My Spiel:

If anyone mentions my dreadlocks to me, I tell them the following spiel:
"Thank you for mentioning my hair. Anyone who is kind enough to mention my hair..."

at which point I pull the scissors from my pocket
" asked to cut off one of my dreadlocks!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Encounter 5: The Fifth Dreadlock Removal

I was in between shops, and just about to run out of money, when a friendly voice said, in English, "Do you need any help?" 

I looked around into the grinning face of a Japanese fellow with not-so-short hair. My initial reaction was "no I'm fine, thanks" but being potentially on the cusp of another dreadlock-cutting encounter, I realized I had to be more open to all sorts of experiences, and allowed the conversation to open up. He asked me if I wanted a lift anywhere, and I explained that I was on the look out for an onsen, but otherwise had no particular geographic goal.

The man, whose name I forget, but it began with S, very quickly came around to mentioning my dreadlocks, so I unsheathed my scissors and thanked him, saying that anyone who mentioned my dreadlocks was asked to cut one off. He seemed a bit surprised, and very reticent to engage in a cut, saying, "not yet - it's far too sudden. Let me take you to the onsen first."

So the fifth dreadlock turned into a road trip!

S. drove me via a post office to an onsen that was closed for the day, so he decided to drive me to one beside a lake in the hills. He was so busy telling me all about how his grandfather had helped construct the bridges around the lake that he accidentally drove past the onsen he had thought, and decided to take me on down to an onsen in the next valley. This turned out to be a very long drive, and we had many long conversations about hair (he actually had one dreadlock hidden amongst his hair), about the various countries we had travelled (interesting how the more worldly people make for the more interesting experiences), and about the fact that he could not go into onsens because of his tattoos. 

Prejudice against tattooed people is still very prevalent in Japan, and most often manifests in signs on the doors of bath houses and onsen establishments. The tattoo was once a revered art form, but is associated with the Yakuza, and therefore terrifies many a casual bather into thinking they are in the wrong bath house. Bath houses do not want to be thought of as the wrong bath house, and so do not let people with tattoos in.

Although he kept reminding me that he had not yet promised to cut off a dreadlock, we started to wonder what we might do with the lock if he were to cut one off. After a long moment's thought, he suddenly asked, "where in England are you from?" 
I told him, as I tell most people, that I am from Herefordshire, the green bit next to Wales. 
"What if," he said, "I were to go on a journey, in a few years' time, to take the hair back to where you come from?" 

This seemed to me to be a marvellous suggestion, and having thought of it, he seemed to be much more enthusiastic about the idea of cutting off one of my locks. 

The cut was made in the car park of the onsen, and S. happily tied the dreadlock in amongst his own hair and drove off back over the hill.

I went to the onsen for a long soak and another haircut.

1 comment:

  1. i like this one :-D
    well, they're all good stories so far... i'm enjoying this, well done :-)