Ranked among the 52 places in the world to go to in 2016 by the New York Times - the only Italian city on the list - and awarded the title of European Innovation Capital, Turin is a special city in many ways. Rich in art and culture, cosmopolitan, incredibly charming - even magical, suspended as it is between a glorious past and a future that you can already feel in the air. From the old town with Piazza Castello, the Royal Palace, the arcades of Via Po and the huge Piazza Vittorio Veneto, from the historic cafés to the renewed Egyptian Museum and the imposing Mole Antonelliana, home to the Museum of Cinema, Turin is a perpetual invitation to discovery. But it is perhaps only getting off the beaten track that you will discover its inner soul, immersing yourself in nightlife that animates the area between the former industrial suburb of San Salvario, south of downtown, dotted with small restaurants, wine bars and "piole" (the local taverns), and the Quadrilatero Romano, a central maze of cobbled streets between Santa Teresa, via della Consolata, Corso Regina and via XX Settembre. Or even further on to Vanchiglia, a former industrial neighborhood between the Dora Riparia and the Po river where plenty of innovative shops and bars have recently opened. Here’s a small guide to our favorite places in town. VisitParco DoraAn innovative post-industrial park designed by German landscape architect Peter Latz on the site of a bunch of former large industrial plants (including Michelin and Valdocco) along the river Dora, north of downtown.Museo del CinemaA unique example in Italy, the Museum of Cinema in Turin is housed in the impressive Mole Antonelliana, and it has been beautifully designed by Swiss architect François Confino. Do not miss the elevator ride to the top of Turin’s most iconic building.Villaggio Leumann, CollegnoAt the gates of the city, this Art Nouveau-style workers’ village is the brainchild of the enlightened Swiss entrepreneur Napoleone Leumann, who had it built around his cotton mill. A fascinating journey into nineteenth-century Turin. EatCoco'sVia Galliari, 28A very popular bar and restaurant in the San Salvario district oozing with an authentic 1960s atmosphere where you can try genuine local home cooking surrounded by old photos and memorabilia.Soul KitchenIn Vanchiglia, a very cool place for experiencing vegan and raw vegan cuisine in a creative and beautifully presented version.Dora in poiA restaurant on the banks of Lungo Dora Firenze serving Italian-style dim sum - in other words, fusion cuisine that mixes the national gastronomy with exotic (but locally grown) ingredients and influences from around the world.Mara dei BoschiSimply one of the most delicious artisan gelatos in Turin, made with local, seasonal ingredients, alpine milk and eggs from non-intensive farms. DrinkMagazzino 52A wine bar with cuisine that relies entirely on the combination between Italian and French niche wines and a few, well-conceived dishes. You can also buy some great bottles.Enoteca BordòThis much-loved wine bar in the Quadrilatero area uniquely combines a deep love for French sparkling wines with authentic Tuscan cuisine, serving delicious cured meat & cheese platters and a selection of impeccable Tuscan classics. 

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10.26.2016

The slopes of the legendary Butte, the hill of Montmartre in Paris, that were once covered in lush vineyards, are now home to two roads - rue Calaincourt and rue Custine - at only a short walk from the famous Art Déco-style metro station of Caulincourt-Lamarck and rue Lepic, the street of the Moulin Rouge, which leads to Place du Tertre, the heart of Montmartre.This very unique corner of the city, so rich in history and charm, has somehow managed to preserve its ancient atmosphere, which has miraculously survived mass tourism and gentrification. To the point that sometimes you almost feel like you're in a village inside the city, a village scattered with innovative restaurants, breweries, independent boutiques and that local neighborhood feel that still oozes with a certain authenticity, suspended between the chic and the populaire. Here is our ideal map of the neighborhood’s best cafès, restarants and shops. EatLe grenier à painWinner of “The best baguette in Paris” in 2010 and 2015, this famous bakery deserves a stop to taste their excellent bread, cakes, croissants and pain au chocolat.Le Tracteur Rouge A small restaurant perfectly tuned to the atmosphere of the neighborhood: a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, a nice but casual setting and a simple cuisine based of top-quality ingredients.La KaramboleTapas, burgers and other international dishes accompany the drinks and the music that often animates this cafe, which does a lot to promote emerging artists and DJs.Tito BurritosAn huge variety of delicious and affordable burritos, tacos and quesadillas to appease the hunger of passing-by night owls: that's the secret behind this much loved tiny restaurant with only a few tables.KosakThe homemade gelato at Kosak is distinguished by unique flavors and excellent ingredients. There is also an interesting corner entirely dedicated to "bean to bar" made with selected beans by the best chocolatiers in the world. DrinkChez CamillePerhaps the most popular bar in the area, this little and perpetually crowded place where drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is intimate deserves a visit because of its authentically Parisian spirit.The Bar at Terass’ HotelThe rooftop of the historic Terass'Hotel, traditionally a gathering place for artists, is the ideal location for a romantic aperitif with a view of the city’s rooftops - and particularly the postcard- perfect view that can be seen from the Montmartre hill.Les NovicesA contemporary bistro with a gourmet vocation which revisits classic home cooking with elegant presentations and small touches of sophistication. Open until late night, it also offers an excellent choice of cocktails.À la bière comme à la bièreWith over 450 craft beer labels from all over France, this store and bar is great for beer shopping or a drink on the spot in a laid-back, convivial environment. Shopping & moreL’atelier ParigotFor those in search of a truly unique souvenir, this T-shirt, sweatshirt and accessory store offers original, unusual and sometimes bizarre Paris-themed prints. Designs can also be printed on demand.L’atelier Gentleman An old-fashioned barber shop cultivating the art of the perfect shave in a time of ubiquitous long beards. Yet no worries, you bearded guys: among a facial massage, a wrap and a coffee, your beards will be perfetly taken care of as well.Owl boutiqueA beautiful concept store dedicated to the Afro-chic creations of Julienne, a Cameroon-born Parisian designer, which gracefully blend the colors and patterns of Africa and the inimitable French style. 

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10.25.2016

Few places in the world can be as astonishingly innovative, vibrant and exciting as London, a city where the map of the emerging neighborhoods changes and expands from year to year, and the bar and restaurant scene is constantly regenerated with an almost overwhelming speed – to the point that every time you come back your notion of the city already feels outdated. In recent years, in addition to all that you may come across on the surface, there is a ‘secret’ world that thrives beneath the city and comes alive at night, that of the speakeasy-style hidden bars often located in the most unusual places, and devoted to good music and art of the perfect cocktail. Here are some of our favourite ones. WC, ClaphamInside what was once a Victorian public toilet under the Clapham Common Underground Station, this authentically retro bar and charcuterie has managed to preserve a classic London and somewhat gothic atmosphere. It also has a nicely selected list of wines in combination with your gourmet choice of cured meats and cheese, and live music on Sunday and Monday nights. Definitely one of the most unusual location (and surprisingly perfect) locations across London. Cahoots, SohoA short time travel back to the 1940s will take you straight to this cozy little place tucked away inside the disused Kingly Court tube station, Soho, where the tables are set within a restored old metro car. Here, you’ll be able to sip on your vintage cocktail listening to jazz, swing and lindyhop tunes, with the occasional late-night foray into rock’n’roll and electro swing musuc - which will inevitably have you stand up and dance to the rhythm among the tables. Basement Sate, SohoAlso in the heart of the West End, this new and remarkable address deserves a visit not only for its underground location, but also for the unusual combination of cocktails and desserts. For once, the latter happily become the core of the menu, in the form of ambitious and sometimes daring creations. Merchant House, City of LondonThe grandeur of bygone times reigns in this luxurious underground bar - further hidden in an inner courtyard but still very popular - whose wood paneled walls house one of the largest collections of gin and rum in the world. Everything here is inspired by the history of the British Empire - beginning with the cocktail names, listed in a menu that looks like an ancient book. The Natural Philosopher, HackneyThere is a slight chance that not all the customers of the Macsmith Apple computer repair shop in Hackney are aware of its double identity as a truly chic cocktail bar housed in the store’s former warehouse. Still, The Natural Philosopher - as the name itself suggests - is a great address for all-natural cocktails. The venue includes a comfortable drawing room with a bar, a tiny underground room and, in honor of the location,   featuring lots of authentic pieces that will certainly appeal to all Apple enthusiasts. 

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10.24.2016

In Japan, leaf viewing is commonly known as momiji-gari or kōyō-gari, literally “red leaf hunting”. This article is the first in a series that will present the best scenic spots according with the autumn foliage front. The autumn foliage first appears in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago. The nature in Hokkaido is ravishing and attracts a great deal of people all through the year. In this season, its mountains are shrouded in the flaming red of maple and the bright yellow of ginkgo biloba. Now, let’s see where and when you can enjoy this natural spectacle at its best. Jozankei OnsenYou can soak in a hot spring bath, or take a stroll along a brook, surrounded by the marvellous foliage of maples, crimson glory vine, rowans and sakura cherry trees. You can as well catch a cable car and enjoy the view from the mountaintop. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Jozankei Onsen is forecast from mid-October on. ShikotsukoShikotsuko is a wonderful location you can easily go to from Sapporo on a one-day trip. The lake – its namesake – is renowned across the country for the perfect transparency of its waters, reflecting the beautiful foliage of lindens, maples, mountain-ashes and ginkgo trees all around. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Shikotsuko is forecast from mid-October on. Maruyama ParkA symbol of Sapporo, Maruyama Park is dwelled by the eponymous primeval forest and has been designated a national treasure. Its location at the very heart of the city makes the park extremely accessible for a leisurely hike in the midst of katsura and maple trees. This year, the peak of momiji-gari for Maruyama Park is forecast from mid-October on.  Kosetsu-en (Miharashi Park)Formerly known as Iwafune Garden, the garden of Kosetsu - within Miharashi Park in Hakodate – is the only nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty in Hokkaido. There are over 150 plant species in the garden, an astonishing view throughout the year. From 22 October to 13 November there will be illuminations and live shows to boost the experience of autumn foliage viewing. KamuikotanKamuikotan is a well-known scenic spot among Asahikawa city dwellers. Literally meaning “the township of the gods”, Kamuikotan is a place where the Ainu folklore and traditions live on, in the rocks strangely carved by the river Ishikari, the circle of megaliths and the pit-houses. From mid-October to early November, you can enjoy the view of the valley draped in autumn foliage at its best.  

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10.23.2016

Lakes, castles, distilleries, green pastures, cliffs and headlands. These are the sceneries that roll by beyond the windows of the Grand Hibernian, a new luxury train that explores Ireland departing from Dublin, offering its passengers the chance to experience a contemporary version of long distance rail travel, immersed in the comfort and warmth of their own cabin, designed as a tiny, itinerant living room. It is basically the old-time atmosphere of the Orient Express and of the Trans-Siberian, revisited for contemporary travelers with five modern and technological carriages - each carrying the name of a county in Ireland and decorated to reflect the traditional colors and tartans of the county that inspired them. The train can accommodate up to 40 guests in its sleek and comfortable en-suite cabins - also decorated with an eye to the Irish cultural heritage - complete with a desk and panoramic windows. The observation car evokes the atmosphere of a Dublin pub and just like a pub, it is the ideal place for chatting, listening to music and drinking. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the two dining cars - Sligo, a sophisticated and intimate restaurant, and Wexford, which offers tables for six and a decor enriched by Irish tweeds and Celtic motifs. The tours depart from Dublin to discover some of the most fascinating places in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The shorter one (two nights) heads north to Belfast, the Titanic Museum, the ancient Old Bushmills Distillery and the picturesque Giant Trail. The four-night trip explores the western part of the country - Cork, the Blarney Castle, the Lakes of Killarney, and Connemara National Park in Galway. Finally, the six-night journey combines the two above-mentioned itineraries, allowing you to explore the hidden corners of the Emerald Island. The Grand Hibernian is the latest addition to the Belmond collection, which includes fascinating experiences of train travel between Europe, Asia and South America, 46 iconic hotels and luxury river cruises. 

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10.20.2016

Justin Vernon has gone from underground sensation to Grammy Award winner in just a few years and now, after a 5-year break, he has finally released his third record under the moniker Bon Iver, 22, A Million: a dense, sometimes fractured, multi-layered and introverted 34-minute long album that sounds like Vernon's own Kid A. This album is as far from the 2007 Bon Iver debut For Emma, Forever Ago as possible: Vernon clearly does not feel comfortable in the folkster/hipster's shoes anymore and rather looks up to such musical peers (and occasional collaborators) as James Blake and Kanye West. In fact, Vernon has worked on the oddly-named songs of 22, A Million more as a hip-hop or an electronic producer than as a songwriter: just listen to him sing with his usual falsetto on a layer of electric guitars, electronic glitches, sped-up and auto-tuned voices - in 22 (over soon) - mix together banjo's arpeggios, vocoders and some bombastic drumming reminiscent of Phil Collins -in 10 d E A T h b R E a s T - and pen a post-modern gospel mainly for filtered voice and saxophone (in  ____45_____). Yet in this album there is still some room for the tender and woeful songs that made Vernon popular: in the Jackson Browne-meets-Elliot Smith song 29 #Strafford APTS, in 8 (circle)'s peaceful downbeat pulse (which will have someone remember the late Warren Zevon's quiet 1995 ballad Mutineer).22, A Million is available for streming via Sportify and Apple Music. 

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10.19.2016

The charm of University towns with their vibrant cultural life and the high rate of young population attracts plenty of visitors, yet it appeals particularly to those who love culture,  and even more to the alumni who spent their college years right there and still cherish a thousand memories. Having all this in mind, American investor and entrepreneur Ben Weprin created a one-of-a-kind collection of hotels located in the most unique and dynamic University towns on the United States - of course in the vicinity of ​​the campuses and oozing with a certain nostalgia enhanced by scattered references to the college world, all topped with the right dose of luxury. The result is Graduate Hotels, a uniquely themed hotel chain that is currently present in Athens (Georgia), Charlottesville (Virginia), Madison (Wisconsin), Oxford (Mississippi) and Tempe (Arizona) inspired by the culture and history of the cities that play host to them, well-designed and scattered with vintage items and references, and often housed in converted spaces. The Athens hotel is housed in former foundry at the heart of which is now a live music venue. The Oxford hotel is located in the middle of the cultural district of the town, fully immersed in its historical and academic heritage. All have spacious common areas, vintage touches in the form of selected pieces of furniture, paintings and tapestries, lots of books and countless references to the campuses by which they are inspired. A unique way of experiencing one of the most authentic and perhaps least known aspects of the American identity

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10.18.2016

Autumn is the season for sanma, “mackerel pike”, and the so-called modori-gatsuo, “returning bonito”, whose flesh is fattier and more nutritious than the spring bonito. Seasonal fish is best enjoyed grilled. You cannot improve on nature - the simpler, the better. If you’re in Tokyo and you want to treat yourself and your friends to the most delicious yaki-zakana, “grilled fish”, you may want to check out the following restaurants. Shokusai Kadota (Ebisu, Shibuya-ku)The restaurant is famous for its fish, grilled on charcoal with fresh ingredients only, at open counter. You can enjoy the katsuo bonito from the province of Tosa and matsutake mushrooms, with a nice glass of Japanese sake. Kumasawa (Ginza, Chuo-ku)Kumasawa is very popular for its casual ambience and its seasonal fish set meals of the day. The most ordered dish is mugitorogohan, rice mixed with barley, topped with grated yam and grilled fish. Side dishes, snacks and tsukemono pickles are also recommended. Kappo Imai (Shinjuku Gyoen)Kappo Imai is a kappō, that is a traditional Japanese restaurant where you can relax, have a nice time and try some delicious seasonal fish at lunchtime or dinner. It is extremely popular for the freshness of its fish, but this means you must hurry before they run out of it. Shun no Aji Takishita (Azabujuban, Minato-ku)As the name suggests, at Shun no Aji, you can fully experience the “flavours of the season” in a casual ambience, both at lunchtime and in the evening. No need to say it’s a hot spot for fish lovers. The friendly staff will take your order and serve you in no time. Well, just the time to grill the fish, that is.