• Life Skills Unlocked,  travel

    Life Skills Unlocked: Surviving the Strip Club

      What immediately springs to mind when you think of strip clubs? I’m not asking those of you who have frequented these places. I’m asking those of you who have always wondered about what goes on behind the black door. Before I’d ever gone to a strip club, here’s what I pictured: Sticky floors. Girls with blank faces and bad posture. Terrible music and worse clientele. Large groups of men gee-eyed with drink, laughing and roaring unfunny jokes at each over the music. Which is all to say that I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. A few years ago, one Monday after work, I sat having a drink with colleagues…

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    Stripping Off in Suwa, Japan

    I walked into the Katakurakan onsen with trepidation clawing up┬ámy throat. A smiling lady handed me a small towel and a small key at the window of reception, then gestured gracefully towards a door on the left. This was something I’d noticed a lot since arriving in Japan; every Japanese person I encountered seemed to have been born with the kind of grace that eludes me on a daily basis. Clutching the towel to my chest, I pushed open the door to the women’s changing room and walked in. In no way was I excited about getting naked with strangers. I was dragging my feet with dread. My skin had…