Model Memoirs: Tokyo – July/August 2012

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I flew directly to Tokyo after Paris fashion week. I was stoked to be going to Tokyo. The monotony of the European fashion capitals was getting to me. Tokyo was the exact opposite of Europe. Everything was upside down. All the little chores I’d had to do everywhere else, was a little adventure in Japan. If I had to go pick up toothpaste I’d look it up in my iPhone dictionary and make sure my pronunciation was tolerable. I had spent a lot of time memorizing their alphabet, or alphabets I should say, but my vocabulary was still very limited.

So I would always end up buying all sorts of other stuff I didn’t need just because the packaging was appealing. A lot of Asian products don’t have transparent wrapping so navigating their shops can be quite the job. I loved this; it was like every product was a Kinder Surprise Egg. I wasted a lot of money on random shit but I had fun in the process.

Tokyo is an interesting scene. The Japanese are the most honest and professional people I have worked with. I felt some Westerners took advantage of this though. They saw the Japanese unwillingness to engage in confrontation as a weakness, a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card. These Westerners (gaijin among the Japanese) seemed to think they were untouchable, that they could do whatever the wanted. This was prevalent especially in nightlife. In certain clubs models would get free alcohol and this made them think they were King Shit.


n some Asian cultures the ability to keep one’s calm, to refrain from shouting in any form of discussion, is regarded power. Once you start shouting and lose your temper, you’ve lost. You are not in control. I love this idea. It runs completely counter to the way things are run in modern western society, and I believe it is one of the reasons these cultures are so peaceful and unconfrontational.

I have only positive things to say about the Japanese people. Albeit the language barrier makes them come across a bit boring to me, because regular conversation just isn’t possible. I just wished I learned the language at a quicker rate so as to be able to emerge myself further into this fascinating culture.

Just like a lot of the other models I was overwhelmed with the amount of fun there was to be had at no expense in this metropolis. There was a Japanese millionaire who took models out to really expensive restaurants and bars. I thought the whole thing seemed strange but I was too curious not to go. I was shocked to find that the guy never at any point tried to get with the guys or girls. He didn’t take us to certain events so as to be seen. The whole thing was extremely peculiar to me. He didn’t want anything from us – he just took us out to really nice places and socialized. Albeit in his broken and extremely funny “Engrish” – but harmless nonetheless. Mind you, there was still booze, dope and cocaine available
afterwards at his permanent suite at the Ritz at all these events, and it would get taken, but I never felt obligated to do anything at any point. There still was a creepy vibe to the whole thing though. One thing he did do however was to try to set up the guys with the girls, but I think he just wanted us to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. But as I had trouble balancing all these decadent foods and alcohol I decided to opt out for the rest of my stay after joining a couple of times.


After a month in Tokyo the novelty kind of wears off and all the minor nuisances of the extreme change of scenery start to add up: you start getting seriously annoyed over a bunch of small silly things, like not being able to get your specific brand of coffee or the fact that an apple costs more than a cheap restaurant meal. I loved Japan nonetheless and I still have a brackets that need ticking off on my Japan sexy island adventure bucket list, so I’m sure I will be back before long…

Have you done any travelling in Japan? What did you think? Please feel free to share this post or let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

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Photos by Jaime Waltos Jaime Waltos is a photography major at the Maryland



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