Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Picture of the Day and a Letter from the Edge....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The stunningly beautiful Kikutsuryu of Miyagawa-cho, greeting customers before the autumn dance recital.

*****
And in totally unrelated news....
I love my students!

Have I mentioned that lately? (^-^) This is from an first year student at my Ghetto school (9th grade). Lately the ichinensei have been writing me all kinds of letters, probably because they're still excited about learning and being able to write in English, unlike most of their jaded, juken-obsessed sempai (upper classmen. Juken is the life-altering high school exam the entire Japanese junior high education system is built around. Note: These letters are not assignments, the students choose to write to me on their own). God bless them, every one!


*****
We now returned to the regularly scheduled programming...

Breath-taking beauty...

Fukunao laughs as she gives a thumbs up to her big sister, Mioharu. You can see the subtle difference in their regalia that allude to their rank. , as a senior maiko, Mioharu wears a pure white collar, while Fukunao's is still predominantly red. Their kanazashi, or flowered hair ornaments, also reveal their rank: Mioharu wears a single, mono-colored Chrysanthemum blossom, while Fukunao wears a cluster of small, multi-colored blossoms.

Fukuyoshi, Kikutsuryu and Fukunao hanging out before the autumn dance recital. Notice Fukuyoshi's hairstyle (left edge).The red, triangular shaped cloth in her hair is called a Chirimen Tegarami, and is the sign that she has had her mizuage. In the modern day hanamachi, mizuage now happens around her 18th birthday, or three years after the start of her training and is simply a coming of age ceremony in which her hairstyle, and certain details of her ensemble, change. Mizuage, as it is described in "Memoirs of a Geisha", no longer takes place.

Young Miehina, a maiko from Miyagawcho, looks at pictures of herself and her friends that photographers have brought for them before the final performance of the autumn dance. Her Okaasan, in the black kimono, is not only the mother of her Okiya, but her maternal mother as well (This is quite rare). Patrons begin to arrive at the theater, as passers-by stop to gaze at the exotic scene of maiko and geiko greeting customers in the street. Note: No gaijin. Just me (^-^)/


And a special thank you to Yukio Katsumi, a wonderful woman I've had the pleasure of bumping into on more than one occasion in Kyoto. Her husband and her are geiko afficionados as well, and have taught me a lot about Kyoto and the 'Flower and Willow World'. They also snapped this picture of me...taking pictures! Ookini Yukio!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw some of your letters today at GS. As much as you complain about being there so often, at least you get to be somewhere so often, and the kids know you and want to write to you! Lucky girl! By the way, I took you kanji challenge and dashed it to the ground! Conquistada! ;-)

WV: spells relief: zxhaaa

Anonymous said...

By the dub, my Blogger is all kanji all the time.

Anonymous said...

Re: Chuckle Buns

I'm pleased to serve.

Cherry said...

I still have all my letters and pictures that my little kids would write me! I love them.They always liked to draw pics with cherry blossoms surrounding me. :)

Melissa said...

Cherry Blossoms! Kawaii! When you come back in April, are you coming to visit or to teach?

Anonymous said...

よっし! 行くぞう! 土曜日 か 火曜日?

Melissa said...

土曜日って明後日? 明後日ならいいよ!楽しみ (^o^)/

Christopher said...

Dearest M, you must tell me what lens you are using. :) :)

As always, excellent pictures.

Anonymous said...

Melissa-san, I must ask you another question again! ^__^;; Gomenne!

Mioharu looks like one of the maiko I met at the NYV travel show last Febuary. Am I right?

http://img159.imageshack.us/img159/6053/img21210vl.jpg

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4797/img21209bu.jpg

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/3334/img21114th.jpg

Arigato!!! >^____^<

Melissa said...

Yo C! Thank you for noticing (^-^) I only recently bought the 24-105 Canon L Lens. All the recent maiko pix were from my first time using it. It was a big investment, but I'm glad I finally got some decent glass!

Sera-san! That's definately Miyoharu (^0^) Kawaii~! That picture of you together is awesome! What a wonderful kimono she was wearing...Was it Shibori?

Anonymous said...

Yatta! Arigato Melissa! I knew she looked familiar! :)

Yes, both her and the other maiko that came were both in shibori kimono. Simply stunning! O__O

Lindizzy said...

I LOVE THESE PICS! The first one, especially, with the blue and red, her eyes look so cool...how cool! I want to come back to Japan!

Jenny said...

Love the pictures ^^
And the letters from your students are so sweet.

Anonymous said...

Excellent photos - as always! So is that long-necked maiko's name is written as Kiku-tsu-ru or Kiku-tsu-ryu?

Melissa said...

Arigatou Jenny, Sera, Linz, and Satoai. Her name would be properly romanized as Kikutsuryuu .

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see. Thanks!