Straight Perm in Tokyo

Today, I got my first professional haircut I’ve had since I was 15 years old, so I was a bit nervous and excited.

I went to Hair Salon Nalu in Omotesando in Tokyo. I found out about this place from Rachel and Jun’s YouTube video. I made my appointment using Hot Pepper Beauty and got a 20% discount. I got a haircut, a damage-free straight perm, and full makeup.

Before

My hair is naturally very curly. If I let my hair air dry, it looks like the picture to the right. It looks nice, right? As long as I don’t brush it after it dries, it’s fine. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for me to go the whole day without brushing my hair.

If I don’t straighten my hair, and brush my hair like I normally would throughout the day, I end up looking more like the picture on the left. Because of this, I usually spend a lot of time straightening my hair before leaving the house. On days I oversleep or if I have an event where I want to look good, this can be troublesome in the mornings.

To make my life easier, I decided to try a Japanese straight perm.

 

 

 

 

At NALU

The salon is about a five minute walk from Omotesando Station. The salon is over a cafe, and it’s not so obvious from the street, so I actually passed it at first.

The staff were very friendly, and several of them speak English. They seem to be popular with foreigners, as several other English speaking customers came while I was there.

First, they washed my hair and put some chemical that smelled like ammonia (possibly deep treatment?). Next, they cut my hair. Then, they put in a straightening cream before straightening it with a straightener. Each time they put cream in my hair, they put a giant slowly spinning heater behind me.

(My reaction the first time they pulled it out).

After the haircut and straightening were finished, I was surprised to receive a massage from the stylist. According to her, this is standard in a Japanese haircut, but most foreigners are shocked and are afraid that they are going to be charged extra for the service.

Finally, they did my makeup. I told them I didn’t have much experience with makeup, so they did natural looking makeup. The woman explained every part of the application process and where I could buy the products they were using if I decided to start using makeup regularly.

At the counter, they instructed me not to wash my hair for two days (not including the day of the service). Then they gave me some special conditioner to use when I finally washed my hair. They gave me an additional 500 yen off because I promised to write a review for them. The total came to 24,550 yen (around $245.50)

After

 

 

As you can see, they properly exercised my fuzzball. The straight perm was expensive, even at a discount, but I’m very happy with the results and will likely do it again in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Buy Food From Home While Living in Tokyo

Every foreigner knows the misery of having cravings for food you could find in every store back home but is nearly non-existent in Tokyo. One of the worst food craving times of the year for Americans is Thanksgiving. We all miss the Turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries. But fear not, you can find some Thanksgiving favorites here.

We’re going to have a Thanksgiving party for my English Club, so I needed to find some typical Thanksgiving food. I stopped by National Azabu Supermarket in Minato. Today I’ll be sharing some of the things I was relieved to find there.

Pumpkin Pie Mix

Originally I was going to try to buy a couple of pre-made pies from a shop in Tokyo, but I found out the price would be around 4,000 yen ($40) a pie. I’m glad I was able to get pie ingredients from National Azabu. My pie expenses fell to about 1,500 yen ($15) a pie, so I’m very happy.

 

Betty Crocker Cake Mix

A while back I wanted to make a cake for someone’s birthday and all I could find was a basic sponge cake mix in Japanese stores. I did make the Japanese cake, but it seemed very low quality in comparison to what I’m used to from American cake mixes. I’ll definitely be going to this market next time for my baking needs.

 

Craft Macaroni and Cheese

This was a big part of my childhood. It was always the default food when mom was too busy to cook. This can also be found at Khaldi.

Cranberry Sauce

I’ve heard you can find this in other normal Japanese supermarkets, but I’ve never, ever seen it. I’ve been told that it’s not so popular with Japanese tastes because it’s very sweet and bitter. I honestly love cranberry sauce, and I hope my students enjoy it as well.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

While not Thanksgiving related, I’ve been trying to find these since I came to Japan. I’ve heard they’re not very popular in Japan because they’re so sweet. Unfortunately, that means almost no one sells them. This is the only store I’ve been able to find that sells them (at around 200 yen [$2] for a pack of two).

Non-food items

Besides these food items items, they sell Thanksgiving decorations. The store also had a display of turkey roasting pans and bags. I didn’t see any actual turkeys in the store, though, so you’ll have to order your bird elsewhere.