Here is the fourth interview in the ‘Gaijin Gyaru Series‘ – meet the always wonderful…
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 have been a lover of fashion since junior-high school. I used to watch runway shows instead of whatever kids my age then were watching. I used to have a lot of fun predicting trends. I got into gal style around the time I found out about the internet. Pure accident. I still remember the first two sites I ever found about Japanese fashion, trust me there were not many at all out there during that time. I was hooked from the moment I saw the huge socks, platforms and white lipstick. It is nice to see such a large resource on the internet now.
2. What are you favourite things about gal?
The over-indulgence of attempting to look and live your own ideal lifestyle. I like how gal is associated with a lifestyle, even if it isn`t always associated with a good one. I love that gals wear clothes the way they want, take trends and turn them on their head, and basically promote a fun, free, party life. I no longer have a party life (ha ha) but I still love how that is an image associated with gal (despite all the nastiness that goes with it!). So, instead of naming trends (which are always changing) or models (which decline in popularity) I will say I love the lifestyle that goes with the look. I love how people will deco everything, design their room to match their very own style, and transform their own look to model the life they want: the gyaru life. I love the extremes of gal style.
3. Do you have any style preferences and is there anything you wouldn’t try?
I tend to like more rock-inspired looks or looks that I can mix and match easily with more classic looks in my wardrobe (mode is a nice trend for me). I wouldn`t try some of the styles geared toward younger gals, I am afraid I would just look silly as I am no longer 16 and while age doesn`t matter I feel that it would make me feel childish to wear certain styles like American-casual. I also have little love for anything Hime in my life. It can be nice to look at, but I am not partial to frills.
4. You are currently living in Tokyo with your fiance. What does he think of your interest in Gal?
He is amused by it more than anything. Sometimes, he will suggest I try a makeup look or look “gyaru” for a day when we go out. But then, we met at club ATOM which is kind of known for being a place where gals go so…he can`t say much about it. I have an interest in all types of styles, so my own style is more of a blend rather than all out gal.
5. As a fiance and a working girl, do you find that you have to tone down your gal style? If so, how do you do this?
I do, but mainly because my job is in a more business-oriented environment so I am expected to wear certain things. I keep my nails short and save fake nails for weekends or a night out. I also keep my makeup less eye-heavy and have a more natural look. If I plan to go out after work, I bring some fake eyelashes or eyeliner to put on in the bathroom (along with a change of clothes). For work, I follow a more body conscious style, such as skirts with a wide belt etc. It is professional, but it still looks good and follows current trends.
6. Your weekly wrapups of what’s going on in Japan/fashion/gal related blogs is always great to read. But what makes you choose a post?
I choose posts that interest me, of course! Seriously, though, I like posts that can incite discussion or bring up a particular point that I haven`t thought about before. I also love posts with pictures of someone`s style. Pictures and someone talking about what gal means for them is a sure fire way to get your post on my weekly wrapup. Also, emailing me and informing me of your post is another way 🙂 I try to pick things that I like but also that I think my readers will be interested in.
7. You also like to talk about cultural and social issues/phenomemons in Japan, on your blog. Keeping this in mind, how do you view gal?
I am not sure how to answer this question. I guess I have a pretty mixed view, simply because Sho (and other Japanese people I know) do not have a fondness for gal. I am sure that seems pretty surprising for some people to hear from me! However, mostly it is because I understand where the bad stereotypes come from because I see those types of ladies (ones who sell themselves to older men for money or goods etc.) in society and guess what style of clothes they are wearing? Exactly. This is not everyone and I have met Japanese gyaru who seem totally awesome and the shop staff have always — always — been wonderful to me. So I guess my opinion is people are people, no matter the style they wear.
8. You recently started a series of ‘self-love’ posts on your blog. Do you think there is a problem with this in the gal community?
I think our community (blogging) is very self-loving and I absolutely adore this community we are creating together! However, on anonymous forums or even on personal blogs, you can see people put down not only themselves but others and I find that so sad and discouraging. The world already sends so many messages of unrealistic beauty ideals and gal magazines do too (hello, massive amounts of photoshop, models who have had plastic surgery done) — I have no real problem with this choice but for those who don`t realize work has been done it can create another unrealistic ideal — and with the constant image of dieting and messages that these magazines promote so that you can become a skinner, better you, I want to try to encourage people to love themselves as much as possible. You can be beautiful and never realize it, simply because all you see are flaws. I want to change that around, so I try to make a weekly post that shows people how to not only love their outside, but also their personality, skills, and what they have contributed to in their life. The most beautiful women are always the most confident women, no matter your size, style, or appearance.
9. Do you have any advice for newcomers who feel a little apprehensive about joining the style?
Don`t be afraid to jump right in! Make mistakes, find out what your style is, keep a notebook with pages torn out of your favorite magazines or a tumblr full of images you love, rock a look for a night — honestly, just have fun. After all, I showed up when I was in school, in America, in a short skirt with baggy leg-warmers and outrageous 90s-styled makeup for a day and while there might have been comments no one dared to make fun of me to my face (and even if they did, I would have ignored them or asked what their problem was)! As long as you don`t care what other people think, their comments will mean nothing. There is absolutely nothing to be apprehensive about, this style is supposed to be fun!
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?
What a loaded question! I think the only reason people think Japanese ladies can do it right is simply because the style originated here! As for how I represent gaijin gyaru, well, I keep a blog that hopefully inspires a lot of people and also links to a lot of other wonderful gaijin gals. In this way, I try to connect people with other bloggers so no one feels alone in this style — it is so much more fun to gossip about makeup and photoshoots and trends with each other, after all. Also, I hope I try to think outside of the box in my own style. A lot of ladies in Japan (especially the Japanese ladies — I am looking at you!) take magazine copying to the extreme. So definitely, I try to develop a personal style that can still relate to the basics of gyaru and I try to bring that across in my blog.
This is why I love gaijin gyaru, they definitely have a lot of great personal style going on and I think, as a whole, we could develop our own trends instead of just following what is happening in Japan. Does that sound lofty? Maybe it is because I live here, but I think a lot of gaijin gals are so incredibly creative and they have to find their own way of doing the style simply because they don`t have everything available to them like people in Japan do (nor do they have shop staff making coordinates for them in-store!). I suppose, in that way, I am a bit jealous of other gaijin gals…I have it easy, after all! So, I hope I represent gaijin gals by encouraging them and repeatedly telling them how awesome they are–because really, ladies (& gents) you are awesome!
A note from bloomzy: Hana is, like myself, relatively new to the blogging community. However that doesn’t mean she lacks talent. Her posts are always packed full of interesting topics, personal opinions and amazing photographs taken by the lovely lady herself. I enjoy her gal related topics (of course) but the fact that she also posts about her life in Tokyo really adds a personal touch to her blog….and her style is super cute ;D
Keep up with the busy Tokyoite herself @ Finding Tokyo.