Getting a Haircut in Japan

After I no longer had to worry about showing up for work in May, I started to think about many things in my life that I did (or didn’t do) because of what my job was.  Among them was something pretty trivial – my hair.

I had always opted for a rather conservative fade which could be spiked up in to a faux-hawk if the mood suited me.  Great for the office, great for a night out.  But a compromise on style.  Now that I was free from needing to look client-friendly and office-respectable, I could do… pretty much what I wanted.

I am seriously envious of Dylans mohawk.
I am seriously envious of Dylan’s mohawk.

What I always wanted was a mohawk.  My friend Dylan has a pretty magnificent one which I’m envious of.  (Also, that beard is something amazing, but I digress.)  Alas, growing my hair out long enough to do that would probably last longer than the trip itself.  So, the mohawk remains on the “hairstyles to try someday” list.

The second choice on my list of desired haircuts was the high and tight.  It’s a classic military cut, and there’s a certain oomph of confidence that radiates from a well-executed one.  And while it’s military appropriate, I always thought it’d garner too many strange looks at my work, and I never made the leap to get one.  But work was over, and I had no excuse for avoiding the clippers.

So, channeling my inner Britney Spears in the wake of a major life change, I decided it was time to go for the Jake-Gyllenhaal-in-Jarhead look. That said, it’d be a modified high and tight because I had no intention of removing my facial hair (which was, and is, a work in progress.)

Once deciding the hair was gonna get a change, I needed to find someone to do the job.  I didn’t have to look far – Sean is a young guy in Yorkton who opened up Parlour Barber Shop not long ago, and came recommended with rave reviews.  I sat down in his chair, explained what I wanted, and… boom.  After about 20 minutes, the chair turned around to reveal the new me.  I was stoked.  It felt awesome.

Feeling fresh after getting my hair chopped at Parlour Barber Shop.
Feeling fresh after getting my hair chopped at Parlour Barber Shop.

Ever since that first high and tight, Sean’s been in charge of my hair.  Until this week.  Because I’m in Tokyo, and he’s in Canada.  And because the mop on top of my head won’t wait for a trim until December, I had to get someone new to break out the scissors and clippers.

Now, getting a haircut in Japan can be expensive.  I’ve seen some salons and barber shops around here charging ¥2,500, ¥3,000, ¥4,500 – and even as much as ¥10,000 to lower someone’s ears.  Granted, many young Japanese men opt for rather striking hair styles which are quite fashionable.  I didn’t need to step out of the salon looking like I had just busted free from the pages of a manga comic book.  I just wanted to maintain my high and tight.

The affordable alternative for guys just looking for “just a cut” in Japan is a place called QB House.  It’s a chain of barber shops across the country which touts a ¥1,080 haircut in ten minutes.  No frills.  No wild styles.  Just a cut.

I figured I had nothing to lose (and if it turned out badly, I could always shave it down to nothing since I’ve done that look before), and so I took a bus trip down to the nearest QB House by the train station in Mitaka.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being freshly sheared.  I’m glad I’ve found a place I know I can go to and come out looking sharp (without breaking the bank)!


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