I Love My Japanese Barber

Jun 6, 2019

I Love My Japanese Barber

Why I love the Japanese barber even though I no longer have hair.

Looking back upon old pictures, I have to admit, I had pretty nice naturally curly hair. However, along with these beautiful locks, I was also honored with a triple crown and a cow lick.

I remember my very first trip to the Japanese barber.

Back in my native country, haircuts were $12 and lasted for about 30 minutes. I never really actually thought that haircuts were all that”special”. That’ll changed, once I experienced the Japanese barber.

First of all, the haircut lasted almost 2 hours! Hair shampooed twice, and I experienced my very first straight razor shave which was extremely excellent! The detail and care expressed into something that I used to think was as mundane as a haircut was unprecedented in my life up until that time.

From about 27 years old, I started to lose my hair, at first, right around where the triple crown used to be, and then the cow lick which rapidly turned into a receding hairline.

Of course, growing up in the TV industrial complex, I thought I wasn’t worthy as a human being if I was bald, so I decided to join the plethora of men using expensive hair tonics to save my vanity and try to stem the inevitable male pattern baldness.

Furthermore, My dear friends, rest his soul, brought me back something called 101. This was made in China, and was all the rage in Japan for a moment in time. I started to use this tonic and hope that it would be the miracle that would save my inevitable balding.

However, it was not. In fact, my scalp was red and itchy, and after a couple of weeks worth of use, my lymph node were swollen, so I went to the doctor. He said that the hair follicles had probably opened up, and some kind of bacteria or germs entering there. Needless to say

After I realized my worth as human was not related to my hair (or lack of it), I started to scrub my head with abandon all the while saying warm goodbyes to my hair as they cascaded down the drain never to grow back or grace my pate again.

I resign to the fate of having a bald man for the rest of my life.

However, after shaving my head once to see what it looked like, I was able to understand fully that I didn’t look half bad with a shaved head, so I adopted the “skinhead” look.

In Japan skinheads are more often than not associated with Buddhist priests or Yakuza, so there is still some stigma attached to a shaved head. However, besides the fact that I am neither a Buddhist priest nor a member of the Yakuza, as well as being Caucasian, the Japanese give me a pass.

And this brings me back to the Japanese barber: I no longer had the need for a Japanese barber anymore, thus I had not been to the barber for many many years.

How I missed my Japanese barber!

So after a week of not shaving, and after a very very long time, I went to my barber again at long last.

The most interesting thing about my barber, is that he is a fourth generation barber running the same shop for 4 generations.

Alas, the barber waxed to me, the only way there’s going to be fifth-generation is if my son marries a woman who would like to become a barber, and I don’t think that’s likely.

I truly hope this wonderful barber shop is going to continue into its 5th and 6th generation, and beyond, and that the tradition of the Japanese barber shop will be preserved for further generations so they to can get a haircut, scalp massage, shoulders rub, and indeed in my case to shine ones immaculate dome.

I truly hope you have a chance to visit, or revisit the barber. Forget the cheap haircuts, pamper yourself and feel the craftsmanship of these tradition Japanese barbers.