For many years I had my haircut in QB House, a local barber chain that provides a tolerably decent haircut in 10 minutes for the price of 10 bucks. But the best part is, they vacuum you when they are done with you so that you don’t walk around later covered in your own hair.
So I used to sit and wait for my turn there among Japanese salarymen, usually middle-aged with a pronounced beer belly. My existence definitely gave them some comfort, if not amusement.
Sadly after I changed my hairstyle about 2 years ago, I had to find a proper hairdresser. Now I go to the salon downstairs in my condo building. I am too lazy to venture far. Besides, I don't see why I should waste too much time on my appearance.
It's a big challenge for a foreign girl to live in Japan, I tell you. You are surrounded by all the gorgeous Japanese girls who are groomed within an inch of their lives. It's impossible to compete with their dedication to beauty and perfection. So I am now trying to focus on my inner beauty while secretly hoping that I might finally outshine them with my personality and charm one day.
Nobody really believes me, but seriously, I've never paid much attention to my appearance. In fact, the first time I put on any makeup was for my first job interview when I was 25, thanks to the help from the nice salesgirl at the Clinique counter of Bloomingdale's in Chicago. And I only learned how to use mascara a year ago - from one of my students this time.
And I never seem to remember to check myself in the mirror before I go out. Luckily Japanese are very polite and can always keep a straight face even if you wear your sweater inside out, which has happened to me more than once before.
Hmmmm, now you know why I am always surprised when people compliment me on my appearance!