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Welcome to Japan! Or, are you still packing your suitcase for the flight?
In any case, I bet you are excited for your upcoming new life here in Japan. New classes, new textbooks, new friends, perhaps even a new lover… but wait, with your current hair style? For your new life as a student in Japan, how about getting a nice haircut before the new semester starts. The fresh feeling of a new haircut will add the finishing touch to your preparation for your new life. Here we’ll provide you with some useful phrases for when you’re getting a haircut in Japan.
Before explaining the useful phrases, we’d like to recommend one barbershop in Japan. It’s frequently referred to as “1,000 yen cut (sen-en katto. For details, please talk to my friend Google)”. In this shop (you can easily find them in some shopping streets or shopping centers), you can have your hair cut for just one 1,000 yen bill! Although shampoo is not included―the service includes just the cut and blow drying, if you are the type who just needs a simple haircut, it would be the perfectly suitable barber. No reservation is required, and besides the reasonable cost, you can be done within 10-15 minutes. This streamlined cutting time is also recommended for beginners to Japan― no high level Japanese conversation skill is required!
If you would like to enjoy a conversation in Japanese with the beautician, you should visit a more fashionable salon. If you are the time and money-saving type of student, however, 1,000 yen cut may be the best choice. Just don’t forget to take a 1,000 yen bill―some shops don’t have change.
“Hair model” is also one of the inexpensive ways to cut your hair in Japan. You can search “Want hair model” adds on the Internet, or new beauticians/will-be beauticians (students in beautician school) often hunt passersby for their hair cutting practice. They usually offer this service with extreme low prices or even completely free! In some cases, you can also get your hair shampooed or even permed.
Well then, finally, let’s dive into the 10 useful Japanese phrases for getting a haircut.
1. Showing a photo or clipping:
Konna kanji ni shite kudasai
A photo or clipping of your favorite hairdo can be helpful for the barber to understand your taste or opinion. But choose a realistic one that can be actualized by your hair… My father (he’s Japanese) once took a photo of Richard Gere, and the barber just said “No”.
2. I’ll leave it up to you
Each country has its own taste. It may be a good challenge, or a chance to make a memory, to try some popular Japanese hair styles. However we cannot guarantee that it will really suit you and your hair….
3. It’s a little too tight
Used after the gown is fastened around your neck
Chotto kurushii desu
If the gown is put around your neck before the haircut and you feel it’s a little too tight, use this phrase. The barber will loosen it up for your comfort.
4. Can I have a trim just a little bit?
Nagasa wa amari kaenaide kudasai
If you are planning to grow your hair longer, just ask the barber this. This is one of the phrases I personally use often at the hair salon. Recently, in fact, some Japanese young women go to 1,000 yen cut for a little trim several times a month, and sometimes visit more fashionable beauty parlors for coloring or perming.
5. I’d like to thin it a lot
Karuku shite kudasai
If you have thick hair which can get out of control on a rainy day, just ask the barber this. This phrase can also be used with similar meaning to No.4 above.
6. Please cut it a little bit shorter
Mou sukoshi mijikaku shite kudasai
To request this, or not to request this, that is the question…the length of “Mou sukoshi” (a little more) varies person by person. To leave the shop with satisfaction or regret depends on whether you use this phrase or not.
7. Do you think it’s better to cut a little bit shorter?
Mijikaku shita hou ga ii to omoi masu ka?
If you are wondering about No.6, let’s ask the expert’s opinion.
8. It’s hot (the dyer… not your new ‘do!)
When you feel that the heat of the dryer is too hot, do not hesitate to say this phrase to protect yourself.
9. Do I look cute/cool?
Kawaiku/Kakkoyoku narimashita ka?
A compliment from others gives us confidence all the time…they will surely say “Kawaii/ Kakkoii desu! (You look great!)”
10. Thank you
Don’t forget to show your thanks. They will surely bow back smiling.
Well, feel like going hair cutting right now? Let’s get some new hair for the new semester this September! Good luck!
Yuko HIDA / Japan