Work will be a little quieter for the next few weeks. My colleague Daniel is in Japan, followed by Hong Kong, while another, Pascale, is off to China. You can view her travel blog, though there is no real content yet.
B and I have been seriously thinking about a holiday in China early next year, preferably with a stopover in Tokyo. Virtually all of our travels so far have been done independently or, in the case of Malaysia, involved the assistance of family and friends. China appears more problematic as neither of us speak nor read Mandarin. We are also concerned about local tours whose itineraries involve going to the site, photographing the site, then spending proportionally more time in shopping complexes which pay commissions to the tour guide. It happens in all countries, which is one reason we usually prefer to go our own way.
Apart from language difficulties, the shear number of people in China can cause problems with travel. Packed local buses, booked out long distance train, huge queues to buy tickets. For these reasons we are considering joining a tour for at least some of the journey. Tour operators that we have brochures for include: