Friday, July 17, 2009

Hairstyles and haircuts for women in Japan

On 20th June, I had a haircut in a hair salon named ‘Lips’ located in Akita city. After moving to Akita prefecture about two years ago, I had difficulty in finding a good hair salon with hairstylists who could deal with my hair texture and give a haircut accordingly. It may be due to the fact that hairstylists in Akita usually deal with Japanese customers who have extremely flat and straight hair.

By nature Japanese women have silky smooth hair that can be easily arranged into a number of hairstyles. Modern Japanese women desire a dainty, exquisite, and trendy hairstyle. Japanese hairstyles are usually elegant and adorable, which accentuate the facial features and flawless skin tone of Japanese women. The hairstyles for women range from formal traditional hairdos (kimono hairstyles) to ultra modern hairdos. Nowadays most women sport a modern hairstyle. There are many kinds of modern hairstyle that can be broadly divided into three kinds, ‘long’, ‘medium’, and ‘short’, which represents the length of hair. According to my hairdresser, the most popular trend is a bob hairstyle and its variants since it is trendy, fashionable, and manageable. Japanese hairstyles have added features of sophisticated layered cuts, step cuts, and curls to achieve proper texture which add glamour to any hairstyle. In addition, bangs or fringes are a consistent feature in every type of hairstyle. Any trendy hairstyle is complemented with bangs to give an enigmatic look. In addition, coloring and highlighting is very common among people of all ages. Nowadays hip colors having very innovative names are ruling the hairstyles. Teenagers and younger generations usually sport ultra modern hip hairstyles. Inspired by different prevailing cultures such as gothic fashion, the Lolita look, punk, and hip-hop, the young girls are going for asymmetrical cuts and jagged look. Such hairstyles really look very cute (kawaii in Japanese) on Japanese women.

However, the hairstyle that looks cute and elegant on Japanese women, may not work wonders on a foreigner women with altogether different face cut, physical features, skin tone, and hair thickness and texture. Therefore it is a good idea to consult an experienced hairstylist prior to making the final chop. They can usually guide a foreigner regarding what style would suite our face. While I lived in Tsukuba, one of my Japanese friends had introduced me to a hairstylist who owned a hair salon named ‘Poco a Poco’. The hairstylist was really very experienced in dealing with foreigner customers and had a superb technique for cutting hair. His haircut technique was so good that all foreigner women used to say that he has God’s hand! However in Akita prefecture, initially I had difficulty in finding a salon with an experienced hairstylist who could cut my hair to my satisfaction. This is because there are very few foreigners here as compared to the Kanto area, and most of the hairstylists are simply not used to cutting hair of foreigners who have very different hair texture and thickness.

Hair salon ‘Lips’ in Akita city is a nice salon and is located in the heart of the city. It is a small salon and caters to only 3-4 customers at a time. It had a relaxed and private atmosphere. There were 3-4 hairstylists and the person who cut my hair was probably the best one I could find until now in Akita prefecture. The hairstylist recommended a short bob layered hairstyle. I liked her haircut technique and other services. In Japan, when the hairstylists shampoos the customer’s hair, they cover the customer’s face with a towel so that water drops do not fall on the face and also probably to avoid the customer looking up from a strange angle at the hairstylists’ nostrils! My friends across the globe have told me that covering the customer’s face with a towel is not so common in other countries, although I cannot be sure about that. After washing my hair, the hairstylist massaged my neck and shoulder area which was therapeutic. While she cut my hair, soft music was being played in the background. Such small comforts really make a big difference. The atmosphere was very relaxing and I dozed off after some time! However, the hairstylist was in a mood to chat and so she woke me up and enquired about many things related to my hair. She suggested to try a different hair color and also to lightly perm my hair. When I told her that I have never colored or permed my hair in my entire life, she just froze at the place she was standing and told me that it is unbelievable as nowadays girls in Japan start coloring and perming their hair by the time they are 15-16 years old. I just did not have the heart or mood (I was very sleepy due to a nice relaxed atmosphere) to explain to her that in India more than 85% of women have never been to a hair salon! It took about 1.5 hours to shampoo and cut my hair. I was happy and satisfied with the hair cut. She charged 4700 Yen for shampoo and cut, which is the usual charge in Akita prefecture.

Hubby took photos of me before and after the hair cut. I had not cut my hair for more than six months and so the change in the hairstyle looked drastic, though I liked the style very much. The hairstylist and hubby told me that the hair cut was ‘kawaii’. Next day I applied some hair wax and tried to style and manipulate the hair a bit. Hubby again took a photo of me and I uploaded it to a social networking site that I use regularly to communicate with my friends around the world. Some of my friends were shocked to see such a short hairstyle with almost all my hair chopped off :) That goes on to prove the sense of ‘kawaiiness’ and hairstyle trends definitely vary from country to country.
Before the haircut

After the haircut

After applying hair wax


Alison said...

Nice haircut - it suits you! This post really made me laugh, very well observed!

Manju said...

You look great with the new haircut!especially when you style your hair with wax, very cute!

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment Alison. I really hope the new hairstyle suits me!

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Manju for your comment. Yeah, I too like the hairmake after styling with wax.

Teena Maria said...

Hi Manisha, I follow your blog closely, as I have a younger sister who is doing research in Bionano electronics in Tokyo.I love your style of writing and appreciate the pain you take to give the detailed description with photos. I throughtly enjoy your snaps too and I am amazed by your efforts to appreciate and enjoy your life with your husband. But one thing I would like to tell you is, recently you keep wearing the same outfit in all most all occasions. In this post and your posts in August also. Ya, the blue denim frock and white top.
Yes, I too have some favourite denims which are very comfortable, but dear, it is summer . Wear some flowery frocks and tops, you will look really nice, and we too can enjoy your summer time. Don't ever say or feel that you are too old for flowers and laces and experiments... I am quiet old and a mother of one, and but I still feel that when you wear some thing colorful and pleasant , you look beautiful despite the fact that you are young, old or middle aged. My sister says that climate can be pretty depressing there and she always makes it a point to dress up nicely to compensate for that gloom in the environment.
I couldn't find a way to mail you directly , that's why I am putting this as a comment here in July section.Hope it reaches you. Please don't get mad at me, I love your attitude and your blog. My regards to your family and husband too.All the best for your blog in future.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment and following my blog Teena Maria. Saw your comment just today. Good to know that your sister is here in Japan and doing research.

Now that you pointed out, all my posts of August have photos of me in blue denim frock. Well, three of the posts (August 10, 18, and 25) are actually our sightseeing experience on the same day, that is July 19. That is why all photos have me wearing that blue frock. Yeah, you guessed it right; it is one of my favorite wear.

And I do love bright colored flowery dresses a lot (being an Indian). But somehow the trend in Japan is to wear flowery dresses only at home or in some beach resort. Older women and farmer women also wear flowery dresses (though not laces). Youngsters generally wear some combination of striped (all kinds horizontal, vertical, diagonal….) dresses. This is a very general statement and there are various other kinds of fashion trends. Your comment made me remember that when I was living in Tokyo (about 12 years ago and very new to this country); my friends’ circle went for a picnic during summer. I wore a cute blue flowery dress and another friend from France wore a pink pretty dress. Seeing us many Japanese ladies in our group were very embarrassed and kept whispering amongst themselves. Finally one of them with so much uneasiness (they are extremely polite to guests and hence the uneasiness) told us that usually printed dresses are worn at home. We did not care at all that time but now after marriage I try to follow some of the unwritten rules and norms of this society. Actually now I do not have even one single flowery dress :( In any case, it is already autumn season here and Akita prefecture has cool weather nowadays.

Thanks for your long and sincere comment. Sorry that you had to see photos of me in denim frock in four of my posts. Please visit my blog often and do post your valuable comments. Thanks.