Tuesday, April 29

Kyoto for Hanami: Vol. 4 Kiyomizu, Maiko and... .... Finally

Well, here it is folks, the thrilling conclusion to my "recent" trip to Kyoto... three weeks ago...

After spending the night at Yasuko's place I met Melissa, Chris, Melissa's Kachi-sensei and her son, Keiichiro, at the ever-designated meeting place, "Sutaba" or "Starbucks" in layman's terms.

Our first stop, after a quick Melissa Free Tour, was Kiyomizu Temple.

Ema for the Year of the Mouse

Next time I need to wander around the left side there...

Melissa, Chris, Paul and a new friend ham it up for the camera. Well, Melissa and Paul do.

Sororicide at Kiyomizu.

Joseph and I enjoy the imaginary scent of cherry blossoms.

You can take the girl out of Cleveland...

After putting about Kiyomizu, we stopped for some eats and drinks and set up shop under the cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park, near Yasaka Jinja. Good Times and Eats were had, Hippies were met and "Leisure Sheets" were passed on to future generations of hanami-ers.

Round about 4 o'clock we moved on back into Gion for a special photo shoot with two maiko, Kotoha and Takahiro. We spent about an hour and a couple hundred shots there, just basking in their presence and trying to capture as much of them as possible. Awesome!

Takahiro (orange) and Kotoha (green) make their way to the photo spot along the Shirakawa River.



Fixing Kotoha's kimono.

Me with Takahiro in the background.

Not only was she super cute, but Takahiro also gave me direct eye contact - and smiles! - a couple times. When I nodded sheepishly to her after she looked straight at me for several shots, she nodded back!!! On two separate occasions! I'm in love!

Takahiro and Kotoha

During the maiko shoot, Yasuko reappeared on the scene. She said that her dad and sister would be coming to see a such-and-such. I didn't know what it was, and I didn't think Kachi-sensei (my ride home) would be interested in staying that late.

But stay we did, and tayuu did we see!

Sliding down the street in a figure-8 pattern.

Sans tabi (traditional toed socks), the tayuu and oiran are a separate entity from geisha.
Historically they were the prostitutes in the pleasure quarters, but have since lost that aspect of their art, developing their own style of dress, dance and music.
There are only a handful of them in Japan.

We were lucky enough to see two of these women, accompanied by 4 young girls in red robes, pipes, okaasan's and wagasa (Japanese oiled umbrellas). Arriving in rickshaws, they slid along a narrow street lined with cherry blossoms and traditional-style restaurants and shops.

Early on in the procession, before either of the women had reached where we were standing, a flock of egrets took flight overhead, above the cherry trees, inspiring gasps of awe from the crowd. Like it was supposed to happen.

I can't believe how much I was able to see and experience in just 4 short days in Kyoto, but it was magical. Just today Melissa and I were saying that you can't just spend a day or two in Kyoto and expect to appreciate it. There is so much there that you have to dig out a little bit, and then you will find the wonders waiting beneath the surface.

For more pictures, see my Flickr!


Blogger M.KATE said...

hi, i came over from melissa's blog. just love all the pictures here, can i do a feature on you and your photos. let me know if its ok.

how wonderful to be able to stay in japan!!

12:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. It's great! I see you and Melissa are friends.

I love your photos!

11:22 AM


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