Saturday, November 14, 2009

Again With the Gyaruo

Gyaruo in Asakusa, photo by Whitney.
(Japanese friend: "Why are they at a TEMPLE? Are they even INTERESTED?")
My gyaruo fixation is no secret. My friends here generally grimace at my mad respect for gyaruo (and gyaru). But gyaruo have made their own world and they're SO over everything else. They don't care that everyone thinks they're gross and stupid. They've got their tans and pointy boots and air-headed slang and trance music and nanpa and they always look totally satisfied with themselves. I have been all about gyaruo since I moved to Japan. Sometimes I go to the 109-2 in Shibuya to plan my own dream gyaruo makeover and flirt with the clerks. True story.

Oh, don't be so judgmental. You know who hates gyaruo? Anyone in Japan who isn't a gyaruo. It's nuts. So of course once I realized that I got all loud about it and stuck my fingers in my friends' faces and went "THAT'S CLASS DISCRIMINATION!" or whatever and made it my mission to make gyaruo friends. Easier said than done. I have dated my share at this point but so far they have lived up to every ridiculous stereotype. But I can't quit yet, or I'll be left with all my hipster friends going "Didn't we tell you?"

I'll show you all. Somewhere between me and gyaruo there has to be a connection. Somehow we will transcend the cologne/trance music/cheesy date ideas/horrible summer fashion and form a bond between our worlds. Then I'll introduce my gyaruo friends to my non-gyaruo friends and buy the world a coke.

A lot of people find my blog while looking for information on gyaruo, which I respect very much, and the only reason I haven't posted about gyaruo before is that it's so hard not to ramble on and on. I AM LEAVING SO MUCH OUT!


γ•γ‚‰γΎγ‚Š said...

I think it would be very interesting to be friends with a gyaruo~ I wish you luck~! Hehe To me, it would be so fascinating to have a guy friend who spent more time on his hair than I do^^

Anonymous said...

"I have dated my share at this point but so far they have lived up to every ridiculous stereotype. "

what kind of stereotypes?

Jen B said...

You go to 109? So do I. Do you know what I'm wearing now? Star patterned leggings under a furry grey ROMPER. The romper is a pair of very tight shorts with a hoody on the top half (umm, rubbish with words). I have purple nails and big blonde hair. See? Accidental gyaru.

selena said...

Cheesy date ideas, please. I need more.

Beth said...

Jen B -- I occasionally go to the 109. I am trying to get more familiar with it lately because I always head for party clothes in the winter and the stuff there is affordable. I find the atmosphere a bit needling though.

UNLIKE THE 109-2, which is more chill, and the top three or four floors are the 109 MEN'S. I'm not kidding, I get hypnotized by gyaruo clothes. I go there and fantasize about what I would wear as a gyaruo. I am 100% sure that if I had the money, I would already have a section in my closet just for my own gyaruo wardrobe. I'm convinced girls would look badass styled from the 109 Men's shops and I am dying to prove it.

P.S. SOOOO JEALOUS of your romper. I have two from American Apparel and I would live in them if I could but they look so indecent on me, in a good way, but a very way.

Beth said...

Selena -- Start with Odaiba. Everyone's like "If you date a gyaruo he's gonna suggest checking out the Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba lolololol." And they all have. I have managed to avoid it so far because it is far and sounds boring but I will have to give in eventually.

My current gyaruo keeps asking me "Should we go to Odaiba or Roppongi?" EEEUGGGGRRGHHHh

Beth said...

Saramari -- EVERYONE spends more time on their hair than I do...

Rachel O. Lesser said...

I believe in you, Beth. Get it! You'll meet that perfect gyaruo and bring a segregated country into a united front. YOSH! haha~~

I've done stuff like that before too. It's always interesting (and fun) to try and mingle people who don't normally mingle together and tear away stereotypes. It's also a nice relief to not have to keep certain friends and people in a constant separation. I hate having different social circles and not being able to mix them together. so irritating. especially during parties and festivals.

Beth said...

Becky -- I hope it doesn't sound like i'm being really negative. There are just a lot of funny traits associated with gyaruo. All I have to say to gyaruo is Rock On, but I have had to admit that in terms of aesthetics, hobbies, hangouts, etc it can be a little hard to mesh.

Some things people think when they think gyaruo:

1. The most stereotypical style: Really dark tans; huge, highlighted, meticulously styled hair; super pointy boots with lots of studs and buckles; silver accessories; over-embellished clothes -- rhinestones, fur trim, buckles, studs, graphics, on everything
2. Horrible trance music
3. NANPA, the art of picking up girls on the street
4. Hanging out in arcades or tacky clubs
5. Talking in a low, lazy drawl and saying "eh" instead of "ai" at the end of adjectives -- "dekai," or huge, becomes "dehhhk-KEH" when a gyaruo says it. Constantly go, "Serious?" ("maji de?") and "Whoa." ("Yahhhb-BEH.")
6. Sounding super shallow and airheaded
7. Smelling like coconuts (from the tanning lotion, I guess)
8. Incessantly checking and adjusting their hair, eyebrows, and clothes in public (INCESSANTLY! I am a mirror addict but oh my god some of these guys.)
9. Flashy underwear

If you ever get a Japanese person to do an impression of gyaruo I promise they'll always do the same thing: drop their eyelids halfway, reach up to tease their hair, and croak "Maaaji yahhhb-BEH," with their jaw hanging open.

The more serious negative stereotypes of gyaruo describe them sleazy, stupid, delinquent trash who do nothing good for society. Gyaruo culture was actually born as the male answer of gyaru, the bad-girls of Japan who popped up in the 90s with dark tans and bleached hair and a hard-partying, anti-establishment lifestyle. Gyaru got a bad reputation, too, but were also considered exciting and cool by a lot of people, and gyaru fashion seeped heavily into the mainstream. Gyaruo, however, not so much, at all.


Julie said...

Stop the hate, indeed!
ohhh Odaiba Bridge is soo terrible. I think I already told you about the huge Statue of Liberty. Why?! It's so terrible, but funny.

There's a club in Shibuya with three floors and when I used to go to clubs with Thuy, we'd always go there and think "the floor with the good music has boring-looking short guys with short hair in hoodies and the floor with the cheeziest progressive trance has those awesome hair guys with the elf boots! Why does their music have to be so bad??" Let's go to a club on Friday night, if you want / if it's cheap.

Beth said...

I'm not going to the Odaiba Bridge EVER! I'm not dating any more host gyaruo EVER! SOOOO OVER IT! That night in Nerima totally did me in.

Friday night = club night! I've actually never been to one with like, people in it in Tokyo. Only really cheap ones or pretty rad but empty ones. I can't wait to trip on some elf shoes.

Beth said...

rachel -- thanks, i'll keep doing my best! when i was a party girl it was my greatest joy to get people from different to bond. now i am too antisocial to bother but the occasional cause still stirs my heart i guess.

selena said...

I haven't been to Odaiba but shit, that sounds like the dates my sister used to go on when she lived here. I never met any of them so I don't know if she tended toward gyaruo. I wouldn't be surprised. Now I'll have to ask her.

The Statue of Liberty was also a gift from France, I've heard. So it's not like they're trying to copy the U.S. Although I'm not so sure about the pachinko parlor on my corner that has a SOL.

The Recreational Pre-Med said...

I was led to your blog by pictures of the amazing hair and general badassery that is Gyaruo. I was reading through your Gyaruo posts and the next thing I know I'm hooked on your blog like a Gyaruo is hooked on hair wax.

In any case, keep up the good work!

And I recently wrote a highly 'academic' post on the social phenom. known as Gyaruo, I hope you don't mind my linking to your blog.

Beth said...

Pre-med - Thanks! Link away. I never use that LJ account anymore though and I've been meaning to go back and lock up all the posts. That gyaruo entry was better than this one but I thought it was too long for this blog.

Your blog is fab!

shibuya_nights said...

LOL! Gyaruo guys are always something to persue. Although, I do hate the shallowness

I love the trance, the nanpa and the shit arcades

You're comment on them all saying "Maji de" made me laugh so hard, only because it's so true.

Rui said...

thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for this post!!
Can I link to this post in my next post?

Beth said...

hey rui, go for it. it's such a fab surprise that there's this gyaruo/gyaru subculture in germany and sweden and some other european countries. i wish america would go for that because the way i picture it it'd be a bunch of axl rose c. welcome to the jungle. yusss.

toxic disco boy said...

i just discovered your blog. ^^ i had so much fun reading this post. makes me wanna go to japan. i've always been fascinated by the gyaruo culture. ^^

Dennis said...

Hi Becky-- I wanted to say your personality really shines through your blog. You're right---searching for what "Gyaru" meant, I spent 2 hrs reading your past posts. They're humorous, informative, and pics are great! Keep it up :)

karisuma gyaru said...

hey! i know this post is super old, but i love gyaruo-too! i really really want to date one (or i'd be satisfied with just boinking one, really...) so where/how did you meet yours? any tips on approaching them?

Beth said...

disco boy - thanks!

dennis - are you talking to becky or me? or why is everyone calling me by other names in comments lately?

karisama gyaru - UMMM i generally try to stay away from seduction coaching but i'll point you to this blog:

if picking up boys isn't rocket science, picking up gyaruo isn't even, i don't know, art class.

karisuma gyaru said...

haha, i'll keep that in mind ^_-

and thanks for that blog link! i'll go check it out.