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One of the odd realities of long term travel is that you still have errands to run and chores to do.  Laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash – definitely not things I associated with traveling abroad, but definitely things that all need doing should you stay in one place for more than a few days.

At home, we handled these chores without thinking.  Abroad, they’re an adventure!

Hunting down Tex-Mex ingredients in Paris? Check. Looking for a good laundromat on a remote island in Thailand? Check. Getting a haircut in Japan?


I used to think my hair was pretty easy to cut, but months of variable-quality haircuts have taught me otherwise.

I had decent success in Europe, where I could get by with English mixed with numbers in French, German, or Spanish, but Asia is a different beast altogether.  For one thing, my hair is predominantly Asian, so I was pretty confident they could get the job done.  For another thing, haircuts are super cheap in Asia, so I decided to get it cut every two weeks instead.

Haircut in Manila, the Philippines – 140 pesos ($4.50) – not too shabby.

Haircut in Hoi Anh, Vietnam – 30,000 VND ($1.50) – you get what you pay for.

Haircut in Beijing, China – 10 CNY ($1.60) – winner!

Of all the haircuts I’ve had on the trip, the best was in Beijing, China.  That’s not too surprising, given my hair is 1/2 Chinese, and there are roughly 5 haircuts a Chinese guy can successfully pull off, but I was pretty surprised at the quality given the price.

So surprised, that I went into Japan a little too confident.

Turns out everything in Japan is different. Up until this point, I had been lead to believe that electric razors all used the same standard blades. I use a 3 on top, and 1 on the sides.  For whatever reason in Japan (or perhaps just this barber), the blade size corresponded to actual length.

In millimeters.

Perhaps more interesting was the rinsing process and the hair technology on display.  Check out the placement of the sink.

Wait for it…

All that for 2000 yen ($20) – the most expensive haircut yet! At least I won’t need a haircut for a few months…