I got naked with a bunch of old men and tried to figure out how to wash my booty without insulting anyone, and that pretty much sums up my trip to Japan.

Everything that happened in those two weeks happened in the public bath. The furtive glances, the failed attempts to blend in, the unfamiliarity and the discovery and the bafflement and even the necessity of it all. I was in Japan for Calvin’s wedding, and I was in the Kyoto bathhouse because after three days of sweating in ninety percent humidity, lugging a thirty-five pound backpack through streets and temples and shrines, and sleeping in parks and train stations, I smelled worse than nattō.

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