David Atkinson Japan

And it felt pretty good.Arthur Golden’s best-selling story of a young girl sold to a Kyoto teahouse who goes on to become the country’s leading geisha, has turned the Gion, the traditional geisha quarter of Kyoto, into something of a human zoo.Today, there are a mere handful of teahouses left in Gion and the number of maiko (trainee geisha) has fallen from thousands to around 150.Nevertheless, clutching-cameras coach parties now pack into the tiny side streets, brushing past the traditional red lanterns and traipsing along the hidden alleyways to indulge in their new favourite sport: geisha spotting.Most of the terminally shy maiko find this snapshot Disneyland utterly abhorrent.Indeed, when they do reluctantly appear at Gion Corner to provide displays of traditional dance and music for tourists, their facial expressions betray a sense of gritted-teeth boredom endured solely to generate income for their sponsoring teahouse.Nevertheless, the world of geisha continues to fascinate both Japanese and English tourists alike.Keen to piggyback on the explosion of interest in geisha culture, shops around Gion have even taken to offering geisha makeover services, whereby young Japanese women can live their dream of being a geisha – albeit just for one day.Yume Miru Yume (‘To Dream A Dream’) is one of 30 such maiko makeover shops.It offers a full service: make-up, hair styling, a kimono fitting and two portrait photographs as part of a four-hour process from Y10,000/£50.Once dressed, the faux geisha claims her 15 minutes of fame by running the gauntlet of the camera-clutching tourists on a ten-minute Gion walkabout.Ironically, Yume Miru Yume also provides make-up services for real maiko.“Geisha services form the basis of our livelihood. Most of his career was spent performing in musicals and operettas in New York City from the late 1940s through the early 1970s, although he did appear in some operas and made a few television appearances. After ten, they were ready for amputation, the only distraction coming when, at the 20-minute mark, I had an overwhelming urge to sneeze.The second session commenced with another ring of the bell and was interrupted after 50 minutes when the Zen master came around with a large wooden stick (the keisaku) to administer voluntary thwacks to anyone finding themselves nodding off during their pursuit for inner peace.The keisaku ritual is an integral part of zazen. But the revenue represents a mere 0.5 ...

(Some excerpt from Wikipedia)———————————He learned Japanese studies at Oxford University. I think that there are the following reasons.
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Maybe the summer humidity was giving way to autumn at last.A week later I packed my backpack and moved on, settling for a shoebox behind Shin Osaka, where trains rumbled through the night and commuters, six abreast on the zebra crossing, inspected my microwave breakfast as if watching a daytime soap on the giant TV screen above the intersection sponsored by a electronics manufacturer.I speculated what happened the night I left.


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