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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…