As a Western based society we all find some customs occurring in Eastern countries to be a bit different. I’m usually pretty open to different customs, especially since I come from a culture background that is opposite to the country I grew up in; however, extreme body modification, like Bagel-heading is something that I will never understand.
I must admit I have always been a fan of body modification. I have nothing against plastic surgery (would probably like to get some after I have babies … so like 5-10 years), I have a number of body piercings (three visibly on my face), and my hair is full of extensions, which look nothing like my natural hair. But I feel somehow I cannot defend the Japanese trend of Bagel-heading.
Recently I read an article on Vice about this fad and did some research on the subject. Apparently Bagel-heading has been a trend since the early 2000s, it consists of a saline infusion being injected into parts of your body in order to change your appearance. The way that it got its name is by the shape that people prefer their newly swollen patch of skin to appear. In order to give it a ‘bagel’ shape, during the two-hour process of the infusion, they press their thumb or finger into the center of the site, giving it a bagel shape.
So basically being a Bagel-Head means that you are someone who wants to change a part of your body so it resembles a giant bagel growing out of your skin.
The service is offered as a number of places, through home parties–which I guess are similar to Botox or Tupperware parties– at a local tattoo or piercing shop, and by a professional piercer. The injection takes two hours and can even be combined with food dye to give colour to the bump.
Although Bagel-Heading refers to the face, in Tokyo and Osaka there is a growing popularization of injecting bagels into boobs, arms and asses. There are even more absurd body modification trends including ear pointing (shaping ears like a cat), naval removing (self-explanatory), and amputation.
I don’t really understand this trend, the fact is that you sit for two hours with your thumb up your face for a look that literally only lasts for one night. Apparently your body absorbs all the saline within 24hours, so the next day there is no more bagel. For this look, you risk possible side effects including headache, infection, stretched skin, the inability to wear a hat and getting laughed and pointed at by everyone who looks at you.
Here’s to you, BagelHeads …