The stunningly beautiful Kikutsuryu of Miyagawa-cho, greeting customers before the autumn dance recital.
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!
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.
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!