So, when you go to a new country, you expect new things. Right? Common sense. When you do new things in new countries, you expect new things as well. But sometimes, you’re just taken by surprise.
Monday I got my hair cut. It was an impulsive decision that I’d been considering for a future cut (maybe after the summer). I also didn’t have the guts to go all out as it’s a major hairstyle change. Previously, when I lived here, my friend’s friend was gracious enough to cut my hair and all I had to do was buy her lunch. Score for me. She even came to my house!
I was surprised when she spent about 30-45 minutes just cutting my hair. Cutting! She’d cut itsy-bitsy tiny little microscopic pieces so it looked like piles of fluff on the floor. It was quite impressive. But my cuts were stellar.
So, I understand friend-of-a-friend has been super busy lately, and it worked out that Vicente took care of Rosalyn and I went for a cut. I showed up at the shop where original friend now gets her hair cut too (or at least she goes to that chain). After some Japanese blunders (not a good omen in my opinion, but luckily I’m not superstitious), I was introduced to the person whose hands I was putting my new look in.
The big surprise of the story (besides the roller-coaster ride of my emotions as I decided that I hated, then I loved, then I hated but now I love my haircut) is that when you sit down to get your hair washed prior to the cut, they lay a blanket over your legs. Then they lean you back and check to make sure you’re comfortable in every possible way (because they’re super conscientious Japanese), and then… they put a light, breathable paper-material thing over your face.
That’s right. You are officially masked while getting your hair washed. I was so distracted by it that I couldn’t even enjoy the wash! However, I was better prepared for it the SECOND time they wash your hair, after the cut. Yup. Two washes. Also, they have sleeves in the cover that they wrap around your neck to protect you from the hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces of razor-itchy hair that will be building up around you shortly. This was a pleasant surprise- sleeves, so you can read. I think now that I should have taken the hint when she told me the purpose and read a bit, but I chose to be chatty with my stylist.
So, things over your face. They also do this at the dentist. Yeah, imagine that. You are already as uncomfortable as can be with the sound of a drill coming toward you when a towel is wrapped in a circle under your chin and over your eyes.
I have to admit I was pretty terrified the first time. You should have seen my expression of my eyes under the towel. Both times! Of course, they might have had a clue from the various expressions of my eyebrows.
There are other visits to various places that I refuse to recount online. Let’s just say that this is the milder side of my accounts. Let your imagination run wild, trust me, you have no idea.
My theory on this is that, per Japanese conscientiousness and care, they want to protect you from flying splashes of water or bits of tooth or silver, I suppose, as happened to be [one of] my case[s]. Give me the water and tooth and silver, I want to see!!! But I get it. They’re used to it and prefer things that way. But still. Sometimes you’re just taken by surprise.