Is that a sprout on your head, or are you just glad to see me? You might not hear that in China (or anywhere else, for that matter), but you’re likely to encounter people wearing bean sprouts, mushrooms and sunflowers up top.
Do not panic. It’s only a trend, and the aforementioned food items are made of plastic. So it’s okay. (For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll define “trend” as something others are doing for no apparent reason, and so will I.)
This all started in August, according to people who follow that sort of thing. First, it was a simple bean sprout – or rather a hair clip that gave the impression of a stem and two leaves growing inexplicably from the scalp.
If that was not bad enough (and we humbly submit that it was), soon a garden of alternatives took root on the heads of Beijing. Chrysanthemums, lavender, chilies, gourds (!)…you name it and chances are good that someone has worn it on their head in China.
Although it’s taken the country by storm, no one seems sure how or where all this started. Possibilities include not only (1) the modern metropolis of Beijing but (2) Chengdu, a city known for its laid back attitude, and (3) someone playing a really cool prank on the people of China. (That last one is ours, but you never know…)
Some speculate that it has to do with ancient teachings regarding harmony with nature. However, to the best of our knowledge, none of those mentions plastic.
“I have no idea who initiated the trend,” said Zhou Delai, a vendor who said he sells 200 every three to four hours. “I stocked clips because so many people had worn them.”
Whatever the source and the inspiration, they’ve entered popular culture now. Jay Chou, who’s a star of both music and film in Taiwan, was photographed with his wife…and they were both wearing bean sprouts in their hair. It remains to be seen whether this will help or hamper his career.
Oh, and it’s happening in Korea, too.
So don’t be surprised if some day soon you look around and that weird neighbor kid (you know the one) is sporting a sprout, maybe two or even a gourd. Just go back in the house, pour yourself a drink and remember:
It’s only a trend.