Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Can a sister get some hair ge!?
Okay, so for the first time while in Japan I started thinking about washing my hair. Now don't get me wrong! I had my hair done to a T before I left the states,but five weeks later it's about that time. So, I pull out my supply, brought all the way from home mind you, and realize- there's not enough. I need to do my hair-a total stranger in the tai chi class I found here (thank goodness) PULLed my hair the other day, touching it without asking!You would be proud to know that I didn't slap the white off her. Something I would never allow in the States, I endure here for the sake of international relations. But back to the story, I have no hair products! So I google some shops while at work- the perfect cover for internet piracy- and discover- nobody ships to Japan. If I didn't feel lonely before, I do now. Every black girl knows the panic that ensues when you can't do your do and in Japan, Sally's Beauty Supply does not exist. So I ask around- I have natural hair- I can make do with natural supplies. Is there aloe vera gel for twisting? Is there peppermint oil for my wash? And only when they look at me funny, which here means not straight in the eyes, do I fully despair. How can I be a Nubian queen if I can't style my locs, my crowning glory? Bad enough, people here have already started to ask me when I wash it or conversely have compared me (in pidgin English no less) to Bob Marley. No offense, but there was one and only one Bob Marley. I am me- and having locs is a central part of who I am or at least who I consider myself to be. How interesting that being in Japan is causing me to think more and more about what that really means. At first everytime I had to "represent" all Americans, all African- Americans, all female Americans I got a more than a little resentful. But then I got thoughtful and proactive. Here I am uberpolite, thoughtful and helpful- all things I was before. But not generally seen as the "American" stereotype. (Thanks to MTV for spreading L'il John to Japan before I got here!) I have always been polite, and helpful but here those things carry an extra weight. I am more than mindful that I represent America in everything that I do here- but more importantly, most importantly, I always represent myself. Locs or no, I carry my crowning glory inside my head. That being said- a sister still needs that aloe vera gel, ya heard?