Felt alone and invisible again in the prefectural capital and another little Tokyo. My skin was red, dry and itchy. I did not feel fit for human company. The advantage of being in a little Tokyo is there is less scrutiny, less unwanted attention; strangers are naturally avoided, just another obstacle on the pavement.
My problems were solved at the hairdressers. The barber, a greasy-haired bloke with a pencil-thin beard and tight pea green-coloured trousers brought me back to life. His boyband-type appearance had intimidated me a little at first. How will he cope with a namahage in his chair?
My scruffy hair also confused him a little: “Errr, is this a mohican?”
Pea Green came from Noshiro; he went to the High School famous for its basketball team. The legendary coach, Kato Sensei apparently only ever cared about his basketball team. And as a teacher Kato was so noisy, the students nicknamed him, semi (cicada).
When I told Pea Green a little about my trip through Akita, he asked if I had eaten Hiyama natto? When I said no, he sang me a traditional song that lists the famous products of Akita.
I had gone into the hairdressers planning to ask for a zakuro massage. After 20 minutes chatting to Pea Green I did not need it. The stress in my shoulders had gone completely.
As I left, at the urging of a colleague, Pea Green gave me two small boxes of kinman sweets from a famous old confectioner around the corner. Akita city might be a Little Tokyo, but a Little Tokyo`s not such a bad place after all.