Vol. 9: Hairdressing Salons in Taipei

Hairdressing and beauty salons in Taiwan have become major tourist attractions. Anyone walking through the streets of Taipei is likely to be astonished by both the sheer number of hairdressing salons and the extravagance of their signs. What is particularly surprising for a Japanese visitor is to see that the neon signs used by hairdressing salons in Taiwan are almost identical to those used by pachinko parlors in Japan, with the colorful signs flashing over the whole width of the facade.

Some of the salons seem to be involved in disreputable activities, but we visited one top-class salon with impeccable credentials known as the Isetan Hairdressing Salon, which can be seen in the photograph. Going in through the main door, one enters a lobby with a large atrium and tells the girl at the reception desk exactly what one wants done. The salon is set out on three floors, and on each floor are private rooms set on either side of a corridor. The rooms are carpeted and have subdued lighting. The atmosphere seems a trifle suspicious. Several female beauticians perform their respective duties: haircutting, manicure, and facial packs. This was the first time I had ever had either a pack or a manicure. Lack of time meant that I was unable to have a massage, but I felt at the end of it all what it must be like to be a lord!

1998 Copyright (c) All Japan Neon-Sign Association