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!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Encounter 38: The Thirty-fifth dreadlock removal

 I was just about to get into the bath after a hard day's work on the farm, when Onishi, one of the other farm workers, called out from the next room to ask if I wanted to go out to the onsen later on, to meet up with Shinya's friend Seinoshin who was visiting from Kamakura for a few days.

 I decided to go along, and the four of us chatted for a while in the onsen reception before going along the long corridors leading to the outside bath. In the changing room, just after Shinya and Onishi had gone through to the bath, Seinoshin said to me, "your hair is... rather... great, isn't it?" at which I produced my scissors and said my spiel.

 Seinoshin later told me that he had been very impressed by the fluid nature in which I produced my scissors and told him about my project. This fluidity was to be expected, since I had now had 37 similar encounters previously.
 Seinoshin seemed interestyed in my method of hair removal, and was happy to partake. From a selection of locks he chose precisely the one I was thinking of having cut next, and cut it with concentrated panache.

 I told him that he could keep it if he wanted, and he said he certainly did, so I asked him to think about what he would exchange for it. He carefully stowed it in his clothes basket, and we went through to the bath and told the other two about the cut: they were most excited and congratulated us both. I told them all the story of my hair's background with Japan.

 After a good long soak, we all dried off, reclothed, and traveersed the long corridor back to the reception area, which also contained a gift shop. We were about to say our farewells when I reminded Seinoshin that he said he would think about an exchange for the dreadlock. He said he had indeed been thinking about it and wandered around the gift shop looking for something appropriate. What he found was highly appropriate: a bar of soap made with water from the hot spring.

 I thanked him and we made our farewells.

Shinya, Onishi and their friends are all keen tweeters, and a few days later, they told me about an interesting tweet by someone who I gather must be related to Seinoshin:
"Yesterday a single dreadlock arrived by Express Mail. I was wondering if it was ingredients/materials for a Shime or Waraji, but today the explanation arrived. It's like being in a Coen Brothers or David Lynch movie..."
 Shime can either be translated as 
These are indeed interesting potential uses for a detached dreadlock. (Indeed, many of the dreadlocks that were removed from my head became or were exchanged for o-mamori - talismans)

Waraji are straw sandals of the type used by pilgrims. Had I kept more of the dreadlocks I had removed, that too would have been a good use for them - although I suspect that with all the travelling I have been doing, they would have worn out rather quickly.

 I assume Seinoshin must have sent the dreadlock home, before arriving a couple of days later to explain.

If the reactions to one simple dreadlock go this far, the complete extent of the repercussions of this project will never be fully known. Indeed, what might the parents of the schoolchildren who cut the next lock off think of their new possession on their return home?

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