Gaijin Gyaru Series; Ash (Hedonists) [Week 3]

Here is the third interview in the ‘Gaijin Gyaru Series‘ – meet the fabulous…
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.
I’ve been all over the place in terms of fashion. In middle school I went through a phase where I had NO fashion sense at all. I actually used to steal my brother’s clothes and change out of my “girl clothes” before school. I had about a billion “alternative” phases after that. As I started leaning further away from “alternative” I got a bit girlier, and even leaned on the hipster side clothing wise.
As many people already know, I have family here in Japan. From a young age on I’d always annually visited. In my visits to Japan I never really cared about fashion till about age 17, 18 as everyone lives in Chiba… for those of you who don’t know Japan well, that’s like living in New Jersey suburbs instead of NYC. Meaning I wasn’t really exposed to fashion in Japan much anyway. Around 17, 18 I started venturing into Tokyo by train with cousins… that’s where I had my first run ins with Shibuya, gals, an SERIOUS FASHION as a whole. It was love at first sight.
I didn’t really seriously pursue it, however, till I realized a friend of mine in the US were into it too. Though she and I don’t really talk anymore, I really consider her my motivator.
2. What are you favourite things about gal?
The confidence it brings, the fact that its ultimately girls dressing for the admiration of other girls rather than dressing for guys, and the immaculate detail required for even the most haphazard of coordinates.
3. Do you have any style preferences and is there anything you wouldn’t try?
I could never see myself as manba. Seeing as that style is more or less dying here in Tokyo, it’s not saying much. That and I really can’t see myself in either him or mori gal styles. They’re just too frilly for me, and there’s not many ways to tone them down in that way. I’m very feminine, but I like an emasculate and rough touch. Hence my love of skulls, crosses, chains, etc. Note that I generally carry a man’s bag and have a lot of men’s accessories.

4. In your pictures you always have flawless hair, but how do you stay on trend with it? And do you have any hints or tips for those wanting to carry off something similar?
It’s safe to call me hair obsessed. Teasing, curling, straightening, setting. I own more product than anyone should. I certainly wouldn’t call it flawless though. On a good day, I’m at best 80% satisfied with my hair.
In terms of being on trend, I watch magazines (both men’s and women’s oddly enough) as well as people I see on the streets, and take what I like and apply it to myself. Hair is a very personal thing as it really needs to flatter YOUR face shape and YOUR overall style. There’re many styles I love that simply look ridiculous on me and as such I never wear them or I’ve only worn them once.
Hints/tips… Hmm… One: definitely have a very layered cut– no matter how long or short your hair is. Layers help give thin hair more volume and help give thick hair more playability. Two: Don’t be afraid to play. Watch tutorials, mess around. Days you have no plans are awesome for this– you stay entertained and you learn a new style. Three: Invest in a GOOD tail comb for teasing. I’m talking like the ones you see at salons. Those cheap plastic ones tend to break too easy and they also tend to tease your hair in a more messy/visible way as the teeth are a bit further apart.
5. You always have the perfect mix of casual and sexy in your coordinates, but who and what do you look to for inspiration? In terms of WHO, I really love Sakurina, Kanako, Hiromin, Lie… the list goes on and on really. I’d say I relate most to Sakurina as she, like me, likes to add edge to girly styles. Kanako and Hiromin I love for them being themselves in such a girly and feminine style. Even while their personal styles tend to be a little TOO tomboyish for my own taste. Lie aka Kei… She’s just ridiculously sexy. I buy EDGE’s just for her really. She was my favorite NUTS model. I also look at gals I see on the street a lot for ideas… and even let my eyes wander to OTHER style subcultures.
6. You currently live in Tokyo and are often socializing with gyaru-o and hosts. Do they relate to you as a gal and how do you get on with them? First let me say, to put nicely most gyaru-o and hosts are none too bright. I’ve met a lot of nice guys and I’ve met a lot of assholes– but nearly all of them are relatively empty headed. It’s kind of unfortunate. It’s as if to be cute and fashionable means your brain has to disappear. I get approached pretty easily as being mixed people take the chance I understand Japanese more often– even though half go both ways. About 50% speak and about 50% don’t. Guess that 50/50 shot is good enough odds as generally the fear a foreigner won’t understand them is pretty much the number one thing that stops guys from hitting on foreign girls here. About half the guys who talk to me would drop any interest in me in a second if they were to meet a “cute tall nosed blonde” who speaks Japanese. I’ve seen it happen as one of my best friends is a cute German girl with quite the proficiency in the language, hahaha. Of course, there’re guys who will approach despite not speaking English and despite knowing the girl likely won’t understand, but yeah… many don’t for fear of communication failure. One thing I hate though is because of the lifestyle of ViVi model Marie, a lot of these guys assume mixed girls are easy so I’ve had to teach a few idiots a lesson here and there. In general though, most of my friends are male and I relate pretty well to the GOOD guys I’ve met of the host and gyaru-o variety.
7. It’s always interesting to know how Japanese gals relate to Gaijin Gyaru, however have you found they relate to you differently – being part-Japanese?
I don’t know how differently… Though I’ve actually found some girls to be a little more cautious of me from time to time, then they would if they liked the style of a “real foreigner”… though at the same time I’ve had girls I’ve never met before run up to me in the club and ask if I speak English and if I can translate for them cause they really wanna shag some foreign guy they met, ahahaha. I’d say it really depends on the girl. One obstacle I’ve had is there’re a lot of stereotypes here that all mixed Japanese and Caucasian people are what we call here “motteru hito”. Basically an expression meaning they’re good looking, fashionable and/or people want to date them. While I don’t apply to many of these factors in my personal opinion, I think it makes some girls afraid I might be a bit of a bitch.

8. Recently more and more Western gals are complaining about negativity in the community. As someone who has been on the receieving end of this, how do you deal? I have to be honest, the crueler the secrets got, the more entertained I was. Call me a masochist but I enjoyed most of my hate hahaha. I don’t generally get much negative attention online, so it was almost a relief to get some flack, even if it was malicious. To those not like myself who take these things to heart I just have to say– keep your head up. The secrets are anonymous for a reason. These are generally people who lack the cajones to say these things to your face. Anyone who can’t stand behind their words isn’t worth your concern.
9. Do you have any advice for newcomers who feel a little apprehensive about joining the style? Absolutely go for it. Everyone has the potential to make a great gal provided they tap into it. Just remember to take advice and to constantly work at it. While one or two people are fortunate to look gal or close to gal on their first try, most work hard to get to the point where they’re undeniably IT.
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? I think that by even being here, being involved in gear and gyaru-o social circles I’m contributing to a degree. But I’m not the only one here doing that… There’re a few great gals from other countries out here. I wish I was doing something better for us than just being gal 24/7 and partying with/hanging out with gals and gal-o’s but at the moment it’s all I got. However, I was recently scouted by a modeling agency so I suppose of I get to model as a gal I guess that’d be a real way to really represent those of us with a Western background in the gal scene. My agency’s pretty tiny though so I don’t know. If I get work at all I may have very little say in the style genre.

A note from bloomzy: I love Ash because she has such a strong-willed, honest attitude. She always looks great and her coordinates are to die for. She doesn’t give out advice often but when she does it’s very valuable, so hold onto it ;D
If you’re a friend of Ash (hedonists) on livejournal then you can enjoy her frequent and interesting posts on her life in Tokyo – she offers an in-depth view of the Gal culture, and often posts photo’s and purikura.
You can also find her on ricoche and see posts by Ash on livejournal in the gyaru communities. Keep an eye out for her coordinates @ everyday_gyaru.