I’ve started my advanced gel art class and it seems to be going pretty well, but I’ve been reminded of the difference between the Japanese and American ways of schooling. In Japan, the way is to do it exactly as the teacher does it- right down to placing the sparkles in the same areas. The general idea is that you have to be able to imitate perfectly before you make your own original designs. Even in art, creativity is not particularly encouraged until you can duplicate designs.
My classes are pretty casual. I’m not going for a nailist license here in Japan, mostly because I can’t work as one legally (work visas are for only skilled labor- that means a job which that 1) Japanese can’t do; and 2) requires a 4-year university degree, so foreigners working as nailists are pretty much out) and because the course and testing are outrageously expensive and the license is not transferable to any other country.
Oddly enough, you do not currently need to be licensed to work as a nailist in Japan. I was pretty shocked at that. They also cut skin here, which is a big no-no in most US states. Any procedure that could potentially draw blood is prohibited, generally speaking. But here, they’re just chopping away.
My only nail salon experience in Japan was pretty spooky. I had my nails long then, and I broke the pinkie. I couldn’t bear to chop them all, so I headed over to the salon to have an acrylic extension put on. They busted out the ominous looking cuticle clippers, chopped away, and then the nailist handed them to another nailist when she was done with me, and proceeded to use them on the next customer without sterilizing them! YIKES! No one looked alarmed in the least. Blood borne pathogens, anyone? This was in a very expensive salon in the Aoyama area, too. After that, I never went back to another nail salon in Japan again. I didn’t expect to pick up some horrible disease from bloody cuticle scissors, but fungus is a very real possibility from unhygenic salons.
Um..all that grossness aside, here’s a pretty picture of some of the gel art I did:
So everyone, if you do go to the salon a lot, bring your own files and cuticle pushers and be VERY careful of undergoing any cutting procedure that could potentially draw blood. It’s also good to keep your hands moisturized to prevent nicks from salon tools. If anything looks sketchy, tell them to stop. It might seem dramatic at the time, but it is better to walk out of an unhygenic salon mid-procedure than to suffer with nail fungus or nail damage later.