After three months, I finally had to do it: go to the hairdresser. I have a short cut, and when the hair in the neck starts to become unmanageable and starts to bother me, I have to go, no more excuses. The last time I went was during my vacation, so this was the first time ever I had my hair cut in Japan. Part of the reluctance can be ascribed to the fact that this kind of service is very expensive in Japan – the cheapest price I have seen anywhere was 2500 YEN, and that’s just the cut, washing not included!
Anyway, there is a small hairdresser’s shop close to my place, and I went there, armed with the essential phrases on a piece of paper. Once the old lady who was buying shampoo had left, it was my turn. “Kami o kitte kudasai – please cut my hair”, I said, and then “Mijikakute, ushiro de motto mijikai! – short, and in the back very short!”
The proprietor looked somewhat unhappy, sat me down and reached for his catalogues. In Asia, long hair is de rigueur for women, unless you are a really old crone and thus beyond redemption. Women my age and below must have at least a chin length cut. I also flipped through some catalogues, all the models looked like twelve year olds, all sporting hairstyles that were young, trendy, and probably took hours to do… Hence, nothing for me. My approach to hairstyling is: wash, brush, air dry. If it isn’t properly styled within five minutes, it’s a waste of time, so I tend to have those very short, self-styling cuts. Once the hairdresser got over his shock and chose a style (essentially the one I had but significantly shorter), he took to work. We did some chatting – as much as I can do it with my limited vocabulary – and work proceeded nicely. Also here, as in other Asian countries, the washing happened after the cut, probably to remove all those annoying little stray hairs that are usually left somewhere.
I am happy to say that I like my new old haircut, the whole affair was unspectacular and easy – but the biggest surprise came at the very end: I received a hefty discount of almost 40 % – and the owner said for the rest I should go out and treat myself to something nice to eat!
I love Japan!