So, I’ve been in Japan for a month already… and not really blogged about any of it, because that’s just the sort of person that I am and I’ve reached a level of self-acceptance that absolves me from the need to make excuses to myself for my spasmodic blogging behaviour.
However, suddenly finding myself with a day where I have absolutely nothing in my diary, 90% of my pressing emails have been replied to, and I’ve maxed out the number of cigarette breaks I can reasonably take in an hour already I thought that I’d give it a shot now, and I’m going to randomly accompany this post with some photos taken a couple of weeks ago, that are totally unrelated to the post in all ways, except for the fact that they happen to have been taken in Tokyo… in one of the zillion or so love hotels that England really should think about introducing, if only because they make insanely convenient shoot locations.
Shooting in Japan has been something of a challenge – it’s a really different environment from any of the other countries I’ve ever visited, and not just because of the language barrier. For a start, it seems that nude modelling is not really a ‘thing’ here, and freelance modelling is even less of a ‘thing’. On the whole, models are either doing fashion or porn – there’s not a whole lot of middle ground – and in both cases they mainly seem to be operating through agencies, or occasionally just through word of mouth… or at least, this is the general impression I’m getting from most of the photographers I’ve spoken to. Of course, there are photographers here who are shooting art nudes, and some rather good ones at that – but finding a centralised online network to meet them has so far eluded me. I’ve found a kind of MM equivalent, which won’t accept any nude photos, and a nude ‘modelling’ networking site, in which most of the girls have obscured half of their faces and occasionally write things like ‘service option’ in their profile notes. However, despite all this, I’ve managed to shoot quite a lot, and I should hopefully have some super cool photos to share here at some point soon.
I’m guessing that, I’d be making a lot more progress with this if I could speak Japanese at a level beyond asking for coffee, and telling people I’m English – and I’ve been trying but it’s been kind of slow progress, at least in part because it’s far more interesting to teach the foreigner how to say ‘I smell like squid’ or to say funny things in Western Japanese dialects than to listen to her slowly stumble through largely uninteresting day to day phrases. And, I appreciate that, in fact, I think even I’m finding it more amusing… but as of Monday I’ve found myself a real Japanese teacher and I’m hoping that helps a bit. Although, finding a Japanese teacher was an amusing challenge in itself – there are a lot more networking sites for Japanese teachers than there are for models – but after signing up to a few I’m beginning to suspect that many of them are really just thinly disguised dating websites. After signing up to one (which helpfully reminded me that I would meet a lot more people if I uploaded a picture of myself… hmm), I received a small flood of emails, all from men, and only 2 of those actually able to speak Japanese – the rest all helpfully offered to help me learn Arabic, which I hadn’t really expressed any interest in learning but… well, if anyone out there is interested I now have a long list of contacts I can send you!
Past shooting, and learning to speak bad Japanese, I’ve travelled around Tokyo, Matsusaka, Kyoto and Osaka, visited a lot of temples and shrines, spent an unreasonable amount of time in the bath (Japanese baths are the best thing ever… I could probably write a whole blog post just on the various baths I’ve been in), explored a number of rope bars, SM bars and happening bars, drank rather a lot, temporarily developed and then kicked a 30 a day smoking habit (by which I mean, I’ve managed to get myself back down to 10 again… result!), finally managed to catch up with one of my oldest friends after 4 or 5 years of no contact, and bumped into a various globe trotting friends who just happened to be in Japan at the same time as me. I’ve also had Miumi-U with me for quite a bit of this trip, which is making us both feel like we never really left London.
Right now I’m at a point where half of me is so ready to go home, surround myself with familiar things and hide under a blanket for a while, and the other half of me doesn’t want to leave, because it’s actually kind of nice to be finding things ever so slightly difficult, and exhausting, and life in Europe is suddenly seeming way too easy…
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