On Thursday, I went to get a haircut. I haven't had a haircut since I've been here. I was getting a little shaggy and needed to cool my head off a little since it's still really hot here.
Ken took me to his friend's cousin's salon. She studied the ancient art of hair-cutting in Japan for about seven years, so I felt this was probably a safe bet. I never had a bad hair cut in Japan and the Japanese are well known for their fastidiousness. My only worry is that she would cut my hair with “Japanese style”. Japanese girls often have very nice haircuts, but the guys are fond of sporting EXTREMELY effeminate hairstyles these days – not something I was keen on trying out.
What I thought would be a normal haircut of about 20 minutes stretched into an hour and a half long ordeal. We started with an assistant washing my hair. She was the most thorough hair-washer I have ever seen. She was forcefully massaging my scalp as she cleaned my hair. At times I thought I was going to walk out of there bald.
The haircut portion of my time there was pretty normal, but extremely slow. I think she did a pretty good job, but I don't think there was any kind of special treatment that warranted an hour of sitting in a barber's chair. We finished at 4:30, which really stressed me out because I hadn't had much to eat that day. I had breakfast, but I had planned to eat lunch after Chinese class finished at 2:00. No such time…
I grabbed something at the 7-11 and we zipped back to school. I had to meet with one of my professor's at 5:00 p.m., so I didn't have time to stop at T.G..I.Friday's like I had planned. We had learned how to say “hamburger” in Chinese this week, which really sparked some major beef and cheese cravings in me. Don't get me wrong, I like Chinese food and I am trying to eat as much of the local stuff while I’m here as I can, but sometimes you just really need to get a taste of home.
I managed to satisfy that craving on Friday. I went to Friday's on Friday with Steve, Jumpei, and Yuji. Afterwards we went to Isetan to pick up the present I had planned on buying. Ken met us there to help translate for me, but his English vocabulary wasn't quite up to par for some of our discussions. After a while I asked Jumpei to help because he has been here a long time and speaks excellent Chinese. When the store clerks heard Jumpei translate from Chinese into Japanese for me, they were a little taken aback. It turned out that one of them had studied in Japan for a little more than a year, so she was able to answer most of my questions directly in Japanese.
I'm not sure if it was because they were impressed with my Japanese or if I just managed to charm their socks off, but they poured us some good oolong tea, insisted on chatting with us for a few minutes, and gave me a nice discount. I have had several instances where Taiwanese people have complemented me on my Japanese, but I feel bad because I can't understand anything they say without a translator (except for the few who speak Japanese). It's alright, though, because I intend to keep studying this language until I can at least manage a simple conversation.
That's all I feel like posting for now. I'm staying here this weekend, so I will get caught up on postings in the next couple of days. See ya!