Getting My Hair Cut in Tokyo

 

I always change up my hair at least once every two-three months. It’s just something that I’m used to doing. Wigs, braids, hair dye, etc. But over these last few months I’ve been really trying to grow my hair out. Not necessarily because I want long hair but because due to years of neglect, the health of my hair and scalp had steadily declined. I was wearing a wig for a little while when I first arrived, however towards the end of the first six months I noticed it was wearing away at my hair line. Thus I opted for braids and that was going good for a while but eventually I  got tired of the constant undoing and redoing.

Then I slowly started to realize that the constant braids are causing my ends to become split. So I came to the realization in June that maybe it’s time to just let my hair breath… at least for a little while. After all I haven’t worn my hair out in it’s natural state for a while due to terrible insecurities but now I think I’m ready to try again. So I took it upon myself to start searching for a place (in Tokyo obviously) that does afro hair. Which was an ordeal. As I’ve said before many salons in Japan are pretty expensive and most salons that say “foreigner friendly” they don’t typically mean black people friendly. It’s heart breaking I know, but again there just aren’t that many of us in Japan to make a difference.

However thanks to some good suggestions I landed on Hayato Tokyo a smallish hair salon in Roppongi. It was much more high class than I expected and I was pretty nervous since everyone seemed shocked to see me despite making an appointment three weeks ago. I was also nervous because the woman I originally asked for had left the salon permanently, she apparently did the relaxers, sew ins, extensions, etc for all their customers of color. So I had to have someone else cut my hair.

Image result for Hayato Tokyo roppongi
Compliments of Google Images

I didn’t take any pictures just because I was really nervous about receiving a bad haircut. Despite all my initial fears, everyone in the shop was very friendly. My hair dresser Naoya, was very competent and spoke perfect English. Which was comforting since I didn’t want my hair to get messed up due to misinterpretation. I think a majority of the staff spoke at least basic English. Their prices are a bit high compared to American prices 7,000 yen for a hair cut but I say the expense was worth it. The atmosphere was really relaxing, good music, drinks, and a decent massage at the end of your session.

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The finished product 

*If you go to Hayato, tell them I referred you so you can get a mini discount*

Tokyo Tour: Comiket and Harajuku Fashion

Giant Gundam
Life size Gundam Model

Visiting Tokyo feels a lot like visiting New York City; it’s scary, exciting, and feels a little unreal. After all there’s not to many places where you can visit an indoor video game theme park and then have lunch with your favorite idol at a cafe.  Tokyo as most people know is the capital of Japan, and pretty much the only city anyone outside of Japan knows about. It’s the main source of inspiration for amines, manga, and all those wacky Japan articles on the internet. Tokyo is amazing, there’s so much to do here it would take you at least twelve years to do everything without repeating any event.

Diver City Tokyo Plaza

Diver City Plaza is a shopping mall in Tokyo which is home to the worlds only life size Gundam statue.  There are about four floors throughout the whole mall and offers a wide variety of food and high end brands (Armani, Stussy, Addidas, etc.).

The food court offered a wide variety of traditional Japanese foods such as ramen, soba noodles, curry as well as some western foods. I was amazed to see an Auntie Anne’s and a Subway here, those aren’t even good restaurants back in America.

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Comiket Tokyo

Tokyo Big Sight.JPGOur second stop was Tokyo Big Sight, the building in which Comiket Tokyo was held. From the the mall it was about a twenty minute walk, with an excellent view of the ocean and Tokyo harbor.  Comiket is always held in the Tokyo Big Sight building. It’s a pretty impressive building, and for the life of me I can’t understand how they managed to build it.

Ever since I first started cosplaying about eleven years ago, it has always been my dream to go to an anime convention in Japan. I always pictured it to be this amazing thing, where everyone would be in amazing costumes, para para dancing to whatever new Euro-beat trash was out. To my disappointment, conventions in Japan however are very different compared to conventions back home. In Japan it feels more like an informal business meeting rather than a giant hangout. The focus is less about making the fans happy and more about getting you to buy all the newest things. Which isn’t terrible but that just means there’s a lot of rules that we’re expected to follow such as cosplay only sections outside of the convention.

Japanese cosplayers are on some next level type of skill though. I’m not sure if it’s because there are actual shops dedicated to cosplay so they just have more resources or if it’s just that these people are naturally talented with make up and sewing but these pictures can’t even begin to capture how dedicated some of them were. Plenty of people looked like they came straight out of a cartoon. The next convention is in December so I’ll have to pull out all the stops if I want to even be noticed in my costume.

Harajuku

Harajuku district in Shibuya is known as Japan’s center of youth culture and fashion. It’s a great place to visit and it is a perfect place to shop to find just about anything to please your niche aesthetic. Although I love coming here, I am sad to physically see it’s decline. Even from two years ago, I noticed that many of the shops have disappeared and it has become much more a tourist spectacle than it was before. Many of the previous shops that have catered to Gothic Lolita fashion or Fairy Kei have closed and been replaced with international branded stores such as H&M, forever21,etc. I’m sad to see it go but I can understand why, there are plenty of reasons for it’s decline but I think the main reason is that many of the stores were just to expensive. A lot of products are handmade so it’s very easy to spend over $1000 USD for one outfit.

Despite it’s high prices and constant crowds Tokyo is a great place to go; there’s always something going on from idol dance performances to great places to sight see. There’s a small piece of me that wishes I had been placed in the capital but I know I would always be broke.

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Disclamer: The Harajuku pictures above aren’t mine. The crowd made it very hard to take decent pictures, but I thought these images helped capture a little bit of the look and feel for Harajuku.