If you've read my random musings on Japan for any length of time, you'll know I'm no small fan of onsen (OWN-sen), those dreamy volcanic hot springs that are the setting for so many "fan service" anime episodes, and this is a good thing since there's not that much else to do in my home prefecture of Gunma. Every once in a while, though, I remember back to a time when I hadn't lived in Japan for 18 years and wasn't totally accustomed to getting into a steaming bath with 20 strange men around me. Visitors to Japan from the West might feel some nervousness at the idea of disrobing in front of people they don't know, but really nothing could be easier. Because everyone in the bath is naked, no one is -- it'd actually be more embarrassing to be the only one wearing clothes in a situation like that. You can always rely on the unfailing politeness of the Japanese, and the bath is no exception, and everyone has a towel to hide themselves with while moving from bath to bath, anyway. Finally, the Japanese don't draw the slightest connection between mere nudity and sex, which is to my thinking a very healthy hang-up not to have. So if you visit Japan at some time in the future, I hope you'll take the onsen plunge!
So how about it -- would you feel nervousness at the idea of getting naked in front of others to enter a hot spring? Considering the psychological torture that was taking showers after P.E. with the dumb jocks in junior high and high school, which was for me a major convergence point on becoming the professional nerd I am now, it's nothing but joy.
Disclaimer: real Japanese hot springs are not quite as fun as this. Almost, but not quite.