Frank’s Chop Shop, the New York barber with rave reviews from Men’s Journal, ESPN and Time Out New York, has opened its first Asian branch right here in Fukuoka! The barber shop appeals to skaters, deep-cut hip hop lovers and people just looking for a top-quality shave. Fukuoka Now took Parisien Yienyien (Aurelien Robert) to test drive this “barber shop for the modern gentleman of leisure”.
The shop could have been air-dropped in from New York. Attention has been paid to every aspect of the place so that it’s “the real deal”: all the products used are American, from the clippers to the handmade chairs, the latter of which were imported from Texas. That is to say, everything except the razors, which are Japanese; after all, Japan produces the best blades in the world.
Unlike most barbers and beauty salons in Fukuoka, light jazz does not tinkle away in the background. Here a booming sound system plays whatever the barber likes – from Amy Winehouse to hip hop.
As Yienyien pointed out, getting the perfect shave as a foreigner in Fukuoka is no easy feat – different ethnicities have differently shaped heads, and finding a barber comfortable working with non-Japanese head shapes is, in Yienyien’s experience, difficult. Makoto Eguchi, Yienyien’s barber, has over 12 years of experience, and oozed laidback confidence. He immediately got started on the “Classic Clipper Cut” (¥3,500) Yienyien ordered; clippers are used to style the head, beard and mustache, with some use of scissors for more intricate work.
Makoto jumped straight into the haircut, working quickly and surely, and expertly selecting different clipper attachments for the nape and sides, the crown, and so on.
In anticipation of the shave, a hot towel was applied to Yienyien’s beard to soften the hair whilst Makoto worked with the blade to neaten his hairline. Once the beard had been appropriately softened, Makoto began carefully shaving with a razor blade – a moment which requires true trust between a barber and his customer – the experience certainly seemed to forge some kind of bond between Yienyien and Makoto, as once the shave was over they friended each other on Line…
Gentlemen can also order a “Quick Fix” (trim of the sides and nape, ¥2,000), a “Buzz Cut” (a once over with the buzzer, ¥3,000), or a “Style Scissor Cut” (complete style change for someone with longer hair, ¥4,000). A shampooing is ¥500 extra.
Here you can buy premium men’s hair and facial care products. Choose from Baxter of California, pomade and facial care products which Baxter proclaims are the “evolution of men’s grooming”, Layrite, pomade developed by rockabillies for all who want a “modernly classic” look, and Suavecito Pomade, a product which is rarely available in Japan. They have even imported tortoiseshell combs and aluminium combs, the latter of which are specially made for Frank’s Chop Shop.
If your new hair inspires you to buy new threads, then you can shop for Hall of Fame clothing in the store! You can also buy Frank’s Chop Shop snapbacks, as well as caps which are collaborations between Frank’s Chop Shop and other hip companies. Go in dowdy, come out dope.
Frank’s Chop Shop is not just a place to be on the business end of some expert grooming. As Makoto told us, it represents a whole lifestyle – it’s a place where those into hard-core hip hop music can relax with those who appreciate authentic American style. “This is not like what currently exists in Japan”, Makoto said.
Interestingly, Frank’s Chop Shop chose Fukuoka for its first Asian branch because it is a compact city, but big enough that there are enough of the fashion-forward clientele whom they want to attract.
So book yourself in at Frank’s Chop Shop for New York-style, luxe treatment in a relaxed, trendy atmosphere.
Frank’s Chop Shop recommends making an appointment, but walk-ins are also welcome.