Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Hello England.

I am back in the land of the Brits now. It's fair to say that the welcome I've had from my mother has been far less than welcoming. So I'm beyond stressed, but I am reminded of the same old point I seem to keep coming back to. No one ever said life is plain sailing and easy, but it always has a way of working out.
So although I am far from a happy bunny at the moment, I'm living with a little hope that things will improve. I'm not one to dwell on the bad.

Positive thinking.
Positive thinking.
Positive thinking.
Positivity is a very powerful thing.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


'Sayōnara' Japan.

That's 'goodbye Japan' to English speakers.
As mentioned earlier, I decided to make my stay here one month rather than two months for various reasons. I do have a pretty good sense of when to trust my instincts on these decisions but I have had a surprisingly emotional week.
I don't usually use this space to write about personal feelings/emotions in too much depth. Purely because I believe that certain aspects of our heart and mind should be kept to a personable level only. Not to be publically displayed on the internet for one and all to read at their leisure. I am also a rather private person so I don't particularly thrive from the attention one receives after stating their emotional traumas and dilemmas.
However, all being said, I do feel like posting a little honesty tonight.

'Mixed' is the most fitting word that springs to mind when I attempt to describe my present feelings. My emotions are in pieces and I cannot place them from one second to the next. Perhaps I am over-tired. I have not been sleeping well at all and the past three days have been some very long and exhausting days shooting. Early starts and late night finishes with a hell of a lot of work being done in between. Adjusting to new girls arriving and other girls leaving, the apartment becoming overcrowded, the clients at jobs being over-demanding. Missing home terribly but adoring aspects of life here too. Je ne sais pas. Like I also seem to remember mentioning, I will most definitely post a real reflection of my time here. Possibly at the weekend when time permits me to do so.

I don't really have a direction for writing this post, so it feels like a wise idea to wrap up my words now, rather than prolong what is a rather wasted post!

I have pretty much finished packing my belongings back into my suitcase, hoping that it doesn't exceed the weight of the luggage allowance. It would help if I actually knew what that was! I have a car arriving at the apartment at 7am tomorrow morning, taking me to the bus station where I will take the bus to the airport and fly back to Manchester, via Helsinki. Not bad. After a month of living here, I can finally say that I have successfully mastered the transport system and feel confident in travelling to the airport. The flight leaves at 10am Japanese time and arrives in England at 5pm English time. Taking into account the eight hour time difference, it's a bloody long journey with some not so appetizing in-flight meals. I think for this journey, I may bother to actually request the vegetarian option for my meals. Just so at least if I do want to eat, I will have the option available to me rather than a nasty looking chicken/pork curry type of meal. I am feeling empty and lacking nutrition. I think these are the consequences of a travelling lifestyle, a busy schedule, and weight loss demands. I have eaten the same food almost every single day for the past month. No joke. I hadn't even realized I had become so routined. But now I think about returning back to the UK and the things that I miss, the food is pretty high up there.

11.30pm now. Considering the severe lack of sleep I've been putting my body through, I think I shall close my laptop, pack it away in my suitcase, and get cosy in bed with a book and hopefully drift off to sleep soon. I wish the air con wasn't so damn noisy! Oh, I really need to learn how to live and not complain!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


It has just turned 6am here in Japan. This early morning post makes a nice change to the usual posts of the late night/early morning variety. I've been awake for an hour already, partly due to the fact that there is fairly strong wind blowing through the gaps in the windows of the apartment. I most definitely feel like the predicted storm/typhoon is on it's way. At least I'm not alone in here any more. This past week has taken me from living alone to living with two new Canadian room mates. I was quite enjoying my own space. Albeit I was incredibly lonely, sometimes finding myself at a bit of a lose end, and failing to sleep until I had checked the door had been locked a good few times before my mind could rest. So all being considered, it's really nice to finally have some company in here. It's so small and cramped in this place, and yes, we live under eachother's feet. But it kind of works in a strange manner.

With this being my last week here, I am feeling somewhat mixed. I have no doubt in my mind that coming back to England will be right for me. There is so much I am beyond excited to do. Including London very soon with the other Next models, my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, getting back into the flow of English work, and of course - a night in my own bed. The last few days have been busy. Lots of shoots. Monday evening we were shooting until almost 11pm, yesterday we worked our way through rails of clothing (I lost count of the exact number), and today I do believe I am shooting with a Parisian photographer at a salon somewhere in Shinshaibashi. I must then come back to pack my room up in my case once more ready to leave tomorrow morning when my car will arrive here at 7am.

I sometimes feel like I am still a young child, still learning the ways of life and the workings of the world for the very first time. Being continuously surprised and endeared by each corner I turn around. Never fully knowing what to expect or what comes next. I guess we never know though. Life is something we never fully understand but must always appreciate.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Writings of the mind

'It is the most wonderful feeling, to trust yourself.
I want to be happy. But that's not like a wish you make when you blow out the candles of a birthday cake or when you see a shooting star because you've already accepted that in reality, that wish can never really come true. I am not wishing for the seemingly impossible. I am just using this feeling to trust myself, trust my instincts, and understand myself. To understand my heart and my mind and my body. To accept all I have, be aware of what I would like, but to allow myself openness to all that comes my way.
Time. Time. Time. Ever present, ever an illusion. Always moving us forward, never standing still.
Damn, days off and cups of tea combined with this wonderfully relaxed and mellow music with the warm air outside really do make my mind produce these philosophical thoughts. I wonder if I will ever make anything of them.'

Just a snippet of my writings/journal today.
I feel like that short snapshot of my mind provides a pretty good summery of my feelings to date.

This weekend marks my last weekend here in Japan. I decided I would make my stay here one month rather than two. For various reasons. I have had the experience and the work and I feel as though this is the right time to be returning back to England. I will write a real reflection of my time here when I do return back home. But for now I shall safely say that I have had a rather relaxed last weekend and am about to begin three days worth of work before my flight back. Tomorrow is hardly classed as 'work' - as the call time for the shoot is 5pm. It's a Japanese bank holiday tomorrow so I imagine the shoot will only be a few hours maximum and I can spend the day time casually allowing time to pass me by.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Harry Potter in Japan

Yes I did. Of course, it had to be done. I embraced my inner child and went along with a bunch of the other models to see Harry Potter showing at Namba park city cinema. I have to say, it was the biggest group of white people in one room together I've seen since arriving here in Japan! The film was accompanied by Japanese subtitles and we were highly entertained by the crazy Japanese advertisements before the film started. And we made full use of the refreshments made available to us.

Harry Potter has indeed now reached the end. I grew up reading the books, subsequently watching the films, and falling more in love with the characters, as the novels by JK Rowling become a global fascination and icon. I remember being nine or ten years old, and taking the very first Harry Potter book with me into school to read and the other kids would be like 'hey, what's Harry Potter??' And my shy and quaint little response would be.. 'My Nan got me this for Christmas! It's a good book!' Little did we know we were in for a decade of Harry Potter fanatics.

My sister however, she proudly takes the geek-chic vibe of loving Harry Potter to a new level of obsession.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


No one ever said life was easy. So I don't know why I find myself so disheartened when it gets hard.
I don't know what I'm feeling tonight. It seems as though things are either running pretty smoothly, or I am almost at breaking point. It can be pretty intense out here. With the work and the pressure and the living in a strange  culture amongst girls from all over the world. So many cultures and languages thrown together in the mix. No wonder my emotions are a little all over the place today.

Until this moment, I had been avoiding publically acknowledging that I am missing home. But of course, I am human and I miss my friends and my home and my bed and my comforts. My support network and my routine. I miss it all.

I had castings this morning and a job this afternoon, so these ramblings are probably mainly due to tiredness and a need to sleep in this bed, not lay on top of it posting depressing blogs and feeling like anything but good enough.

I need to take a leaf or two out of my own writings and just let things be. Let things be. Let things be.

Kyoto temples

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Location location

Just a few shots from shoot on location last week in the Japanese forest.

The ocean

Let it be

'There is no good or evil, no sinner or saint. There simply is what is and that is that. You can use that to be and that is enough. Don't talk about it or question it. Just let it be. Just be.'
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces.

I am currently mid-way through this wonderful (and actually rather controversial) memoir written by James Frey. My opinion - I think it's great. I can relate, I understand, and it's pretty compelling to read. I am so thankful for books while travelling!

This snippet I read today does a pretty good job of describing the kind of attitude I am adopting while I am here in Japan. Just let it be. I cannot slow down time, nor can I fast forward through days I'd rather forget. There is only so much that I am in control of while I am here so the only thing I can do is just let things be as they are. Acceptance and living in the here-and-now. I do realize that it is a slightly care-free and 'hippy' loving life attitude to live by, but I think that for now, that is what I need.

The past few days have been pretty busy. Sunday was wonderful. We had a day off so went to a beach party and spent all day and night hanging out there, under the trees, on the beach, in the sea, watching the sunset, and then heading back home. I adore the ocean. Where ever I find myself living when I'm older, I must be within a couple of hours from the sea. It's calming yet energizing and exciting. The days are long and the nights are beautiful. The moment I see the sea and walk towards it kind of reminds me of childhood and the only happy memories I actually have. (or at least the only ones I seem to remember)

Yesterday I had a job so I spent the day in the studio working through the day and then made it out in time for the last casting of the day. Working out here is nice because the clients take good care of you. I was even a little embarrassed and felt guilty to have a Japanese assistant following me around all day at my beck and call with a wheeling table of food and drinks always with her for me. She even washed my feet. Today consisted of a couple of castings and travelling around in the car, and then going to the book store to see what English books they have available. Then I took myself to Starbucks, ordered a lovely cup of English tea, sat in the corner, and started to write a little. Writing is also becoming a good hobby of mine. I began to think of home, and since I'd purchased lovely Anna a little something, I spent the remainder of my time in Starbucks composing her a little letter for her to receive when the air mail gets it over to England and delivered to her home.

Tomorrow marks three weeks of me being here.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Face to face

I found this posted on my lovely Irish friend Aisling's blog.  It really struck a chord with me and has stayed with me for a couple of days..

'Perhaps we don't like what we see: our hips, our loss of hair, our shoe size, our dimples, our knuckles too big, our eating habits, our disposition. We have disclosed these things in secret, likes and dislikes, behind doors with locks, our lonely rooms, our messy desks, our empty hearts, our sudden bursts of energy, our sudden bouts of depression. Don't worry. Put away your mirrors and your beauty magazines and your books on tape. There is someone right here who knows you more than you do, who is making room on the couch, who is fixing a meal, who is putting on your favourite record, who is listening intently to what you have to say, who is standing there with you, face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth to mouth. There is no space left uncovered. This is where you belong.'
Sufjan Stevens.

It just feels like a comforting piece to read. It's a difficult truth communicated in such a lovely way.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Wigs and feathers

Today was my first real taste of the true 'Japanese' style shoot. They like the 'odd' and the interesting and quirky. As is any fashion and editorial spread odd and unique. But the Japanese produce a specific 'look' that they love. It's either incredibly commercial and cute, or it's still rather doll-like with an element of 'cute' but it's got a little edge. Even though I have red hair, they love wigs and crazy feathers and colours. They create a certain kind of image that you don't generally tend to see in any other country but here!

I tested today with a client who has already booked me for a job next week, but we did a beauty test today, with two different looks. Both equally as crazy as the other. 'Crazy' when used in this context is good for me. I'm actually more comfortable in front of the camera when I am made to look like something other than myself. That, combined with a lovely team of people to work with made today a really enjoyable shoot. I didn't really have to lift a finger for anything, other than the obvious. They had an assistant who carried my shoes and opened doors for me. At lunch, we were treated to a meal at a beautiful and quaint little Italian restaurant.

I may complain a lot of the time, but today is not one of those days. It makes up for yesterday when I was feeling a little beaten and down to say the least. After seven consecutive days of either shooting or casting, I am very much looking forward to a good day off tomorrow.

This is one of the shots from today.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Involuntary emotion

'Any emotion if it is sincere, is involuntary.'
Mark Twain


I have succeeded in my mission to locate and purchase the means to make a good cup of English tea in my apartment here in Japan whenever I so wish. After going two weeks without, I have never felt more English in my life when I found myself thoroughly enjoying this hot beverage. I am partial to my herbal and fruit teas when I so wish. But, hands down, nothing beats a good cup of English tea. (Made with soy milk and two sweeteners, of course.)

 (the Japanese phrase was kindly given to me from the stylist at yesterday's shoot. Translated as 'do you sell soy milk?' This is going to come in very handy!)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

This is what tomorrow is looking like.

Tomorrow I have booked my first job here in Japan, and I have to navigate my way there and back totally on my own through the confusing subway systems with these carefully written out directions my booker gave to me. I need a lot of luck to get there, and a non-caffeine form of an energy boost.

Earthquakes in Osaka?

Today we did the usual - drove around the city going to a few castings. One of which I tried on some of quite frankly, the biggest, brightest, and most colourful dresses I have ever worn. What can I say? Japanese fashion is a little quirky?

This evening marked the shock of my short life so far. I had just eaten dinner, and was replying to a few emails while chilling on the sofa in my ninth floor apartment when the entire room starts rocking and swaying pretty steadily backwards and forth as though I was on a boat in a really stormy sea. I grabbed hold of the arm of the sofa while my heart missed a fair few beats and I immediately thought - oh, shit! Japan is actually having another earthquake. Oh my life. All is okay now. It was only a minor shake, and after google-ing the weather and any future earthquakes predicted, I discovered it was a 5.4 earthquake and everything will be okay.

Really though!! Not cool..

Monday, 4 July 2011


My Monday has consisted of the following..
Another test shoot this morning. Which actually went considerably better than yesterday's. It was only half a day, and I seemed to click (somehow) with this team of people, which surprised me very much considering they were all Japanese. They seemed to be pleased with the pictures, which is good, since it was the client for my job next week.
I then spent the afternoon until 7pm going to various lingerie castings, before heading back to the agency who had already received my pictures from this morning. Just goes to show - maybe the pictures were not as well received as I would have hoped. From what I could tell they were pretty good. But what did my booker say?
'These are bad. Can not use them for your book. Your eye bags. Terrible.'
So, not only do I have to lose weight, but I somehow how to fix my genetics to make my eyes appear wide awake?
Something that make up and re-touching usually fixes no problem at all.

I really must quit complaining!
On the plus side, I managed to find a gym with a guy working there who spoke pretty good English, and he directed me to the closest swimming pool. I can't wait for a day off so I can go swimming..

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Testing in Japan

Today was my first test shoot here in Japan. Working with an entire team of Japanese creatives certainly takes some adjusting to. It was me and another model Kristina, who is Russian. Needless to say, the extent of communication all day has been very very limited.

We left the apartment at 8am and got back at 7pm. I guess they were right when they said that the Japanese work hard. And this was just a test. We met the photographer in the city station and he drove us to hair and make up, then proceeded to drive another forty five minutes out of town until we found ourselves driving up a winding and twisting cliff-top forest road route. Needless to say we were rather confused! But we had the most stunning views of the city from above on the journey to the location. It was such a refreshing change to see some greenery here. Spending the day surrounded by nature and the forest and grass it could have almost been in England. We shot all morning and all afternoon, got eaten alive by mosquitoes and other unnamed bugs, and returned back at the apartment well and truly all worked out.

Got back, made my dinner of tofu salad, called home, and now it is almost 9pm and I feel ready for bed. I have another shoot tomorrow so I really must sleep soon. I think Japan is zapping all of my energy.

The stylist on today's shoot asked me in her best English how old I am, and if I am missing home. I had a moment of reflection and I realized that yes, I am missing home. But I am okay as long as no one asks..