Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting a haircut and a free skull exam in Japan

I don't particularly enjoy going to the hairdresser, especially since it in Japan usually takes up more than an hour with all the hair washing, rinsing and stuff. Ok, I know of these QB 10min - 1000yen (~$10 USD) places, but that seems a little bit too much in the opposite direction. But I do go, once in a while to get my hair cut.

Like in any country, the hairdresser is the home of the small talk. Generally I'm no big fan of constant talking when I get my hair cut, but it's hard to avoid talking completely. For the small talk, it's generally the path of least resistance, which means talking about my foreigness, how things are in Sweden ("do you have summer there?") and my views on Japanese stuff ("do you like natto?" etc.) and hearing stuff like "Oh, I always wanted to go to... Where was it you came from again?". But after a few visits it usually gets a bit more reasonable, however, since I recently moved and thus went to a new place and a new hairdresser the whole conversation pattern has restarted from zero.

One big topic of conversation on my first visit a few months ago was the quality of my hair and how strange it was that it was so similar to that of Japanese people, even though I'm half Japanese, but it seemed like she came to terms with it eventually.

On my second visit just recently though, while giving me a scalp massage she exclaimed "Oh, your skull is shaped a bit different from Japanese people, now I noticed!" like it was a big discovery. It should be noted that I believe that I have a perfectly normal shaped skull and have never ever heard anything like this before. But who knows? Exactly what the difference was still remains a bit unclear though... Maybe the noble science of Phrenology, usually perceived as a pseudoscience, lives and flourishes among the hairdressers of Japan?

9 comments:

nevil said...

Many in Japan believes in the bloodtype - personality thing so why not...

aimlesswanderer said...

You are not 120% fully, officially, certified nihon, so by definition, EVERYTHING about you is "different"/"weird", ie "not Japanese".

So you've had people grope your skull before and had it pronounced as "normal"?

You're going to the hairdresser when you should be going to the barber - unless you have a trendy hair style. I go to a barber, and once he starts cutting my hair it takes 15 minutes and then I'm outta there. Go for the cheaper alternative at least once and see how it turns out.

aussiehisshou said...

I kind of liked the head massage thing but not the price tag that came with it. I bought a 3000yen pair of hair clippers two years ago and have been cutting my own hair ever since.

Martin said...

Iv´e only ever been to the barber/hairdresser once. Great haircut, exactly as Schwarzeneggers in Commando.
However, if you want great success with the laidies I wouldnt reccomend cutting you own hair.

Hugo said...

You should visit the noble town of Södertälje in Sweden some time, it is brimming with very cheap hairdressers, kebab and shoe stores.

Or if you are in Stockholm you could visit a place I used to go to, primarily because they had 'Marvel Saga' and some other good comics among the reading material. The hairddresser there was very friendly and gave you a good massage when she washed the hair. The problem was that she liked to talk, and whenever she did, she stopped the hair cutting - so it took forever...

aussiehisshou said...

My wife likes my haircuts.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Nevil - Yep, should post something about my encounters with Blood type inquires as well!

Aimless - Yeah, you're right on target and I think she needed something head/hair related to compensate for my hair being so "Japanese". I would like something in between the hair dresser and the "quick cut" but seems like that market segment is completely empty at the moment...

Aussie - No doubt it's expensive here in Japan, but I guess I've just gotten used to it.

Martin - Well, I think we can both agree that the key to great success with the ladies is Commando Style hair. Great movie

Anonymous said...

My Japanese mother in law has often commented that my head has a nice round shape at the back. My husband agrees with her and is happy our daughter's head takes after mine. He says Japanese people's are usually flat at the back. Come to think of it, his is rather flat, but it is disguised by his thick, wavy hair. So, I guess I'm saying, look around. Maybe you'll notice lots of flat backs of heads.
- K

Anonymous said...

Science Lite, courtesy of Wikipedia

Disclaimer from above site: "It is important to note that many of these characteristics only have a higher frequency among particular races and the presence or absence of one or more does not automatically classify an individual into a racial group."

Your hairdresser is racist. Find a new one. Just kidding. She's just trying to find things to talk about to get closer to you and make you want to come back. I hate it when the dentist asks me questions when he's messing around with my mouth, the thing I use to talk. It's frustrating and torturous because I feel like I'm trapped.

When my dad (who is Asian) was growing up in Chicago, the barber he went to charged him more to cut his hair because the strands were thicker than white people hair (fine, if you want me to be PC, replace "white people" with "Caucasian" or "people of European descent"). Sorry, that was a non sequitur... but anyway, there are phenotypical differences that can be acknowledged without being racist. Racist implies some kind of negative discrimination with some contempt thrown in for good measure.

@ Martin: He's married now. He doesn't need to be successful with the ladies. He's won the game already. He can cut his own hair or ask Mrs. Sunshine to cut his hair. It's cheap and fun! Experiment with it! And get some gatsby wax because it's advertised by that nummy Kimura Takuya.

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