11 July 2010

The Japanese Shaved My Earlobes

I had my first straight-razor shave this week and it was quite an experience. I went to my usual barber and got my usual haircut. The last time I was there he asked if I wanted a shave but I declined citing a lack of cash (even though Japan is a cash-based society I carry little cash). I told him I would try one next time though because I had not had a straight-razor shave before.

So, it's 6 weeks later and I'm laying back in my chair with my beard lathered. And my... forehead lathered? This is kind of odd, I thought to myself. I didn't think the fine blonde hairs on my forehead warranted much attention but the barber was the one with the razor so I kept my mouth shut. I also thought that if I tried to speak my forehead would krinkle and I would have part of it sliced into. He must have also thought I was developing hairy ears since, after leaving my forehead smooth and unscathed, he immediately shaved my earlobes and the outside of my ears.

Throughout the whole experience I never once thought about asking for an explanation or asking him to stop. Remember, I'm the guy who let Japanese men feel him up so getting a shave is a walk in the park. I thought the forehead shaving was a little odd but having my earlobes and outer ear shaved actually felt kind of cool. You know that feeling you get when someone kisses your ears? The "this is cool but it wouldn't be cool if they stuck their tongue in my ear" feeling? Having your ears shaved is kind of similar. It's cool unless the barber slips and lops a chunk of your ear off.

While I was impressed with the thoroughness of the shave, it was less smooth than I thought it would be. I think the barber thought so too - when he finished he stood up, wiped his brow and said "Muzukashii," which means difficult. I guess he wasn't used to shaving thick North American beards.


  1. Apparently I learned from some coworkers that at Japanese salons for women they wax off all of the tiny hairs that you can't see and normally don't bother with on your face as part of the treament. O_O Maybe this is a similar thing.

  2. Strange... I haven't asked any of my students yet if they get their earlobes shaved at the barber.

  3. OK now you've got me feeling my forehead for evidence of little hairs. I did not realize men had earlobe hairs, let alone forehead hairs.

  4. I've always known I've had them but I didn't think they were visible enough to warrant being removed.