So I wanted a haircut, yesterday. Apparently I've only had one since moving to my current location, from a place across the street, and I wasn't totally satisfied. So I did a google maps "salon near" and "hair near" search, and found about a dozen places, and planned my running route to go by them all, so I could see if they were 1) where Google said they were 2) open on a Sunday 3) likely to take walk-ins 4) likely to be cheap and 5) targetted at women, or at least unisex.
Not a single one fulfilling all those criteria. In fact, few that fulfilled more than one. I came back defeated. (I ended up taking a train down to where I used to live, and that was a whole other boring yet frustrating story.)
So anyway, I feel slightly let down by Google maps. But Ken reminded me what it's really for.
We explored the salons of a random city we chose to zoom in on over the Japanese map. Don't know the name. But we can zoom almost as close there as over our own city. See what the streets the salons are on look like. See the golf courses (if that's what they are) outside of town, and the beach. Click on the names of salons, and get taken to their webcams (the only English words on this page are "Japanese Barbershop Drama"). See them styling practice heads. Lots of slightly surreal English, including my favorite, Beauty Salon Mommy. We think we managed to sign up for a Yahoo Japan account, but I can't find my way back there now. Probably we'll get e-mail from them.
So Ken once again provides blogable links, and Google Maps is redeemed. We had a very nice trip.