32 Akita City: Last song for Akita

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.

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