My favorite barber passed away earlier this February. I only learned of this a couple of weekends ago and was a bit sad that I wasn't even able to visit the wake. I considered him a friend even though we met only on for my regular haircuts typically at the end of the month. However, "regular" here actually spanned roughly 30 years since I could remember as my father first took me to this makeshift barber shop at the Cainta Public Market sometime in 1983/84. The only significant break from the regular haircuts was in 1996-1999 when I was studying in Japan and I had my haircut at another barber shop.
I was introduced to this barbershop in the Meguro district of Tokyo in 1996 by one of my good friends. I helped that the barber shop was a few minutes walk away from the JR Meguro Station of the Yamanote Line and I could easily go there whenever I was in Tokyo. Being a creature of habit, I made the effort to go there for my haircuts even though I lived in Yokohama, a good 45 to 60 minutes away by train. My Nihongo wasn't really good so I always asked them about the pictures they had showing different haircuts in front, side and back so I could point to how I wanted them to cut my hair. I remember that I never had a bad haircut there and always got my money's worth. They even had a promotion where each haircut a customer was given a coupon indicating points earned. You could exchange the points for a haircut or perhaps items they had on display that you may exchange the points for. I still have the nail cutter and nose hair scissors that I got from accumulating so many points
I remember at least 3 barbers who usually gave me a haircut. One was a mute, one was a woman and another was a young man sporting long hair. I'm sure I picked up their names at one time but I forget them now though I do remember their faces. The last time I had a haircut there was in 2008 when I stayed in Japan for 1.5 months. That was good enough for 2 haircuts and again, I made the effort to travel the distance from Saitama to Meguro just for the haircut and shampoo that's always been my routine whenever I was there.
With all the changes in Tokyo from 2008, I wasn't sure that the barber shop would still be there when I made the trips to Japan from last year. I really didn't have time to go for a haircut last October as I wanted to re-explore Kamakura and Yokohama. This time though, with some time on my hands and feeling a bit sentimental because of the passing of my old barber, I decided to go around Meguro and check on the old barber shop there. I did find the old barber shop but it was closed and there was a sign there saying it had moved. I couldn't read Japanese well so I couldn't get the details from the sign. However, after crossing the street at the next junction and walking along the other side, I quickly found where the barber shop had relocated - just across the street from its old location.
|The old barber shop is now closed.|
|And that's because it had reopened just across the street from the old one.|
Peeking inside, I happily saw that at least two of my old barbers were still there - the woman and the guy with the long hair. Surprisingly, they looked the same as when I had last been there in 2008. With this knowledge, I now look forward to the next time I could be in Tokyo and maybe have the time to get a haircut at Meguro.-