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!"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Encounter 13: The Eleventh Dreadlock Removal

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. 

The sparkle-eyed lady seemed rather pleased to have assisted me in my quest, but immediately said she had no use for the dreadlock and gave it back to me. 

When I asked her what to do with it, she advised me to "keep it in a safe place," and I walked away wondering how to interpret this. 

I sat on a bench and twisted the dreadlock into a ring or bracelet.

 I decided not to wear this openly for fear that somebody might comment on the removed dreadlock and complicate the matter by raising the question of whether the encounter-triggering comment had to be about a dreadlock that was still attached to my head.

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.

 Between the large ring and its supporting frame was a cleft just big enough to fit the dreadlock ring. 

 So I placed it there.

I then continued walking, and approached the island's summit.

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