May I Have This Dance?

Japanese women flock to Austria to become princesses for a season.

(this article first appeared in the april 11-18, 2005 issue of newsweek international)

For at least part of every year, Makiko Krone is a princess. Dressed in a dramatic evening gown and escorted by a princely young man, she spends the winter waltzing her way through the regal balls in Vienna. By March, when the ball season ends, Krone—like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight—closes up her rented apartment in Vienna and returns to her ordinary life in Tokyo. There she helps arrange trips for other Japanese women eager to fulfill their dreams. "Any woman can be—and is—a princess," she insists.

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A Phone with Hello! Kitty Chains

Finally. My husband, a.k.a. the only human being over 12 in Tokyo without a cell phone, came to his senses. He's shopping for a keitai. He always claimed that despite his profession (a journalist) which one would think requires being well-connected in many different ways, he never needed one. There are such things as pay phones -- and he can always check massages on his answering service from outside.

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