Fake hair, eyelashes quick, fun disguise
Living in a rural town like Takatsuki, Shiga (not to get confused with Takatsuki, Osaka), there's not a day goes by without us foreigners being recognised by someone.
I suppose in all fairness there are exactly five western foreigners who live here - three from New Zealand and two from the United States, so we do stand out.
The students at my friend's school have developed nicknames for us. I'm kinpatsu sensei (blonde teacher); my friend is Alice sensei (because she apparently looks like the main character in horror flick Biohazard aka Resident Evil) and my colleague is Afro-sensei (no explanation required).
My friend has had random people take photos of her and send them to her school.
Last week a driver of one of the cars that drive around our town warning us over the loudspeakers about "perverts" called out to her over the loudspeaker. "Hi. Nice to meet you. We met at a bar. Do you remember me?" in English.
It's not like she could reply - it was a random loudspeaker talking to her.
So it's no wonder she decided she wants to change her hair colour and style. Instead of taking the plunge straight away, she purchased a variety of wigs online to try first.
We decided to have a bit of fun with the wigs and took the opportunity to disguise ourselves using various Japanese beauty products.
We began on Friday night with a facial mask. Japanese facial masks are not the gooey liquid in a tube that you put on and it hardens, then you wash it off. Instead they are exactly what they say they are - a mask. They have eye, nose and mouth holes which are very disproportionate to our faces. The mouth hole is generally on my chin. They are really quite bizarre and make us look like that character off Scream.
On Saturday morning, we decided to head to Osaka for the day wearing our wigs.
I purchased fake eyelashes from the 100 yen ($2) shop and my friend proceeded to attempt to glue them on me as I knew I wouldn't ever succeed alone. I'm not sure what you're supposed to glue them to, and even with help my eyelashes ended up about 2mm above my actual eyelashes. So to people who wear fake eyelashes every day, I'm sure they looked a tad strange.
Luckily I was wearing a rather bouncy wig with a lovely fringe to cover them up.
Most girls wear fake eyelashes here. They're just as cool as skin whitening moisturiser.
We headed to the train station, with a few sideways looks from our fellow Takatsuki residents and two hours later arrived in Osaka.
To be a fully-fledged Japanese beauty, we had to get purikura (sticker photos). They are the ultimate beauty tool. The current fad is a machine called Bambi-na which claims to give you eyes as wide as Bambi and legs as skinny as Bambi.
My eyes are naturally wide and in this machine, I look like an alien. But I love what it does to our skin and legs. It makes us look like porcelain dolls.
It was windy in Osaka, and a couple of times I thought my wig might fall off, but it stayed on nicely. The closest I got to an awkward moment was when it got caught on a hook in a strange eclectic store, but my friend noticed it before the wig came completely off.
Day in disguise - great success.
The Marlborough Express