When I told people that Tokyo was the first stop on my international travels everyone asked me why? The question hidden inside those three letters was: Why would a black person go to Tokyo a place where there are no other black people? Which in all honestly is a fair question. Anti blackness is global and I knew that as a traveler the color of my skin would make me stand out in ways white people typically never have to worry about.
Now I'll be honest, before I came to Tokyo I did read a lot about what being black in Asia as a whole and Japan specifically would be like- Virgo' always do their research. The results were mixed some said that it wasn't an issue in big cities but going to more rural areas might prove difficult. Other people reflected that even in big cities they faced open hostility. What I knew for sure was that I wasn't just going to Tokyo as a black person but as a black trans person. While my blackness might make me stand out my gender non-conforming presentation would be a beacon.
I don't get stared at anymore in Tokyo from adults then I do in DC or New York . Now the group of people who are quite often surprised to see me are children under the age of 10. Which makes sense because as a homogenous culture where less than 1% of the total population is foreign they don't see a lot of difference
For those who've been following me on Instagram, link in the top right, you've noticed that I got some new hair right before I left for Tokyo. This has been my second trial with box braids and honestly so much better than the first time. My braids are much smaller this time so they don't weigh me down as much and I learned that pre-soaking your hair in an Apple Cider Vinegar solution takes off this film that makes your scalp itch. All but two Japanese people have touched my hair without permission. Otherwise people have been really respectful about asking first.
Now in the outfit above, which is my first trial at self-portraiture using my tripod, I wore my vintage Chanel jacket with a simple cotton shirt from ASOS and my favorite hat by this DC brand called Rent is Due. Sadly my hat and the braids didn't mix so I lost the hat one night while partying.
I wore this outfit to Senso-ji Temple. I actually wandered the ground with a suitcase of 3 different outfits to change into but the area was so crowded that this was the only good spot I found to set up my tripod. Now the skirt is from my favorite plus size brand Eloquii. I really suggest checking them out. I copped the Kaya Midi Skirt in lemon shine. Normally I prefer my skirts and dresses to fall above the knee because it elongates my frame but this midi skirt looked so good on me I couldn't send it back. The top is a shirt from Asos in this gorgeous cosmic geometric pattern. You really can't see the pattern in this photo because the sun was so bright but the two look amazing together. The flats are vintage from a thrift store in Chicago. The lip is from this black owned cosmetics brand called Coloured Raine and the color is Heart of Stone.
I really like how these first to attempts at portrait photography turned out. Remember to subscribe below so you never miss another chapter in the Archives of a DivaNun!