In four months, my husband, Marc, and I will embark on a month-long vacation in Japan. Hooray! The first part of our trip will be attending baseball games in different cities throughout the country. The tour is organized by JapanBall.com. The idea of experiencing Japanese baseball sounded great to me, but we weren't sure if we wanted to go on the actual tour. Marc and I aren't the kind of people who like to vacation with tour groups. Having a set schedule that requires us to meet in the hotel lobby at 9, eat breakfast at 9:30, get on a bus at 10:00, go to this museum at 11:00, go to that museum at 12:00, etc. just isn't our style. We like to wander off the beaten path and lose ourselves in a quaint neighborhood. Getting lost is a great way to discover the true culture of a place. The JapanBall folks, however, assured us that we would have as much independence we wanted during the free time we have before each game. And with that, we were sold.
The scope of the baseball tour is vast. We will see games in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka and go sight-seeing in Kyoto and Hiroshima. That's quite the itinerary for one week! In addition to studying Japanese (which I've been doing for several years now), I'm researching the teams we're going to see as well as the cities we're visiting. Marc and I have been to each of these cities with the exception of Nagoya -- unless you count four hours at the airport in 2001 as visiting a city -- but I always learn more about a place each time I go.
The rest of our stay in Japan is up in the air: a few days in Okinawa to visit my mom's family, more time in Tokyo, a trip to a city we haven't seen. I enjoy the challenge of planning a trip like this, and I invite readers of this blog who have been to Japan to post suggestions.