After graduating from a hair and makeup beauty academy, Yuh embarked on a round-the-world trip – she has achieved the second time around already. She went to language school and honed makeup technique and returned to Japan a year later. She worked as a freelance hair & makeup artist, and is now traveling toward her goal. She was swinging between a working holiday and beautician’s license; she eventually decided to go to beauty school. She got licensed and took off for a second world trip for three and a half months. She studied abroad in 5 countries and visited a further 80 countries.
You have a unique lifestyle being able to go abroad every month allowing to reach your aim of visiting 100 countries. Would you tell us how your interests have changed for travel?
When I was a student, I visited my friend in New York. I got a culture shock to know the difference of the face by various races! Then I thought I would like to do makeup different colors of people. So I didn’t work at a beauty salon as a staff and embarked all around the world for a year after graduating beauty academy. I had practical experience to do makeup local people in each country and studied beauty method.
You have an experience of studying abroad in 5 countries. Why did you choose those countries for language school?
Because I couldn’t speak English on my first trip around the world and wanted to study abroad during second trip.Although I thought I’d study for a year, but I might get bored with staying in only one country (laugh). So I decided to change schools and take a round-the-world trip.
I just picked some cities I wanted to go. I stayed in N.Y, Toronto, London, and Sydney for three months at a time and took trips on weekends , this way I could travel around the world for a year. Before embarking on the second world trip, I went to Baguio in the Philippines for a month to improve my English skills. I recommend you to learn English in Philippines, because you can save your money.
Would you tell us any interesting episode in visiting countries?
I couldn’t forget taking the natural open-air bath in the Antarctic. The water’s temperature was so hot I thought it may scald me, but my upper body was naked! Can you imagine that? I have never experienced such extreme temperature differences, and I would never experience it in daily life.
I visited North Korea for Japan and North Korea relationship action and watched “Arirang” which is the biggest mass game in the world, and it was really wonderful.
What does travel mean to you? Why would you like to make a trip?
The reason why I travel is I’m always filled with a sense of achievement whenever I reach the destination on my own. I just can’t stop traveling! Also, I can improve the ability to adapt, decide and the power of idea and now I can neatly tell someone what I think.
What do you take care of when traveling?
I thoroughly protected my skin from UV (ultraviolet) rays. I put on sunscreen when visiting hot countries. When I returned to Japan, I put on a drip for maintaining my skin well. In my opinion, many women seem not to care about their skin when traveling, but I never forget to do it.
I often looked for a local nail salon or beauty salon during my travels around the world. I always removed my makeup and applied moisturizer generously to protect my skin from dryness on the airplane for long-distance trips.
How do you work usually?
I work as a freelance hair & makeup artist, so I can control my schedule and take trips abroad.
Great working style! You are a freelance hair makeup artist, so had you already decided to work as a freelance when you were a school student?
Yes, of course. I can’t travel anytime and anywhere if I enter a company to work (laugh). I was lucky as I had many acquaintances in show business and could get jobs right from the start.
You are studying makeup and beauty method from various countries. Do you have any carrier plan in the future?
What I feel is that this might be only Japanese women have full makeup everyday compared with women in other countries.
Our life can be changed by one’s makeup skill whether it’s good or not. Therefore, I would like to spread the importance and enjoyment to people around the world.
Do you have any goals in the future?
I can’t leave for a long trip now because I’m in the process of having my teeth-straightened. When I’m finished, I would like to take a third round the world trip.
If you have any relationships with local women, would you share with us how you feel about their life and working style etc?
In Islamic countries, I seldom see women in the town. They might keep house at home.
This is not about women but, in general, I know that the Japanese shop assistance attitude is wonderful. However, I think they are too rule-bound to work on a flexible basis. For example, when any customer isn’t in the shop, I think it is no problem that the staff sits down on a chair. It isn’t necessary to just stand the whole time, and they should stop with the formalities and take action with flexibility. Many of them can only deal with customers according to the manual.
On the other hand, I have some experiences that shop staff in other countries try to close the shop on time even if a customers’ there, or having lunch, answering a private phone… they aren’t rule-bound, and so free. Of course, I don’t think it is a good thing. I slightly suffered culture shock to see sloppy staff attitudes to customer for the first time.
But as time goes by, I’m sometimes surprised by too much Japanese courtesy such as an attitude like a luxury department store at a local supermarket…Also I never receive my credit card with both hands from a staff like seen in Japan. They even sometimes throw it! (laugh). This is what I found that Japanese has spirit of good service compared with other countries through my travels.
By knowing the different cultures and people, did you find any change in your thought, mindset, or value?
The more I travel the world, I feel more that Japan is such an eccentric country in a positive and negative way. The uniqueness is the most distinctive among other countries, and I fully understand that many foreign people get interested in Japan.
Do you have any special habit that you are conscious of carrying out in daily life?
Facial muscle training has been a part of my daily routine for ten years.
It is more effective against anti-aging than any excellent beauty essence, and we don’t need to spend much money!
Do you have any hobby? How do you spend your free time?
I usually go to a beauty clinic to receive medical treatment for maintenance in keeping my skin good. Swimming is also good, just focusing on swimming and relaxing my mind to relieve stress.
Also when I have spare time, I look at a world map and think of where I migh like to go.
Do you have any future life plan?
I would like to keep moving around the world but I have never thought to live abroad on a permanent basis. For now, I am looking for a country to live in my old age (laugh).
Do you think about another challenge or dream after traveling 100 countries worldwide?
At first, I planned to travel all countries in the world, but it is so unreasonable for my schedule (laugh)… then I changed my goal to visit 100 countries on a steady basis. After that, I would like to make theme-based travel plan, for example, “around Africa”, “Europe” and “country name ending in “-stan”.
Would you tell us “MY STYLE” for you?
I choose my life with a will of my own, free of the nonsense rules and stereotype.
Could you give us a message for woman who wants to be oneself?
As you travel abroad more, you can deeply understand Japan more from a different point of view. If you can soften a rigid way of thinking, you can live with comfort. I believe so.
“100 countries worldwide trip!” is not easy for most of people in normal life! For this reason, I got interested in her life style and offer her the interview.
She has a sharp sense of beauty, and her skin care seems to be perfect even in traveling. Please check Yuh’s traveling weblog with photographs.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story, Yuh-san!