Here is the first interview in the ‘Gaijin Gyaru Series‘ – please welcome…
1. First off, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you tell us a little bit about your fashion background and how you got into gal.
Happy to do so for my favorite gal blogger ♥
Well I’ve always liked fun clothing. I went to my prom in a vintage electric blue cheongsam. I used to work for a small clothing company that imported cyber clothing into the US. Compared to how I used to look in those days, gal is really tame.
When I moved to Japan in 2007, I really had no concept of gal beyond the overly tanned platformed girls that often showed up in Japan-is-Weird news articles. However, I went to 109 and was quite addicted. I loved all the fashion choices, the attention to detail, the fun nightlife, everything.
2. What are you favourite things about gal?
In Japan gal is so amazing. It’s really inspiring to see these women decide lifestyles for themselves because they love gal as a culture. When I first lived in Japan in 2007, Japan was ranked 91st out of 128 countries in terms of gender equality, and 98th in terms of workplace equality. The US was 31st, the UK a bit higher. In 2010 Japan is doing a bit better in terms of equality, but back then and now gal really does have a certain amount of girl power within it. Even when gals spend so much time and money on cosmetics and hair, it’s not for the outcome of a supposed Yamato Nadeshiko ideal of Japanese men.
3. Do you have any style preferences and is there anything you wouldn’t try?
I absolutely love dresses and onsies. They’re so easy to plan an outfit around and if you’re trying a new style, a dress helps you not buy a whole set of pieces. I also like how a dress or onsie can look different styles depending on the accessories. So you can own 1 dress and wear it 4 different ways, so cheap
I have two boxes of hats so I guess I should mention them as well. So wonderful during this humid summer season.
I won’t rule out anything, but I find Rainbow Brite style AmeKaji a bit too much for me.
Vest onesie: OneSpo
Striped shirt: Glad News
Jewelry: YSL, Gilfy, and Louis Vuitton
4. You’re currently selling MODE to us all (which I love), but what are you wearing right now?
hahahaha well while writing out responses to this interview I’m sitting around in my workout clothes. Lately I’m working out a lot, so I don’t have a lot of opportunities to dress up. When I do it’s sharp monotones mixed with playful items.
5. You live half of the year in Tokyo, studying. What is it like being a foreigner who follows Gal? (How do non-gals perceive you etc.)
Hmmm…well I can only state how it is for me. I will state that my height, colouring and frame make it easy to tell that I am a gaijin, however I do seem to shock people when I turn around if they only see me from the back. Since I tend to dress mostly gal they see me usually in extensions, heels, and nails and then when I turn they’re quite shocked to see a very obviously white face staring back at them. So I’m used to hearing strangers say whoooa gaijin or sugoi sega takai no hito (such a tall person) or something to that ilk.
For those who know me especially non-gal Japanese they always tease me with gyaru gyaru gyaru, but it’s all in fun. Gal Japanese it just depends. Through living in Japan I’ve learned you often have to make the first effort in getting to know people, so I try to be friendly and complimentary and good things happen.
6. I know you love to hang around Shibuya and Shinjuku when in Tokyo, which are both gal hotspots. So how do the Japanese gals relate to you?
Well I lived in Shibuya. Not just Shibuya-ku (which includes Harajuku and Yoyogi), but 5 minutes away from 109. So I got used to being in that area. Many of the shopstaff I’ve gotten to know and some I’ve known for 2 years. Even when I leave for 5 months they remember me and we’re back where I left off. It’s really fun to go into a store that’s got a somber atmosphere and shop staff run up to you and chat. Very bad days have been made very good by some of those gals.
I feel pretty comfortable in those shops especially so I find it pretty easy. I think if Japanese gals don’t know me, they possibly think I’m a tourist or such. So I try to make every effort to help dispel some stereotypes if I can.
7. Your blog is the go-to place for all things ‘Gaijin Gyaru’. How do you keep up with the latest trends?
Thank you!! I’m always shopping, in person or on-line. So I try to make connections between stores. I read a lot of magazines so that helps, too. Really all it is, is keeping your eyes open.
8. I have also noticed how you speak out at the common misconceptions of Gal (you have to be blonde, stick-thin etc.). So what is ‘Gal’ to you?
Well first of all I think everyone who likes gal should understand that gal is not natural. There is absolutely no one on the planet who woke up and was instantly gal today. Sure some aspects help, like waking up with extensions, nails done in gal style, eyelash extensions, etc… However, even Tsubasa without putting on the right clothes and make-up was not gal this morning.
Sure there’s a certain mentality that comes with being gal, but a lot of that is confidence. Confidence that comes from taking care of yourself which gal aids in doing so.
However, there are just too many styles to say in less than the size of an academic paper what is gal and what is not. Just like there are many sizes of gals. Contrary to super skinny myths, Gilfy which always has tons of denim each season, on its webstore the size 26 shorts typically sell out much faster than the size 24 shorts. Elastic in shorts is also a growing trend, among all styles.
Defining gal for me is how someone uses and thinks about each aspect of their look: hair, nails, make-up, shoes, outfit and how they play with that within and outside of gal parameters. What Chinatsu is doing now would’ve not been thought of 3 years ago, but she’s creating a way for gal to expand.
9. Do you have any advice for newcomers who feel a little apprehensive about joining the style?
Anyone absolutely anyone can enjoy gal fashion. I do not care what ethnicity, size, level of attractiveness you are, anyone can do great gal. It just takes some hard work, lots of consideration, and understanding how to dress your body.
Everyone is welcome, gal is HUGE in Japan. It didn’t get that way from kicking people out, instead it keeps growing and redefining styles to be let in.
10. Finally, as you know the aim of this series is to promote a better image of ‘Gaijin Gyaru’ by showing that it’s not only the Japanese gals who can get it right. How are YOU representing Gaijin Gyaru?
Eeks. Well I try to keep everyone updated, always try to be positive, and hopefully raise up new gals into further playing with their style. It’s very important to me to always keep the Doll as positive as possible and as welcoming as possible. Keeping everyone updated on current trends hopefully helps dispel some of these stereotypes overseas gals get.
Living in Japan can be very hard for several reasons as a gaijin, so a positive mindset will get you far in dealing with situations in and outside of gal.
A note from bloomzy: Mitsu is the go-to Gal in the western blogging community. Her frequent posts on the current trends, topics and Japan related articles offer more than just your average insight into the world of gal. I adore her personal style and her positive attitude when it comes to gal, and I never miss a post. You can stay updated @ Universal Doll.