Geisha Dreams


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Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Atami
March 19th 2016
Published: July 16th 2018
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Hello my fellow travellers!

Today might well have been one of the best experiences I've ever had. As a surprise for me Junko and Mrs. Sato had planned for us all to go to Atami, a city near Izu where Mrs and Mrs. Sato live, where we would would a dance performance by geigi, or as they are more commonly known in the west as, geisha. It was a performance that was truly spectacular and one that I will always cherish. The day began with us all, me, Junko, Anzu, Takae, Takae's mother Aiko and of course Junko's dog Vivian getting into a car and driving to Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo, the theatre where they perform their arts in Atami, and where we was to meet up with Mr. and Mrs. Sato as well as another of their friends, a very nice gentleman who helped arrange the whole thing.

On our way there we stopped to buy snacks at a convenience store and my eyes fell on something with octopus. I love octopus and decided to go for it, it turned out to be dried octopus. While it didn't taste bad the flavour was strong and it was really tough to chew. That was a fascinating dining experience for sure.

There are a lot of misconceptions about geisha, geigi and geiko in the west I believe. The most common one being the one that they also work as prostitutes, a rumour that began after World War II with American soldiers coming back to the U.S with wild stories about the promiscuous geisha of Japan. Only problem is that they had confused them with oiran, which were indeed prostitutes as well as entertainers and which dressed similarly.

Another misconception is that the beautifully dressed women that you see around, for example, Kyoto are geisha because of their white powdered faces and vivid dresses. These are actually maiko, which is someone who is training to become a geisha. They are considered to be the height of femininity in Japan and it's easy to understand why. Becoming a geisha is very difficult and requires many years of training as a maiko, something that was very evident in the performance given to us.

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any pictures during the performance itself but afterwards I was allowed to pose on photos together with the geisha, but the performance itself is etched nicely in my mind nonetheless, I just wish that I could show it to all of you.

The show contained several different sets performed by various geisha, often one and one but occasionally in pairs or larger troupes. It was a slow, thoughtful and dignified performance that left me in awe. Every move, every slight motion and every breath taken on that stage was deliberate and done with though and purpose. There was nothing that happened by chance on that stage, I don't think I've ever seen anything so meticulous in my life.

Every detail of every performance was considered down into minute detail, the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the accessories and the music was all combined to convey a specific sense in every single performance. Even though I didn't understand what they said I could still follow along because of this and my eyes didn't flinch from the stage for a single second for the entire duration of the show.

I wish I could describe it better and in more detail but I can't find the words, but I certainly recommend you to go to a performance such as this is you are able to, it will be a very cherished memory of your time here, that I can guarantee you.

After the performance we all went to the home of Mr. and Mrs Sato where we ate a real feast. Their house is really beautiful and we all had a really great time together, even though Vivian managed to pee in their couch. It was a great way to meet Mrs. Sato again and to get to know them all better. After dinner we also played around a bit in their backyard which is a veritable playground.

With that we returned back to Junkos home where we spent a calm evening, eating some Swedish snacks that I brought with me, some were liked, some not, taste do indeed vary between countries. All in all this was a truly amazing day and it was nice to calm down and feel almost a bit at home after having spent a week at pretty high pace in Tokyo.

Tomorrow we will go to Kakegawa where Junko's husband, Shōkichi, lives. He's a senior member of the city council there and lives in a traditional house, surrounded by the tea plantations which the city if famous for. While I'm there I will not only meet Shōkichi but also Junko's student whom she teaches English pro bono once a month, I look forward to meeting them all very much.

Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!


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19th July 2018

The subtle differences in Japanese culture
I love the way you immersed yourself in the culture and food - it makes me feel like we are part of your journey! But then... 'Vivian managed to pee in their couch' :D I laughed, but also immediately felt that mortified feeling when your dog does something awful :/ I need to follow your example and take Australian snacks/sweets to share with locals (but knowing me, they'd probably be eaten well before we even meet a local!) :)
19th July 2018

The subtle differences in Japanese culture
Thank you! Glad you liked it! Aye, I must admit that it was tempting to eat it along the way. :p
19th July 2018

Thanks
Thanks for letting the rest of us learn of your adventure. /Åke
20th July 2018

Thanks
My pleasure. :)
20th July 2018

Thanks
My pleasure. :)
21st July 2018
Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo

Geisha
Looking fabulous
22nd July 2018
Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo

Geisha
They sure do, don't they.
21st July 2018
Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo

Dreams
Absolutely delighted for you Per-Olof. Dreams can come true.
22nd July 2018
Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo

Dreams
Absolutely. :)
25th August 2018

Geisha
Not to worry about not being able to show pictures, your description was beautifully detailed and helped me envisage what it must have been like. What a wonderful and memorable experience for you my friend :D
3rd September 2018

Geisha
Thank you my friend! It was indeed a really wonderful memory!
3rd September 2018

Geisha
Thank you my friend! It was indeed a really wonderful memory!

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