about Japan

I am so racist

I am so racist

about nail art.

As in, my homeland fucking rocks and aside from eating my weight in fried chicken (Alli-G, I swear I’ll have the KFC Tokyo report yesterday) I am adding another category to global reviews: nail art (inspiration: Holly Woods).

Y’all, I have a secret weapon.  I will call her M.  She is my friend, personal nailist and she ROCKS.
I would say don’t be J but honestly, you should be.

Here’s my amazing situation:
M recently switched salons and currently works in upscale Ebisu (think Harajuku’s grown-ass sister who looks so effortlessly beautimous that your instinct is to hate her except she’s so damn cool that you can’t, which hurts).  So you can already guess that Ebisu ladies are not to be bullshitted, which means your nail art technique better be perf-ect.  Which means M needs someone (me!) to be her practice person during her seemingly never-ending training at new salon.

So, yes, I am in the enviable position of receiving mandated gel manicures on the regular to help my friend be the best. nailist. ever.  Being her practice puppy means I don’t get to choose how my digits are decorated but no matter because M makes them look amazing.  Take the most difficult princess of manicures- the French.  Omg, bitch is so damn demanding because you cannot hide any imperfection (think nail tip length, perfectly smooth nailbeds, 100% symmetric everything) and there is no tinted basecoat here, just meticulously sculpted clear gel.

And the training whip is cracked harder than any dom I’ve seen in action.  Wow.  My last visit resulted in a solid bright coral (summertime punch!) and poor M got seriously reemed.
Nail Dom: Hmm…the base is a little thick.
M: I applied it in…なになに* technique #47…
ND: I suggest technique #39 because なになに more perfect なになに..
M: I see…yes, will try that next time.
ND: Her middle→pinky looks good.  Just work on the index and thumb.  And your filing. You’re shaping too close to the edge.
M: nodding, taking mental notes.

Poor M.  Nail Dom is so matter-of-fact that I wonder if my nails’ inherent imperfections are to blame for the harsh critique because M has passed all five levels of Hades-esque nail exams.  She’s got mad skills but this is just how standards are maintained in Tokyo.

Harsh, right?

Which is why Japan is kicking America’s ass.
Next up: Korea.

*なになに (na-ni-na-ni)=blah blah

about Japan

Women shave what in Tokyo?

Let's get it straight

Their faces.  Their arms.  On the regular.

It’s true.  It’s culturally unattractive to have hairy arms (meaning any hair) and anything less than smooth-as-whipped-butter faces (read: shaved, exfoliated and perfectly moisturized).  I’ve shaved my face before (what?  I was curious, I try shit out and there are special teeny, tiny razors specifically for this purpose, in an array of pretty pastel colors) but I haven’t done it since moving here because I’m lazy.  

Actually I’m not lazy but Tokyoites will absofuckinglutely deem you lazy if you don’t wear makeup.  Believe.  Like, don’t subject the general public to your unmade-up face.  You’re not even going to make the effort to look like you put forth an effort?  How rude.  My American mindset thinks, jeez, judgmental much?  But here, it’s viewed as having consideration for others; make like you give a shit, don’t make it hurtful for others to look at you because they have to look at you.  Thirteen million or so of you.  Everyday.  So, shaving your face and arms is part of the cultural ideal for a Japanese woman.

GF told me I should try shaving my arms (of course she would and thus keeps proving how much more with it she is at being a woman than my bio-femme ass).
Her: It’s not going to grow back hairier.
Me: I don’t know…
Her: Trust me, you’ll like how it feels.
Me: But it seems like more maintenance that I’m not sure I want to commit to.
Her: By the way, women here are not as hairless as you think they are.
Me: What are you talking about?  They so are.
Her: No. They’re not.  I saw a woman on the train today who had leg hair matted down by nude hose.  In fact that’s why so many woman wear nude hose (with sandals, by the way, which is a pet peeve of mine), to hide their hairy legs.
Me: Seriously?  I thought it was because it’s considered a tad indecent to bare your legs.

Oh Japan, yet another cultural aspect that I don’t understand…hose in the hot-and-humid-as-fuck summer to cover beast legs coupled with meticulously shaved faces and arms, arms that are covered with anti-UV ray arm warmers, by the way.

Oh, and the perfectly made-up faces?  The makeup itself might be questionable but the skin?  Fucking astoudingly beautimous.  Like the stereotype.  Like porcelain.