Hi everyone, it's me MIU!

Half-Japanese and half-Thai, I'm a free-lance semi-professional MODEL and ARTISTE based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I have lived in the UK for 12 years previous to that, where my modelling career was born in 2008.

Apart from working all over the UK and Holland, assignments have taken me to Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Ireland and, of course, my hometown Japan!

I started as a life model posing nude for artists in the late 90s and eventually put myself in front of the cameras as a glamour model and became involved in car shows and hostessing parties and events in the UK. Easily bored with the same old routine I like to vary my work. Today, much of my work lie with nude, fetish, alternative, and erotic art.

For more information, you can also find me on: http://www.minimiumodel.com/

I love to document all my shoots and events to reflect what a great time I'm having and meeting all sorts of people. Some entries may be delayed since the shoot due to waiting for edited images or just being "busy". But I do my best!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Erotic Japan" Home Shoot with David & Jordi

I had further opportunities to do erotic shoots in Japan which I've been dying to do. After all, Japan is the home for erotica in the Eastern hemisphere! This time, it was to be entirely "Japanese", so to speak, at the comfort of my family's apartment in Tokyo. Enter Spanish professional photographer David Rodriguez Toro who resides in Japan. We managed to connect through mutual friends on Facebook and been corresponding for a few months. Observing his work, I noticed he focuses a lot on creativity with a slight surreal twist which makes it all the more interesting. He was accompanied by another budding photographer, Jordi Olaria Jané, whom David has been taking under his wing. And what wonderful guys they were!

Initially I wanted to do a shoot in a forest nearby where David lives, in the outskirts of Tokyo. He has done a few in the past there and thought I would be daring enough as well myself to try it. In Japan, it is forbidden to be nude in public so it would've been the ultimate thrill for me. However, David expressed his preference to come over to our apartment in Tokyo and shoot, especially as we have a Japanese room equipped with tatami mat floor, windows with shoji doors, oshiire sliding closet and a tokonoma corner. I must admit I was a little gutted not being able to do a nude shoot outdoors but it turned out for even better!

I had a few yukata's I purchased from a local charity shop. At this point, I was unsure about using my family heirloom kimonos mum kept very carefully, especially for something as explicit as an erotic shoot. Perhaps one day I'd like to a proper traditional kimono shoot, complete with hair and make-up, when I find someone that could give me a hand...

I picked up David and Jordi at Meguro train station and took a short bus ride to our apartment. Interestingly enough both felt more confident speaking in Japanese than English, and even with my limited Spanish which I had learnt at night school years ago, they still preferred to communiate in Japanese. Both were initially quite shy but eventually we all became comfortable with one another. And very polite and professionally-mannered they were!

We started with a warm-up shoot. I would be hidden behind the net curtains sitting on the window ledge, almost nude but partly covered up with a white and blue yukata. After David had taken a few shots, it was Jordi's turn. He had this ingenious idea of me fiddling around with my clothes on the washing line, namely my bra and panties. It added to the contrast of Western-style lingerie with the traditional Japanese attire I was wearing. David then developed this idea of throwing the white bra on the floor and photographing it amidst the reflected lines from shadows of the curtains. It was the only image during our shoot that would be permissible on Facebook!

Once we all felt comfortable, we got down to business! Whilst semi-dressed in the same yukata, I got tied shibari-style with a rope in the form of a chest harness. David is not a professional rigger so it was of course quite loosely done and clearly for effect. We naturally chose the tatami room as our set, close to the window for the light and of course because we wanted to display also the shoji, which are the traditional inner doors with latticed wooden frames covered in white paper. I lay on the tatami floor looking serene yet sensual despite being bound in rope. Am I to enjoy it? Or am I to accept in despair? That's open to the viewer's interpretation.

Next set, I changed into a more formal-looking yukata. A colourfully reddish pretty one. Still using the same tatami room, we abandoned the shibari-style bondage and continued with erotic poses as we aimed to focus on the beauty of the outfit. At one point we also shot some POV (point of view) shoots where David would be my "partner" and putting his hand on me. I don't normally let photographers touch me at all, but we agreed that this was for merely for effect and considering David's status as a professional photographer in Japan and with Jordi in the room, I knew I could trust the guy completely. And I must say the images turned out beautifully!

Now to the the third set. We decided to take advantage of the apartment balcony overlooking the residential neighbourhood. I changed into another outfit, and this time it was the under-garment of a kimono, a lightweight flowery pink cotton gown. In the old days, we didn't wear knickers & bras under our outfits! We wore instead these under-garments for warmth in the winter and for protecting our clothes from perspiration in the summer. I gather that David read my mind as we decided to shoot me discreetly flashing with my back to the outside world. And boy was that fun! I was in fact determined to do at least one naughty outdoors nude shoot before leaving Japan. My disappointment at not being able to shoot nude in the forest immediately disappeared. This was even better! I've done plenty of nude forest shoots in the past anyways so it was a great change to do one with the scene of Tokyo behind me.

And the final set. Naked me standing inside a closet full of clothes! Being in Japan, it was a rather small closet, so small in fact that even I had to bend over and get into it. The floor of the closet was made of thin wood so I had to be extra careful treading inside it in case my big foot went through it made a big hole. Nevertheless, the image turned out rather well although all the clothes were in plastic garment covers.

By then we decided to call it a day. I thoroughly enjoyed working with David and Jordi. Though David was mainly shooting, I was more than happy to have Jordi shoot me as well as he wishes to gain experience working with models and expand his portfolio. Much of his work has been focused on events and places. All the best to him! David has a good eye for artistic photography so I was very excited to work with him as he has brilliant ideas and captures them beautifully. When I'm in Tokyo again next year, I would definitely work with them again! Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to the next one!!

For more pics from this beatiful shoot, please click onto my Flickr page!

More of David's work can be seen on his website.
Jordi's work can also be seen on his Flickr page

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Going Underground in Tokyo with James Drew

So my first two photoshoots in Tokyo involved street fashion, both daytime and evening. For the third shoot, though, I decided to exploit the wild and wicked side of me by entering into Japan's erotica realm. Interestingly, Japan keeps pornography under wraps as seen in all the "pixilated bits" in magazines and films, and even I, the uber-exhibitionist I am, was not prepared to risk taking my kit off in public as I otherwise would in Europe and UK. That said, with love hotels casually scattered even in the most upscale residential areas, and places like the lively Kabuki-cho curiously managing to avoid oozing the sort of sleaze seen in Europe's red light districts, I must say the country is an interesting paradox.

For that reason, I couldn't wait to do some erotic shoots in Japan. And what setting could be more perfect than those love hotels! So what is a "love hotel", you ask. Almost comparable to motels in the U.S., it is where couples can cheaply rent a room for either a few hours (or overnight) when one's own home is not possible. Enough said! Having shot in a luxurious 5-star Hilton in Brussels as well as a 70s-style decor Travelodge in Gloucester, I figured love hotels would the Japanese alternative to a "sleazy motel" set. Seedy yet luxurious, and the gaudier the better. One such photographer who made this possible was James Drew (known as Kakko-eroi), an American living in Tokyo.
We somewhat connected throug h Flickr a few years ago when I came across his work. Edgy yet sensual, his photos somewhat portray a mysterious underground vibe through clever use of lens and angles and light-handed post-production manipulation like cropping and colour. As such, he successfully manages to capture traditional Japanese eroticism whilst introducing the modern Westernised ideals of "hot and sexy". So is it glamour? Is it fetish? Or erotica? I think it's hard to pigeon hole his work into one category. Whatever it was, I just couldn't wait to work with the guy!

After having put off my trip to Japan for years and hence procrastinating my shoot with James, I finally made the decision to go.
Few emails exchanged, and it was as soon as I arrived in Tokyo that I contacted him. Out of courtesy, he was kind enough to invite me for lunch to introduce himself, put me at ease and discuss ideas. He was just as pleasant and friendly as he has been in his e-mails with a professional yet casual approach. So we set the shoot for that Friday, 23 September 2o11.

James picked me up at the hotel I was staying for a few days. After selecting the outfits to take along to the set, we took a taxi to a rather famous and fancy love hotel in the upmarket Azabu Juban area. Knowing his style, I grabbed some thigh high boots, heels, fishnet and PVC clothes and lingerie and slapped on some heavy eye-make up to look as bitchy as possible. And boy was I ready for some bitchy action!

Like a lot of love hotels, the place had rooms each of it's own theme and character. We were pleased to discover that the BDSM "dungeon" was available. Apart from a big bed, the room had a bondage bench and the grey concerete wall was adorned with ropes, chains, collars and whips hanging from it. We were expecting James' friend to join us later to assist with the lighting so meanwhile we decided to do a warm-up shoot with me wearing a PVC one piece micro-dress with fishnet stockings. At one point, I grabbed a ballgag from the wall but in the interest of hygiene, pretended to be biting into it rather than wear one.

As soon as his assistant arrived, I changed into another outfit. A fishnet top with attached suspender fasteners and matching fishnet knickers I had purchased earlier on at a sexshop in Shibuya. I have to say I have been amazed at the number of outrageous lingerie and abundant variety of hosiery available in Japan, though many are imported from the U.S. Either Japan has changed, or I have. We went around the hallway looking for ideal areas to shoot such as the staircase and finally landed in a narrow elevator! The glowing buttons on the wall amid the dark lighting made such an ideal background.
We went back to the room and proceeded to the next set. Now, in every hotel shoot, the toilet should never be missed! What made this one unique to the others I had done in the past was that it was a Japanese-style toilet (benjo), the one where you squat down over the hole on the floor. By then I was clad in a pair of black PVC shorts and a studded open PVC bra. And not to forget the hot-looking thigh high boots to elongate my pins! It was to be a rather voyeuristic shoot from James' viewpoint. Mockingly teasing him while I have my shorts pulled down halfway. Or giving him the "what the f*** you looking at" eyes. And I have to agree with him that the pics from this series came out the best, although I found the other sets also stunning.

And finally, we experimented with James' laser pens. Room lights would be out and a reddish filtered light for effect. James got his assistant to carefully trace the pen around me while I was being captured with a slow shutter speed. This meant staying very still for 15-30 seconds or so. Having been a life model before, I know what staying "very still" is like so it was no difficult task for me! After a few attempts, we finally nailed a few awesome ones. The chain curtains in the background added to the effect as did the sink basin behind me, giving that seedy motel vibe with the green laser light acting as a neon sign around my half-naked body. This would certainly make a great advertisement!

We decided to call it a day and walked to a nearby Teppanyaki restaurant for some dinner. With a lot of ideas brewing, we have been planning more shoots during my stay. But alas, our busy schedules clashing and his catching a flu towards the end of my short prevented this from happening. Such a shame but then again, I will have my next trip to Tokyo in the course of early 2012 to look forward to! By then, ideas will develop further, we'll be more at ease working again together and I'd be better prepared with outfits and being organised with schedules. I have yet to do a naughty Roppongi evening shoot. What I'll be up to will be a surprise so stay tuned!

Thank you so much, James for your collaboration as well as your hospitality. The pictures you have sent me are awesome, and I can't wait to receive more. You're a pleasure to work with and I look forward to the next time!

For more pictures from this saucy shoot, hit me up on my Flickr page.
And more of James' work can be seen on his Flickr page too!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

It's Shibuya Chic with Asian Impressions Photography

Another coincidence! One other photographer happened to be in Tokyo on business during my stay. This time, it was American photographer Teban from Asian Impressions Photography, who is based in Seattle. We had connected some time ago through Twitter and began corresponding. Such a talented photographer with great character and witty sense of humour, I couldn't wait to work with him!

And what is it I like about his work? I really adored that he mainly specialises in photographing Asian women, whether models or the girl next door, and as such knows how to capture their natural beauty. And their beauty radiates not only from the outside but also from within. Teban clearly manages to combine the Western and Asian ideals of beauty and enhances elegance with understated sultriness.

Our schedules closely coincided and in fact, we even barely made it. Teban had already been in Tokyo for a week before I arrived. While I landed in the morning from London, his flight back to Seattle was leaving that midnight. And how crazy was I. So keen was I to shoot with him that I volunteered to work the evening of my arrival, despite an 11-hour flight and 8 time zones later! That evening, though, we had a heavy Typhoon and had to cancel. We were both gutted. But it was a blessing. His midnight flight got postponed till the following afternoon which meant I was able to catch up with some sleep and shoot the next morning! So we decided to meet at the famous Shibuya diagonal crossing on Thursday 22 September 2011.

We only had a couple of hours but it was worth every minute. Good thing about working with Teban is that minimal preparation was needed. Just turn up the way you are with natural make-up, well-groomed and wearing a smile. He likes the natural and fresh-faced. Plus no teetering around town with a rolling luggage full of clothes to change into. So I showed up in a pair of denim shorts and a floral purple hippy-chic top with diamante on the collar area. And shhhhh.... I purchased that for €10 at an Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp flea market! Finally also a pair of comfy platform wedges.

It was only 10 am, and the shops were just about to open. The streets were only half full with some people on their way to work. We walked around the main and backstreets and spontaneously shot. First the bar district, which is street leading to DIY shop "Tokyu Hands", followed by Shibuya's "Sentaa-gai" the infamous shopping street and finally the aforementioned famous Shibuya crossing. It was important that we captured the "typical Shibuya" character as background to make it as "modern Japan" as possible. Being close to 11 am and being a very sunny day, it was at times difficult to find a suitable spot with good natural light but nevertheless we managed to capture a number of beautiful images.

Although the shoot this time was rather brief, Teban travels quite a lot on business. He is expecting to be in Holland during the warmer months of next year so we intend to meet up again and shoot in Amsterdam. It will be fun! And hopefully we'll have more time then to collaborate. Thank you so much Teban for squeezing me in your tight schedule! I look forward to the next time.
For more photos on this shoot, please hit me up on my Flickr pages.
And please also feel free to check out Teban's website