Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sugar and spice and all things nice! This post is for you girls out there.

Let's talk clothes! First of all, the Japanese are very conservative. There seems to be a kind of uniform worn by office workers and store assistants and it's typically some form of black suit, be it pants or skirt, and white shirt. The clothes are all impeccable and fit their slim builds beautifully. Even the school children in their uniforms are clean and neat as a pin, not to mention polite and well behaved. I'm sure there are exceptions but I haven't seen any.

For those not in 'uniform' the word 'conservative' also applies. The colours are muted and bland with the most popular garment being the beige trench coat. Those of you who know me may remember that I like bold colours and unusual designs, as a consequence of which I'm drawing a bit more attention than I would wish.

Shopping is disappointing for people like me who want to buy uniquely Japanese products. The products are mostly imports and prices very high. But even the imports of the big labels tend to be bland and uninteresting, probably because that's what the market here dictates.

So I've given up on shopping except, of course, for ikebana containers. But here lies another problem - that of weight. I'm looking into freight costs before I splurge on more unnecessary but much wanted containers.

Enough about shopping. Let me tell you about my first hairdressing 'Experience' here. Shortly after Sam left, I ventured out on my own, found the Takashimaia department store, went to the 12th floor and found the hairdressing salon. In my very broken Japanese, I made an appointment for a fortnight later.

By the time the date arrived I was a lot more comfortable in getting around, so I made my way there with ease. I was taken into a cubicle where a gown was ripped out of its plastic covering and given to me to wear. My bag and earrings were put in a locker and the key given to me.

I was taken to a chair and was met with a young man (Shigenobu san) with no English at all and I had to make him understand what I wanted. I have to confess here that I am a dreadful creature of habit, as is evidenced by the fact that I have had the same hairdresser for over 30 years. So I was filled with trepidation but my consolation was that no matter how bad it's cut, hair does grow back.

My hair was to be wet, cut and then shampooed. The chair at the basin reclined and supported my neck perfectly. With my hair wet, I was shown to another chair where the cutting was to take place. Shigenobu san looked carefully at my hair and, as he started to cut, he turned into Edward Scissorhands! There were hands and combs and scissors flying all over the place. I've never seen anyone cut so fast. I was terrified and kept my eyes closed, peeking every so often to make sure I still had hair.

He finished in less than half the time it takes my hairdresser to cut my hair and, I need not have worried, because he did a beautiful job.

Then he guided me back to the basin and introduced me to a young lady who, not only washed and conditioned my hair but also gave me a head massage and finished off with a hot towel under my neck while she gently dried my hair. Ahhhhhh.

So then I was taken to a different chair for blow drying and finishing but before Shigenobu san came back she asked me if it was ok for her to massage my shoulders and neck. I wondered if anyone ever said no to that question. Certainly I didn't. After about 10 minutes of bliss my young man came back and finished my hair.

After all of this attention I expected the cost to be high but was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable it was. I am willing my hair to grow back quickly so I can go back.

This morning I stumbled across a quilting exhibition in the Park Towers, which is across the road from my apartment. Quilting is not something I was ever interested in doing myself but, as a sewer, I can appreciate the work involved.

Over the years I have seen some interesting quilts but these blew me away. I can't find appropriate words to describe the exquisite beauty of these works. I believe they are of museum quality. As I looked at each one I kept wishing I could have had with me my two friends, Debbie and Loretta, both of whom are expert quilters. They would have been in Quilters Heaven!

 They allowed me to take photographs but not with my camera, only with my mobile so the quality is not great. Below are a few to give you some idea of the quality of the work but they are a tiny snippet of what was exhibited. 

It was difficult to pick one but this next one was my favourite.

On our way to the Nezu Museum, my sister, brother-in-law and I came across this amazing building. It was such an architectural marvel that it deserved a photo. Turns out it was the Prada building, girls and I recommend a visit just to see it never mind the handbags.

Bye for Now,

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about your hair cut experience and those quilts are amazing. It would be hard to pick one out as the best. I was in Japan for the I.I. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is fun to read about everyday life in Japan.