Thousands of Miles from Home


Kojima and Haircuts

I'm getting worried because I do too much everyday to write about. Oh no! Yesterday I went to get my first japanese haircut, not knowing quite what to expect (other than Rahul's rather unorthodox tale). I was further confused by the name of the hair salon, "Panic," an apt name for my feelings. But Shun and Sam had both gone there and didn't have bald patches or weird dye jobs so I wasn't too worried. The first thing I noticed about Panic, other than the atmosphere, were the awesome hair styles worn by the guys and girls cutting hair. Mohawks, long hair, ponytails, you name it someone probably had it. This was reassuring because I figured if they could have these crazy cuts giving me a baisc haircut couldn't be too hard.

First the stylist brought me to the back room where I was put into a reclining seat and washed my hair not once but three times (I think this was normal and not a reflection of lack of cleanliness). This felt really awesome and my head smelled good. Then in japanese I explained to the guy cutting my hair how I usually wore it (I refused to bring a picture with me, instead relying on his artistic ability) and he got to work. He only used scissors, no electric razors, and spent a good deal of time on each section of my head. While he cut my hair I looked around the room and saw a bunch of people getting their hair dyed, and one guy in the corner was having his hair dried by some huge revolving machine while drinking alcohol and smoking. I couldn't help but laugh to myself.

After the cut my hair was washed again and I didn't even get any hair down the back on my neck as is customary with every former haircut I have ever received. In total three people worked on my hair, one for the first wash, and two for cutting/second washing. I think the total came to about $35, so not a bad deal for the good treatment.

After the haircut Shoko and I went to the supermarket where I was feeling so good after the haircut I decided to cook dinner that night. I thought chili would be easy enough so picked out some chili-related items and some fruit for a salad. I certainly wouldn't consider myself a good cook, just inexperienced, but I think any idiot can make chili so the preparation wan't too hard. I also made cheese potatoes, a salad, and fruit salad for dessert (complete with powdered sugar). The chili was pretty spicy but I think everyone enjoyed it, and Shoko was probably happy that she didn't have to cook. I promised her a pie or cake next time.

After dinner Shoko, Andee, and I went to kyudo where we are all getting better but Andee and I hit our arms with the bow string a bunch of times so that wasn't too cool. My arrows usually go straight but I'm still working on hitting the target. Shooting with my right hand forward makes it difficult to aim.

Today was also action packed, to say the least. We went to Kojima for the "Kohatchi Mangou Reitai Sai," a festival where tons of people dressed in colorful outfits and facepaint haul giant decorated wagons through the town then up a steep hill to a shrine. This is a huge affair and tons of people came to watch the festivities, lining the streets as well as the path to the shrine. I took a ton of pictures and video because describing the whole event would be difficult without a visual reference. So I will let them speak for themselves. The gist of the activity is taking the wagons which have children inside playing drums and bells surrounded by people playing flutes and singing up and down a steep incline. There are also people on the top of the wagons with bamboo fronds shouting and singing. There is also a part where the people carrying the ropes run back and forth making a "wave" effect. The whole scene was very cool to watch.

After watching a bunch of wagons go up and down the hill, as well as walking up and down the hill myself, I ate some taco yaki (fried squid balls, tastier than they sound) and went to Onishi-san's mothers house for lunch. She lives on a hiil overlooking the town and sea, and we were able to watch the rest of the festival on TV while she served an excellent lunch of sushi, chicken tofu soup, grapes, and apples. Toward the end of lunch it started to rain and I was glad that we left the festival or we would have been soaked.

When we came home Shoko got a call from Yamashita-san saying that there was going to be a display of kimonos at the house where we went for the tea ceremony the other night. It was raining a bit when we arrived so the four of us ran through the narrow japanese alleys until we came to the tea ceremony teacher's house. Inside were about 10 people looking at handbags, dresses, skirts, and jackets that had all been made from pieces of kimonos. Everything was very beautiful and I couldn't help but buy some placemats and bags made from the old kinomos. We stayed for some tea and sweets then came back to the house where I am now thoroughly sleepy, even thought it's early evening. Shoko rented Mystic River so we might watch that later tonite.



  • You finally got to go to a festival, eh? (I dabble in Canadian English) And this one seem like a really good one too. Yes, haircuts are pretty involved here...oh and tako yaki is actually made of octopus (tako=octopus). I think it`s the only food that I have had that has had octopus in it, most of what I think is octopus turns out to be squid. Well, that`s all I have to talk aboot. (Some more Canadian)

    By Rahul Syamlal, at 8:44 AM  

  • For the tourists of you:

    By mom, at 1:51 PM  

  • Hey, that taco yaki sounds a lot like the takoyaki that is my favorite food in the world, only it uses octopus instead of squid, but I imagine they are similar. Just a random though-- Robert

    By Anonymous, at 12:12 AM  

  • your japanese-haircut is a little bit elvis-esque. but pretty nice :) next time you should ask for bright pink liberty spikes.

    -mimi :D

    By Anonymous, at 1:11 AM  

  • Mimi,
    Don't encourage him!!!! 8>)

    By Katy, at 10:08 AM  

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