YOUR APPEARANCE IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS BREATHING.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Tokyo was how well dressed everyone was.
I must say I was impressed.
I work in a world of fashion and I'm constantly in and out of New York City, a place that is known for their street fashion, and I've never seen anything like it. Not to discredit any of the amazing fashion I've seen on individuals in NYC. Some of the world's best creatives are there. They are born there, bred there, and they for sure flock there. I mean, NYC is a part of the "Big Four" in fashion around the globe for crying out loud.
What I mean is that I have NEVER seen so many well dressed people...
Honestly I have never seen that many people just walking down the street at one time, let alone them ALL being so well dressed.
Okay, so let's get the right picture in your head. Tokyo, Japan is the world's largest city.
They have a population of over 13 million people.
That figure is crazy on it's own. This means there are plenty of people walking down the street ALL THE TIME, there's no way they all look good RIGHT?!...
well you're wrong.
It got to the point where I started looking for people that were NOT so well dressed and they were very far and in between.
There was individual style at it's best. No one had on tights, even ones in sweats had a certain element to their style that really worked for me.
When I first set my heart out for Japan I wanted to find fashion inspiration. What I will tell you is that I FOUND IT. This was street fashion omega!
I'm still in love.
On our last day, we made sure to visit the Meiji Shrine, in Tokyo not too far from the Harajuku Station. I had a great overall experience but what stood out to me the most was the opportunity to learn about the Shinto beliefs. A part of it was reflected in appearance, making the way you present yourself to the world an important part of your faith. It may
not be everyone's faith, but it can easily become a part of culture when it's learned behavior.
Why not look good? Japan is an older more advanced country. Why wouldn't they have it together? I have been inspired to step up my appearance on a daily basis. I mean no one is perfect but look at it this way; I feel better when I look good so I think I'm on to something.
IT'S OK TO HOLD YOUR WASTE UNTIL YOU FIND A TRASHCAN.
I've only seen one city in my travels as clean as Tokyo and that was Charlotte, North Carolina. You could probably eat off of those streets but the thing is it was still considered a new city when I went. Also the population in there is no where near as large as Tokyo (especially since we've established no population is larger).
My best description for this vast city is "everything is bigger in Tokyo. It reminds me of NYC but on steroids and 50,000% cleaner". I have never seen anything like it! There's nothing on the ground. If it is someone accidentally dropped it and they're chasing behind you to say hey you drop something.
There are vending machines EVERYWHERE! We are buying drinks and still no mess... What are they doing with their trash?! There are NO trashcans on the corners! PEOPLE HAVE TRASH!! What they do with it? Hold onto it?
The answer is YES!!
You might put it in your pocket have a little bag to put your traction but trust me no one is littering. You can find a trash bag or trashcan every every couple miles I've kept my trash and when I did finally did see one I would make an announcement. "TRASHCAN!!!" Lol. Look, one time my sister found a trashcan and didn't tell me... IT WAS WAR. How dare she!
I didn't want to walk any further with an empty Red Bull can hiding in my backpack, terrified a tiny leftover sip might pour out. Anyway it just shows it's possible for everyone to act accordingly.
Holding on to your trash a little bit longer will NOT be the end of the world.
I have faith in you. I did it for an entire week. I'm not saying that I'm a "litterbug" here. I respect my neighborhood and others. I'm just saying that if the Japanese can do it ... so can we.
It starts with us. We have to live by example.
PERSONAL SPACE IS A PRIVILEGE
I say this for a few reasons. Yes Tokyo has a huge population, we've established that. But it's also a place that tourists visit from across the globe (hence my traveling there). There are so many sights that makes it worth the trip.
That being said, I came across some really interesting strangers. One of these moments, I recalled a particular young woman while I was getting checked out at a store. She wanted to get rung up too but to her dismay I was already being taken care of.
Her anxiousness was so serious that she was practically ON MY BACK.
She had no sense of personal space AT ALL.
This woman tried to put her clothing down on top of mine. I don't know if she wanted to pay for it for me or not but she was that close I have never experienced that before. When I put my credit card out she was practically in my bag. I think the only reason that she started to back off was because someone else got mine and she realized that she was supposed to be standing where that person was.
She wasn't from Japan, nor was she American. I think that's a culture thing where personal space is not a normal thing because she did not have any discrepancies.
When we have moments like these it's important to take the good out of it.
Mine is personal space is a privilege. We could be in public places where people are always breathing down your neck and such is not the case. I'm thankful for my personal space on a daily basis and thankful to everyone who gives it.
NEVER BE AFRAID TO SCREAM TO THE ROOFTOP HOW AMAZING YOUR BRAND IS.
Mannnnn. We went to Tokyo during Golden Week which is to my understanding equivalent to our Labor Day but it's for two weeks. People have off from work and they get the opportunity to do whatever. They have one day that is focused on appreciating your children so they spend time with them. I think the concept i really though because you get appreciated for the hard work that you do.
Our country doesn't necessarily give you time when it's needed. I admire other cultures that actually do. So during golden week, ( I'm not sure if it was because of the holiday) each store they had their employees yelling at the front door about the sale. It was normal! No one seemed embarrassed, no one took light of it or played around. I did not see any or the promoters shy away from doing their tasks.
What did I get from this? I say promote promote promote!
Everywhere I went, it was someone promoting with no shame. It made people take notice. And most importantly it made a sale!
Now take that and apply it to your business. Are you going hard enough?! I'm sure as hell not!
Another example was the promotion of music. I can't tell you how many trucks I saw promoting a band. It wasn't your typical truck, it was more of one of those moving billboards with bright lights and the band's picture... PLAYING MUSIC! If you heard something that you liked you would look up and see the album cover. You would see their promotion. You would see everything associated with them how to find them.
I'm going to ask again.
Are you going hard enough?!
And I'm going to say again that I'm not. But from this day on I definitely will do better!
How do you stand apart? For so many years I've been afraid to share my art... afraid to be different. We all tend to want to fit in.What I learned from this is be unique don't be afraid to share your heart, don't be afraid to be who you are, cultivate.
I won't be afraid.
I CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING!!
This to date is one of my biggest accomplishment yet!
I'm stoked that I could make it even happen. This trip of mine was fast approaching. I wanted to get inspired by the culture and fashion. Another of my goals is to be a worldwide hair artist. Japan was first in my list to travel to but deemed to be one of the hardest of the places to find other artists to work with.
They're just NOT an English based country, so I decided a shoot would be nearly impossible. I mean really how the hell would I pull it off?!
I did in the meantime take a look on the Mastered.com network (a talent company for creatives) that I'm a part of in search of a photographer.
I only found one! I was initially apprehensive because her work was outside of my box. It wasn't the normal brights and bubbles I was used to. Her was darker, different.
"Honestly why would I think that flying to the other side of the world should be the same as what you're doing here at home," a colleague and magazine owner told me.
"And it could be cover work."
Well that definitely let some fire under my behind. I immediately went to work in contacting the photographer. I was sweating bullets hoping she would respond. A few days later she did, saying she was interested. I was so elated. I then posted on Facebook that I
was ready for my well need trip to Japan and a friend replied saying a wardrobe stylist she knew was currently visiting, also looking to shoot.
What are the odds?!
I must say that the universe works in mysterious ways. When you want something it comes to you when the time is right. Needless to say I contacted her immediately. She was on-board! Now I just have to send them a mood-board which is basically the look and feel of the shoot. I came up with a few ideas and sent them over to Japan. I am now sharing my vision, my heart, my aesthetic with people on the other side of the world!!
Again... I'm sweating bullets!
Maybe I thought working on the other side of the world would be so different, but what I learned was that the word collaboration is universal! They loved my concept and the show WAS ON!!!
My shoot was a complete success. When I arrived in Tokyo, I met with the photographer and met the model who was from Mexico, making this shoot even more unique. We were officially an international team. Like really, I was the only person on set that only spoke English!
I was completely exhausted afterwards but I loved and soaked up every minute of it.
I met some really cool players got SO much inspiration.
Before I did this shoot I had feelings of impossible like the shoot was too far outside of my box. This shoot not only showed me all I have to do is face my fears and go for it. I went from sure I wouldn't find an artist to working with a bigger team than ever before.
Okay so, That has to mean something right?!
I mean I really did not see this coming and we really knocked this one out of the park.
The crazy thing is it's never anyone else telling me I can't achieve something, it always the doubts that reside in my own mind that are the hardest to conquer.
But I did it! AND the shoot has been published! I'm still riding this high. Moral of the story is... you can do anything you set your mind to. I mean that's how things are done isn't it?? I've tackled something big on my list. From here on, international hair styling will be something I see as obtainable because I've done it.
This trip was the first of many that I have adopted the notion of finding the good in any situation. I have learned so much by applying this mentality. I'm also happier.
Life is not just about the destination... the journey is just as important.