When visiting or moving to another country, usually eating local food and going sightseeing is par for the course, but sometimes just doing everyday things the local way can be rewarding. After all, if you’re already taking the plunge to change your surroundings, it’s the perfect time to re-invent yourself, too.
This is exactly how one Australian felt after a trip to a Japanese hair salon with friends, which he learned was a surprisingly different experience than getting a shampoo and cut back home.
Meet Michael, who was an Australian exchange student at Kansai Gaidai University in 2011. During his time in Japan he checked off many of the things that other visitors like to experience like trying natto, seeing cherry blossoms, and shrine-hopping in Kyoto. But some of his other adventures included things that travelers might not typically get very excited over, like paying a visit to a local hair salon for a more Japanese-style ‘do.
His friends help him pick out a hairstyle, and two and a half hours later Michael’s hair is transformed from this…
It may seem like a lot of time was spent trying to tame Michael’s mane, but often Japanese salons offer a free shoulder or head massage after your shampoo, and the one Michael visited even offered him a free drink.
As great as Japanese service is, however, it does come with somewhat of a hefty price tag. The bill for his wash, straight perm, cut, and style added up to almost US$300, although according to Michael it was worth it for the experience and the new look. If you think this sounds a little too expensive, you’re not alone!
Japanese netizens, too, were quick to point out that even with the same menu, most salons don’t charge near as much. Walk into any normal salon and you’ll usually find haircuts and styling from around 4,000 yen (approx. US$33) and up, and there are also plenty of barbers in Japan that will give you a trim for just 1,000 yen. Sometimes you can even get a discount with a coupon from free super-saver magazines like Hot Pepper.
If you’ve ever been to a Japanese salon, how would you rate your experience? If not, after watching Michael’s video, would you like to give one a try? Let us know!