The Perks and Pitfalls of Being a Foreign Talent in the Japanese Entertainment Industry: An Interview with Noemi Krapecz

Written by Mizhelle
Photo by Jun Matsuoka

I first met Noemi four years ago. She had just arrived in Japan from Hungary and was living in a cramped guesthouse with three or four other foreigners, one of whom was my best friend. My best friend, being the whirlwind that she is, had left Japan with a lot of luggage behind and had asked us to send it to Australia where she had just moved back to. Luckily, Noemi agreed to help me send them.

My first impression of Noemi was that she was a kind and sweet girl. She had shoulder-length, straight blonde hair then, and I complimented her for it. She thanked me but was a little bit flustered, saying that it wasn’t really all that beautiful at the moment. In between carrying heavy boxes to the nearest post office, she told me she was looking for a job in Japan, and that she wanted to model. I didn’t really know much about getting a job in the Japanese entertainment industry then, so I couldn’t offer any good advice. When we finished sending the last of my best friend’s boxes, I wished her luck. Little did I know that it was the start of a long friendship.

Today, she sits in front of me with an air of confidence, dressed in vibrant colors, her now long hair styled in soft curls. Since meeting Noemi four years ago, she has appeared in various music videos, variety shows, and TV dramas, with an upcoming movie to boot. Many of the foreigners I’ve met in Japan have tried their luck in the entertainment industry, but among the people I know, she is the only one who’s had continuous success. I was very thus very curious to know her story, and luckily she indulged me. Continue reading “The Perks and Pitfalls of Being a Foreign Talent in the Japanese Entertainment Industry: An Interview with Noemi Krapecz”


Useful Japanese Words for Going to a Hair Salon

Here are some Japanese words and expressions you can use on your next salon visit. Feel free to leave questions in the comment section below.

 Common Services

  • カット (katto) – cut
  • カラー (karā) – color
    • グラデーション (guradēshon) – gradation
    • ワンメーク (wanmēku) – one color dye
    • ダブルカラー (daburu karā) – bleach + color
    • リタッチ (ritacchi) – retouch; dyeing only the roots
    • ハイライト (hairaito) – highlights
    • ローライト (rōraito) – lowlights
  • エクステ (ekuste) – extensions
  • トリートメント (torītomento) – treatment
  • パーマ (pāma) – perm
    • デジタルパーマ (dejitaru pāma) – digital perm, often abbreviated as dejipāma
    • エアウェーブ (ea wēbu) – a type of perm that produces looser curls
    • ポイントパーマ (pointo pāma) – perming a part of one’s hair, like the fringe for example
  • 縮毛矯正 (shukumōkyōsei) – hair straightening
  • ヘアセット (hea setto) – hair set (when you want to have your hair done professionally before an event or a shoot)
  • メイク (meiku) – make-up
  • シャンプー (shampū) – shampoo
  • ブロー (burō) – blow dry

Continue reading “Useful Japanese Words for Going to a Hair Salon”

How to Create a Hot Pepper Beauty Account

When it comes to beauty and relaxation services, Japan does not disappoint. If you want to get a haircut, get your nails done, or get a massage, there are plenty of places to choose from. More often than not, however, walk-ins are not accepted and making a reservation is a must.

Reservations can usually be done by phone or online. In my case, I use a website/app called “Hot Pepper Beauty.” This service allows me to browse listed salons and look for them by area, service, or keyword. If I’m in a hurry to get something done, I can also search for salons that have open slots for the same or the following day.

Needless to say, it is a very useful website. It’s unfortunately not (yet?) in English, but have no fear. The instructions below take you through creating an account.

Continue reading “How to Create a Hot Pepper Beauty Account”

Have a Funny Valentine with these Parody Chocolates

In Japan, chocolates take center stage every time Valentine’s is around the corner. Successful marketing has us believe that it is customary for girls to give chocolates to boys on this occasion. Chocolates made for this day are generally classified into two categories: the honmei (real deal) choco, which girls give to the object of their affection; and the giri (obligation) choco, which, as the name suggests, are given out of a sense of duty, or worse, pity.

It goes without saying that girls often go to lengths to make their honmei choco special. Making them from scratch is far from unusual practice. Giri choco, on the other hand, do not require much effort, but that doesn’t mean they have to be uninteresting. In fact, a number of ready-made giri choco available in the supermarket are designed to amuse, if not keep you in stitches. They’re aptly called “parody choco” given that they copy designs from existing products, while throwing in a joke or two. Here are some that I found the other day: Continue reading “Have a Funny Valentine with these Parody Chocolates”