First Hair Cut in Japan (July 23, 2016)

I usually get my haircut about every six weeks and it was time for another haircut since I got the last one a week before I left New York. A consultant found me a place in Namba with an English speaking stylist. I checked out their website and it looked like it targeted foreigners. I shared it with my colleagues and one of my colleagues found me another salon close to my apartment to consider as another option. She said I might feel more comfortable with a smaller salon. She sent me the info of the salon with a phone number so I called the salon on Thursday evening to make an appointment. The person who picked up the phone spoke a little bit of English so I made an appointment for 2 PM on Saturday. He did ask me if it was okay that he only speaks a little bit of English and I said it was okay.

The salon is called Atelier Staens and it is located in an historical building. The building is pretty old and charming. I had walked by it many times but didn’t know that there were many shops inside as I thought it was just a coffee shop. The salon is on the second floor of the building. It is a very small shop – with only two chairs with a really cool old school design. The owner (the same guy who picked up my call on Thursday) looks just like a regular Japanese guy. He seems nice and speaks a little bit of English. He has an assistant who mostly washes hair. There was another customer getting her hair cut when I got there who spoke some English as well and seemed curious about me so she helped with the conversation sometimes. I was a bit nervous about the hair cut because it was my first time with a new stylist and in Japan.

The stylist turned up the music a little louder when his assistant was washing my hair. I thought he did that so we don’t have to talk as much but I tried to have a conversation with him anyway. He said he cuts hair and does make up for mostly European female models.

The assistant was very gentle with my hair during washing. She washed it three times with shampoo and conditioner.

The stylist asked what I wanted to do with my hair. I showed him a few pictures I found on the Internet – short hair with small bangs. He looked at my hair and said “balance” and started cutting. At the end, it was pretty short with some bangs. It thought it looked fine. He said it would last about 4 weeks. It was a bit expensive – around JPY 7,000 with taxes.