Friday, May 2, 2014

This just in: My beard

Well... I done did it now. I went and made my own report. Start to finish. And by finish I mean, "presenting
my story live on national, network television in Japan". As you can see, it aried 5:25 in the morning, but after that it also aired on our cable, news channel numerous times throughout the day!
I did everything myself, as much as any story can be, but I sitll couldn't have done this without the help and support of my colleagues. The story is about how popular beards are in America/New York, and what effects that has created.

You can see it here, in Japanese of course, so here is my translation. with one note added about how insanely nervous I was under my beard!

Yagi-san: It's time for "Catch the World" from our JNN foreign bureaus. Today is Greg in New York. Greg?

Me: Good morning! I want to tell you about a popular fashion trend here in America. Any idea what that might be? It's this: (rubs beard)

Yagi-san: Do you mean your beard?

Me: That’s right. Recently, you see more people with beards.  I went to Brooklyn where beards are especially popular, and as you can see, it's a wash of guys with beards, more than half! This started with a prostate cancer awareness campaign (Mo-vember), where you don't shave for a month. Popular actors, sports stars and more started growing beards, and having a beard came to be thought of as manly.
Yagi-san, what do you think of guys with beards?

Yagi-san: Well, I wouldn't mind if they took care of it and it suits them.

Me: Indeed! I also asked the women here what they though:

And what do you prefer?
GF: Beard. All the way. It’s pretty hot
(Boyfriend says “YES!”)

GF w/dog
It’s just, he looks much younger. He’s still a cutey, but yeah… I like it like this.

Husband and wife
He looks good with it! I think it goes with the hair and has kind of a Richard Gere look to it, a little bit, so that’s fine.

Me: So it seems beards are popular in women's opinion as well. 
(At this point, I completely blanked on what came next. I really didn't want to look at my script while on camera, and once I did, I realized, I didn't even know where on the paper to look! You might notice I kind of laughed at myself on camera, but I found my place and carried on.)
However, there are some men who can't grow proper beards, right? In fact, there is a surprising surgery that has grown in popularity

This is Jose, 27 years old. Jose can only grow a little facial hair, so he has come to a plastic surgery clinic for a procedure:

                 The more you think about it, the more you notice it, the more you look at yourself in the                        mirror and compare yourself to other people and, yeah, complain about it.

Me: This plastic surgeon is well known for facial hair implants, and demand for his procedures has been growing. 5 years ago, he was doing 4 or 5 a month, but now that number has grown to around 15 times a month!

Yagi-san: I'm not really clear on how the beard is actually implanted?

Me: With the doctor and Jose's permission, I went inside the operating room:

                 "This is the operating room, where a beard implant procedure is starting"

First, laying on his stomach, hair is taken from the back of the head, down to the root. Next, they numb Jose’s face and the doctor chooses where to place the hairs.
The doctor makes tiny incisions, and the recently removed hairs are inserted one-by-one. This time Jose received 765 hair transplants and took around 6 hours total. The doctor said back of the head and face heals up after about 3 days and the roots remain in the face. After about 9 months the hair begins growing like a normal beard. Jose said he couldn’t smile because of the anesthesia, but he was very happy.

Yagi-san: Wow, they say fashion requires patience, but that looked painful, and it takes 9 months? It really shows you how popular beards have become.

Me: Yes. Here in New York where there's a beard-boom, you can also find places open like this: This is a "beard spa". The shave beards, style them, and you can even get skin treatments for your face.

                John Rivera, barber: It’s cool. It’s the trend right now, what’s “in” right now, is to have                 a beard that’s kept really nice.

      Me: How's it feel?
      Miguel: It feels good, actually. Like a million bucks! Haha.

This is the first time beards have become popular again since the 70s, and for now the trend shows no sign of going away. That’s all from me, in New York