Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?
Yes and yes. Yes, the instructional paradigm of aikido includes transmission from reiho. The etiquette happens to be Japanese and based upon a pre-modern Japan in many respects. Yes, aikido is still aikido without these alternative transmission devices. I think you can argue a need to replace those elements lost without the transmission device. I think you can argue aikido does not offer a complete education if it does not contain the elements. Of course if you argue this you need to consider the entirety of excluded curriculum as being damaging to aikido...
I think we should naturally strive towards a goal of expressing aiki in any surrounding, under any conditions. This is difficult enough, let alone placing constraints on what you wear or how you act...
I can appreciate the need for rei to help with all those lessons you learn by observation. I do not mean to discount their value and personally I belive that those lessons need learning. But I do not think removing them makes aikido less - it just places a creative burden on sensei to find a way to effectively teach those lessons.
I am glad that aikido was not developed in the US in the 90's. Can you imagine the balloon pants...? Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em.