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Thursday, May 29, 2003


Confessions of a Tokyo shojo

You can take the girl out of Tokyo but you can't take Tokyo out of the girl . . .

Iyaadaaaa (Oh noooooo)! Did I just say something really dasai (tacky)? Oh well. Doesn't matter. I'm what the media guys call a Tokyo shojo ("Tokyo girl"), aged 19, which means whatever I say is cool, kawaii (cute) and correct.

As far as I'm concerned, the only person who's higher than me on the Japanese social ladder is Kimutaku (Takuya Kimura, a member of SMAP), aka dakaretai otoko namba wan (male sex symbol No. 1) for the past 10 years, a record that should be noted in Guinness Book of Records or something. What a feat. It's so hard to maintain your youth and desirability level, especially when you're married with kids, like Kimutaku. Bucchaketa hanashi (To be perfectly frank), I get a lot of inspiration from him, I do.

OK, I'll slow down. First off, I know you want to know all about me. Well, though I'm 19, I'm still a senior in high school. Kikanaide (Don't ask why), it just happened that way.

I go to a toritsu (public) school which means we don't have seifuku (school uniforms) and can show up for class dressed like Avril Lavigne, but take it from me, when you're in high school, you need those seifuku. It's so bad to walk through Shibuya Centa-gai and not have the breeze flutter through my short, pleated skirt, showing off my legs in their white Ralph Lauren knee socks. So I just bought the full ensemble at a secondhand joint in Harajuku. These are called nanchatte-seifuku ("just-kidding" uniforms) and cost about 8,000 yen.

It's a great investment. The minute you wear one, guys turn to look, and they range from the usual oyaji (middle-aged men) to the really cute 17-year-old boys wandering near the Beams building. The most glamorous makeover just can't match the magic of a school seifuku. Uniforms rack up so much mileage and so many perks in this country.

What does my boyfriend say about all this? Sorry, don't have one at the moment. Boyfriends are so much work, and at the end of the day, you're left waiting for them to call, or worrying who they're with and . . . it's not worth it. None of my girlfriends have one. We're way too busy.

First off, I have to work or how else am I going to buy my o-yofuku (pretty clothes)? Till last year, I was at Yoshinoya making 980 yen an hour. I was proud of myself, but god the smell was awful. I'd get in a train after work and people would discreetly edge away.

So I quit and started walking up and down Omotesando Avenue, hoping for something to happen. And bingo, on my fifth day, this ikemen (good-looking) guy comes up and offers me a salomo (salon model) job at one of the big hair salons. Waaaaai (Hurray)!

This is what happens when you're a salomo: Two weeks out of the month you get photographed for various magazines, and the rest of the time, the biyoshi (hairdressers) play with your hair. It sounds oishii (cushy) I know, but it's not really. It just means a lot of hours sitting in a chair, having no control over what your hair looks like, and getting rashes from all the chemicals they use. Uge! (Yuck!). But the money is OK, and I get to meet a lot of smooth-talking media types, so I'm not complaining.

When I'm not working and have some energy left over, I write fan letters to my favorite aidoru (idol), Junichi Okada. If you don't know him, well let me just say you have no right being in this city. I often hang out in front of the studio where he's supposedly working, hoping to give him little gifts and chocolates when he comes out.

Doing this is called okkake (pursuit), and usually it's me and about 60 other girls clutching flowers and packages, doing the long, long machi (wait). Most of the time we just get to wave at him as he goes by in his car.

Soredemo kamawanai (Still, I don't mind). Because underneath the tough-girl exterior, the Tokyo girl is usually just a shy, yumemiru otome (daydreaming girl).

If you can believe it.

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