In a large city such as Tokyo, not excelling in Japanese isn’t too much of a problem. Tokyoites are accustomed to foreigners being around, and understand that we may be less than fluent. In daily lives gestures and body language are often readily acceptable as communicative currency. However, for some things signaling is not quite enough, sometimes a misunderstanding can have lasting consequences.
A trip to the hairdresser is one of those times. As anyone who has ever had a completely botched hairstyle can tell you, there is nothing worse than spending your days looking like you lost a fight with a lawnmower, simply because you confused the Japanese for ‘just a slight trim please’ with ‘make me look like Donald Trump on a bad day’.
However, if you know where to look, Tokyo abounds with hairdressers of high repute who, not only know their clipper grades one, two and three, but also have a masterful command of their A, B and Cs.
The list below is for information purposes only and are not endorsements.
Prices are listed for standard cuts (excluding colorings, perms etc.)
Stylists to stars as diverse as Yoko Ono, Alanis Morissette, My Chemical Romance and James Blunt, Sin Den specializes in the foreign hair of hipsters and international bankers alike. Consultations can be held in English, Japanese and Italian.
You can probably expect a relaxed atmosphere from a stylist with a mantra like “stay chilled dude, stay chilled”. Dude imports its hair colors and will not use thinning scissors without prior consultation (a particular bugbear for foreigners visiting stylists who are used to treating thicker Japanese hair). With a promise of “no personal questions” you can kick back while getting your Dude do and stay chilled.
With award winning stylists who have worked in ELLE and VOGUE as well as at London Fashion Week, it is no surprise that Assort features on the Leading Salons website. They aim to treat their clients like stars from the moment they enter, and claim their reputation is gained due to a focus on design and precision.
A native of Sydney, Gold Salon owner Howard Lee Regner has 30 years’ experience in the hairdressing industry, half of which have been in top end salons in Tokyo and his hometown. The spacious, sunlit salon is high above the city and guarantees beautiful color as well as results on any kind of hair you may have.
Most stylists at Watanabe hairdressing have been trained at world famous Vidal Sassoon in London, and have styled the hair of everyone from Paul Smith and Massive Attack to politician Yoko Tajima. Pampering, with customers receiving a full shiatsu head massage, is most definitely the word.
Having opened as a sister branch to SHINKA in Sydney, this salon has taken the antipodean aesthetic to Roppongi. The Australian brickwork creates a warm and calming environment and has been nominated for many Best Design in beauty industry awards. With a receptionist who also doubles as a columnist in beauty magazines, you can probably presume their stylists make the cut.
The staff at VIP claim to provide the hairstyle that is “perfect for you” with expertise over a full range of colors as you enjoy the “VIP” treatment. The occasional misspelling on their website may be a little off-putting, however various forum testimonies around the internet claim it to be one of the more reliable salons in the city.
Photo: from www.vipcreativehair.jp