This blog has been getting a few hits a week now from people searching “haircut in korea” or something similar to. Probably they end up finding this blog because of a rant a while back about how awkward it was getting my first haircut in Korea. No doubt, when the stylist speaks little to no English, getting a haircut in Korea can be an awkard, nail biting experience. You can approach this a few ways.
1. Bring a picture and hope for the best. I go to a place called Hair Tokyo in Gwangju. They actually bring out a huge picture book of different styles for me to choose from. Most are over the top ridiculous, and I’d rather not look like a pointed, blond penis (G-Dragon).
2. Attempt to communicate with gestures and whatever Korean you know. This might work out great… Or it could be the poorest of poor ideas.
3. Have a Korean write down on paper what you want. I’ve been doing this for 9 months now without failure. If you don’t have any Korean friends yet, print this out and use it. It means, keep my current style and don’t go fucking nuts with the shears.
Wow, that was quick. Only eleven more to go. Counting the days already, you say? Who wouldn’t after having gone through a terrible September of transitions and training. But at least now the really difficult part is over.
This is for for anyone considering teaching English abroad. Be aware that your recruiting agent gets paid a good sum of money when you sign your contract. So whatever they offer for a salary, ask for more. The Koreans will expect you to know what is going on very quickly, and will probably not tell you very much unless questioned directly. So ask a lot of DETAILED questions and make sure to write things down so you don’t look like an ass and forget.
Today was my first haircut in Korea, and would you believe that nobody in the salon spoke English? “Korean speak”? the receptionist asked. “No,” I responded bluntly. The confusion, already swelling in her eyes, told the full story. “If we can’t understand what this foreigner is saying, how the fuck are we supposed to cut his hair properly? Maybe we could just shave it and tell the manager he lost a bet. Yeah, that’s why he left all pissed off…” Luckily I had planned for this, and had a friend write hair cutting instructions down on a piece of paper….. and they did a fantastic job. Two thumbs up Hair Tokyo.