Author: Josh Lew
Package vacations usually involve being toted around on a bus with 40 other people.
Granted, it can be an infinitely simpler going on this kind of trip than wandering solo. You'll be assured of seeing everything you'd expect to see in a given country. Most of the time, you'll make friends with a couple of other people in the group.
Most people on group tours have a "pleasant" time. If they wanted to do something out of the ordinary, however, they'd be out of luck.
Specialty tours are everywhere these days. They offer a third, and often more attractive, option to travelers in search of something new. (The other two options: (1) The group tours mentioned above or (2) lugging an oversized backpack around a country guided by instinct and an out-of-date copy of Lonely Planet).
I'm not talking about Outward Bound or anything extreme. There is a place for experiences like that, but I wouldn't call them vacations.
One of the more interesting options out there comes from a company known as Experience Japan. On offer from this company are tours with titles like A Day in the Life of Sumo Wrestlers.
Visitors watch an early morning practice session before socializing with the wrestlers. They can chat with the wrestlers' stable master while sampling chanko nabe, a high-calorie stew that is the staple diet of the wrestlers.
Other tours include karate, kite-making, aikido (Japanese martial art) and Japanese classical dance.
Of course, these tours leave out the sightseeing. But, you have to admit that visiting a sumo workout or otherwise experiencingup close would be pretty memorable.