Modern Beauty Salon

Yesterday, I stopped by the Modern Beauty Salon in the Ginza Mall, mainly to use their shower. I needed the shower because on Monday our hot water heater died in spectacular fashion. (Obviously, calls to a certain Fairly Useless Boss have received the assurance that she’s working very hard to solve our problem and that any delays are not her fault) We’ve been heating water in the electric kettle, pouring it into a basin and sponge-bathing, just like in my first apartment in Yantai, but it’s not really the ideal situation.

Because I had walked into the salon on the off chance that they could do my eyebrows (and let me have a shower), there wasn’t a regular room available, and I was assigned to a “slimming room”. White spa towels, with a rose and gold silk cover on the table, red silky lampshades, and wallpaper with gold fu symbols. It was almost a shame to leave my battered jeans and boots in such a pretty room.

There was also some kind of slimming machine in the room, a big yellow monstrosity. I’m not quite sure what it was supposed to do, but I’m pretty sure Dr. Crusher would have known how to use it.

Oh, the shower. I might be slightly biased here because I hadn’t showered since Sunday, but the shower was incredible. Hot water, water pressure, scented shampoo. Did I mention the hot water? Also the shower stall was made out of black stone tiles and small mother-of-pearl mosaics. It was gorgeous and I would have been more impressed if I hadn’t been distracted by the hot water.

When I got out the shower there was an attendant standing by the stall door, holding an extra towel for my hair. It felt a bit odd at the time but now I wonder if I can get Stick to do that.

Another attendant was waiting in my room with a cup of tea, weird Chinese candy, and a bowl of rose petal water. I knew what to do with tea and weird candy (drink one and ignore the other) but I’ve never actually been presented with a bowl of rose petals. Pretty cool! Although it was mostly psychological… it didn’t really feel any different from plain water.

I did pretty well with my limited Chinese (my primary students taught me most basic body parts), but when the attendant wanted me to take my robe off and wrap up in a towel, though, the thought of a naked waiguoren was too much, and she resorted to sticking out the towel and mumbling quickly into her shoulder. Needless to say, it took me an extra long time to catch on to these instructions, but eventually I did, and lay down on the table.

I’ve often complained that nothing is fast and simple in China, but it finally worked out to my advantage. You can’t get eyebrow shaping without a facial. And that means an hour’s worth of pressure massage, warm oily stuff, cold face-creamy stuff, a different kind of a massage with a different kind of cream, a neck and arm massage while the facial potions worked their magic, oh, yeah that eyebrow stuff, then another massage with another cream. Amazing. I didn’t want it to end.

Unfortunately the price I got (88 RMB) was a special new-customers promotion, and before I could leave, I got harassed to buy a package of 20 facials for 6000 RMB, or become a member for 5000 RMB and get 50% off everything, or at least try the rose bath and body massage package. The hard sell ruined my mellow feelings, and actually made me less interested in returning, but I may go back for a bath.

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0 Responses to Modern Beauty Salon

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure there are still some public shower places in beijing or not, like exactly the Roman style, that all peoples striped off naked and sit in the hot water pools, and rest in the steaming rooms, there were also massage services provided for a half hour heavenly treatment.

    It is amazing scene that one hundred naked people sitting, chatting and resting in 15 room size pools.

    And some teenagers met their unexpected relatives in there, sometimes they would get a good comment like:
    You have grown up! I can’t believe it only a few months!

    (you know what I mean?;-)

    Privacy is rated :-),

    If some waiguoren or laowai enter in that place, I am sure he or she will be more than Paris Hilton.

    You will break the staring contest record among all laowai in China 🙂

    I really miss the time of sharing life topics with naked guys in the hot water pool. Honesty is exposed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is it with Chinese people? They make crappy products, then the crappy products break and they have NO IDEA what to do next!

  3. Steve In Hangzhou says:

    I don’t envy you the inevitable fight with the landlord about how you and Stick broke his expensive appliance.

  4. Meg says:

    The oil massage part was pretty Roman, too.

  5. Anonymous says:


    We Chinese crappy people make craps:-)

    As Homer said, God brings like to like – always the same thing.

    The art of living is to enjoy the craps in the living crappy life.

    What is the point to fed up in good life by all the goods?

    Life is about struggle, in between realty and dream, in conflict of right or wrong, in disagreement of lust and spirit, whether silverware or battery, whether blackout or energizer, whether chinese or american….

    in the end nothing is really inportant, the only inportant thing is you shine the flash in the struggle among all the craps, and no matter what result you get, it don’t matter, coz you’re thru.

    I really cheer Meg and Stick having a good chase in the condition that they are not use to it.

    That is the spirit! The same as those who jump the fens and try to dream a American dream, and dream is not only in the land of America, nor land of milk and honey, but is in the faith of struggle of all the craps.

    Look at our world, full of craps, besides our nature is still beautiful in a mid global warming stage, now whatelse is not crap, politics is not, market aggression…

    I rather choose silverware or battery, it is a easy choice than to pick a leader in any country now

  6. Kevin says:

    I admit to a higher incidence of products breaking in China, but that’s part of the adventure! On with the chase, fellow expats!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Turning no water into an excuse to visit the salon, the Jersey girl makes the best of things.

  8. penglisha says:

    i want to go to this place so badly! the dorm bathrooms are so awful i put off taking showers and then when i go, i shower as fast as i can! i would give anything for a shower that has a proper drain and is not all mildewed.

  9. Ben says:

    Great post…facials in China are great (and this is coming from a guy). Try shopping around though…88 RMB is a little expensive. If you go around to most barbershops you should be able to get a hairwash (including a facial) for 10-30 RMB, depending on what city you are in. The decorations on the walls won’t be as pretty as the ones in the 88 RMB spa, but you will get basically the same service.

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