from Japan

How Style Stimulates My Soul

Nodoka blogger, illustrator


Nodoka  blogger, illustrator

Nodoka is a top fashion blogger at Ameba. She worked as a designer at an advertising agency but quit working full-time after marrying and having children. She eventually began a part-time job at a clothing store, where she discovered her passion for coordinating clothes. During that same period, she began Nodoka’s Diary, a blog full of self-portraits and illustrations highlighting easy and inexpensive styling tips. Her first book, “I Hate Fashion, But Still Want To Look Stylish,” was published in 2018.

Trust Your Intuition 

Yasuo Yoshikawa(YY) Nice to meet you Nodoka! We were introduced through Ami Nakano, the editor for both of our books. “I Hate Fashion, But Still Want To Look Stylish” is such a clever title—it must ring true for so many women. When did your blogging career begin?

Nodoka(N)  In 2011. Back then, no one else blogged about fast fashion, and I think that might be why it quickly gained attention.

YY  How many followers do you have?

N  35,000.  

YY  How is that different from Twitter or Instagram followers?

To put it into perspective, I’ve heard it’s roughly 3 times the amount of that of Twitter or Instagram. 

YY  I’ve been on Twitter for four years now and joined Instagram about a year and a half ago. Getting more followers is hard!

I know. It’s helpful to have a message or theme each time you post. I try to give a styling tip of the day, like “Wear high waisted pants with long hems to lengthen your legs.” I want people to be able to look at my blog and use my advice right away. 

YY  Where did you learn your styling tricks?

I’m not a professional stylist—I’m entirely self-taught. I didn’t study fashion in school. I gained most of my knowledge while working at a clothing boutique, which was around the same period that I started my blog. During that time, I was a stay at home mom who didn’t have a lot of money or energy to spend on my appearance. I wanted to connect with other women in similar positions. I slowly realized that a lot of them don’t necessarily need the latest trends, they just want to feel confident and comfortable without trying too hard.

The Clothing-Connection

YY  What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion adds a little spark to my daily life. I’m a pretty awkward and nerdy person, so I don’t love going out. After I got married and had kids, I found it really hard to engage in mom groups. But fashion really changed that for me. 

YY  When did you resume working part-time?

When my daughter was three and my son was a year and a half.  I’m quite shy and don’t love having to deal with people, but I’ve always liked clothes, and it was fun for me to be able to play with style through my job. It was also during this time period that I started my blog.

YY  You’re an illustrator, too? 

Yes, that’s what I studied in school. One day, a reader requested some advice on men’s fashion and styling. Since I couldn’t model the looks myself, I thought it would be a great idea to represent them in some sketches. I began drawing people on the street and really fell in love with it. Plus, the more I practiced drawing, the better my illustrations became. I realized how great the images could work for women, as well. Initially, I only posted things that I wore, but came to realize how I was excluding other body shapes, heights, and sizes. Now, I draw all kinds of people.

YY  How did you figure out what looks good on different body types?

I like studying people on the street—it’s one of my favorite ways to pass time. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing it.

YY  Your drawings are so eye-catching, but I think what appeals most to me about your blog is the way that you perceive others.

N  Thank you. I feel like I just can’t help it.

YY  And you still don’t enjoy going out?

Well, I get a lot of questions from my readers. In order to answer them, I have to go out and people watch. I used to hate going to parties, but I eventually realized that it’s a good opportunity for me to see what people are wearing when they want to feel their best.

YY  Beyond your personal style, how has your work changed you?

N  Well, it’s certainly changed more than just that. My personality has transformed, too. After years of self-deprecation, I’ve finally taken some steps to be a more open and uplifted person. My work allows me to meet a lot of good-looking people, but what really intrigues me are their interiors, like how they treat others and the ways that they act on a day to day basis. My interactions have made me more aware of my emotions.

YY  What makes someone attractive to you? 

I think what really matters is what’s on the inside, specifically openness, kindness, and warmth.

 When I first met with my publishing editor about my book a few years ago, I struggled with being emotionally open. My editor tried to help me verbalize the ideas in my head, but at the end of the meeting, I felt that I had failed at explaining myself. But she told me that even though I might not have the right words at this current moment, I should just wait a little, and meet with her once I felt a little more organized. She gave me a chance, and because of her patience, I was able to make it happen.

YY  Her kindness and open-mindedness inspired you.

Absolutely. Getting recognized and accepted for who I am has granted me the ability to be more open and understanding.

Good Things Come In Small Packages

YY  You’re now in your mid-40’s, a time full of many physical changes. What do you do for self-care?

On top of my role as a blogger, I also identify as a mother and a homemaker. My kids are currently thirteen and ten, so they’re a little more self-sufficient. As a result, I’ve gained more time for self-care. Some of my favorite things to do are putting on a lot of lotion, giving myself pedicures, and doing mini-head massages while in the bathtub. I also enjoy exercising at my gym.

Sampling different brands is one of my guilty pleasures, because I like using different products depending on my mood and needs. I also like to have hand-creams and lip balms in every room of our house. Some of my favorites are:

When I’m looking for some more noticeable color, Dior Addict Lip Glow has some lighter shades that really make my lips pop. In terms of fragrances, I love Jo Malone’s colognes. Perfumes are often too strong for me, but colognes are a lot milder and easier for me to wear.

YY  And you tell me that you used to be an introvert?  What a change!

Yes, I’m so glad that I didn’t give in to my fears about life. I’ve achieved more than I ever thought was possible.


Photos / Interview :  Yasuo Yoshikawa

Text :  Mikako Koyama