As I’ve talked about before, I enjoy getting a haircut in Japan. It’s the shampoo, the massage, the meticulous cut, and the attention to service. My “stylist” moved from Toni&Guy to his own place, Hair Make Arm’S. I have no idea what the name means. What’s in a name anyway? I know where to go so it doesn’t matter.
He chose to start his own salon just as the economic crisis was hitting, and I worried about it. At first it seemed he was not very busy at all, but it seems he is doing OK now so hopefully things will remain good for him. When he left however, I lost the assistant who acted as a translator for my cuts. It is hard enough to communicate what you want in English, much less for me to communicate in Japanese. To solve the problem, I was just keeping my hair short. Hey, it isn’t so hard to keep it short. Get it cut often enough and things will be fine.
Lately, though, I’ve decided to grow my hair out. Perhaps it is a reaction to noticing that my forehead has become larger in recent pictures of me, maybe caused by a retreat of my hairline. Also, I’ve noticed that my scalp is more visible than it used to be. Midlife crisis perhaps? Ah, well, yeah, maybe. Don’t worry, I’m not going with the compensatory pony tail accompanied by a bald pate. Besides, long scruffy hair seems to be rather cool. I’ll never by Zac Efron because I actually open my eyes, but he seems to be all about his hair so why not take a page from his book?
The problem with my hair as it gets longer is that often I have to wear a baseball cap at work. It is a silly safety rule that when I am in certain parts of the site, a cap is required. No protective eyewear, but a baseball cap is required. So with short hair I could take off my cap, mess it up with my hand, and there was no impact. With longer hair, I can get hathead pretty quickly. Plus, unlike the uberstraight hair of my youth, when it gets longer it starts to curl, especially around my ears. The result was little wings flipping out at my ears. Scruffy, and a little goofy.
Today I tried to communicate what I wanted, but I knew in the end that I would just end up getting whatever 秋山さん (Akiyama-san) decides is what he wants to cut and I start resembling anime character. Indeed that is what I got. I feel an 80’s revival approaching, as I now have a lot of weight on top and in the back, but trimmed pretty tight around the ears. Hmmm, was that I wanted? After so much time growing out have I taken a step backward?
Of course, leaving a haircut, your hair is overstyled compared to every day use. This time he even added a touch of hairspray to volumize the back. Excellent, but that’s not what I am going to do. However, I do think I’m becoming more Japanese from a style point of view every day I’m here.
[Unfortunately I need a shave. It is always hard to take a self portrait with a small camera and a wide angle lens held at arm’s length]
Pretty soon I’m going to dye my hair black and then maybe bleach it to brown. Then I’ll really be Japanese.
On Facebook, a friend noted that, “David Sedaris reports ear boxing from the Japanese barbers.” That’s sort of true, actually. I don’t go to a barber, I go to a salon. There is actually a big difference, but I suspect the massage happens at either place.
Today my routine was as follows:
- Arrive and have my manpurse, coat, and muffler taken away and hung up by the staff.
- Have a quick discussion with 秋山さん regarding the direction I want to take this cut.
- Shampoo with an assistant where we discussed in Japanese my recent trip to LA and Indiana, including gas leaks, Lady GaGa, and my family. The shampoo is very nice. The assistant has magic hands.
- Move to the cutting chair where the assistant gave me a head a neck massage. While massaging my scalp, they spray something on your head that tingles. This massage one was a little different, and it varies by assistant. This one did box my head a little bit more than usual, massaged my shoulders, but didn’t work down my spine as much as I would have liked.
- The cut, using various clips, etc, to keep longer hair long. At times, the assistant would softly brush my face with a soft brush in case any hairs had fallen there.
- Post cut rinse and slight massage.
- A hot towel to refresh my face.
- Back to the chair for styling.
- My manpurse and coat were brought to me with the bill. I paid and then made an appointment for the next time.
- An assistant escorted me out the door and down the stairs, and I was done for the day (except I had to go back because they forgot my scarf. Horror of horrors!).
As for the David Sedaris reference, I have previously noted his take on Japan in my blog. He is a funny guy and he is definitely on target.