In Gion, there are tea houses called ochaya where they geisha and the maiko go to perform and entertain guests. The ochaya manager is called okasan and she orders food and arranges the entertainment for the guests. The customers usually have a relationship with the Ochaya. Ochaya generally do not take new costumers without an introduction.
Young women are first enlisted into the trade as Maiko and move into dorm like facilities called okiya. okiya have managers who act like the Maiko's mother and set up lessons, make sure they come home on time and generally take care of the Maiko's affairs. At first they are taught the Kyoto dialect if they are from out of town. They then undergo substantial training in dance, singing, and general social rules. Maiko wear very heavy white makeup and are generally very young. In the past, when a Maiko found a patron, she would move out of the okiya and into a home sponsored by the patron. These days, when Maiko perform this ritual called erigaishi, they move out of the okiya into single living quarters. At this time they stop wearing the white makeup. Recently, this happens when Maiko are around 18 years old.
In Gion, most Maiko's names start with either "mame" or "ichi" representing the two main Maiko lineages from two very famous geisha. Ichisuzu is a representative from the "ichi" group. The image above is an image of her from behind. Mamehide is from the "mame" lineage.
To be continued...
This is a picture of me hanging from a wing of an airplane. I have only gone once, but skydiving was much more serene and a lot less scary that I thought it would. I would love to go again, but it is difficult to do in Japan.
When I visited Seattle with the MacZone Japan team, we (I) decided that we should all jump out of an airplane together to "bond" as we set out on this venture.
A flattering article in Wired from 1993. Actually, Cyrus read this article and emailed me. He introduced me to the rest of the initial Eccosys team... So it all kind of started with this article.