As is clearly revealed in the photo entries, the cultural attache has been incredibly busy of late, having arrived in Takayama just as its Autumn festival was taking full flight. An amazing sight to behold. At the conclusion of the procession I noticed a rather unusual building which seemed rather intriguing from its few revealing external features. When I suggested the cultural attache might be mildly interested in a closer inspection he was surprised to be greeted by the mondo bizarro barber, as we affectionately refer to him.
It was on amazing barber salon with a collection of porcelain fish and theatre masks on the wall, one retro juke box belting out the Bee Gees and one very funky barber with some amazingly antiquated hairdressing equipment. There were strange mannequins and sculptures from the wall.
Although closed for trading on account of the festival, clearly the mondo bizarro hairdresser was aware of the diplomatic standing if not dignified standing of the cultural attache and immediately offered to primp and preen his greying locks.
What a performance this involved!
Whilst the cultural attache was being subjected to the male version of the day spa equivalent, we were treated to a video replay of the barber’s fifteen minutes of fame as he eloquently informed us he was regarded as a movie star in Takayama. Evidently he has a collection of more than 1000 of these figures (advertising material – vintage, retro) and now very valuable. He was interviewed by a quirky host of a talk show – Japanese style in relation to his burgeoning collection.
All very surreal and we even were introduced to his lovely wife, whom he informed us could translate for him – her English was marginally more than his and better than my Japanese. A most surreal experience.
Oh the FAUX PAS!
Not always noted for his diplomacy, the cultural attache will be undertaking some lessons in etiquette and decorum in the near future. A few days ago in Kanazawa, we were visiting a temple and the cultural attache says rather rather brazenly to me “How’s that for a picture of health and fitness” – referring to a rather (very) overweight lady in a hibiscus pink frock munching on a chocolate bar and smoking a cigarette – glaring at him as we walked down the stairs – the lady speaks directly to us asking us if we had just taken a guided tour in Japanese and explained to us that she, despite looking Japanese, is actually American and cannot understand a word of Japanese. I then engaged her in a rather pale attempt at a diversionary discussion in the hope that she had not heard the comment – although I am sure she did. They were the first westerners we had spoken to in 3 weeks.
Ironically the cultural attache and myself are not known for engaging widely in activities involving health and fitness.
Next assignment – the June Daly Watkins school of etiquette and deportment for the Ninja.
Latest T-shirt saying “Practicality – Sometimes fantasy is expressed with a word”.