Oops sorry for this long break again! I was ill with a nasty cold the last couple of weeks. Then got busy with stuff I had put off doing as was too ill to bother. Still got a few more shoots in Japan to blog about which am sure you're all dying to read! This time, I'll be writing about my shoot in Nagoya, where I arranged to stop by on my way back from a family visit in Osaka. Jeffrey Johnson, otherwise known as "Shogunmaster" is an American photographer based there with whom I connected through Fetlife and then began corresponding on Facebook. Whilst an expert on event photography, such as car and fashion shows, he also photographs models. I really like his outdoors work especially as he takes advantage of the typically "Japanese metropolis" be it all the tall buildings or the street. Before leaving for Japan, we scheduled our shoot for 28 September 2011.
I took a shinkansen (Bullet Train), a smooth one hour journey, from Osaka to Nagoya, where Jeff picked me up. He was just as friendly, gregarious and funny as his conversations were on Facebook and we both hit it off immediately. Lugging all our bags on this warm sunny day, we took the metro to the city centre for some coffee. It was well over 20°C which was unusually warm for late September and I was still in my shorts and tank-top! I myself have been to Nagoya once when I was a kid but don't remember much of it. Still it was a friendly city, much like Tokyo in terms of scenery though on a smaller scale.
After coffee, we walked to an office block where I got changed in the public toilet. I disappeared in my scruffy sweaty backpacker attire and reappeared looking like a princess in a hot-pink strapless body-con evening dress with sequined ruffles in the front. I felt like Cinderella! The dress was designed and made Farzana Warasta, one of my closest friends in Amsterdam. Then we wandered off to a parking lot in one of the smaller streets, where there were some grafitti on the walls. We did quite a few fashion shoots there whilst adding some humour with me posing with a "No Parking" cone in Japanese.
Next was another Love Hotel shoot! We arrived to the one that Jeff had in mind but discovered that it was temporarily shut down for refurbishment. So we walked further and found another place. Once in there, we proceeded doing quite a few sets of some goodies Jeff had brought with him. One of them was a cute T-shirt that said "Don't take my photos!!" which we used as a warm-up shoot. Then was a chongsam Chinese dress and a cute frilly lingerie set.
I was dying to do a Uniform Fetish as well. Knowing that Jeff had served in the U.S. Army in Korea prior to coming to Japan, I coaxed him into bringing some of his old uniforms along. The trousers though were just too big for me so we improvised by throwing on the shirt with the cap and combining this with the same blue fishnet hold-ups with matching blue knickers I had worn with the previous set. Now that's sexy! Then Jeff produced an American flag he had kept from his army days, all neatly folded up. I posed behind it in nude although I was initially reluctant to as I didn't want to show any disrespect, but Jeff didn't seem to mind. Living in Europe and hence more exposed to things British, doing something "American" was such a great change!
We called it a day at the hotel. Then we roamed around to look for a hotel for me to stay in that evening and finally found one at reasonable rates. It was approaching sunset and we thought it would be a great idea to shoot at Oasis 21. This building is a huge recreational and commercial complex right in downtown, providing a massive view of modern Nagoya. Still a very warm evening, I was still dressed in my denim shorts and tank top and decided that a "casual fashion" shoot would be an idea. Personally, I thought this set was the best of the day's shoot most likely because I felt more at ease as the weather was cooling down and I was enjoying the fresh air and space around me. Plus, the lighting and the composition of the resulting images were perfect.
It was approaching dinner time and we were getting hungry. Jeff knew the guy who worked at this bar so we proceeded there for some snacks. After having been introduced to the owner, who was very friendly and accommodating, I quickly got changed in the toilet to that pretty pink evening dress I had worn earlier. I have to admit I was a little self-conscious when people were watching me get shot but as soon as I got to the bar and laid across it, I felt more myself! Naughty me...
Our final destination was a karaoke bar! Only this was quite different. It specialised in Cosplay. The bar had a closet full of funky costumes from which customers can pick and choose to wear, ranging from animé to sexy body-con clubwear to of course seira-fuku schoolgirl outfits. The place was even equipped with a tiny changing room with lockers! I wanted to see if they had a Hello Kitty outfit but alas they didn't. Still there were quite a few pretty costumes to choose from but unfortunately, I am not as slim and slightly-built like the average Japanese woman. I nevertheless managed to squeeze into a hot-looking red body-con dress for a femme-fatale look. We went out in the hallway where Jeff took some shots, then I got changed into another sexy outfit, this time with me as a Budweiser Girl in another body-con number. As I write this, I have yet to see how those photos turned out!
It has been a long but fun day of shooting in Nagoya. It is not often that I get to go there and rare for Jeff to have a visiting model from abroad, so we wanted to make the most of it. I very much enjoyed it, am well pleased with the results and look forward to working with him again when I am there next. Thank you so much for your time, Jeff, and Otsukaré-sama!