A great portion of Japan's GDP is allocated to producing goods and services that are fun, weird, cute and aesthetically pleasing. As an extra bonus, they have cool pens and like cream puffs.
This weekend I did two Japanese-related activities: I went to Uniqlo and I went to Hoshi Coupe to get my hair cut.
Uniqlo is a clothing chain in Japan that opened a huge store in SoHo a few years back. I get most of my button-down dress shirts there, as well as my undershirts. It took me years to find suitable replacements for my old undershirts, which were about 10 years old, yellow and riddled with holes. Fortunately, Uniqlo makes undershirts that fit me perfectly.
Hoshi Coupe has a branch on the Upper West Side, several blocks from where I live. I finally decided that after a tragic Supercuts accident that left me cutting my own hair for over a year, it was time to get a professional cut.
Anyway, my hair was rather long and scraggly. There was one other person in the salon getting her hair cut, and when I sat down and the stylist was playing around with my hair and asking me what I wanted, all the other female Japanese stylists who were just sitting around covered their mouths and giggled, probably because my hair looked so silly. Another funny tidbit: when it was time to use clippers to trim my sideburns, the stylist said "you want pokey?" Why sure I do!
The moral of all of this: I don't know.