Sunday, July 18, 2004

The hairdresser spectacle.

There are a mind-boggling number of hairdressing establishments along the streets of Sekime. I have no doubt that the phenomenon occurs throughout the entire city of Osaka as well. In spite of the heavy competition for the populace's hairdo dollar, it is very expensive to have your hair done. I think thirty dollars would be about the standard, and it is difficult to find something decent for twenty. Due to the typical Japanese affinity for service there are lots of hairdressers at each of these shops.
The hours are long, typically these hairdressers work all day and then after the place closes there is practice lasting as late as eleven or twelve o'clock. It seems implausible for them to carry on with such a pace day in and day out, but after having seen the Japanese work ethic, it doesn't seem so implausible to me anymore. On the occasions when a shop is not busy, and the hairdressers have nothing to do, they are required to stand in a designated spot near their work area.
I can vividly recall walking along the street in the early evening, and looking into a brightly lit but inactive shop and seeing four hairdressers lined up in perfect array chatting with each other.
Even so hairdressing remains a popular profession with at least as many males as females going to school to get into the industry.

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