We visited beautiful, ancient sites like Mt. Fuji, Nachi Falls, Kinkaku-ji and Itsukushima Shrine.
We enjoyed the fruits of Japan's modernity, including modern art, video games, bullet trains, thrilling nightlife and karaoke.
We had unique cultural experiences like sitting naked in a hot spring, sleeping on tatami mats, wandering through a forest of giant vinegar vats, drinking life-prolonging water, and eating Kobe beef (kind of).
Far and away my favorite part was meeting my large family in Japan - brothers and sisters of my grandparents and all their descendants. I will never forget walking up the stairs to a Buddhist temple my family had attended for generations, touching the old wooden house where my grandfather spent his childhood, or offering incense at the grave of my great-grandmother.
I hope that one day I can return to this place, so full of difference and familiarity and humanity and history, but nothing will replace the wonderful memories I made here in the spring of 2016.