About six months ago I came to face something I had been in denial of for a long time- I have really, really curly hair. Up to that point, I had been trying to straighten it in every way possible and on the days that I couldn’t, I was wrestling it into a ponytail. Six months ago is when I realized that working full time at my company was not working out for me on so many levels that I had to step down. One of the things that made me come to that decision was the difference in my hair, between the beginning of my being posted there, and that moment in time. I had lost what seems like 30% of my hair. It had been coming out in chunks in the shower for months. My ponytails were getting so sad, and I could no longer do the fashionable wrap-a-bit-of-my-own-hair-around-the-band-to-cover-it-and-look-polished pony. I didn’t have enough hair to do it without looking like a 5-year-old girl with frown lines.
So after I quit and came back to the Chiba school, I started leaving my hair down, knowing that ponytails can contribute to damaged or lost hair. I started to notice, I mean for once really notice, ringlets down behind my ears. My curiosity having been piqued, I went to the great Oracle (otherwise known as my web browser) and started reading up. I decided to give my hair a chance and see what it could do. I followed the directions the best I could- after the shower, I took a t-shirt (my husbands, naturally), not a towel, and gently squashed my hair up toward my noggin. A then carefully let it air dry without touching it. In Utah, this would take 20 minutes, but in Japan more like 2 hours, and that’s an optimistic estimate. The result? Most of my hair dried into curls, albeit frizzy ones. Less than ideal but encouraging.
By some miracle I found a stylist in Tokyo that worked in one of New York’s top curly hair salons for many years- she’s a wise woman and put an add in Metropolis, the free weekly expat mag. So I made my appointment and went 2 hours to her salon. She gave me a lot of advice about how to treat my hair, how to wash it, how to dry it, how to max the curls without touching a heating element or any other tool besides a towel, some gel, and maybe a spray of herbal water.
The reason I bring this up now, is that for the last week I have been really trying to figure out how to wash my hair at night, usually within 2 hours of bedtime, and wake up the next day with happy, smooth, and satisfactory curls. It doesn’t work wet, I have discovered- with or without a wrap on my head. Dry doesn’t work either, although its slightly better with a wrap, the curls still look confused in the morning. If I can manage to stay perfectly still while I sleep, and I remember to fan my hair above my head on the pillow, that works wonders… but that only happened once and I didn’t actually sleep that night for worry of moving. The best I can do so far is to wash it or wet it down in the mornings, and that’s not ideal.
Maybe today I am going to Yo’s salon for a treatment. For cuts and more serious work, I am sticking with the lady 2 hours train ride away in Ebisu to take care of me. Anyway its past 10AM and I have promised to start getting the gym done with by noon each day. The mornings are like a geriatrics ward! Lots of old people doing the zombie walk and sitting on the benches for 20 minutes after completing their stretching routine. I’m glad none of them are brave enough to try the elliptical!