Just popping down to the bar ber

I’ve been in Japan for 1.25 years, but to this day haven’t had a haircut on Japanese soil. I always wait until I’m in an English-speaking country. This, however, has relied on some fortuitous timing and luck, with a high tolerance of what has approached hippie-grade hair.

For me, a haircut is almost like going to the dentist. There’s nothing that feels quite so powerless as sitting in a chair, trussed up in one of those hair cape things, while some stranger goes to town on you with a razor. I don’t quite know how to say, “For the love of the almighty, stop!” in Japanese yet, and I figure this is a minimum requirement.

A foreign friend of mine here with much better Japanese fluency got a hair cut a while ago, and asked for a number 3. He came back looking like a Buddhist monk. At this point, I felt my fears were quite justified.

And that brings us to my local neighbourhood barber. I pass it almost every day:

Some of the trendy hair salons in my area – and there seems to be a lot of them – ask up to $40 for a basic scissor haircut. I’ve been conditioned to pay an absolute maximum of $20. My haircut takes about 10 minutes, and it’s nothing fancy. The directive is usually something like “Make it a bit shorter”.

But to save some money and pay $10, would I go to a “bar ber” that’s having a garage sale on haircuts? I imagine a card table in the driveway, the haircuts lined up in neat rows with prices scrawled on stickers with texta. All the good haircuts would be gone by 6:30am.

Results of my experiment next time! If you don’t hear from me, assume the worst: a somewhat bad haircut.


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