One of the things I have discovered in my time here is that I like to make things difficult for myself. Learn to read and write Japanese? Na, what do I need that for? Why not live in a land where I understand nothing. Go to a hairdresser who speaks English, even if he does faff up the colour all the time? Na, why not go somewhere where they don’t speak ANY ENGLISH and ask them to do my hair? It’ll all work out for the best, mate.
I rocked up to a local salon in my swish new suburb. The sign out the front was in English so I figured this boded well for the whole experience. Heh heh, I am so naïve. The first sign of danger was that they washed my hair. No, no, I’m getting a colour – that’s not what you do first! However, I didn't say anything (as that would have been a rather fruitless endeavour) and allowed them to lower me down and backwards in a chair that was scarily similar to a dentist's chair. My feet were higher than my head and the blood rushed to my face as my legs dangled over the end of the too-short chair (or does that make my legs too long?), and people tripped over them as they rushed by. I had a major attack of the giggles when a white cloth was placed over my face as they washed my hair. I was so concerned that I would look like (more of) a freak lying there, laughing uncontrollably with a cloth over my face, that I desperately tried to conjure up the image of my old boss, which rarely fails to bring about instant tunnel-vision rage and the desire to contact these people. The memory of his ugly face, bad 80s peroxide job, and inexcusable behaviour due to his various personality disorders just didn't do it. I was chuckling like the madwoman in the attic – you know, the one who has a white cloth over her face.
I hadn’t thought to take anything with me to read. I vacantly thumbed through the Japanese magazines they gave me, but there weren’t any pictures, just those damn hieroglyphics, so no joy there. Ended up writing this in my phone via the tiny keypad just to give me something to do. After another visit to the dentist’s chair and resulting giggles, I hesitantly walked back to the chair to survey the damage. This was delayed as they didn’t take the towel off my head whilst I received a rather marvellous back, shoulder, neck and head massage. Wow, did this woman know how to massage – and slap! After pummeling, kneading and rubbing the knots away, the salon suddenly echoed with sharp, resounding slaps as she walloped my back. Another fit of giggles. The towel finally came off and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hair almost looked its natural colour. I prefer male hairdressers as they are generally rougher – I remember my head being almost bruised from the heavy-handedness of my guy in Melbourne – but this guy was so gentle, like tiny fairy hands were tiptoeing around my head. Too sweet.
And he gave me a rose when I left.