I don't know about your neck of the woods, but in Japan customers
get a lot out of their hair salons. In mine, I'm first greeted by
all the staff with a hearty "Irashaimaze!"("Welcome!") and bows.
Even those who are tending other customers turn around and greet
me. Then I'm seated in front of the mirror and Kaminiwa-san will
discuss the hair style and color I want. Next comes a quick
hairwash after they cover my face with a small cloth. This is to
a: prevent water from splashing on my face, b: save the
embarrassment of both the staff and customer of having to look at each
other at close range.
After that I'm seated again in the chair and all the staff will have
said "Otsukaresamadeshita!" ("You've put up some hard work, well
done!") to me before I reach my seat. I always say the same thing
back to them because I don't think lying down while someone lightly
massages your scalp is hard work, they should say it to the one who
washed my hair. Kaminiwa-san will proceed to cut my hair
while she engages me in conversation about travel, cats and food.
She always remembers what I like to talk about. When she is done
with the haircut, she blow-dries my hair.
Now my hair is dry. She leaves me to prepare the hair color in
a back room. Two other staff will swiftly take her place and
begin to chat with me, so that at no time will I be left by
myself. When Kaminiwa-san comes back with the pot of color, those
two staff will begin to color my hair. Someone else will offer
me a cup of tea or coffee and English magazines. When the
process is done, I will be led to have my hair washed again and this
time, they mean business.
My hairwasher will first rinse off the coloring, follow by a long
and relaxing massage on the scalp working from the top and gently
moving her fingers around the back while constantly asking me if the
water is too hot or she's rubbing too hard. Then she rinses the
hair. Conditioner is applied next and she gives me a second
message on the scalp. When that is finally finished, I go back to
my chair and hear more "Otsukaresamadeshita!" on the way there.
As soon as I am seated, someone will proceed to give me a full-on shoulder massage. I usually decline the offer because I don't enjoy massage in general. Kaminiwa-san, who has been waiting by the chair, will blow-dry my hair and do some fine trimming to perfect the cut. After a bit over two hours, the haircut procedure comes to an end. There are more bows and thank you from every single staff as I pay the bill. Kaminiwa-san will personally accompany me down the flight of stairs which leads to the street and thank me one more time with another bow before we part.
In two months, the whole process starts again.
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