I was standing in front of a souvenir sweet shop watching a machine making little bean-jam cakes. I made appreciative noises to a bored-looking male shop assistant, but he took little notice. A wizened female shop assistant approached from further inside the shop, and with eyes sparkling, said in Japanized English, "Long Hair!"
I produced my scissors and started to explain my hair-cutting intentions to the lady, but she seemed to understand what was going on as soon as she saw the scissors.
I asked her to choose a dreadlock to cut, and she did so, but made the common error of starting to cut at the tip, rather than the root. I never quite understood what people thought might be the point of cutting just a small bit of hair off the end of the dreadlocks. To cut it all this way would take as long as it had taken to grow, by which time I would be 9 years older, and my hair would be twice the length! Perhaps people simply assumed that such a mass of hair must be an important object which I felt the need to keep. So I offered her the root of her selected dreadlock, and she took a snip and a half to cut through the tangled mass.
I sat on a bench and twisted the dreadlock into a ring or bracelet.
A few hours later, I had travelled, on a whim (and also on a train), to Enoshima, another touristic spot, on the south coast of Kanagawa prefecture. Walking up the island through the shrine complex, I suddenly saw what I had to do with the dreadlock ring.
In front of one of the shrine buildings was a huge ring of rice straw that visitors were invited to walk through in a figure of eight pattern.
The resemblance of this ring to the dreadlocked ring in my pocket was uncanny, and proved beyond doubt the value of whimsical train travel.
I then continued walking, and approached the island's summit.
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