DER NEUE TAG: VON KRUMMENNAAB NACH TOKIO
This paper is based in Bavaria, Germany, in a town called Weiden i.d.Opf., where I was studying for a great amount of my life. They were featuring me before, but this was the first time I got a full page article.
If you want to read it online, you can do so on Onetz: Von Krummennaab nach Tokio
And if you can't read and understand German, you can check out the translated version below, which was made by my friend Jake!
From Krummennaab to Tokyo
Krummennaab, Leipzig, London, Tokio: Sabrina Schultes is 21 years old, but has already come quite far. The path has not always been easy, although for the young woman it was definitely worth it.
From Denise Roth and Wolfang Würth
Sabrina Schultes is repeatedly approached by people. However, the citizens of Tokyo know the girl from Krummennaab under a different name. As Himezawa, the 21 year old is living in japan, pursuing her dream of being a star of the cosplay scene, which has grown huge in japan and is still developing in the rest of the world. Cosplay is a part of the japanese Manga-culture. The fans dress up mimicking the protagonists of their favorite japanese Comics. Contests are held, which judge how close you’ve come your animated counterpart. The Cosplay-scene is a world in itself. One of its protagonists is Sabrina Himezawa Schultes.
Even before she moved to Japan one and a half years ago, Sabrina led an uncommon life: After graduating from Secondary School she moved from Krummennaab to London. There, she studied Acting at the Royal Opera House. On the side, she worked as a model. During a fashion-show for a japanese brand, she was discovered by an agency. Since then, she’s lived in Tokyo as Himezawa, “My actual name was something I couldn’t ask of the Japanese.”, she said, smiling. By now, ‘Himezawa’ is even mentioned in her Passport.
Author, Model, Actor
She regularly performs on TV or online. She works as a model on the cat walk and does photoshoots. With “Staubmädchen”, she has already published her first novel. At the end of the October she also published her debut single “Wagamama Love”. Author, Model, Actor, and Singer: This isn’t uncommon in the entertainment industry of Japan: Singer become Actors, Models become Moderators and Authors become Singers. Sabrina initially didn’t expect much from her singing career: “During the audition I was immediately interrupted. That’s a bad sign, I thought.” A few minutes later, she was approached by the producer and his team. “I made it, at the first try.”
The lyrics of her single were mostly written by herself, by now the girl from Oberfpalz has gotten a good grip on the japanese language. “At first I was having troubles.” Fortunately, she had friends in Japan, who helped her. Japanese has roughly 240 symbols as basis. Additionally to that, there are old japanese symbols, with varying pronunciations and meanings. Unfortunately, the japanese people don’t think much of other languages: “Most of them barely speak any English.”
What sounds like a career made of dreams, wasn’t always so dreamy. “During school I had a hard time”, Sabrina admits. “As a student, if you’re deeply interested in something that your classmates don’t understand, it often leads to name calling, mobbing, and arguments.” She says she had been interested in the japanese Pop-culture very early on, “A lot thought that was weird. During my time as school I’ve often felt like an outsider, in retrospect I believe that everybody was either by themselves or in a small group. I had never experienced a feeling of solidarity before as I eventually did in japanese schools.
Small, but close
This doesn’t mean she grew up without friends. “I had a small, but very close friend circle.” Later she moved to Leipzig, and then London, where it was easier. Regardless, she doesn’t regret the time. “Had I pretended to be somebody else to be accepted into those big groups, I would have never found out who I am and what I’m capable of. To be like everybody else is - that’s boring anyway!”
She likes to think of her home town; there’s even a few things she misses: “Pretzels and driving the Bike on the right side of the street.” Sometimes she also misses the peace and quiet in the hectic Tokyo. “I have a lot of nice memories and even a few photos, which I enjoy showing around. Most people can’t believe how big the gardens are. Even in the rural parts of Japan, barely anybody has their own garden.” The Japanese don’t have a proper relationship with celebrating Christmas, but it’s been growing in popularity, although not as religious festivity. This is why work continues as usual during those holidays. “I will spend Christmas with friends, on the 24th we’ll decorate my apartment and exchange small gifts.”
More about “Himezawa”
“Staubmädchen” by Sabrina Schultes, published by Best-off, ISBN 978-3-942427-82-1, Price: 13,90€
Debutsingle: “Wagamama Love”
You can follow her on twitter (@himezawa), Instagram (himezawa), YouTube (Himezawa, More Himezawa), Facebook.com/himezawa and himezawa.co.uk
More infos on her website himezawa.co.uk/events
MISTAKES AND CORRECTIONS
Now before we get to the part where I'm all mean and picky, I want to say that this is a local newspaper, based in rural Germany. It's not a nation-wide paper and their staff has no thorough knowledge of Japanese pop culture, which is why certain things got a bit mixed up. Please understand that there is a limited amount of time going into research of that sort, and that usually people where I am from can barely seperate Asian countries let alone knowing the difference between lolita fashion and cosplay.
These corrections are for those of you who probably already noticed the mistakes made, and also know about me and my career. Nevertheless, let's get to it:
In the article they clearly say that my work as well as my fanbase are solely centered around cosplay which is not true. I got into modelling and into japanese culture via cosplay by participating in events such as the German Cosplay Championship (DCM) and European Cosplay Championship (ECG).
I haven't been cosplaying much in Japan, simply because my work as a model for apparel took over and I had little to no free time. I do still cosplay occasionally, but when I do it's mainly in my off-time.
(It doesn't really help that I modelled for ACOS and was Official Cosplayer for both Comiket and Anime Japan...)
The next big mistake is calling my MV outfits "cosplay", since they are not. Cosplay is still the portrayal of anime / game / manga / fictional characters of a set universe, while all outfits in my music video are just fashion, let alone for copyright reasons. Most of these outfits are Lolita Fashion clothing, and those of you who are hailing from this subculture will understand the outrage that usually goes with people calling the fashion a costume.
Another mistake I found was that I studied and finished my degree at "Royal Opera House", which is a West End Theatre. Again, it's probably a mistake of shortening my story and skipping events: I was enrolled and finished my studies at a drama college (performing arts), while I was in the Royal Opera House cast of a play.
Both finished around the same time, so I can overlook the typo, but it must look really odd to West End fans reading that.
From Krummennaab to Tokio
Krummennaab/Tokio. She is 21 years old and a star in Japans capital city. Sabrina Schultes from Krummennaab is a popular model for a special (sub-)culture: The cosplay scene.
Also she released a novel and a CD.
Turning her back towards her home Oberpfalz (state-in-state) after graduating. Under the pseudonym Himezawa she lives in the lively capital Tokyo and presents herself at photoshootings and record labels.
Sabrina Schultes takes off in Japan: As Himezawa she has a huge followship within the cosplay scene.
For the confused English natives, I probably have to explain some more things that go hand in hand with this newspaper article, and that are state and state-in-state names that even confuse some German citizens:
Bavaria - One of 16 states in Germany
Oberpfalz - A state-in-state within Bavaria
Krummennaab - Tiny village where I am originally from
Leipzig - A bigger city in another state, where I studied fine arts
DCM / Deutsche Cosplay Meisterschaft - German Cosplay Championship, held once a year with prelims at varios conventions and finals at Frankfurt Book Fair in fall.
I was really happy to get approached by a newspaper in my home state, I hope I could show some people how far you can make it when you believe in yourself and follow your own dreams, living your own life and being yourself.
As I said in the article it wasn't always easy for me, so I hope it sends a message to those still in school, who might have similiar problems or interests and it makes them feel a little bit better: School doesn't go on forever!
There was no need for me to become one of many in order to be happy, and I am glad I was always driven by the dream of being someone big instead of just existing among all the others.
If you have a dream you are already half way there, and there is no need to listen to anyone else on your journey. You know what you want, so go out and do it! It's your life and you are the protagonist of this story. Make the most of it!