Glimpse of Geisha
Painted face of Old.
Geisha girl. Gone in a flash.
Taxi is waiting.
Some say Kyoto is the heart of Japan. Once the capital, it is now said to be the best place to get a feel for the ‘Old Japan’ – the one in the movies, the Japan of marketing brochures, the Japan of your dreams. We’ve been looking for it for a month now as we’ve travelled around the country, just catching glimpses amongst the modernity.
One of the symbols of this Old Japan is the Geisha Girl. I was told you have to be lucky to see one; even in Gion where they live. They tend to emerge at night on their way to engagements and don’t hang around as they get mobbed by cameras. I tell the kids yet within five minutes they spot four, all jumping into various modes of transport; one Geisha, one Maiko and two riding a rikshaw who I’m sure are tourists dressed up for the day.
I am transfixed by them, staring into the distance long after they have gone. Meanwhile the kids make up a song to the tune of We Three Kings Of Orient Are: ‘We three Geishas of Kyoto are. One in a taxi, one in a car. One in a rikshaw, off to get groceries, at the shop, not too far.’