As the warmer days approach, you might be thinking about getting a new, shorter cut to keep cool. If you’re worried about the language barrier, fret no more! In this article 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 type of barbershop in Japan. It’s frequently referred to as “1,000 yen cut (sen-en katto)”. 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 so if you only need a quick cut, it’s perfect for you. 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!
Being a “hair model” is also one of the inexpensive ways to cut your hair in Japan. You can search for ads on the Internet, or new 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.
Useful Phrases For Your Next Haircut
Well then, finally, let’s dive into the 10 useful Japanese phrases for getting a haircut.
1. Showing a Photo or Clipping of Your Ideal Haircut
こんな感じにしてください。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 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 if the stylist fastens the gown a little too tight around your neck.
ちょっと苦しいです。Chotto kurushii desu
The stylist will loosen it for your comfort. They might ask you “苦しいですか？” (kurushii desu ka, is that too tight) or “大丈夫(そう)ですか” (daijoubu(sou)desuka, is that okay/does it seem okay).
4. Can I Have Just a Trim?/Please Don’t Change the Length Too Much
長さはあまり変えないでください。Nagasa wa amari kaenaide kudasai.
If you are planning to grow your hair longer, just ask the stylist 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 little trim several times a month and sometimes visit more fashionable beauty salons for coloring or perming.
5. I’d Like It Thinned/ Can You Thin It Please?
軽くしてください。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 a similar meaning to the previous sentence.
6. Please Cut It a Bit Shorter
もう少し短くしてください。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. Often, this phrase is the difference between leaving the salon with satisfaction or huge regret.
7. Do You Think It’s Better to Cut a Little Bit Shorter?
短くした方がいいと思いますか。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 Dryer… Not Your New ‘Do!)
When you feel the dryer is too hot, do not hesitate to use this one.
9. Thank you
Don’t forget to show your thanks. They will surely bow back smiling.
Feel Like Getting Your Haircut?
You’ll be ready with these phrases!
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Yuko HIDA / Japan