My first love

Tokyo, Japan

The first time I ever left the United States, I went to Japan. My college roommate Marianne was spending the summer there with her parents, who lived in Japan. She invited me to join her, so I booked tickets for a 10-day trip. I was excited—and terrified. I had never been out of the country, had never flown over an ocean, had never gone through customs. I’d never been anywhere I couldn’t speak the language. I was completely dependent on Marianne and her family, helpless on my own.

But what an experience. It was pure magic.

In 2019, sixteen years after that first visit, I returned to Japan, this time with my daughter. We spent two weeks there, and I was struck by how at home I felt. I felt so instantly comfortable there. I felt like I had found my place.

But, the trip took an unexpected turn when I came down with a nasty stomach bug that had me in bed—and running to the bathroom—for nearly a full week.

Here are the videos I made of that trip, which was the best of times…and the worst.