These are a response to the earlier post of which I asked readers if they wanted to know anything about gal in Japan/tips/general Japan life/or me. Everything is considered and more questions or topics are welcome!
So far we have: japanese gals interpreting gaijin gals, street snap, winter sales and christmas events, lingere (un-info >_<;; sorry malignita!), dressing in the summer when Japan’s in the winter, cheap clothes, weight of Japanese women, my transformation into gal, personal sizing questions. Keep them coming!
How Japanese Gals interpret foreign Gals, and whether they’re approachable etc.
Well hmmm. As I talked about in my friends post, it’s best to meet people in places they might be more open to talking (bars, clubs, music events). However, not concerning friends it just depends.
As a gaijin, especially as a non-Asian gaijin, there is a definite divide. You are constantly stared at (and let me tell you it is definitely not the discrete glances a lot of the time but a dead-eyed fish stare). No matter if you are here for 2 days or 2 years some will quickly assume you speak 0 Japanese. However, like many things things in Japan that is just the surface. Most people here can be slow to warm up to you, but you will find many do warm up to you and open up.
The way I look and dress in gyaru style people sometimes ignore my face or see me from the back and then when they see and notice I’m white, they go “whoaaaaa gaijin!” to their friends. This can happen sometimes several times a day. It’s like a game where they’ve found Waldo, aka the gaijin gal.
Sometimes people assume I’m a haafu *corrected (half Japanese half white), which is quite silly since I have naturally blonde hair and blue eyes, but since so many people dye their hair and use color contacts they don’t really accept the reality of my face simply because of my ability to speak coherent Japanese.
Let me just put this out there: I have no desire to be Japanese. Just because I like ONE Japanese style does not make me want to turn into a Japanese person.
There is a big difference between dressing a Japanese style and WANTING to be Japanese. I have zero problem being white, I am okay with being an American.
In living here, you become more knowledgeable about popular culture, inside jokes and amusing pieces. If you share a similar lexicon, people tend to accept you easier. Gaijin (especially non-Asian gaijin) are however oddities, and curiosities. Not so much a freak show, but we inspire their curiosity. You can combat this by being open about yourself, sharing common interests and keeping yourself humble.
As I’ve said before. Like living in any foreign country, and being an outsider, it’s best to grow a very strong spine and keep your head up even if people are unkind to you. Suck it up and be more awesome than them!
Have you ever been picked for a street snap?
I was asked once when I was walking to the train station in Shibuya. I was dressed in head to toe Mar*s with fitted jacket, fluffy skirt, garter belt tights and high heeled mules. My hair took hours and I was looking quite Agejo. However, it was the time it took that made me late to go pay my rent which was why I was headed to the station. Sadly, I was in too much of a hurry to do it.
This however was a rarity since Street Snaps have become increasingly not so spur-of-the-moment, but now there are special areas for people who come to want street snaps and Egg magazine and such often advertising a time and place for their street snaps. They also sometimes drag shopstaff out of 109 to quickly shoot their picture.
I would appreciate a topic on how to take care of japanese extensions, as mine always become shitty after a few weeks… and also, cheap places to buy gyaru clothes.
Japanese extension info is in the extension FAQ. Extensions do want to die after a few weeks. You might also want to switch your stylist, sometimes the hair quality is different in each shop. Also, many shops sell treatment just for them. I’ve noticed while using the treatment my hair tends to stay less tangled even if damaged.
To be honest, I don’t really like to discuss cheap places to buy clothes, because usually their the trend followers and offer a lower quality piece that often fails stylistically. If their design is good I’m all about supporting them, but when construction and quality fail I’m hesitant.
ANAP is one of the rare exceptions to this, since they offer so many pieces you can often find something good if you look hard enough. They also have so many brand labels such as ANAP USA for more flashy looks, ANAP Chille which offers are more girly style, ANAP Mimpi for the hippi in everyone and even ANAP Outlet in Harajuku for the cheap of the cheap.
For the quick and dirty both aBaB in Ueno in Tokyo have cheap stores selling gal clothes, and Namba Walk in Osaka is full of tons of cheap stores (pictures of some to come in the Osaka III post).
I want to know when the winter sales start! >__< And if you can tell what special things I can do this X-mas in Tokyo cause I will be there!
Winter sales: Start on Janurary the 5th and go through the 9th. The week before will be pre-sales and you might find some good bargains there. January 1st is when fukubukuro are on sale. If you haven’t reserved your items expect to wait the night before in line to even get a shot at getting the good ones.
Things to do for Christmas: Tokyo Disneyworld has a special seasonal parade, great merchandising, and a cosy atmosphere. Shinjuku South Exit towards Takashimaya has their illuminations set up. Roppongi Midtown and Odaiba both have good Christmas light displays as well. But enjoying yourself out on X-mas in Japan is just like Valentine’s Day in America. So expect a certain amount of crowds.
Lingerie: Lingerie is one of my shopping weaknesses, so I couldn’t resist! What should foreign gals keep in mind when shopping for lingerie in Japan? Are there any specific shops or brands that cater to larger shapes or sizes?
LOL I am absolute fail on this question. My cupsize is 34D which puts me far out of the range of bra buying in cute gal shops. I’ve heard there are some places and a friend bought from one, but I cannot recommend them since I did not think they flattered or did the lifting one needs. Now 34D is a normal-ish size in the states and I just make sure to buy all my needs back in the states
Gal Recessionista: What sort of ways can gals save on clothing, accessories, and cosmetics without sacrificing their look?- will now be an upcoming article!
Education & Work Opportunities: Practically speaking, what opportunities exist for girls who want to continue with gyaru style but go to school or have a career? Gals be ambitious! – will now be an upcoming article!
this is one that definitely has to come with my disclaimer: I am one white girl being a gal in Japan, my experiences are just one of the many foreign experiences. Also, people tend to discuss their relationships when they are not doing so well, so as a friend you hear often not the positive parts.
I’ve been with my man long before I started living in Tokyo and there’s no one for me, but him. He’s one of a kind and perfect for me. I’m currently and always rabu-rabu about him.
So… Hmmm I don’t have experience with dating in Japan, but I do know gaijin friends who have/are dating someone and they’ve shared their experiences. I do have some experience with flirting, since hey getting the occasional free drink and practicing Japanese… I can deal with that.
As I’ve said before in the Love Hotel article, sex is a different concept in Japan. Many relationships start out with sex first and then dating. Sometimes they expect 10 minutes of small talk and a free drink at clubs means heading to a Love Hotel then and there (I’ve been asked that a few times, of course I said NO).
Also, there is the perception about gaijin women as being loose. And definite curiosity about appearance. Especially since Japanese women only slightly trim their pubic hair and all have brown nipples. Too put it bluntly, they’re interested in grooming and pink nipples. Often they’ll ask about your grooming, the popular term for being all shaven is “pie pan”. The Japanese wiki article is less than flattering picture shows more. NSFW
It’s common that Japanese men lack the ability to be chivalrous, it’s just not socially necessary. They’ll be kind and carry your handbag, but it sometimes doesn’t extend beyond that. “Ladies first” ( レディファースト) is how Japanese view American male chivalry and many of my gal friends lament the lack of “ladies first”. As one of my friends puts it, Japanese men can be “Ore no tame ni”, just for me.
Having said all of that, some are kind and sweet and want to work hard to be with you. For these guys many expect the slightly dominant Japanese female role to be played by you, especially if they haven’t spent time abroad. So they’ll expect many e-mails, and you asking to do things and setting up dates instead of them.
It is much more common however to see Japanese girls with gaijin guys. I rarely see Japanese guys with gaijin girls as a couple.
Here are my tips-bits of info to flirting and dating:
- Smoke at a club (or just fake it), that way you can ask for a lighter
- Separate yourself from your group, men are more likely to approach you if you’re alone
- Absolutely nothing wrong with a little smile and some sexy dancing at a club
- If you’re at a non-club, start off the conversation like… “kyou hitori desu ka?” are you out by yourself?
- Many guys like a dependent girl, so say you’re thirsty if you want a drink or ask to go out somewhere else
- Ask them to teach you Japanese. A relationship can’t turn serious without some deep conversation and that comes with language skills.
- A little skinship is always good, like a touch to the arm or playful slap on the hand
- A common question to ask someone is if they’re an S or M. Not as much slutty s&m, but more do you like to be in control (S) or you prefer someone else to take the lead (M).
- Some guys are out at clubs just to collect phone numbers, but that’s alright. Maybe a nampa (pick-up) guy can turn serious
- Expand your horizons. Most all gals I know are not dating gyaruo. Instead they’re sticking to guys who are spending less money on their clothes and more their girlfriends. Often the gyaruo couples are highschool or started dating in highschool
- Don’t put your hopes up on one guy unless you’re dating. Finding your perfect someone doesn’t come without trial and error.
- suki is commonplace, don’t consider it love and don’t expect guys to speak of their love or it’s sometimes hollow. Words of love do not carry the same weight in Japanese. I got two mails today of friends telling me they loved me, casually of course. They’re just being sweet.
- Cheating happens in Japan. Two of my friends have been the other woman, accidentally or not. Two of my other friends have found someone else to be the other man, so it’s not just guys.
- Carry condoms! USE THEM! STDs are never sexy.
So be safe, be sexy and put yourself out there.
Because I live in the southern Hemisphere our seasons are the opposite of the Northern which means that we are 6 months behind in Fashion. Would you suggest that, for example during our winter I should use trends from the winter which has already passed in the North??
It gets a little confusing with seasonal changes. There are small things which I can keep up to date with such as make up or hair but something with certain clothes, colours or prints, it just doesn’t work.
I actually think you get the best of both worlds. You can and mix and enjoy a nice sexy blend.
In your situation it’s best to consider these trends without a seasonal reference. Things like plaid, dot patterns, lace and studs all can work in either summer or winter. Cardigans are popular and work as a lightweight jacket on a cooler summer night. For bottoms, consider damage jeans work whether you need shorts of jeans. Leggings are often fine during the summer too.
Tokyo’s winter actually tends to start mid to late October lately, and there is very little of Fall, so you will find people in t-shirts in October.
The only thing I would suggest following that is a purely summer trend is shoes. Strappy open-toed heeled sandals were very popular as were mules. Also, summer is a great time to experiment with color. Winter in Japan people tend to wear only pops of color, but summer can be a great explosion of color if you want it to be.
I’d like to know whether is it true that gals in Japan eat a lot (that’s what my boyfriend said). When I was in Japan, I noticed that many gals in Japan eat heartily and do not look like they starve themselves – but they still look really thin.
For many I do think they’re anorexic. I think magazines and dieting also encourage this extreme diet restriction. I am sure there are some binge-purge women as well. I also believe that with the less equality of men and women it forces the society to punish the women who aren’t of the considered societal pleasing shape (sociological too much ^_^;;)
Yes, many gals are thin, but some are just genetically slender. Walking is some part of it, but walking really isn’t that physically taxing and most people only walk 30 mins a day here. Also, as an American I walk fast, I use my long legs and move. Japanese tend to walk quite slow, thus lessening their physical empact. I think their weight has a lot more to do with genetics, the greater emphasis on physical fitness in highschool, portion size, and their conception of food.
- Most Japanese women have small frames which means packing even extra fat on can just look more like a medium frame. For those of us with large frames (read more about frame sizing here), we pack on a little meat and BOOM we’re chubby. Small framed girls can accept more weight. Also, genetically I think Japanese have good metabolism, they mostly do not seem to have much of the obesity gene lying around. I mean when you get to the countryside of course there’s a greater range in sizes.
- Physical fitness class is much more important in Japanese high schools than in American ones. While it was solely the jocks and a few credit requirements, most Japanese schools have a lot more athletic emphasis built into their curriculum. Therefore, many of these gals who are only 2 or 3 yrs from that musculature haven’t had time to bloat.
- Portion size in Japan is also much much smaller than in the US. I mean with the exception of ramen (which is just soup), most foods are very small portions. Steak may be a tiny steak pieces, a katsu piece is usually small as well.
- Japanese TV is obscenely dedicated to covering food. Food stores, food oddities, the celebration of seasonal food, the cheap places to get it, reviews around the country… it’s everywhere. Although the US has the food network, I think the normal American mentality is not to savour the food. When you go out to eat with someone in Japan expect to bring up what you ate for an hour afterwards. It feels like people really treasure their food here, even if its cheap and simple. Because of this enjoyment, I think women eat less per day, keeping them thin.
I know this has probably been touched light upon but are gal brands startin to branch out of the standard M size and into L and even LL clothing.
The quick and dirty answer: nope. Even though many gal brands have 3 sizes in fitted items such as jeans, they mainly go to an American size 2/4 (So the sizes would translate to 00 – 0 – 2, or sometimes 0 – 2 – 4). Though discount brand Honey’s (located in 109-2), has L and LL, I am pretty sure LL = 4, and that’s in a very select few styles.
EDIT: For some of the girls outside the American L range, the mall aBaB in Ueno on the 5th(?) floor stocks larger sized clothing such as jeans and such. Do not expect the most current styles or cutest looks, but there are still several outfits and looks to be found within.
I’m curious as to what got you into doing gal styles when you first started and how you got started. any interesting tidbits to share on the transition between girl to gal?
The simple answer: I moved to Japan. In actuality I moved in 2007 and hadn’t really heard about the gal resurgence. Instead I had this picture in my mind from Fruits books of mamba or something that was just too colorful and baked and not me. Thankfully I met a friend and she liked the new gal before she came and then together we discovered a lot more.
Oh I think I was fail at times back then and other pieces/looks I still like. I fell in love with Gilfy quickly and that was easy enough to lure me in. I considered it very easy to get into it because I had both access, the most current info and a lifestyle void. It was easy to get into, but much harder to make strides in it. I’m not a big make-up person, and I needed to learn to spend time on my hair and several things went very slowly. I really do think gal is best done with a drastic hair change.
Karyu-sama マニア asks
I’ll be going to Japan very soon and I am sacred not to find anything in my size. Shirt size: L-M Dress size: L
While I spoke of 0-2-4 in concern with jeans, that doesn’t translate to the rest of clothing. Jeans are a very specific object that I’m sure you know can be a pain to shop for. Do not worry at all about finding things to fit. I can only loosely say this since broad shoulders are not a very Japanese friendly clothing aspect, but many gal clothes are made loose. Even if they’re fitted many are cotton which have a bit of stretch to them.
As I’ve said before I think it’s a huge myth that 109 caters to only tiny people. Of course some things are tiny sized because MOST of Japan is tiny or medium sized. My firiend used to complain she found nothing that fit her when all she would look at were these button-up shirt dresses. I don’t know how well her body could’ve done in an American or European S-to-L system looking for button-up shirt dresses. However, once she moved to a more loose and casual look she was able to buy most anything she wanted. Loose doesn’t have to be casual. Lip Service has made a fortune this season selling many looks that are tight to the bust and loose everywhere else.
I often sacrifice fashion for bulky layers …do you have any recommendations on staying gal/fashionable even when you have to pack yourself up like a sardine?
First of all there are two main bodylines popular this season, the A-line which favors trenchcoats and peacoats, and the I-line which favors skinny jeans and sleek jackets. The A-line cut relies on keeping your legs in tights or leggings to maintain a thin shape to balance out the flowy upper body. This is a bad idea in extreme conditions.
It’s best to stick with an I-line shape, so find a very sleek coat. Combine skinny jeans with thermal leggings and rely on layering thinly. Such as thermal long-tee + long sleeve print tee + cardigan + jacket.
Also, pop your outfit with an adorable snow hat and winter scarf, preferably in a color or print.
Let your hair have volume and show from under your hat. Fluff around and let it speak for your fashion sense.
I can get good quality exte, and haircut that is affordable and gives a wide variety of shades for my hair
It depends on your definition of affordable, personally I think the US is much cheaper on haircuts, so it’s best to get a haircut in the states before coming and then exte. Remember that layered haircuts tend to blend exte better than blunt cuts.
Most all salons will carry blonde and there is usually no extra charge. My last time at Yu House a Lady Gaga platinum blonde was getting exte next to me. Extreme red might cost more and be harder to blend.
YuHouse is offering their special again with 50 for 9,800. That’s a good price, but if you’re like me and wanting more than that, Extension Rhytmn in Centaagai (東京都渋谷区宇田川町35-4 plug it into google maps) seems to have a great price right now. Their straight houdai (all you can get) is 9800, and their wave houdai price is only 15800. I’m unsure if you need the coupon, but you can print it out before you leave the States
I am going to head to them next week and see if they’re good.