Well this sure is cool.
The Japan National Tourism Organization is apparently considering the option of issuing 10,000 free round-trip tickets to Japan to bloggers/people with social influence of some sort. Their website says the government has not yet approved it, but if they do, they will announce it next year. This is a method to encourage foreigners to come visit Japan (following the natural disaster and nuclear power plant issues) and "report back" to the world that Japan is still a safe and "SUGOI!" place to visit.
Dear JNTO: if you're reading this, I love Japan, and I will blog like CRAZY about how awesome it is if you send me!!!!!!!!!!!
For those who haven't read my Japan tour blog from Winter 2009, please check it out here: http://www.mikejutan.com/travel/japan2010/
Japan honestly remains as one of the best trips I've ever taken in my life and I would definitely choose to go back in the future, irrespective of a free trip or not. It's a really awesome place and absolutely worth the trip. It was so easy to travel around as a foreigner who doesn't speak the language at all, and the people were so welcoming, nice, and helpful to someone who was obviously fully and completely out of his element. I didn't get to explore Sapporo in the far north, or the cool surf islands of Okinawa in the south, I'd love to go there on my next trip. I also sadly spent only 1 day in Osaka! The capseru (Capsule Hotel) was such a funny and awesome experience, but I'd love to spend more time there. I would stay in a traditional ryokan again at a MOMENT'S NOTICE!!!!!!!!!! Even thinking about it makes me want to go back.
Anyway, for those bloggers out there, keep an eye out on the JNTO website in case they announce this, sounds like an amazing opportunity. If they end up doing it, I'll definitely be submitting an application for it.