It came to my attention that a lot of my North American friends don't know the secret of how to take photos like a Japanese girl. I wouldn't blame you. It take years to master this fine art. You have to be exaggerated enough, yet still remain a certain amount of grace; be quirky enough, but still don't laugh like a clown; and most of all, balance the picture with both your face and your hands. I mean, what do you do with your hands? Should the finger be pointing up or down? Is there a correct way or will you accidentally doing some strange hand signal that means "your baby looks like Shrek", in Japanese?
Luckily, I've learned this technique from my friends across the ocean. It's as simple as one-two-three, literally!
I used the technique myself, and see my amazing results!
If you didn't look closely, I'm sure you'd thought I freshly walked out from Harajuku! The technique is all about "counting" with your fingers from 1 to 10. Let me go over them one at a time.
- When you have a free finger, don't let it go un-use. Stick it up your cheek, and you are now Japanese! This is also very effective for those who doesn't have a dimple: if you don't have one, poke one!
- Ever watch Sailormoon? Combining "peace" with "cuteness", here is your second standard pose. Note that it's important that the "V" shape is close to horizontal. To increase cuteness, try 45 degrees downwards.
- As keep on poking fingers to your face is never cute, we change our pose slightly with "three". Do a traditional "OK" sign, then look through the circle (yes... I did it wrong in my example, but you know, I'm a natural, I'm allowed to go outside the box). KAWAII!!!!!!
- "Four" is all about acting surprised with a mixture of embarrassment. This is also the only pose you're free to look elsewhere instead of the camera. If you can't fake the emotion, when in doubt, fart a little and you'll find the right moment.
- Woohoo, I have five fingers, let's celebrate! Traditionally, this pose always combine with an open mouth. Try to imitate screaming something high-pitch. This pose can also convey "sayonara".
- "Six" is a pretty weird one. There are numerous hand gestures representing the number "six". Most people use one that look awfully like a "three". To distinguish between the two, I like the Chinese approach. To avoid people think you mean "call me", try to avoid looking desperate.
- "Seven" is about coolness. Always have your face do a 7:3 ratio towards the camera. You should also channel 007 wearing a Pikachu outfit in your head. SUTEKI!!!!!!
- "Where are you? I can't see you! Oh there you are!" I found you with my "handmade" binocular!
- To complete your Japanese girl transformation, it's important to remember that all cute things have ears pointing up. Create your own ears by shaping two "nines" on your head. Just remember, even Hello Kitty dresses up like other animals sometimes.
- This is similar to "five", but even happier! The trick is the hands always have to go slightly backward, because we all know, when we're happy we... well... threw our hands backward... Please note that your palms should be relatively close to your face with your finger facing outwards, like you're a flower and your hands are your petals.
There you go, your fool-proof guide of taking photos like a Japanese girl. I encourage you to do lots of practice, and one day, you could be as kawaii as a Japanese girl. Post your results on your blog/flickr, and I'll be happy to link the page to yours.
PS: sorry about the bad hair... I really need a haircut.