Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Beauty parlors

Nothing much interesting going on here. I got my hair trimmed just because I was looking authentically witchy for Halloween and needed a simple beauty boost. I don't know if it worked.

All my life I had very long hair. As a child it was mousy brown and straight. I remember my mother using the word "witch" to describe my hair back then. In my teens my style could be called Joan Baez style...  Long and parted down the middle. I don't think I have EVER been to the beauty parlor in the States.

For quite awhile in Japan I stayed with the long straight look but maybe because of the humidity my hair started to curl. And get darker. My mother has always wondered if this was due to eating Japanese food... For years, every summer she would finger my hair and say,

"My goodness Tani. Your hair is BLACK! It must be all the seaweed you're eating."

When the kids came along I started changing styles. Short bobs, sculptured necklines etc. Too much trouble to keep getting it cut. Too much fussing in front of the mirror every morning. Another term of short hair was when the white started coming in, Mother's comments in thirty years changed to,

"My goodness Tani. Your hair is WHITE! How old ARE you?"

For some unknown reason I'm growing it out again.

ANYWAY... I don't know American beauty parlors, only Japanese. I go to a nice older women who has a little shop off the side of her house next to forest... Only grandmas and me go to her.

I suppose in a lot of ways beauty parlors are all the same. Hair washing area, spinning chairs, lots of magazines. But how about this? In Japan when a beautician washes your hair she always places a small white handkerchief over your face? Is this common elsewhere? I suppose the white handkerchief keeps the customer from looking into the beautician's armpit as she scrubs the head but I'm always reminded that dead people get a handkerchief placed over their face too while they lie in state...

There was one beauty parlor that I patronized for awhile where the hair washing could be done in a machine. I'd get put into a chair with my head lying over a sink and a big dome would come down and water would spray from all sides, shampoo would dispense from somewhere and plastic automated fingers would do the scrubbing and rinsing etc. Not too bad... Sort of an experience... I never got wet anywhere else so I guess the machine was perfected...

In most Japanese beauty parlors and barber shops, at the end of the cutting and styling experience, the customer is given a simple head and neck massage as part of the shop's service. I'm not too fond of this myself... The beautician thumps her palms and wrists against the head in various places and on the shoulders... I have no idea what a head massage has to do with cutting hair.

And I've had beauticians offer to shave my face for me! "

"NO WAY!!! I do not have a beard (yet) thank you! Stay away from me with your razor!"

This isn't such an uncommon service and many of my friends like to have their faces shaved. (Strange tastes!)

Another service that Japanese beauticians are qualified in is the dressing of customers in kimono. Putting on a formal kimono is so complicated that most women when dressing for a special wedding or funeral or such situation where a kimono is appropriate, will have the beautician do all the dressing and obi tying etc. I suppose they have to get their hair styled anyway so Japanese beauticians train in both hair and dressing skills. This is another service I've never taken advantage of...

I'm not really looking too different from before I went to the beauty salon so no picture of me today...

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