Well I made it back from a great trip to Japan. Maybe this is obvious, but Japan really does differ from the US in so many ways; much more so than Italy, which is admittedly the only other international destination I've ever had. Everything from the food to the transportation was a little strange to personally experience, so there was of course a good bit of culture shock. At the same time, it also seemed to align with the stereotypes I had in my head before I even arrived. The raw fish, rice, no-shoes-in-the-house rule, and weird little anime cartoons were all there in abundance.
There were too many things to get into any real detail here, but some of the more notable places we visited were Hiroshima, Miyajima, Tokyo, and Kyoto. Rest assured we were busy. And while I wouldn't recommend Japan for everyone, if you're even moderately interested in the culture, you should go if you get the chance. It's clean, the people are extremely polite, and you get to ride the Shinkansen!