Walk with geisha
• Walk with a geisha
Light graceful hand movement geiko Koosi opens the curtains of the tea house, throwing fleeting smile bystanders. It's her first day at the rank of "geiko", and we are present at the ceremony "erikae" when the young maiko (pupil) becomes a full geisha.
In Japan, it survived several special areas, which serve as centers of traditional Japanese art. These areas are called karyukai. "Karyukai" means "flower and willow world". Perhaps the most famous of them - Koba Gion in Kyoto, where we are now. People come to the teahouses ( "ochaya") to get an aesthetic pleasure to talk with geiko and maiko on different themes - art, music, literature, take part in a tea ceremony, listen to music (for example, the game geisha on shamisene) and see traditional dancing.
Gion quarter is close to the wonderful avenues of willow along the water channels gracefully hung their branches. Here and still keep the tradition of the geisha education. In Japan, a geisha is called "geiko", which means "man of art" instead of the word "geisha" means "actress" ...
In order to become a geisha, you need to go the hard way: from the earliest years children were taught dancing, singing, playing various musical instruments, etiquette and a special dialect, which ought to talk to customers, visitors ochaya. Learning takes place at the expense of okiya ( "okiya" - geisha house). Owner of okiya, business woman with a firm grip, to provide young girls with everything necessary for work in the service of its kind between agents and okiya ochaya (teahouses).
Career Future Geisha began with a student, assistant. Then the girl became "Mike" ( "dance woman" young geisha). Approximately 20 years in the most happening event that we are witnessing - erikae, which means "for tightening the collar." The fact that Mike at each dressing to the item of clothing is sewn collar. It was originally red, but it will eventually embroidered with silver, gold and white thread. Embroidery tells the story of Mike. When a girl becomes an adult, the red color almost disappears under the embroidery. And when Mike becomes a geiko, it changes to a completely white collar. This - a symbol of its independence and adulthood. On the day erikae geiko should bypass the teahouses in his karyukai (in your area) and welcome all owners ochaya, with whom she had worked, all, all my friends. The ceremony lasts about 4-5 hours.
Now Gihon there are not so many teahouses, but say the tradition is gradually being revived - and the number of geishas gradually increases with each passing year. But the problem is also in the fact that Kyoto - one of the most popular destinations for tourists from around the world. Therefore Geisha primarily affected by journalists and paparazzi. And no wonder - the geisha less than a thousand (although there were about 80,000 before the war!). Therefore, this "hunting geisha" begins with any appearance of a Geisha on the streets. The poor girl has no choice but to travel by taxi from the house to the house. Needless to say, the date of the erikae trying to keep secret - but there are rumors rumors, and dedicated photographers gather in front of Kyoto okiya hoping to get some beautiful shots of a Geisha.
So you can imagine such an amazing picture: geisha, along with his "bodyguard", passing through the narrow lanes of the Gion, is pursued by crowds of tourists and journalists, as a bright star of cinema. Many photographers even take along a folding ladder to climb above the other ...
If you want to see geisha in these days, the best way - to come to the Miyako Odori ( "Dance of the Cherry"), a theatrical performance with dancing maiko and geiko. The event takes place in April. Another wonderful holiday - Gion Mattsuri, held in July. On holidays accumulates a huge amount of people. Generally speaking, in Kyoto Gion, wonderful walking in the rain or in the early morning - when very few people on the streets. Every street looks as if she is not less than a thousand years. And to the east of the pagoda is Gion and Yasaka Shrine, also an amazing place, one of the favorite places for the observation of the Japanese cherry blossoms. And I, moving in the night from the streets to the street between pagodas and rickety bamboo sheds, felt a chill running through on the back seemed to legends and stories about the ninja and samurai here alive. This is the real Japan.
But back to our "hunting geisha", we catch up with our beauty and look at it from the side. Movement geiko honed even during greetings or opening doors ochiya. A walk is also unusual: kimono requires very straight posture. Geiko knees at half-bent and toes slightly apart. Therefore, it seems to walk by mincing, clubfoot - but the kimono is not plowed and clothing items slipping. External, physical beauty is no less important in the art of geisha than her knowledge and skills.
Stomp geisha special sandals ( "okobo"), and on his feet dressed ridiculous at first glance, white socks, in which the thumb is detached from the rest - as in mittens. Of course, in sandals height of 10-15 cm is very difficult to walk, but still and taking into account the weight of the kimono, which can reach even 15-20 kg! It is not surprising that there is even such a profession - "odevalschik" geisha. Each kimono, every detail must be adjusted, assembled as an expensive car, and decorated to a woman's body. The main thing to aspire to a geisha - perfection. Perfection in appearance, in dance, in the knowledge of the intricacies of the tea ceremony. To a large extent on the nature of geiko and maiko, their vital status, you can tell by the kimono. Kimono can hardly contain details, but everything is in the details: the ornaments sewing, symbols embroidered on the fabric. Symbols, such as by time of year: maple leaves in November, plums in February or early in March nightingales. Overall, the Japanese tradition of 28 seasons. Each kimono - individual work, is the whole work of art. Of course, this kimono maiko or geiko any comparison do not go with those that are now popularly photographed for Facebook among young people undergoing a promenade on tourist places of Kyoto. kimono cost can reach several thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars.
is interesting hairstyle and geiko: say, it contains many sharp objects that the girl was able to defend themselves from clients who go too far. From the side hairstyle looks perfect. Maiko and geiko wear it for 5 days a week. It does not pass just like that: with time at top geiko bald, due to the fact that constant pressure is exerted on the hair. But notice this is not possible, if the hair is collected. Geyko and Mike left on the neck 2 or 3 vertical stripes by filled powder, and left ears open. The Japanese assumed that the neck and ears - the most beautiful parts of the body. And stripes can visually lengthen the neck, make it more graceful.
Actually, until recently, the work of the geisha has been shrouded in mystery and speculation. And even now there are ambiguities caused by the incorrect interpretation of the term, historical events. Thus, people only superficially familiar with Japanese culture, can confuse geisha with courtesans. In the west, it is due in part to the well-known book of Arthur Golden, "Memoirs of a Geisha" (and the same film), where many artistic fantasies of the author, especially concerning the intimate life of a geisha. In fact, everything was completely different: the life of a geisha was never linked to the close relationship with customers. Their task - to ensure cultural leisure people. Even within the system okiya, a geisha house, forbade men to appear at a party. Of course, wealthy clients often tried to "bribe" the girls gifts, but life geiko was strictly regulated and there was simply no place long-term relationships with men. Adult, independent geisha thus could have a family, but she no longer lived in the okiya.
Now tourists may offer a short tea ceremony with maiko or geiko, but we must understand that they will be significantly different from the authentic Japanese tea ceremony, which is still the main key is not fun, and talk, play, cultural leisure. And, unfortunately, in the arsenal of knowledge geisha does not include knowledge of languages. Traditionally, a person can be a client ochaya only on the recommendation: since women were more confident that the client will be decent. Sometimes it even degenerated into a family tradition: a client of the same tea house can be a whole family, and then their children for generations.
The very tea ceremony ( "ozashiki" or "banquet" - the same in essence as the name of a room for ceremonies) can begin with a dance to continue the conversation on the subject of music and art, and end with a game of cards. Dance different from ballet - although similar to it in that it requires almost the same balancing skills, balance, and what is required of a ballerina. Movement is more measured, are not as sharp as in ballet. Movement in dance - a set of specific postures ( "kata"), which combine then into a single story. Geiko should be familiar with the art of ikebana, literature news, be able to draw well. customers are often treated to delicacies or dinner. In ochaya not cook, and ordered in good restaurants. This tea ceremony can cost the customer $ 500 per hour (it's "classic" Price is not the most famous maiko). All subjects participating in the ceremony, as if with your soul - are made by hand, with love. Each thing has its own importance. Also, any movements, gestures geiko during ceremonies, honed over the years, have their own meaning.
Well, having become acquainted with the Japanese beauty, as if descended from the paintings and engravings of the 18th century princess Heyyan, we say goodbye to her at the door of okiya, wishing her a successful career - in the guise of geiko.
Behind the scene, or how hard it was to shoot this small report. The Japanese are very aggressive, in actual fact. Only dedicated to know about the ceremony. Otherwise, it would be even worse. I was just lucky - say often with passers-by!
In Kyoto, a scene - not a rarity. Japanese like to walk in a kimono, often - with their loved ones.
Sometimes the streets allowed special "geisha" - to shoot. Take it for a fee.
To see the streets of geisha should either come to the festival Miyako Odori (April) - when the geisha and maiko dancing in local theaters, and sometimes return home through the narrow streets of Gion Kobu. Or to come to the festival Djidan Matsuri in October. The procession of the festival you can always catch a beautiful view of a Geisha.
And the kids in a kimono, too wonderful!
This is the Ponto-cho - quarter of one street, with an abundance of fine restaurants, tea houses next to the River Kamo. Where you can spend a fortune for one dinner.
The center of Gion Kobu - street leaning over the canals and bridges of willows. This willow world.