Photo by Dan Bailey (TOKYO DANDY)

One of Japan’s leading models and bloggers, Yoshiko Kris-Webb (AKA: Tokyo Dame) grew up in Osaka before moving to New York and then Tokyo, with her British husband, Martin. They have two daughters aged 8 and 10.

What is your daily routine?
On a working day, I wake up before the sun comes up and go to a studio or location for a photo-shoot, and tend to get home before our kids come home from school. I spend time with them until their bedtime then I start doing my writing work. I have a blog called Tokyo Dame, which I update a couple of times a week. I write about fashion, parenting and various things I’m interested in. I also work as a columnist for a few magazines, so there are always deadlines I have to keep up. Over the years I’ve learnt to survive on the minimum amount of sleep, and I usually sleep for under five hours a day.
On my days off, my husband and I stay in bed until the girls come and wake us up. Then we have a big brunch. In the evenings we often invite our friends over for dinner.

When are you happiest?
In Japan both mums and dads (one or the other) get into the bath with their kids, so perhaps my favourite time is when I’m having a long, hot bath with my girls, chatting.

Tell us about your children
I have two daughters, the older one, Ninon, is 10 and a voracious reader. She also likes to dance and has recently started to choreograph routines for her friends from dance class. The younger daughter, Beni, is 8 and is our resident dreamer – she always has her head in the clouds.

How do you spend time as a family
On Sundays we always try to go on a sightseeing excursion in Tokyo. We have a guidebook and the girls flip through the pages randomly and choose the destination of the week. Because I’m from a different city and my husband is, too, it’s fun to explore new places. It’s like being on holiday in our home city. We try to get lost in a positive way – trying to wander off the beaten path in the hope of discovering something unexpected. Our younger daughter is very good at getting lost everywhere she goes.

What is the biggest challenge being a mum in Tokyo? Japan is a very conformist society and in “mummy communities” there are always Dos and Don’ts. In the beginning I tried to squeeze myself into their little boxes and follow their rules, but eventually I realised that I was becoming someone else – my role as a mother and wife was beginning to suffocate my personality. Thankfully I found ways to express myself, but I see a lot of mothers who aren’t able to get away from the imposed homogeneity.

And the best?
There are very low levels of crime here, so we don’t have to worry about the safety of our kids as much as in other countries.

What are your beauty tips?
Avoid eating any kind of fast-food or drinking sugary sodas. Walk a lot. (I don’t have time to go to a gym.) I use a liberal amount of Nivea moisturising cream on my face before going to bed every night.

Style advice for new mums?
I like wearing white head-to-toe. For example a T-shirt or non-ironed cotton shirt with a pair of white jeans and white sneakers. Don’t be afraid to wear white when you are with your kids. After all you can bleach them. I also like to have an opportunity to wear a pair of high-heels at least once a week. I like the fact that wearing heels makes my posture straight and instantly it gives me an attitude.

What is the life-lesson you would hand down to your children?
When you find yourself at a disadvantage it’s a real chance to grow.

What does being a mother mean to you?
Feeling unconditional love, taking responsibility for my children and coming to understand my own mother.

Finally: In Tokyo, where is the best to go with kids?
To eat: Chanoma
To play outdoors: Showa Kinen Park
For kids’ clothes shopping: Bonton and also Kodomo Beams

Follow Yoshiko on Instagram

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