Ask Anything 2 – The last answers

Phew! It’s taken a long time to finish this all up. These are the final answers from the ask anything post I really thank you ladies for asking a lot of questions, questions I would have never thought to answer, but ones I will happily do so. I will probably keep doing this every two months (although it might go to three), simply because it’s so time consuming. :icon_eek:

Before I start with anything I have to state my usual disclaimer. I am just one gaijin gal living half the time in Tokyo. My experiences may differ heavily from other gaijins living in Japan. Therefore my perceptions of Japan will be slanted by my experiences, just as any other gaijin living in Japan.

tl;dr I am biased just like everyone else.

Before all the chatty lets enjoy the view of Ueno, Tokyo from a Swan boat on the lake. :sparkle2:

Mely asks:

How do the Japanese feel about other Asians (not Chinese/Korean) like Vietnamese, Malaysian, Filipino, Thai, etc.? Are there a lot of them living/dressing in gyaru fashion in Japan?

A nationalist van with loud speakers. Usually babbling about Takeshima/Dokuto and grumping about Koreans.

Not to my knowledge. You know the stereotype that white people think all Asians look the same? Well I think this is partially true for everyone. It’s not like you get a class in grade school where they tell you this is how a Korean looks and this is how a Laotian looks and this is how the Chinese look. Which is a good thing, I mean it kind of borders of eugenics. Japanese as much as some like to preach they are one race all looking the same have several different features, and some of those features translate into Korean and Vietnamese and such looks. So I don’t think other asians stand out enough to garner attention immediately.

There has been some news on illegals working in sex industries in Japan getting busted. Also, companies (especially during the boom years of Japan) used to fly out businessmen for sex tourism to Thailand. The biggest of incidence non-Chinese non-Korean Asians within Japan is farmers getting paid brides from Vietnam and such to live in the country since many women are leaving for easier city life. The highest number of Japanese citizen to gaijin marriages is mostly to Vietnamese and Chinese women to rural Japanese men. This will create possibly some more half tolerance or bullying, it depends. The phenomenon is pretty new.

A friend of mine is Filipino and graduated from college and now works in Tokyo. I do not think he gets any sort of stereotyping, but then again how people treat races also depends on gender.

blot asks:

Is parapara still popular with gyaru? Do I have to learn it in order to “become” gyaru?

Oh hell no. Para-para seems to be done by some high school girls to songs that have been around for years. The most parapara I’ll see in a club is maybe 20 people out of a 1,000. Then again maybe I am not going to specific clubs since I am not a fan of parapara, but in the clubs I know gals visit I have not seen much at all. If anything the guys I see that are interested in it are all Akiba-kei looking in my opinion (i.e. nerdy looking).

Yet again, gal is so broad of course b-gals would never learn para. Also since saike (psychadelic trance) is really huge it’s not about parapara but a different dance there (I call it the chicken :wink:  ). Hosts during their showtime routines often do parapara and Disney performers also do a bit of it.

Also, do some gals just view gyaru as a fashion and not follow the gyaru “lifestyle trends/fashion lifestyle”?

It depends what you are terming as lifestyle trends/fashion lifestyle. Of course gal has a ton of range within  it. From the casual shopper who mixes gal brands into their basic clothing. And girls who shun nails either because of their profession or aesthetic choice. To the girls who feel a 100% whole package is what is gal. Of course some gals only bring out their clothes during club nights. Some are only casual readers of magazines.

Gal is a fashion (of course) and like any fashion there is a spectrum from the occasional dresser to the hardcore stylista. This goes for any fashion style you can name.

emily (lovelymilk) asks:

how do gyaru/hime gyaru/japanese girls in general get the money to buy all these cute things that japan has to offer?

Well Japan is notoriously thrifty as a country, only recently have credit cards been introduced and still most everyone sticks to a cash system. People will pay cash at Louis Vuitton even. So they save up. They do not own as many clothes as you may think. They also wait longer periods to get their nails done.

Most have friends in different este professions who they get a discount from or work as dummies for whatever the nailist wants to experiment with. Some also go to beauty schools to get discounts on hair cuts. Others use home hair dyes such as Palty. Most clip coupons from hot pepper. They live with their parents and so any small amount they get goes to forwarding their lifestyle or for traveling.

More info in the Cost of Gal article here.

I know the majority of gaijin gyaru must order their stuff from online, but how? do you have a credit card? debit card?

Through shopping services. It’s best to look them up on-line and see if you can find reviews. I haven’t done this, I have a lovely friend who is currently helping me get my grubby hands on Japanese clothes.

A traditional inn in Kyoto

my ultimate dream/goal in life is to live and work in japan and have a completely japanese lifestyle. what im curious about is how I should go about doing that?

Uhhhh…. this is a hard/odd question. What do you mean by completely Japanese lifestyle? It depends on your job skills and how much they’re needed in Japan.

My advice: Never get into a profession just because it’ll be hireable in Japan. You must like it. Also, go on several trips there. See if you like it, although living there is completely different.

Again. I would like to meet anyone who has lived in Japan for a year still things it’s all unicorns, ponies and shiny fashion. It’s a hard, lonely life sometimes and it can beat you down. Yes I’ve had great times there with amazing memories, but also some of my lowest points have been there.

I was watching kawaii tv and they have that episode on gaijin gyaru and it shows soooo many gaijin gyaru and gaijin living and walking around the streets of tokyo. they all look so young too!

Kirakira (the main gaijin gyaru on the program) I know works as a teacher and has so for several years. The others I’m pretty sure go to language school. There are several throughout Tokyo which offer intensive study in order to gain quick profiency. Some countries also offer working holidays.

If you’re interested in living in Japan, do the legwork. Research what you can do there, if you want to study or work. Make it your goal and have determination. Some stubborness and working-hard spirit is what you need to live in Japan so doing your own research and making it happen for yourself is the best way to set up yourself mentally for living in Japan, or any other foreign country.

You need to find out what could suit you best. I am not a magic genie that grants people into Japan.

Essy asks:

I was wondering after reading your post about Tsubasa. There are many Gals who get “unwanted” pregnant at a young age. Like Tsubasa, Rumi, Kaoru, Tsuji Nozomi. Don’t they get education about it or do it safely? Is it a Gal lifestyle thing?

Hmmm there are a few ways to look at unwanted pregnancy and shotgun marriages in Japan and specifically in gal.

One of the biggest items to look at is Japan never had an AIDS scare like the Western world did in the 1980s. Therefore, the idea of condoms as STD prevention is known, but there isn’t the fear that the West inherited from the horrible AIDS death rate of the 80s.

I read recently that America and Japan have the similar rates of teenage pregnancy. The issue is that America’s teenage pregnancies tend to happen to lower-income inner city and rural women. While teenage pregnancy in Japan isn’t that specific.

Another thing to note is how extremely sexually active and how early teens become sexually active in Japan. Japan doesn’t have the shared Judeo-Christian values that work into most American and European countries, so the idea of sex as a bad thing or a sin isn’t there. Some girls prefer to wait, but it’s not common.

So no AIDS, not a sin, and all you’re left with is pregnancy. Which to many teens and young adults is just some sort of amophorous concept. I mean this is both in America and in Japan. No one does the math that sex = pregnancy. Instead it’s like sex maybe sometimes = pregnancy. Many guys think condoms are uncomfortable so they’d rather play Russian roulette with baby making and disease.

Also, abortion is at times used as a form of birth control. I was sitting next to a guy on a plane who proceeded to tell me that his wife finally made him get his vasectomy because she was sick of having so many abortions. Yeah. Uhhh… Abortions are decently easy to get in Japan and around $1,500 USD. Which while not cheap, that’s not an impossible sum. Japan does have the highest rate of abortions within a modernized country.

Then there’s the new glamorization of pregnancy and child-rearing. While I love to see this beautiful gal moms earn money and work to support their children and still remain lovely. The reality is much more grim. Their boyfriend if he’s gyaruo is not likely to bring in much money. Often the family depends on their own mothers to take care of the kids. Even Tsubasa’s mom does this.

Caitlin asks:

Ema at a Shinto shrine in Kyoto

Are gals religious or spiritual? Do they practice meditation or visit shrines or have any rituals?

Gals tend to honor the same religious practices as their parents (as do other people their age group). There has been a debate on wether Shinto or Buddhism as practiced in Japan is spiritual instead of religious. Either way, gals like anyone else visit shrines, toss coins as offerings, get good luck charms, and do the same thing most Japanese do. Their fashion sense does not make them rebellious spiritually.

vonni asks:

The inside of a traditional inn, with Big Toe (who I always travel with).

How would i go about getting a homestay in japan for a month? i live in england and it seems to be mostly for americans or singapore?

It’s best to head to your country’s Japanese embassy or call them up and ask them. Embassies tend to be helpful in these kinds of things. Being an American who has never done a homestay I’m the wrong person to ask.

aiko asks:

What application do you use when editing the photos (header picture, i’m not sure what it’s called… the picture that’s at the top of your blog articles) in your blog? I think they’re awesome!

Gosh thanks :wink: Just Photoshop 7. I used to do it for a living, but I’m quite rusty :^_^;;:

TJ asks:

I love the websites, but I can not read Japanese, at all. And I live in America. Could I still order them? And how can I get magazines? Like Jelly and what not…

You mean clothing websites? See emily’s question for my comments on this. Magazines you can order through several places. Someone recommended fujisan to me and I think their service has been very reasonable cost-wise although a bit slow.

emma asks:

Have you heard much gal slang? Does it exist?

Not really. Gal slang is mostly just highschool girl’s slang that gets into the lexicon, any kind of popular slang will show up in magazines ASAP so even if you’re overseas with a good grasp of the language you’ll be aware of popular words, too. Things like KY and AKY and JK were popular but now that they’re all well known another crop should pop up. But these things are not gal specific. Most gals speak in casual form but not usually with slang. Although as a foreigner it’s best to throw some in, if you do you’ll make them feel more comfortable.

Natalie asks:

Hmm I’m not sure if you’ve talked about these topics previously…but is there any special etiquette we should be aware of when shopping for clothes/shoes (I think you’ve talked about change rooms already)? Any helpful japanese terms?

Well I think it’s best to go when there’s not that many people if you can. Like weekday days. That way you’re assured better, personal service.

I know the tendency for American shoppers is if you like something, pick the garment you like by the hanger and walk around with a few until you’re ready to hand them to the sales assistant to try on. This is not a good idea in Japan. If you pick something up they’ll immediately think you want to try it on, so you’re stuck trying on one thing at a time. So it’s best to do a full browse of the shop, earmark the items you want to try on or buy, and then see.

Many shops won’t let you try on things like t-shirts, sweaters and other things that have a tendency for the neck to get stretched out in. Really One*Spo is the only break in this, they let you try on anything.

If you want to know how many colors there are of an item: ほかの色ありますか (hoka no iro arimasu ka)
They’ll reply with: kore dake (that’s all) or san-ten (3)… yon-ten (4) etc.. colors and probably list them off for you.

If you’d like to pay separately for items (like 2 cash 1 credit) これとこれ別々いいですか (kore to kore betsubetsu ii desu ka)

If you’d like your items to go in the shopping bags you’re already holding: 一緒にいいですか (isshouni ii desu ka)

That’s hella cute: チョウかわいいですね (chou kawaii desu ne)

To agree with any damn thing they say: そうですね そうだね (sou desu ne …polite) (sou da ne …casual)

Shopstaff will often say: にあう 似合います (niau or niamasu) meaning it suits you

Also, how crazy do the bargain (winter & summer) sales at 109 get?

Winter ones are obscene with fukubukuro. But after Fukubukuro times, it’s only the weekends that get nutty. Lots of megaphones out and people yelling. My Lip Service staff-chan Mai told me she lost 4kg during sales because she was kept so busy. :hearts2:

Molly asks:

I live in a very humid part of south Texas where there I can never get my hair to stay curly or completely straight. Do you have any tips for keeping a voluminous, gyaru style throughout the day?

Will be a post. :upheart:


  1. K
    February 28, 2010 / 4:29 pm

    completely unrelated, but is there anywhere online to purchase from one*spo? I adore their stuff but they don’t have an online shop do they? Or is there a catalogue anywhere at least, that you know of? Sorry sorry!

    Thank you for this, by the way!

    • Mitsu
      February 28, 2010 / 4:44 pm

      The only place to buy them with updated merchandise is the 109 e-shop. No website, no blog, no nothing >_< ;; fashionwalker did carry them but they're not stocking this spring thus far >_<

      • K
        February 28, 2010 / 4:55 pm

        Well, I suppose that’s better than nothing! I really want that money shirt, so I’ll at least get that! I hope they get a bigger web presence soon, they’re one of my favorite brands and I regret not buying more last time I was in Japan.

        Thank you again!

  2. March 1, 2010 / 1:25 am

    I’m looking forward to the post on keeping gyaru hair all day long. I live in England which swings between wet and damp or really dry and my curls suffer terribly ;A;. I went to London recently and curled my hair for two hours only for it to fall within 1/2 an hour of being on the bus as it was raining.

  3. March 1, 2010 / 1:01 pm

    this is why i love your blog, a refreshing and honest voice!

  4. March 1, 2010 / 10:45 pm

    Hello just came across your site and have been browsing around some of your entries and just wondering why you chose a WordPress blog dont you find it impossible to do anything with? Been thinking about starting one.

  5. March 3, 2010 / 3:31 pm

    “I was sitting next to a guy on a plane who proceeded to tell me that his wife finally made him get his vasectomy because she was sick of having so many abortions”

    That made me WTF big time. Why doesn’t she just take bc pill…is that not common in Japan? wtf -_-;

    • Mitsu
      March 3, 2010 / 3:38 pm

      yeah believe me I wanted my seat to swallow me up. :^_^;;:

      I just don’t think it’s considered common. None of my Japanese friends were on the pill that I knew of, not even my more “westernized” ones. But, then it’s not something you often talk about -_-

  6. Micha
    March 6, 2010 / 4:00 am

    Hey, I recently got into reading your blog and I love it! My question relates to your experience living in Japan. You mentioned you had wonderful memories there (duh) but also some of your toughest times. could you please elaborate on what you found difficult?

  7. March 19, 2010 / 3:05 am

    There are so many many different towns for a very good holiday vacation worldwide. I do not acknowledge precisely why, however i’m sure i favor generally the asian place for my best journey, for the reason that i believe individuals you’ll find so pleasant and also helpful

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