Thursday, 1 August 2013

Moving to Japan! Securing the job and the steps leading to Departure!

 (Photos from my last trip to Japan, just reminiscing!)

As many of you know, I will be leaving my home country of England to live in Japan on August 15th; I will be an ALT (Teaching assistant) Teaching middle-schoolers. I will be documenting my journey but I thought I'd do a post to show how I got my job and the sort of things the job required. Hopefully this will help those of you that want to be ALTS!

1. Most ALT positions, or anything with a VISA require a degree, although this is not always the case. I'm sure there will be some positions that will hire you, however it may be harder to get a VISA and you may need more supporting documents.

I started applying for jobs before I finished my degree, so that by the time I finished, I would have a job; this is perfectly fine as long as you have supporting documents to say that you are studying^^

2. Firstly, I had to think about where I wanted to live; I decided on somewhere outside of central Tokyo where accommodation would be cheaper, but still had a big population and lots of things to do. I ended up picking Yokohama or Saitama. Once you have this in mind you can start applying for jobs, as most jobs will say which area they reside in.

3. Start applying - I looked on the website -  I think you will find mostly English Teaching jobs there, if there is something specific you want to do other than that, It's better to contact the company directly.

When looking at jobs, be VERY CAREFUL.
It may look like they're all the same, but they're really not.

 - Some jobs, the pay fluctuates the months you're not doing as many hours - you don't want this as obviously, the weeks you're not teaching at school, you will be broke.
- Some jobs say that you cannot work outside of that particular job, whilst some people might not mind it, I wanted to do some things outside of my  job. You can also earn more from teaching privately on the side remember~
- Some jobs require you to teach at more than one school, this may be OK for you, but remember there's a lot of traveling involved.

Just keep looking at them and reading the small print, you'll soon one that fits your lifestyle.

I applied for my job; I had to send a CV, tick the box that says I have a degree and then add a small cover letter. For this; don't talk about how much you love One Piece and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, write more about the traditional aspects of Japan and the country as a whole and the people.

4. I waited a few days and then finally I got an email asking if I still wanted the job; I had to print off some contracts, sign them, and also get a letter from my University saying that I would be completing my course to send back. Once this was done; I had an interview with them via Skype.

It was done 2PM Japan time, which was 6am here, so I woke up bright and early, luckily for me it was only a voice chat, because I looked rough.
 They mostly asked me about availability, where I would like to be placed and the kind of accommodation I would like, I was then passed on to a lovely lady to chat with in Japanese, there is no Japanese speaking required for the job, but if you have any it is a bonus. I must say, although I answered all the questions, being under pressure, I felt I could have done a lot better!
The interview itself did not seem like an interview, more like finding out if I would actually be able to do the job and what dates I could fly out.

5.I got an email four hours later to say that I got the job! As you can imagine I was ecstatic; but I needed to collect a lot more documents for them:

Scan my passport
Scan the passport of my emergency contact
Get a Reference
Get a Visa Photo
Scan the transcripts of my Degree results
Print off and sign pledges, contracts and other things
Get a medical and send them the form signed by a GP

I have most of them done, I just need a medical for now, but they said that can be done in Japan if all else fails.

I was placed in Saitama in the Koshigaya area; I haven't been there before but upon research they have a giant lake and a huge shopping mall, so I'm happy!

6. Choosing accommodation:

Basically, you can have your own apartment or get a guest house (I'm sure there's a ton of other options of you have the money). There were no apartments in the vicinity as yet, or so my School said, so I opted for the Guest House.
In the Guest House, I will have my own room and share a Bathroom with the other house guests. I feel like this will be bearable for a few months, then I can move out. I'm sure the guest house would mean I would have people to help me get set on my feet, show me how to do my garbage and general day-to-day tasks.

7. I found out I have two days of training in Mito, so I am booking a hotel for 10 days from the 15th, until the 21st, which is the date I move in to my housing, which means I have ample time to sigh see in Tokyo ^__^ I will be going with my boyfriend, who is having his birthday out there; so I want to make it super special!

For money - They suggest taking about £1,800 or more, as you need to pay a housing deposit and work a month in hand, so my suggestion is to save up a lot before you go!

That is as far as I am now; I am at the point of selling all my worldly possessions and planning my first meal when I touch down! I will be updating again just before I leave and when I'm over there, feel free to ask any questions!

Oh and lastly~

I have an interview with a Japanese modelling agency for Western models so hopefully I can continue to do lots of nice shoots over there!

Mini Shironuri shoot!

This was just a simple, school girl style shironuri. Although it is hard to tell from the photos, I stuck black feathers to my eye lashes. The outfit is inspired from Japanese nautical themed school uniforms, complete with seifuku style cardigan and boater hat.

The shoot took place in the country, down a deserted footpath, there was a lot of over-growing vegetation and dry grass which went really well with the "dead" look. Luckily we didn't bump in to anyone whilst shooting or that could have really given them a fright!

I wore my favourite wig - Babooshka by Geisha wigs, as I feel dusky colours suit shironuri a lot better. The shoot was ridiculously hot with the sun beating down on us, luckily we captured what we wanted quickly, so we could dash inside and eat ice cream >__<.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Photos back from Shironuri shoot with MyM magazine!

After getting the photos back from this shoot, I can't even describe how happy I am with them!
This shironuri shoot I had envisioned to be very "A midsummers Nights Dream" with lots of emerald greenery, fairy dust and flowers. I think we achieved that!

We shot in Epping Forrest, which was about half an hour from London Liverpool street on the train, the journey paid off as there were so many perfect places to shoot; old mossy logs, ancient bowing trees and even thickets full of bunny rabbits!

I was modelling with the gorgeous Grace St. John and also Mary-ann. The photographer we shot with was Saoirse Clohessy, who always produces stunning results. In some of the shots, Grace threw some dried petals in the air, I think this effect came out really well and really accentuated the spring-time feel of the shoot.

Co-ord run down:

Dress: Yumetenbo
Peignoir: Vintage
Wig: Lioness
Headband: Hysteria Machine
Jacket: Bodyline.

Candy Geisha sponsored Model!

I have been extremely lucky in being picked to be a sponsored model for the wonderful Candy Geisha, who specialize in gorgeous and cute accessories, inspired by Harajuku trends and well..The 80's haha, both of those things are very dear to my heart!

You can find their eclectic creations here:
The first set I got to model is called "Rococo Kitty" and is a gorgeous acrylic cut bow with a "Hello kitty" cameo embedded inside. With it is a shiny pearl-style bracelet, matching cameo ring and earrings.

The set not only goes extremely well with Sweet Lolita, but also made me feel like a princess!
All the items felt extremely well made and came in a gorgeous pearly pink that matched so much of my wardrobe (I'm a pinkophile T__T).

I got to shoot the jewellery in a secret garden where I live known as "Churchill gardens" where gorgeous trees, ferns and ponds are in abundance. Wandering around the gardens in Lolita makes me feel like I have been transported back in time a century or so!
My co-rd was Baby, the Stars Shine bright brand dress: Chocolate Fairytale Fascinate. With a white headbow of the same brand, and also parasol. The blouse is off-brand from Taobao.

I also received a couple more pieces from them since this particular shoot, I will post them below~

Please tell me what  you think ^__^

Star Sailor shoot and Japanese Fashion Exhibition!

Recently I attended the Japanese Fashion exhibition of POSE studio in Leigh-on-Sea. I was lucky enough to be able to model and style in a lot of the shots at the exhibition, so it meant a lot to be able to go and see them and of course, see members of the public seeing these images and hearing their opinions.
The exhibition displayed Lolita, fairy-kei, shironuri, gyaru and butler styles among others. It was a ridiculously hot day and the studio got sweltering, so we had to pop out and get Ice Cream soda floats ^__^

Here's a sample of what the exhibition had to offer:

You can see me looking ultra-moody in Gothic Lolita, my favourite shots from this selection where the shironuri ones, they look so ghostly and ethereal.

After me and Pixie_Late wandered around the exhibition and ate a ton of Ice Cream, we decided to have a photoshoot as, lucky for us, the exhibition was in the quaint little seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea and there was plenty of great places to shoot!

 The theme was "Star Sailor" wearing matching Galaxy Seifuku outfits from Taobao and boater hats, we managed to find these abandoned rowing boats in the mud to pose in. There was mud and old boats for as far as the eye could see, it was like a seaside apolocalypse!

The accessories I wore were from Candy Geisha, who are one of my wonderful sponsors and the set is Rococo Kitty. The wig I wore is called "Pink Frosting" and is from Geisha Wigs. I think the pink hair with the galaxy seifuku gave the set a "magical girl" vibe. As I had finally finished watching Mahou Shojou Madoka Magica, and I wanted to do something different.

Apart from the blazing hot sun, it was a great shoot, working with another lovely model and in such a perfect location. It's a shame we had such little time, as there were so many more amazing places to shoot, I would recommend anyone to go there, even just to visit!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Behind the scenes of the Shironuri shoot for MyM magazine!

Now I have been doing shironuri for quite awhile I have started experimenting more with styles and makeup, the shoot with MyM magazine was perfect as we were shooting in Epping forest. The verdant greenery was a lovely setting for the fashion - I got to pose atop moss covered logs, in between thickets and in overgrown grass covered in rabbit poop.

The look itself I wanted to emanate spring, with lots of pink blossoms and flowing layers and a fawn theme. The gorgeous headpiece was made by Hysteria Machine, they make gorgeous head wear of all kinds and she was kind enough to lend it to me, but in the end I loved it so much I ended up buying it! I tried creating fawn print on my face with eye shadow and more shironuri as speckles, it actually came out better than I had expected! I only hope it comes out well on camera.

I was lucky enough to model with the gorgeous Mary-Ann and Grace St.John, they both pulled off shironuri beautifully and did their own makeup! Grace wore a very classic blue themed outfit, while Mary-Ann opted for minty green, with blonde hair entwined with ivy. Our outfits were all different, yet seem to match so well! I think this was a perfect coincidence.

Grace was also kind enough to buy petals , it was hilarious trying to pose whilst watching people frantically throw petals into the shot >__< They were actually made from real petals and I can only hope came out in the shots! You can see them here on my camera phone as a manic blur.

The magazine should be out at the start of next month, I will no doubt post the pictures here when it has been published, I'm really excited!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Atelier Dormir bloomer Review!

Atelier Dormir

For my first go at Shironuri I wanted to take a Cult-party Kei approach to it, I decided to wear some bloomers for a layered, lacy and doll-like look. I had never purchased bloomers before and I knew nothing about them, luckily when I posted a 'Want to buy' post, someone recommended Atelier Dormir to me. I've had pieces commissioned before so I was aware of what to expect, what I didn't expect however was how amazing her service actually was.
She made the bloomers themselves in about a day and shipped them next-day delivery as she knew I needed them quickly. On top of that she made them exactly how I wanted them, right down to the lace detail and fabric and updated me regularly with her progress.

  The bottoms of the bloomers I wanted as ruffled as possible, so she made them extra lacy! The material and lace were all of high quality and she even put little draw-string ribbons at the bottom. I also wanted them extra long so they would peep through my dress, she did this for no extra charge!
The material itself was plush and floral and so soft that I just lounge in them~

They were also nice and elastic so they would definitely fit and were extremely comfortable, there's a little bow in the top center and an adorable little Atelier Dormir tag to finish the product, it really felt and looked like a real brand <3

In action:

As well as bloomers I know she also does bows and knee socks, it looks like a relatively new company so I'm excited to see what else she makes.
Review - 
Workmanship - 5/5
~ They're perfect and exactly how I wanted them, I've worn them a few times now and they still feel new.
Speed - 5/5
~ She made them in a day *___*
Service - 5/5 
~ Very polite and offered me tons of information about the materials she used because I was a newbie to bloomers. I will definitely order from her again!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Bumper Shironuri photoshoot with POSE!

Shironuri Shoot - behind the scenes.

POSE studio are holding a Japanese exhibition in June and I got chosen to be the stylist! For the past couple of months we have been holding various Japanese fashion shoots, this one however I can honestly say was my most anticipated and enjoyable! ヽ(;▽;)ノ

The fashion featured this time is Shironuri, taken directly from the name of the white make-up used on our faces. Shironuri makeup is widely known as the makeup used by Geisha and Kabuki actors, however this fashion actually is very loose in how you want to wear the makeup with which style!
As seen from my previous blog posts,  I have tried shironuri before wearing plain white face paint, although the final product was nice, it was patchy.  Since then I have bought the actual shironuri makeup and wax from Kyoto and the difference is phenomenal! The wax has to be heated first and the makeup itself should be applied with a large brush and mixed with water, the makeup itself was applied by the amazing Emily Golding MUA!

 The styles we chose were very much influenced by the Japanese model Minori who wears shironuri in a very mori girl style, using real flowers and floaty clothes that have a very ethereal feel to them.
For the shoot I chose four models (Including myself) to do a season themed shironuri shoot.
The inspiration for this I took from 'A Midsummer's Nights dream' and tried to think about what the fairies Titania and Puck would look like.
I was winter and so had a frosty pale blue outfit with a light blue Pegnoir, eye shadow and lipstick, black flowers and floaty dress with white bloomers and high-necked lace shirt. Black leaves were also put in my hair and my fellow stylist Lewis Golland even stuck real bark to my face! thankfully he removed the ants first. o(≧∇≦o)

My friend Pixie_ Late, who I have modeled with many times before was the spring season, she wore a gorgeous floaty pink maxi dress and lacy blouse and pink peignoir, with pink lipstick, eyeshadow and blossom petals on her face. She looked absolutely stunning and managed to carry off the airy, carefree aesthetic of spring very well!

Autumn was by the lovely Rosina, Lewis had the idea of putting sticks intertwined in her hair to make them look like hairy antlers! It was hilarious watching her constantly bump into things and become unbalanced >__<
Her look was an ivory and brown themed co-ord, with a frilly blouse and brown embroidered scarf, walking around with the antlers she barely looked human!

Finally, summer was taking by my friend Danielle Wheeler, we dressed her in a gorgeous floaty chiffon dress, summery floral skirt and Vivienne WestwoodxMelissa winged sandals. The wig was Lioness by Geisha wigs and we filled it with flowers both real and fake and a fake floral crown. The balance of soft and vibrant colours went really well I thought! She deserved so much credit for spending the whole day in those shoes which were two sizes too big! eek!

Lewis made two sets for us with props, one being full of dead sticks and flowing white sheets, the other being a bright springtime set with a real ivy backdrop and props such as books. Stephanie Thornton was the photographer and needed a step ladder to shoot us bless her!
Her work is always amazing though, I can't wait for the final result, I know she'll make them all polished and otherworldly!

The shoot itself was one of the most successful I've ever done, the models were all very co-operative and everyone injected their own ideas into their outfits. The makeup artist did a wonderful job, the set guy made beautiful sets and I know the Photographer has some gorgeous shots! I can't wait to work with them all again~
I will do another blog post when the shots are all edited and a shironuri transformation video is coming soon!

Photographer: Stephanie Thornton
MUA: Enily Golding
Stylist: Me and Lewis Golland
Set: Lewis Golland
Models: Pixie_Late, Danielle Wheeler, Katie Carter, Rosina Stubbs.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Behind the Scenes at the Shoot at POSE for Geisha wigs!

Again I had to model some wigs for Geisha wigs, the one pictured above is a gorgeous grey/silver wig caled Babooshka. For this particular wig I decided to go for a Gothic Lolita co-ord, I am wearing Baby the Stars Shine Bright "Stained Glass Window" Jumper Skirt and also some off-brand accessories and a princess-sleeved blouse from Tao-Bao.

I also styled Paige Martin in a typical sickly-sweet Harajuku co-ord - a cup-cake printed dress, bright metallic bows and ribbons in her hair. This was very much Kyary-Pamyu Pamyu influenced, however I added a lot of metallic silver for a touch of futuristic dolly. All the makeup for the shoot was by the amazing Emily Golding and the Photographed by Stephanie-Ann Thornton.

Over-all the shoot went very well with lots of different looks, tons of pastel, gems and glitter. My friend Phoenix Okazaki also joined us to shoot her look of Fairy-Kei, I have been a fan of Fairy-kei for a long time but seeing it up close was very exciting; so many clips, gems and stickers! Phoenix herself co-ordinated her outfit so well, all the pastel colours accentuated each other perfectly, especially with all the various pattened hair clips and alpaca stickers, I can't think of a more dramatically cute style.

I also modelled the Sugar Cookie wig by Geisha wigs, this wig is dark brown with a pink underlay, I actually borrowed some of Phoenix's clips to give it a more decora-esque look and the MUA stuck some sparkly gems to my  face to make me look more exciting >__<

After the studio shoot we escaped to the local fields and frolicked amongst the blossoms and uhh stinging nettles (Yeah I got hurt a lot) >__<
The MUA made a video showing her artistry, I also showed how I quickly put on my wig using tights as my wig cap and I slid down a banister slowly and painfully~ I can't wait to see the final pictures!

Wigs by Geisha Wigs
Photographer: Stephanie Thornton
MUA: Emily Golding
Stylist: Me and Lewis Golland
Model: Me, Paige Martin and Phoenix Okazaki

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Hime-Gyaru day in London + Okonomiyaki restaurant!

In the super rare event of me having a day off, I decided to take a trip to London to meet Pixie_Late, stuff myself with food and drink as much bubble milk tea as possible o(≧∇≦o)
We decided that day to wear Hime-Gyaru, Tania's co-ord was gorgeous with a floral Liz Lisa one piece and a huuuuge bouffant! (So as you can imagine, I had much hair envy). I wore an offbrand Princesss sleeved blouse, Alice and the Pirates Gather Chiffon OP in pink and Floral Cat ears made by Bee-Scuit.
AatP isn't a brand usually associated with Hime-Gyaru, but I felt this dress too cute and princess-like to be not be worn with it. I must say that, after wearing Hime-GAL around London a few times now, it goes get a lot more chilly than Lolita, so maybe next time it's best I wear some nude tights with my co-ord.

One memorable moment from the day was when I was waiting for Pixie_Late at the Trocadero and some random French man came up to me and said "Eh, excuse-e-me, are you waiting for me? ;D" I think my silence and shock was enough for him to realise that I was indeed, not waiting for him and he flounced off.  (,,#゚Д゚)
After meeting Pixie_Late, we went to Eat Tokyo in Picadilly, i've heard a lot about their bentos before but, I was most surprised about the size of the menu - It was enormous!
I'm pretty sure I could have killed someone with it.
Not only that, the food was fairly cheap and delicious, I also had an Aloe Vera and blueberry drink, it was really refreshing and tasty but it had some bits it in that uh...Resembled Sea Monkeys xD
I had the Tuna and Salmon Jyu - Salmon and Tuna sashimi on a bed of rice with miso and Yakitori Skewers, all of it was delicious!

Then we headed to Boba Jam for some bubble milk tea, this wasn't my usual place but I was very surprised at the menu, although they didn't have as many flavours as Cafe De Hong Kong, you could choose the type of bubbles in the drink and also topping! I picked a coconut milk tea with yogurt bubbles, and they actually burst in your mouth!
I then met up with my friend Naoki and after much wandering around London and Ice cream, we headed to Abeno, the Okonomiyaki restaurant by Leicester Square. The last time I had Okonomiyaki was in Osaka, pretty much the birth place of the dish, so I was extremely excited. I was surprised that much like in Japan, they cook it in front of you on a grill! We had the Tokyo Mix which was prawns, squid and pork.
Step 1: They bring the ingredients out to you in bowls so you can see all the different things that go into the mix.
Step 2:
They mix them all together and put them on the grill, the grill was incredibly hot so it was fun watching the mix just sizzle and bubble away.
Step 3:
After the Okinomiyaki was nice and brown they ask you for your choice of sauce, We went for the default with plenty of Mayonnaise!

Step 4:
Sprinkling on the bonito flakes and then cutting it up into sections and eating it. It was delicious and as expected, super filling. You can choose between Deluxe and Super Deluxe, I'm glad I just picked Deluxe because I already felt like I needed to take a wheelchair out of the restaurant at the end >_<

Finally I had a Shochu cocktail to wash it all down~

 Overall it was a great day, with tasty food and lovely people. I can't wait to come back to London, and when I do I'll be sure to head back to Abeno~  ヽ(´ー`)ノ