The blossoming of the chrysanthemum -the floral emblem of the Imperial family-is marked throughout Japan with exhibitions of life-sized dolls garbed in costumes made from its brightly colored blooms and aromatic leaves. The largest festival is held in the grounds of the 17th century Kasumigajo castle in Nihonmatsu, in northeastern Fukushima province. More than 200 chrysanthemum dolls, each of their costumes made from up to 100 flowers, depict folk tales and historical scenes such as the life of the last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and the 16 teenage samurai who perished defending the castle against imperial forces during the 1868 Boshin War. Through Nov. 23.
The military equipment that would have defended the Soviet Union's southwestern border in the event of a nato attack can now be flown, driven or fired by well-heeled travelers. Ukraine's cash-strapped military is offering tourists the opportunity to play soldiers at four firing ranges and three air bases. After passing medical and security checks, visitors can co-pilot a Su-27 ground attack jet for $9,600, test-drive a BMP-1 armored personnel carrier for $200, or fire a TGD 81 tank-mounted cannon for $300. Ukrainian travel company Alaris can also organize accommodation and interpreters. See www.alaris.com.ua.
The "passion" and "intrigue" of an epic soccer match between Italy and West Germany during the 1970 World Cup epitomizes the relationship between the two nations, according to the organizers of an exhibition showcasing 50 years of Italian and German design. Titled "4-3"-the score in the semifinal, won by Italy in extra time-it includes design "icons" like the Ulm stool and Alessi appliances, products manufactured in the former East Germany, and classic cars such as the BMW Isetta and Ferrari GTO, displayed in a transparent tent on the roof of the venue, the Bundeskunsthalle. Through Nov. 12.
Linda McCartney (1941-1998) launched her career as a professional photographer by accident: in 1966, the gofer at Town and Country magazine was the only person allowed to take a camera onto a yacht on New York harbor carrying the Rolling Stones. "She saw the truth and that shines through the images that she produced," said her husband, Paul McCartney, whom she met at the launch of the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Candid shots of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin are among the highlights of "Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era," at the Speed Museum in Louisville, Ky., through Nov. 12.