If anyone hasn’t already noticed…I have locs aka dreadlocks. Many people even in the US don’t fully understand the hairstyle but it’s what I have. They’re not extensions, they’re not fake, it’s all mine and I maintain them myself. Also, because I have them doesn’t mean I’m Jamaican and it doesn’t mean I don’t wash my hair ever. Okay now that we got that out of the way I’ll tell you a little bit about what I’ve experienced in Japan with my hair.
First of all when I was in NY my friends were a mix (not only black people) so of course not everyone understood the hairstyle. Even black people like myself didn’t understand it. Certain family members too were a little unsure about it as well. Either way people seem to be curious if they have no idea. Japanese people seem to be even more curious. Actually I feel they are more openly curious when actually having a conversation with me. Once they feel comfortable talking to me, they ask. I can tell they are itching to touch too. Well I don’t even have to tell they usually say it.
Not many or better yet, rarely any Japanese have locs let alone real locs. If they have locs, they get extensions from shops that specializes in them. I’ve never been to these shops because I do my own hair and I actually heard that these shops wouldn’t even do my hair because it’s natural. It’s just because they don’t know how but I need not worry since I’ve been doing my own hair for over 4.5 years now. I did get them started by a loctician (dreadlock specialist) in North Carolina, though. When I told the lady who started them that I was moving back to NY, she taught me how to twist myself. Now it takes me about 1hour if I’m not distracted by the TV to twist my hair after washing.
Anyway, back to the point about Japanese and locs. Yes, it’s not a popular hairstyle and I think it’s more of a subculture thing. Businessmen/women won’t have and if they do I’ve never seen them. I can probably count on one hand how many…wait actually two hands of how many Japanese people (mainly men) have locs. One of my good friends who I first met through reggae night at a bar near my place has locs and his is ALL NATURAL! Granted, he started with extensions but grew them out till he could cut them off and still have long hair. There are probably more Japanese out there with locs but I haven’t seen them…yet.
I think all of the people I’ve seen in Japan with locs are those who like reggae/dancehall. Therefore I see them or meet them at those events. I do get asked a lot about who does my hair and when I say myself some ask if I can do theirs (if they have of course) or just only seem surprised. From the Japanese who have no clue about locs they are the ones that are itching to touch it. I usually don’t mind because I like to see their reaction and they are so clueless that it’s not the same as if an ignorant white person touched my hair in the US.
I have encountered one incident that bothered me the most out of all people who have ever touched my hair out of curiosity (America and Japan combined). Me and my Kiwi (New Zealander) friend were walking in Kyoto and a lady out of no where…and when I mean no where I mean it really seemed like she popped out of thin air, grabbed a handful of my hair in awe. No, she didn’t ask me. No, she didn’t even talk to me before doing so. And, no she didn’t speak English. At the time my Japanese was very low so I couldn’t understand a word she said but she seemed to be very excited. That’s nice but I wish she would have at least talked to me then asked before doing so. That’s a big no no. If she spoke English or if it was in the US I definitely would have said something that would tell her she should never do that again. Poor old lady, I hope she doesn’t go abroad and do stuff like that.
Black people’s hair seems to be a mystery to maaaaany people and this blog is not to solve them for you. I just wanted to share some anecdotes of what I experienced in Japan with my hair and to tell you who takes care of it which is me. It’s been about 5 years and 3 months since I started growing them and I’m so happy I did because I had a chemical straight perm for years. Found out that it was something very unhealthy to do so I stopped. Locs are easy for me to maintain therefore I continue to have them. Also glad I can do them myself because I get to save lots of money.
Although it seems rare if you are a fellow lochead and you want to move to Japan the only advice I have for you is to maintain it yourself and keep it neat. That’s all.
Looks like I had a similar post on here about my locs but this one is more lengthy. Ooops!