A Cultural Moment

Haircuts in the USA are something that I always look forward to.  I’ve been going to the same beautician for almost 25 years (except for the years in Japan).  Best case scenario, I’m in and out in 30-40 minutes.  Not so in Japan.  I always enjoy the whole process here, once I get in the chair.  The time building up to actually getting there is quite stressful.  My language skills are a lot to be desired and that is a major contributor to the stress.  On the way there, I talk to myself.  I practice the sentences I have memorized, all the while praying that I can say it right so that I don’t come out bald.  I walk myself through the whole “what is the worst thing that could happen” scenario.  I remind myself that God is with me and that I have my trusty dictionary.  I remind myself that I have a picture in hand and that this lady has cut my hair several times before.  It’s going to be o.k.  Then I sit in the chair.  I take my English magazines so that I can occupy myself for the 1.5 hours that I will be sitting there.  Yes, you read that right…1.5 hours!!!  And when I depart for home, I am different.  I have a much needed haircut, but I am relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the day.  Here is why…

…as I sit in the chair, my hair is cut in a gentle manner.   The way my hair is handled feels like someone is gently playing with my hair.  Then comes the shampoo.  I recline in a lounge type chair and the sink is my pillow.  My hair is washed and my head is massaged for 15-20 minutes.  If I should doze (and I often do!)  my shoulder is gently tapped and I move back to the chair.  Here my head is massaged a little more and my shoulders gently pounded until all tension is gone.  Next comes the hair style and the gentleness continues.  After the style is complete, a lotion is massaged on the back of my neck and a straight-edged razor is used to eliminate any lose and stray hairs.  This is the grand finale!  It feels so good, that I wish it would continue.  Here I must confess that I pray the razor doesn’t slip!  Now it is time to leave and I wish I could sit in the chair just a little longer.

The next time that I prepare to go to the chair and I find the stress mounting, I will remind myself of how wonderful it all is and thank the Lord that He is helping me to enjoy the process here as much, if not more, than in the USA.

In everything, give thanks…

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3 thoughts on “A Cultural Moment

  1. Who would ever have thought massage like that would be part of a haircut! It sounds rather wonderful. It takes an hour for my hairdresser to cut my hair, but because he dries and styles it painstakingly. I am just so glad to get out of the chair when done yet so thankful he has tamed my thick head of hair. I cannot even begin to imagine the challenge of speaking and understanding a different language. You are doing great =) I enjoyed your post, it was a blessing to read. Happy Sunday to you!

  2. linda

    Here in the states I get my nails done in a salon about once a year. And even though they speak English (kind of) I experience a lot of stress because I know I won’t be able to understand the accent. And sitting there for twenty minutes without saying anything to the stranger, girl or man, who is handling your fingers so intimately is also rather weird. Then there is the wondering about what they are saying to each other (about you?). Thanks for the post!

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