It’s been a few weeks since I had my hair cut in Sapporo, and I thought I’d sharpen myself up before the quarter-final in Tokyo, just in case the cameras catch me in my glory.
I’m in Saitama, half an hour out of Tokyo, mainly because I wanted to go to the Train Museum. (More on that later, with photos. Lots of photos.)
The trick, given my inability to read Japanese, is to look for the old fashioned barber poles: the red, white and blue twirly things. (They’re not poles anymore, of course, they’re lighted signs, but still.)
Found one near the railway station, followed the arrows down some steps to a basement barber.
Now maybe I should have reversed course at that moment, because the barber was sound asleep in his chair, there being no customers.
But he heard my steps, and jerked upright, which was not bad for a gentleman of his age. A considerable age, I would suggest. And now I was committed, because you cannot really back out with any grace when you may well be the old fellas first, last and only customer of the day.
With sign language we agreed that I wanted a Number 3 all over. At least, that’s what I thought we’d agreed.
But when he began the buzz (after a considerable amount of whooshing here and there with three covers over me, and a wandering round looking for things, and a rubbing of my head with a warm towel), there seemed to be an awful lot of hair falling. And, you must understand, that I have precious little of the stuff to start with.
I held up my hand, and then realised that it was too late. Like a sheep, I was committed. Carry on, we agreed.
The result is that if the cameras do swing in my direction tomorrow no-one from New Zealand will recognise me. There will be a very bald man giving advice to the referee, but it won’t look like Ned.
Which, come to think of it, might be the perfect disguise to unleash the Full Ned. And any subsequent perp photos will not look anything like me. Perfect.