My Other Career As A Model

Today didn’t start off all that well. I slept in, getting up only twenty minutes before I had to teach a class. Considering that it takes ten minutes to actually get to the school, I had a full 10 minutes to shower,  get dressed, eat, brush teeth and put on makeup.

Oh, yes. I wear makeup to school every day. Just like I wore makeup to work every day when I worked in finance. I’m not one of those people that looks pretty much the same whether I’m wearing makeup or not. I look hella better with it on. Not loads, just a bit of eyeliner, some pale eyeshadow and mascara, but it makes a world of difference. I honestly believe that when you look good people take you more seriously and give you more respect. Like if you’ve put the effort in, other people will too. Even if those people are three years old. 
So today was the first day (well, in a while) that I arrived looking a bit… ratty. Bare face, hair sticking up, slightly crumpled top, a loose thread in my jeans… ratty. 
It turned out that all my rushing was for nowt though. Yesterday (Sunday) was the local elementary school’s concert, so today was a day off for the kids. None of my first class showed up. 
I was just chilling in my room, checking out the new games and stuff for February (hearts all over the shop I tells you) when in marches the owner of the school, armed with three 9-year-old girls and a hefty Nik*n DSLR. She asks me to sit down. She starts into a five minute monologue to the kids, then starts taking pictures. Of us. Me and the kids. No explanation, no directions, nothing. 
This goes on for a few minutes before she gets frustrated at my shoddy modelling skills and my poor rapport with the kids who had never seen me before in their short Japanese lives. Or maybe they had, from a suitable staring distance, but I’d never seen them before. She starts trying to get me to hug the kids, while showing them a picture book and asking them questions WAAAAY beyond their ability level. Them looking at me in confusion. Me grinning like a deranged freak. With sticky-up hair. Eventually she gives up and marches out. 
I found her later and asked what it was all about. Apparently, she was taking pictures for the school’s advertisements. To be used in newspapers, magazines, leaflets, maybe a billboard. 
WHAAT? I mean, I know this is Japan. I know the culture is different. I know that you’re not supposed to question your money-giver – but seriously. This is the first time I’ve really felt like shouting “This would NEVER happen where I come from!!” What the hell would have happened if I hadn’t asked? My face would have ended up on billboards around the area, surrounded by my crazy hair and unprofessional clothes, without my permission or knowledge

I was PISSED OFF. In a normal (Western) workplace, your boss would – 
1. Ask you if you minded taking part in an advertising campaign.
2. Explain what it involved and answered any questions.
3. Warned you of when it would be taking place and
4. PAY YOU!!
Ok, I don’t really mind whoring myself out to the Japanese public for the sake of the school. I don’t even expect to get paid. But I would like her to tell me what’s going on before she starts shoving her giant lens in my face and taking pictures! And come on girls, is it too much to ask to be given a day’s warning so you can wash your hair and iron a shirt? Really? Is the messy bleary gaijin look what she wants on her school’s ads? 
God damn. I’m annoyed. 

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