A guest post from my little brother who is currently visiting me in Japan:
One of many cultural experiences Japan offers is the sento, a public bathhouse where strangers bathe together (although men and women are separated). I honestly don’t know why you would bathe any other way. As I found out, it can be a very social event even if you don’t know Japanese. Two men approached me as I was bathing because they though it was strange to see a foreigner in such a traditional Japanese facility. We had a great conversation. Additionally, after you bathe, there’s a hot tub and sauna for further relaxation. This warms your whole body and readies it for the ice bath that comes next. An ice bath sounds unpleasant (and kind of is), but after getting out of the cold water, drying off and getting dressed, you’ll be gellin’ like a felon sellin’ melon for the rest of the day.