DAY 57 – MAIKO
This weekend we took a trip to Kyoto, where amongst many temples and historical building one can bet on seeing geisha, known in Kyoto dialect as geiko. There is a huge misconception about geisha in the Western world, as the understanding is always depreciated to the role of a prostitute. Geisha are in fact professional entertainers, who attend guests during dinners, banquets or other official occasions. They are well educated and well trained in art of communication, being able to lead an enjoyable discussion in almost any topic, with the main objective to make her guest feel at ease during the conversation. Geisha are also known for their skills dance and music, which is also part of the entertainment provided during the evening (also making sure that their guest glass is always full)
Maiko is simply a geiko aspirant, trained from as early as 15 years old, living in special houses called okiya, located in geisha districts. The one most known in Japan is Gion district in Kyoto – beautiful, atmospheric and electric old town, with row of tea houses and restaurants, where the dinners and classy entertainment take place.
We took a walk in the rainy evening throughout Gion small streets, and did not have a chance to see geiko. We stopped for a coffee and as we were leaving the restaurant – two maiko were saying goodbye to each other before leaving home. The view was quite something else, as it feels a bit magical to see two young ladies dressed up in elegant, old fashioned kimono, with the backdrop of a modern city and its entire hustle and bustle. Quite something else indeed.