Thursday, November 16, 2006


Meeting Miho

After a lifetime of no cavities, I learned yesterday that I have four and that one, due to neglect, may well require the dreaded root canal. This is what comes of having no dental insurance and skipping dentist visits in an attempt to save money.

What's a girl to do when she receives this kind of news? I did the responsible thing, which was to head over to a sample sale at Joolay, where I was introduced in passing to the head designer who turned out to be a Japanese girl named Miho. I did my thing and spoke in Japanese.

"But you don't look Japanese at all!" she protested.

A salesgirl announced, "You know, Miho was a famous actress in Japan."

"Not actress," Miho laughed. "Porn star." Then, nimbly, she pranced away.

This has happened to me before in New York; I meet some Japanese person who used to be famous in Japan but has come to America to start life over. I find the whole concept of relative fame fascinating, especially because the inclination is to believe that the Internet and globalism in general has leveled the playing field.

So who, I wondered when I went home, is Miho? She was clearly very smart. She avoided me the rest of the time that I was in the showroom floor, and didn't want to talk about Japan or her acting career, but had the grace to smile and accept compliments when I told her how much I loved her designs. Obviously, this was a situation where I should have kept my mouth shut and remained American. But it's hard to judge these things sometimes. In other situations, speaking Japanese has been helpful.

Anway, I thought initially that Miho's quip about being a porn actress was a bit of inspired cleverness.

So, I continued shopping. And by the way, if you live in NYC, please do go to the Joolay sale, which continues on till Friday of this week. The clothes are gorgeous and the prices a true bargain, unlike other sample sales which don't sell samples at all. If you like velvet and embroidery and drama and beading, you'll love these clothes. I felt as though someone actually had me in mind while designing! The work plays up the theme of exotic India, which does make you wonder how much the embroiderer was paid for me to be able to take home a $25 tunic . . . (Funnily enough, though, the clothes ARE designed by a Japanese person which makes me think; what's more Japanese? Joolay or Uniqlo?)

Then I got home and prayed that Google wouldn't fail me again. It didn't. Miho is indeed an actress. In fact she's filming now. She's married to an indepdent filmmaker Hal Hartley. She did some "erotic art films" which have a cult following. And yes, in person she is quite stunningly beautiful. All that and tremendous intelligence and talent.

Her English language bio claims that she is descended from a kimono maker's family. Her own collection is described as "A touch of elegance with a touch of Lolita sensuality." Fitting and true. I quite like the way her life has reinvented itself here in America. Certainly she is enormously talented, and I'll be first in line at the next sample sale (if I have any money left after the root canal).

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