...after having been putting it off for too long. My days in the last week have been occupied by YouTube, K-blogs, 1Q84, complaining about how hot it is already, and enjoying the fact that it being so hot already has made Japan feel and smell like the Japan I fell in love with. But even with the help of a German-speaking friend, Cologne's initial shot at hair-cuttery had been, to put it generously, an unmitigated disaster, so we sallied forth in search of better luck.
Anarchy in the UK recommended a small place in Kitaouji, assuring us that “nearly all the staff spoke English.” This turned out to be a filthy lie, requiring a great deal of back-and-forth via me in order to communicate Cologne's corrections. His original intention had been merely to take a few inches off his rambunctiously flowing locks, but a series of fuckups on the part of his first barber had resulted in less William Wallace and more Skrillex.
Merely undoing the damage that had already been done took two attempts, but with the stylists' discerning eyes and commitment to quality, a subtle touch-up, and a dye-job, he was made mostly presentable again. I think if I could pull off that look I could totally rock the club girls, but I, you know, can't. Fortunately I anticipated this day and took plentiful photos following my final homeland haircut, and I'd recommend you do the same.
I lay back and immediately had a dishrag thrown over my face, but my stylist mercifully remembered that “they don't do that abroad” and adjusted it to cover only my eyes, averting suffocation. The conversation started elementary and hesitant, then became all too enthusiastic. Besides the usual battery of questions – Could I eat the food? What anime did I watch? Who was my favourite member of AKB? – she was also full of questions about Canada and Germany, the latter of which I was in no way qualified to answer. It transpired that she spoke some French, because she went to beauty school in Paris, a detail I include here only because I think it's damn cool.
She was also a total jukujo, so seriously, what the hell is it with me and jukujo lately? Have I been the beneficiary of a string of coincidences, or did the first one merely open my eyes to what's been there all along? Actually, every single employee and customer in the joint was quite attractive, and the whole place had an atmosphere of friendly familiarity. There could be a drama about that place. Except that Kimutaku already made a drama about a hair salon, and it was terrible.
|Not the subject matter's fault, though.|
My stylist: Mm, by the time we're done you'll be much more handsome.
Rude Boy: (translates)
Cologne: Let's go on a date.
My stylist: (chuffed)
Rude Boy: (annoyed)
Many Japanese hair salons include a massage as part of the package, and it was perhaps the most exquisitely excruciating experience I have ever been subjected to. The sensation transcended pain to become a spiritual revelation, like Kafka's penal colony. I've had horrible neck stiffness for years, but later on I was rubbernecking a hot girl and realised that doing so hadn't hurt at all, which kind of makes me think that that's something I should probably get checked out. Is it the way I sleep? The way I type? The way I dance?
If I weren't impressed enough already, they even provided a tray of cold tea, okaki, and some nuts, which tasted like unsweetened chocolate but were nothing of the sort, and which Cologne steadfastly refused to try any until I cajoled him into it, after which he begged and whined for more. This after hiding his hair for two days and moaning every five seconds about how he wanted to go to some Kitaouji restaurant but not today because blah blah blah some stupid reason. What a fucking princess.
My final bill came to 5900 yen, which was about 2000 more than I would expect to pay in Canada, but considering I got shampoo, conditioner, a massage, a cut, a snack, incredible service, and overall amazing results I think it was worth it. A haircut is one thing I can't bring myself to cheap out on. Besides, at least I was doing better than Cologne, who in the end paid more than a month's worth of rent for one haircut.
Cologne: (as we leave) So, when is our date?
My stylist: (less amused the second time) Uh, haha, anytime you want.
Cologne: (oblivious) So, your number!
My stylist: (now visibly uncomfortable) Right, I'll be waiting for your call.
Cologne: I can't believe she didn't go for it...
Rude Boy: Are you fucking serious?
Then he tried to brag about watching her the whole time, out of the corner of his eye. On the other hand, I got to have her touching my head for two hours. Pretty sure I win.