Vernon B.C. isn’t the only place in the world where one can find a business branded after its namesake.
On top of Vernon Shoes, the Vernon Towne Cinema and the many other local hot spots, there’s also the Vernon hair salon in Gifu, Japan.
That’s according to Jason Emde, whose brother-in-law lives in Gifu and recently decided to name his salon after Emde’s hometown.
“If you come to Gifu in central Japan, you can get your hair cut at Vernon,” he said.
On Saturday Emde told the Morning Star the salon has been in his wife’s family since the 1950s.
“When it first opened it was called Suzu, which means bell,” he said by instant message, unable to connect by phone from across the Pacific.
“It was also a short version of my wife’s grandmother’s maiden name, which was Suzuki.”
The salon would go on to trade this sweet homage for something with a bit more ‘excitement’; when the salon passed into the hands of his wife’s parents, they renamed it ‘Whoop-doo-doo.’
“Which my father-in-law thought meant ‘like a festival.’”
Emde said his wife was a hairstylist at Whoop-doo-doo while her younger brother went to the big city to learn the “smooth Tokyo techniques.”
He and his brother-in-law both live in Gifu now; Emde has for the last 23 years.
When he’d returned to Gifu from Tokyo as a polished hairstylist, his brother-in-law wanted to re-brand the salon.
“I remember sending him all kinds of suggestions for the new name —‘Call it Purple Rain! Call it Strawberry Fields! Call it Jason!’—but in the end, and for mysterious reasons of his own, he decided to call it Vernon,” Emde said, adding it hadn’t been one of his suggestions.
“He’s never been to Vernon, but he thought it sounded cool.”
When asked how Vernon (the city) compares to Gifu, Emde said the main difference is the latter is “a bit” bigger, with around half a million people.
“But it’s considered to be a bit of a backwater.”
The story might sound similar to Pentictonites. Earlier this month the Western News reported of a Tokyo restaurant named after Penticton.
As for Emde, while he loves Gifu for the Nagara River that runs through town, and the Castle of Mount. Kinka positioned in the middle of the city, he still has much love for Vernon after 23 years.
“All my best to Vernon the city, which I miss a lot.”