It’s said that barbers’ poles, with their interlaced contrasting stripes, are a holdover from the Middle Ages, with the red and white symbolizing blood and bandages. In those days, the field of surgery was still at such an early stage in its development that the guy who cut hair would also handle operations and amputations. After all, cutting was cutting, right?

In our modern era, though, you’d never think of asking your doctor to take a little off the sides, nor would you trust your hairdresser to remove a tumor. So isn’t it time for barber shops to get a new symbol, like this one in Aomori with a compliment of giant Gundam statues hanging around outside?

Oirasecho isn’t such a big city, with less than 25,000 residents at last count. What’s more, this roadside barber shop doesn’t look like it’s on a street that gets a whole lot of foot traffic.

Even still, it’s become a local tourism attraction over the last ten years, thanks to its uniquely eye-catching decorations.

“What is up with this barber shop?” asks Twitter user KDNhrd, and we’re sure he’s not the only one who’s shocked the first time he sees it. The proprietor, Mr. Suzuki, has two hobbies: carpentry and drawing. Feeling the urge to create some large-scale three-dimensional art, in October of 2005 he started work on a replica of the RX-78-2 Gundam, the anime franchise’s original iconic hero mecha.

After putting the finishing touches on it a little more than a year later, Suzuki took 2007 off from mobile suit building, but sprung back into action in 2008, spending six months crafting the Char Custom Zaku seen behind Gundam. (and looking like it’s about ready to bury that heat hawk into the series star’s back).

Today, there’s a whole team of robots stationed on the premises including a Guncannon, Z’Gok, Zeong, Acguy, and Qubeley. Suzuki even put together a compact version of the White Base carrier, seen here seemingly escaping from a surprise attack by the Z’Gok. There’s even a Gundam head, converted from the back of a van, that’s now a karaoke box with an appropriately futuristic-looking interior, where we imagine that Gundam themes make up at least half of the song selections.

It’s been a few years since Suzuki has added to the collection, but the now 70-year-old barber does still advertise something called the “Gundam cut” on his window, which costs 1,500 yen (US$13) for adults or 1,000 yen for elementary or junior high school students. Even long-time Gundam fans might uneasy asking for it, though, seeing as how main character Amuro’s hairstyle is a past-its-prime holdover from the late 1970s when the first Gundam TV series premiered.

As it turns out, though, it’s whatever you want it to be, since whenever Suzuki himself cuts a customer’s hair, that’s what makes it the “Gundam cut.”

If you’re feeling a little shaggy, Suzuki is said to be a friendly and outgoing guy who’s always happy to chat about his creations. He also welcomes anyone who’s interested to come and snap pictures, so even if you’re in the process of growing your hair out, you can still swing by on your pilgrimage of Japan’s Gundam statues.

Barber shop information
Address: Aomori-ken, Oirasecho, Hitokawame 4-6-30
Telephone: 0178-52-3841

Sources: Livedoor, Aomori no Miyroku, Twitter