…This post was much longer, but for some unfathomable reason, it decided to vanish on me once I clicked Publish.

So. Bathhouses. I realize that I did not cover everything I wanted to in my “getting clean” post. Since nothing else happened today (I stayed in to do homework), I figure today’s a good day to get to it.

This is a Japanese public bathhouse:

This one is of a similar size to the APU bathhouse. Obviously I’m not allowed my camera in APU’s, so we’ll have to use our imaginations. The one in APU also has windows; however, there are fifteen-foot (five meter) walls surrounding them. Their only purpose is to let in sunlight. ‘Sides, they’re usually all fogged up due to steam.

You trade your room key for a bathhouse key at the AP House Office. Bring your towel, change of clothes, shampoo, soap, et cetera. When you walk into the APU bathhouse, you’ll see a tatami floored changing room with a shoe box to one side. Obviously, do not set shoes on the tatami. Stow your shoes and key (and glasses if you wear them) in this shoe box before rounding the corner to the next room. This one is lined with shelves and baskets. Put your towel and clothes in one of these baskets. All of your clothes. Don’t think about it.

When you get into the room pictured above, the actual bathing room, find a large plastic bucket and turn it over by one of the showers. Clean yourself extremely thoroughly before entering the water. I know I’ve said this before but it’s very, very important. Getting dirt in the bath is WORSE than stepping on tatami with shoes. Okay? Get the picture? It’s reallllly bad.

Some quick rules/tips: Don’t look at anyone who didn’t come in with you; it’s rude to stare at strangers. Don’t bring your towel into the bathing room–though it’s rude to stare, you -will- get some odd glances if you cover yourself up. Don’t feel so awkward. You’ll survive. Honest. And lastly and possibly most importantly, please, PLEASE be careful not to get heat stroke. These baths run anywhere from 105 F to 113 F. There are little jets that constantly pump what feels like lava into the water to keep it hot. So just… know yourself, only stay in for fifteen minutes and see how you fare with that. If you feel fine, you can always go back in.

To end, how about a funny picture for all us dumb foreigners visiting Japanese hotels?