Steven Okazaki
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Growing up Sansei wasn’t easy. One summer in 1962, when I was 10, I accompanied my Uncle Yuke and cousin Gary to the neighborhood Japanese American barbershop. I watched with amusement as the barber, Mr. Baba, sheared off my cousin’s hair down to a half-inch, except for an inch in front. Then he whisked off the loose hair, pulled off the cape, looked at me and said, “What about him?”

I thought he was joking. Then Uncle Yuke said, “Sure, give him one, too!” I thought, “No way!” as Mr. Baba gestured towards the chrome and maroon-cushioned chair. But my uncle said, “Go on!” and I did what I was told. Within minutes, my Dennis the Menace-cut was sheared down to a half-inch butch. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.

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