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Suggested Reading

I'm often asked to recommend reading material for use before and during the trip.  I have shelves of books on Japan, but I'll limit my suggestions here to six.   

The first two are baseball books by noted author Robert Whiting.  Bob wrote the classic on Japanese baseball and, although now a bit dated, Ya Gotta Have Wa is at the top of the reading list.  

Whiting's most recent work Ichiro reflects on how Japanese players are impacting the American game.  It offers insights into the Japanese game and the relationships among Major League Baseball, Japanese Professional Baseball and their respective players.  

Of all the guide books out there, I recommend Japan Made Easy.  Its subtitle, "All You Need to Know to Enjoy Japan" is correct.  It touches on a whole host of things including etiquette, food, customs and other items that will introduce you to Japan.  It does not list hotels, restaurants, maps and the like.  You don't need that for this trip, but it does give you a sneak preview of Japan that you'll enjoy.

Memoirs of a Geisha is the  best-selling novel that tells the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

                                                             

In this best-selling account, Flyboys  takes you through the run-up to and the fighting during the War in the Pacific following a story line that deals with US pilots.  Not for the fainthearted.  

 

 

In a non-baseball book from Bob Whiting, Tokyo Underworld probes Japan's gangsters, corrupt entrepreneurs and political fixers.  It reads like a thriller yet manages to intelligently show us the seamy underside of Japan's postwar economic boom.  

And while in Tokyo, you can visit the outdoor market under the tracks outside JR Ueno Station where it all began...and remains much the same.

 

"We had thought of it as a once in a lifetime trip, but now we want to go back and do it again.  Maybe one of these years.  Thanks for a fabulous tour!" 

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