Saturday, June 12, 2010

No Frills Barbering

Nothing much special about a haircut. Under normal circumstances the need arises every five or six weeks, and you go to the barber, maybe not even paying attention to what he’s doing with his scissors and comb. At least that was the way with me until recently.

The day before I left Japan in late April, I paid a final visit to my barber at his shop, Minato. Forty-seven days later and no longer anywhere near Minato or my longtime barber, Nakazawa-san, I had to look about for a place to get a haircut. Most everyone I know here gets their hair cut in Orlando, so I couldn’t rely on recommendation unless I wanted to drive an hour both ways. I didn’t. So, I found a barber shop on the main street of town and hoped for the best. In fact, there’s not a whole lot to fret over, since my style is short without anything called styling. Still, I was a little anxious, if for no other reason than not having experienced an American haircut since before the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.

The usual routine in Japan was first a wash, then the cut using nothing but scissors and comb, another wash, trimming of hair around, or in nose, ears and eyebrows, and finally a head, shoulder and back massage. Then there was a complete brush down to remove any stray clippings, despite the barber’s cloth worn throughout the cut. Cost? About $40.00 (no tip), a price that never went up over the years. With possible waiting time and then time in the chair, the whole thing took maybe an hour, before the barber escorted me to the door and saw me off bowing his thanks. Sound odd? Well, you do come to like and appreciate it.

The haircut on Main Street, NSB was by a woman barber and lasted ten minutes. How did she do it all so quickly? Perhaps ‘all’ is a misleading description, and electric clippers are fast. To tell the truth, my heart took a jump when she whipped out the clippers and set them to buzzing up and down my head. For a moment I saw my head as a long-unmowed lawn, with a power mower churning out swaths of grass. I needn’t have worried; the clippers were the thinning kind and left no bald spots. Next was a couple of minutes with scissors and it was all over. Eleven dollars plus tip.

Back at home, after a careful inspection in the mirror I decided it almost looked like I hadn’t even had a haircut. There’s something good to be said for that, though the next haircut will surely be sooner than usual. Confidence will be higher next time and I will ask the barber to take off a little more.

Still have to say I miss Nakazawa-san at the Minato shop in Kugayama.

1 comment:

  1. Umm -- the Japanese haircut sounds fabulous and well worth the money.
    Marcia from WV


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America