The one time of year I'm happy to linger in Aoyama Cemetery is when the venerable rows of old cherry trees growing around the gravestones blossom. Before heading there, though, I decide to first get in the mood with a bit of personal spring renewal.

I seek out FA Salon, a secretive cocoon on the fourth floor of the Minami Aoyama Nishino building. Owner Fabio Alfano, 40, greets me European-style (kisses to each cheek), and throws out his arms to show off his brand new signature salon. It's a cozy four-seater with clean design, and I've heard it books up fast. "Yes, we're already busy," Alfano says, "but our specialty is personalized service and we take the time to carefully listen to each client."

Alfano learned hairdressing at his father's knee in Italy and refined his skills in London before finally settling in Tokyo with his Japanese wife 11 years ago. His forte? "Well, everything," he says, "but color is key. People often come to me for corrections after they have encountered, how can I say this, mistakes at other places."