There were three major things I wanted to do while I was in Japan. 1. Climb Mt. Fuji. 2. Shop for fabric. 3. See a Geisha. Luckily, I accomplished all three and then some.
Apparently, the best place to see Geisha is in the Gion District in Kyoto and I couldn't wait to go check it out.
Despite what us Westerners think, Geisha are not prostitutes. They are schooled in the art of entertaining men in conversation, dance and playing an instrument. Their goal is to make men feel like kings.
In order to see the Geisha, you have to get to the area where they live. They only come out in the early evening when they are leaving for their appointments.
This Geisha is being followed by her apprentice. It takes years of studying before a girl becomes a full fledged Geisha.
I was having a hard time getting good pictures as they quickly walked by all of us tourists sitting on the curb trying to get a good shot. I don't think this was a Geisha, but rather one of the house workers as she was older and wearing an apron over her kimono. Check out her shoes!
Buck said it was as if the paparazzi were out hunting them down and he felt sorry for them with everyone staked out trying to get a picture. I didn't care. I wanted a picture no matter what! It didn't take long and I soon turned into a clicking fool.
These two were walking so fast I had to run ahead of them. You can tell I'm on the run in this shot because of the blur factor.
Oh, here comes another one! She's got her coat on over her kimono. Oh, please look up, please?! "Domo Arigato, Domo, Domo."
Yeah, say "thank you" a coupla times and she'll lift the umbrella for the best shot of the evening!
Sadly, there are only about 200 Geisha left in Kyoto. Their numbers are dropping because of technology and progress. I was so grateful to see the tradition is still alive.
Buck was more entranced with the cars hanging around to pick up the Geisha. Here's how our conversation went:
Buck: "Oh my gawd! There's a Maybach."
Me: "A what?"
Buck: "Yeah, it's a Maybach waiting to pick up a Geisha."
Me: "What's a Maybach?"
Buck: "Oh, its a rare car that costs over $250k. The engine is signed by the person who built it.
Me: "Oh, I guess it's appropriate a rare car picks up a rare Geisha."
TIP-O-DAY: Absolutely, definitely, no matter what, when in Kyoto....Go to the Gion district not just to shop and eat, but to watch the Geisha. You can see them in Higashiyama-ku on the eastern side of the Kamo River.