Monthly Archives: January 2011


Just before I left for Australia for Christmas I FINALLY got my hair cut! My last haircut before that was in March (!!) so my hair was in desperate need of some attention and I feel so much better now.

I would strongly recommend any pregnant woman approaching the end of their pregnancy to go and get their hair cut NOW. Having a haircut is just so much easier when the baby is inside you than it is after they are out!

A good option I should have taken would have been to go while Mum or Dad or my sister were here and could have looked after Ruby but somehow it seemed too hard to arrange at the time. I could of course go one weekend when Yuji is around to look after Ruby too, but it seems such a shame to waste family time like that…

But then I found a solution: it turns out that there is a hair salon in Jiyugaoka where they have qualified people to look after your child, including babies, while you get your hair cut! I found out about it in a great new magazine called Mama Sampo, which has lots of great information for getting out and about with kids.

So, the day before I left for Australia for a holiday that would involve lots of picture taking, I set out for Jiyugaoka. I ran out of time in the morning and ended up having to drive there, which was not the original plan. It was stressful but I made it without being too late and even found a place to park right near the salon! – no small achievement for someone with my limited parking skills!

I handed Ruby over to the two carers in the kid’s corner, a separate, sunken room, with a gate separating it from the rest of the salon. It was a bit of a scary moment – the first time I ever handed Ruby over to be looked after by a stranger! But it was only for a short time and I was in an adjoining room so all in all it was a pretty good introduction to the babysitting experience – for both Ruby and I.

As soon as I take my glasses off, which I have to do when I’m having a haircut, everything becomes a blur so I couldn’t actually see what Ruby was up to in the kids’ room, but sometimes I was sure I could distinguish her cries from the cries of the other babies, which was pretty heartbreaking! The whole haircut took a bit under an hour, including shampoo, massage, and blowdry, and I was glad that it didn’t go on too long. I had mentioned that she didn’t need feeding until 11am and I have a feeling that they kept that in mind because I finished up almost exactly at 11am.

When I went over to grab her the poor little thing was strapped in a carrier to the back of one of the carers and her face was all red and blotchy from crying – something I have never seen before. It was all quite upsetting but she was fine and as soon as I took her she was happy and completely entranced my hair being loose, probably because I guess it has been in a ponytail since she was born! I declined their offer to feed her there and headed back to the car to breastfeed her in our own space. She was a bit tired, but all smiles as we headed off to have some lunch and check out some of the shops. We went to a bagel place near the train tracks that was very baby friendly, with heaps of room for strollers and heaps of other mums and kids!

Hair salon information:

Name: Hair Stream 2000


Prices: Note that they only accept credit cards if you spend over 15,000 yen.

Babysitting service: Available from 9:30 – 14:30 only on weekdays

Babysitting fee: Children 3 years and older = free; Children under 3 = ¥1,570 the first time and ¥1,050  from the second time onwards

Bookings required at least the day before.

I will probably go back. Not having to waste precious family time getting my hair cut and having an excuse to go and visit Jiyugaoka, one of my favourite places in Tokyo, is a good enough reason for me! Hopefully as Ruby gets bigger and braver she will have more fun in the kids’ corner too…


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Why Having a Baby in Japan is a Bad Idea

Obviously I love Ruby and love being a mum but there are many, many things about having a baby in Japan (or at least the metropolitan areas of Japan) that are just so difficult and/or unpleasant. Here is one of them:

When you are pregnant almost no one will give up their seat for you.

I counted how many times someone gave up their seat for me on the train while I was pregnant – I think it was fifteen times in the whole nine months (or should I say 10? – ah let’s just say 40 weeks!). This despite my desperate appeals of pregnancy. I stuck my belly out, sighed, prominently displayed by “There’s a baby in my belly” tag, rubbed my belly, read books on breastfeeding and raising a baby, and still almost no one stood up so that I could get off my poor swollen feet! I got a bit more lucky right at the end of my pregnancy but that was by default. I was getting around with my best mate, who is vision impaired, and some people (not that many though) offered to give up their seat for her. She promptly gave the offered seat to me, pointing out that she was perfectly capable of standing up since there was nothing wrong with her legs and she was not carrying a small human in her belly!

My husband had a revelation a few months in to my pregnancy that improved my odds of getting a seat considerably though. He suddenly realized midway through a trip home that was filled with much sighing, glaring, belly poking out, and tag jingling, that we were standing in the wrong part of the train! We were standing in front of the priority seats, where people are supposed to let old people, disabled people, and pregnant people have a seat. This might sound sensible, but it was actually the worst thing we could have done. To put it bluntly, the kind of person who sits in the priority seat despite being able-bodied, young, and not growing a person inside them is NOT the kind of person that will give up their seat! They are the kind of person that will spend the whole trip sleeping, playing games on their phone (even though phones are supposed to be switched off in the priority seats), and avoiding eye contact with the obviously pregnant woman sighing and shifting her weight from foot to foot two inches in front of them. I found that once I gave up on the priority seat area and went to stand in front of youngish people in the normal area I was much more likely to get a seat – and for what it’s worth women were much more likely to give up their seats than men…

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