Since I was very young, I’ve had a keen interest in Japan. Not just a general interest, I’m intrigued by both the ancient history and culture of the country and its people, as well as the modern-day aspects. I wouldn’t consider myself an otaku, more a mild Japanophile.
Then, at the age of 10, I saw Mr. Baseball and made up my mind: some day, I was going to Japan.
My brother, Kris, is of a similar mind. Earlier this year we came to the conclusion that we now have the time and the means to go to Japan, so it’s about damn time we did! The flights were booked at the end of February, and planning began.
Since he could only get three weeks off from work, that’s how long the trip will be. Otherwise, we probably would’ve been there for anywhere from four to six weeks. One of the more interesting aspects of the trip is that my brother is a paraplegic (T6) and, accordingly, gets around in a wheelchair. So we’ll be checking out Japan with an eye towards places he can get to (which is quite a lot). This means, unfortunately, we won’t be staying in any ryokans and similar things1, but there’ll still be tons to see and do!
We’ll be covering a good chunk of Honshū as well as parts of Kyūshū, visiting Tokyo and many of its districts (Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Harajuku, and others), Yokohama, Takayama, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Hakata, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Osaka, and lots more. As it just so happens, the parts of Mr. Baseball shot in Japan were in Nagoya, one of the places we’ll be spending three days! The vast majority of our travel will be by rail, and we have our 3-week JR Rail Pass vouchers in hand.
Aside from the sightseeing and culture immersion, my brother and I will be photographing as we go. We’re bringing four digital cameras (mine: Canon Digital Rebel and Sony DSC-W80; brother’s: Sony DSC-R1, Sony DSC-W300) and a brand-new high definition video camera, the Sony HDR-SR12.
On our travels across Japan, we’ll both be making blog posts (hopefully daily) on our activities and encounters. One of the bonuses is every hotel we’ve booked has free high-speed internet. Some pictures will be posted here in my blog entries, but the majority of mine will end up in my flickr stream once we return and I have a chance to sort through them.
The trip runs from November 7-29 and will be a trip of many “firsts” for me:
- first time off the continent
- first in-flight meal (not sure if I should be too excited about that)
- first flight in a plane with two aisles (Boeing 777-300ER). Oooo, ahhh!
- first time visiting a location where English is not the main language
They’ll be long flights, too. The Vancouver to Narita leg is 9 hours 50 minutes, with the return flight being 8 hours 30 minutes (travelling in the same direction as the jet stream sure seems to help a lot!).
- There are wheelchair accessible ryokans, but they were rather expensive and typically nowhere near train stations. ↵