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as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
e.e. cummings, as freedom is a breakfastfood
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair -
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
T S Eliot, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Barber walked in, started saying grace, Oh Lord, for these haircuts
we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful. Dominus possum
pax probiscus, post mortem, et tu brute, puella carborundum. He was
sorta half-Baptist, half-Catholic - kind of a Cathtist. He started cuttin'
my hair and preachin' at the same time. I mean he's a wild man, scissors
and razors a'flyin' around my head, he's talkin' about the liquor and wild
women and music and sex and the evils of dancing and the music business
in general. Then he looked down at me and he said, What do you do for a
living? Now, I'm not ashamed of what I do for a livin'. Workin' bars and casinos,
around liquor and wild women, I just play my piano, sing my little songs.
I looked him right in the eye and I said, I run this church for loggers.
Ray Stevens, The Haircut Song
It's time for summer haircuts. Young boys get a bozu haircut with electric hair clippers called barikan. It's almost like a bozu Buddhist priest except that zen priests shave their heads completely. Recently a Buddhist priest told me about his austere training. I was surprised to hear that seniors bullying juniors was common even at a famous zen centre. Bozu 坊主, ぼうず, can be used as slang for a young boy.
This bozu haircut is common for older boys in school sports clubs, especially baseball. I've even heard of students giving up baseball and joining the soccer club just so they could have longer hair. For adults a crewcut is called a sports cut. The superstar actor Ken Takakura has a sports cut. He starred in many yakuza movies and in Hollywood movies like Sydney Pollack's The Yakuza with Robert Mitchum, Black Rain with Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia and Yusaku Matsuda, and Mr Baseball with Tom Selleck. And legendary baseball players like Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh had sports cuts. By the way Sadaharu Oh's flamingo one-legged batting stance came about directly as a result of aikido. Oh's autobiography Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball is very interesting. Even now a sports cut has a cool, masculine image. Many serious budoka have sports cuts.
I don't mind short hair or long hair but I don't much like going to get my hair cut. In Behind the Glass I talked about a long-running misunderstanding about my name when I got my hair cut. Anyway sometimes I let my hair grow a little too long. I used to be the regular uke for Arikawa Sensei at the Aikikai hombu dojo in Tokyo. One day he decided to do something about my weak point. When I attacked him he took me down to the tatami fast and powerfully. Then he stood on my hair tight against my head so that I was immobilized. I got the point. I got my summer haircut immediately.