How to Japanese Podcast – Episode 48 – The 1,000-yen Haircut and まとめる

On the podcast this month, I continued the conversation about value in Japan, specifically looking at the 1,000-yen men’s haircut, which I think is one of the worst values in Japan, and the 2,000-yen men’s haircut, which is one of the better values in Japan.

These are cuts that are available at what I call “value barbers” and “extreme value barbers.” I don’t have a good sense of anything outside these two establishments, other than that anything beyond these two seem to go up in price dramatically quite quickly; there doesn’t seem to be much in that 2,000-5,000 yen range, although I did have the my worst (non-self afflicted) haircut in Japan at what I might call a “value luxury barber” for around 4,000-5,000 yen.

Let me know what you think and whether I’ve missed anything. I was able to give some good advice for getting a men’s haircut in Japan, but I’m especially clueless about the salon experience for women. I’d be curious to know what the customs are like there.

The one kind of “set custom” that I may have forgotten to mention on the podcast is the kind of 義理マッサージ (obligatory massage) that barbers give customers: After applying hair tonic at the very end of a cut, the barber then will rub your shoulders, clamp your hands together, and then give you a quick bump on each side (and maybe the top of the head?). I sometimes feel a little awkward enjoying this.

And over on the newsletter I wrote about the verb まとめる (matomeru, bring things together). I talked about this at the end of the podcast as well. Give it a listen!