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  • Writer's pictureKarli Messer

Old Friends and Image Change!

Today, I woke up just as early as I did yesterday, but a bit more exhausted. As it turns out, I walked around 12.8 km and took 20,340 steps yesterday! I'm happy I have such good shoes! No foot pain and great exercise!

Unlike the day before, today I had some things on the To-Do List.

  1. Lunch plans with a friend at Aika chan's part-time job 11:30.

  2. Haircut at MINT Salon 13:00.

  3. Check in at hostel 16:00.

  4. Dinner with Hana in Ikebukuro 19:00.

I went to a restaurant called Alegria kyobashi and it turns out my friend didn't work until evening! It's too bad I missed her, but the food there was SO good. For ¥900 or under $9.00 I got the biggest, most filling meal in Tokyo so far. I thought I was ordering something small, but the "Ladies Lunch" portion is humongous. It seemed to be a popular lunch place for office workers and friends alike, since it was right at the entrance to the subway. It got pretty busy around 12:00, so arrive a little early like we did!

Believe it or not, I ordered the smallest rice size and shared a few meat chunks and I was still stuffed!

Next on the list, I made my way over to Ebisu for my appointment at MINT hair salon. I was greeted at the door by a few young ladies and I signed in via a QR code for a questionnaire. They brought me a bag for my phone and wallet, then took my heavy backpack and stored it for me. When I finished the questionnaire, one of the salon assistants brought me to the chair to begin consultation with the stylist. We decided to go with a Wolf Cut that adds more layers and is light weight in the summer!

The assistant, Tomomi or Tomi chan, brought me to the hair washing station and she laid a thin blanket over my legs and a tiny towel to cover my face. I was happy for the blanket because it was pretty chilly with the air conditioning on. It must've been over 15 minutes of hair washing because we talked for quite a while.

When I returned back to the stylists chair, we got started right away and the cut was done pretty fast. About halfway through I was offered something to drink from the menu and I went with mugi-cha (cold tea). A few moments later it was delivered on a cute tray with snacks! My hair stylist, Naomi san, takes photos of sentou (Japanese public bath) and gave me some great advice about travelling in Japan.

I would highly recommend getting a haircut in Japan! In contrast to typical American/Canadian salons, there's no tipping, the haircut is very efficient, and my experience in the salon was very private. I had two stylists helping me, but it appeared as if there are multiple assistants for washing, colouring, and cutting. All of the stations were separated so it felt like I had a private salon! Although the salon I chose didn't specialize in English-speaking customers, it was very welcoming and accommodating nonetheless. I enjoyed small talk just like the salons from back home and I'm very happy with my fresh, lightweight hair for summer in Japan!

I ended up changing hotels and moving into a hostel, since it was cheaper. The new accommodations are great and there's people from all over the world staying there. It was only a five minute walk so I carried my hiking bag through Asakusa to check in at 16:00. Some security guards eyes nearly popped out of their head when they saw me walk by (LOL).

Later that day, I met up with Hana from Ann Arbor for dinner in Ikebukuro. We ended up going to a grill-it-yourself seafood restaurant. It was pretty good! The first plate they brought out, we didn't know whether it was supposed to be grilled or not so we bit into the fish raw! When we asked the server, her face flashed a look of horror, but we laughed it off. Hana is working in Tokyo for the summer so she's quite busy! I'm so happy we were able to meet up after so long!


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