Our reporter travels all the way to Spain to meet an artistic hair stylist whose technique is a little sharper than usual.
It’s not every day that you get to visit a charismatic master of katana and flame–especially in the context of a hair salon.
Madrid-based hair stylist Alberto Olmedo gained widespread international fame about a year ago for his unorthodox way of approaching his chosen profession. Our reporter Masanuki had been secretly hankering to have his hair cut by Alberto for quite some time, but the opportunity had never presented itself…until the end of May, when he finally had the chance to travel to Spain and make his dream a reality.
The shop is simply named Alberto Olmedo, after its owner, but is appropriately nicknamed the “Samurai Salon” by locals. It’s located about 50 minutes by metro from the Madrid–Barajas Airport, with the closest station being Colonia Jardin Station on Line 10.
▼ Sunakoma’s on his way!
Masanuki knew that the salon opens at 10 A.M. He had tried to make an appointment ahead of time but wasn’t sure if his request actually went through, so he decided to show up first thing in the morning in an attempt to be the very first customer in line. If Olmedo was already too busy with appointments, Masanuki’s backup plan was to do some sightseeing in the city and come back later. Since Olmedo is a world-class hair stylist who occasionally gives demonstrations around the world, there was always a chance that he wouldn’t even be there–but Masanuki tried not to consider that possibility.
▼ Case in point: Olmedo giving a performance in Malaysia last year
He struggled a bit to make the correct transfer on a new metro in a foreign country, but then successfully managed to arrive at Colonia Jardin Station around 9:30 a.m. He couldn’t wait to be cut by a katana (a somewhat unusual thought, for sure).
After about 10 minutes of walking from the station with increasing anticipation, lo and behold, there it was!
He had finally made it, having come from all the way from the other side of the world. He felt almost as if he were about to monopolize a World Heritage site all by himself and could barely contain his excitement, so he meandered over to a nearby park to pass the time without driving himself crazy.
Masanuki entered the salon a little after 10 a.m…and there Olmedo was in the flesh. From behind, his long ponytail gave him the appearance of a cool and wild cowboy about to gallop across the plains. He positively radiated a sense of rough masculinity.
With trepidation, Masanuki moved forward…and there he was from the front!
After waiting for him to wrap up the initial customer, Masanuki gathered up his nerves to introduce himself. “I came from Japan to see you,” he managed to blurt out. In response, Olmedo replied with a warm smile,
“Thank you for coming all this way. I’ve been featured on Japanese TV and news channels. Today I’ll give you the best possible performance.”
Despite Olmedo’s slightly edgy appearance, he turned out to be a true gentleman. He had a charming smile and made Masanuki feel as welcome as possible. They were able to work out a simple communication system by using a translation app, and Olmedo conveyed that it just so happened that a woman was about to come get her hair cut by a katana and fire–what perfect timing for the eager spectator!
▼ The client who willingly wants her hair by a sword.
At last, it was time to witness Olmedo’s superhuman feats up close and personal.
The master stylist removed a katana from his collection hanging on the wall and suddenly his facial expression changed to serious mode, conveying that he was about to cut someone…or something, down. Masanuki felt that the whole salon was permeated by a unique feeling of intensity. Even the woman seemed to lower her head in supplication to a divine presence. Our reporter gulped…
…and the moment came when Olmedo began the katana haircut with a look of complete concentration.
Masanuki was floored–the stylist can even wield two blades at once!
And it was true! He can also burn hair off with fire!!
His technique was no less diminished by substituting the two katanas with two hair dryers:
The exemplary work came to an explosive finish. To top it off, the female client’s new hair style had taken only 10 minutes to complete. This once-in-a-century magic show had been an overwhelming performance for Masanuki to witness.
According to Olemdo, not only does cutting hair with a katana enhance the style more so than with scissors, but it’s possible to cut off only the damaged sections as well. He had always had an interest in a self-described “medieval manner” of cutting hair and so he wanted to master it as thoroughly as possible. His ambition was well apparent.
Now it was Sunakoma’s turn. Since his hair was already fairly short, he recognized that getting a katana ‘do probably wouldn’t be feasible…at which point Olmedo unveiled another badass scissors-substitute: iron claws. Wait, what?!!
▼ Also in the house: Wolverine-like extended claws…
▼ …and a light-saber-like tool.
▼ There’s no way you’d peg this guy for a hair stylist based on the interior decor alone.
He promptly began hacking at Masanuki’s hair millimeters from his skull with no hesitation. Now this was beyond daring!
▼ Masanuki had the distinct sensation of an animal tearing something to shreds as he watched Olmedo work.
All too soon it was over. The five-minute cut cost approximately 1,000 yen (US$9.20).
▼ Here’s a video documenting Masanuki’s visit.
All in all, Masanuki was incredibly impressed by the barrage of different techniques he witnessed Olmedo using to cut hair. He highly recommends anyone visiting Madrid to pay him a visit for a truly unique spin on an otherwise mundane grooming procedure!