Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Love Kyoto!

Waiting in line for the tea ceremony on the opening day of Miyako Odori, I found myself staring out at the garden of the Gion Kaburenjo (theater), losing myself in daydreams of sweet pink cherry blossoms and brilliantly colored kimono-clad women, gracefully floating beneath them as if every movement were a dance. A sudden, brilliant flash of royal blue silk caught my attention, and my eyes were drawn to a stunningly rich obi, hanging like two scrolls of woven gold on a canvas of twilight-colored silk, swaying softly with every step. She made her way through the garden, disappearing beneath softly blooming cherry trees and spring-fresh greens before I was able to see her face.

I recognized Tsunemomo immediately, now the most senior maiko in Gion Higashi. It was only last February that I had the pleasure of seeing her at Yasaka Shrine's mamemaki ceremony. Even then, she had remembered me from the fall dance, where she was performing tea ceremony. "Ara, oneesan!" she greeted me, "Hisashiburi dosu!" (Long time no see!) "Thank you for always coming to see me!" I was so stunned that she remembered me, not to mention that she was actually talking to me, that I completely froze and started bowing uncontrollably. Of course, I never expected her to remember me again, especially after so long, but when she came in from the garden to take her place in line behind my brother and I, I overheard her speaking with her customer.

"The cute girl in front of us often comes to see us," she began. "I remember her well."

I probably should have just kept my face forward and pretended not to understand Japanese, but I couldn't help myself. Before I knew it, I was looking over my shoulder, smiling with a bow. "Konnichiwa. Hisashiburi dosu." Her patron was a kind old man, and began talking to me about the dances and his work as a professional photographer. We walked through the line together chatting, and after the tea ceremony we found them waiting for us. "Just a minute, oneesan," Tsunemomo called in a sweet, friendly voice, "Please, if you'd like..." She had pulled out a small card holder, and was offering me one of her name cards. "Here's one for you, too, Oniisan!" She smiled, holding it out for my brother. Her customer asked us to stop in the hallway to take our picture, and afterwards we walked into the theater together. Before taking our seats, he asked me to meet them after the show. He had written down his number and address so that we could keep in touch, and offered to take us out and show us around Gion.

Just one of the many reasons I LOVE KYOTO!

9 comments:

Sera said...

Ohhh, Melissa, you LUCKY!!! <3

Abbey said...

1. Chichai!
2. I think you're touching her!
3. Chris looks very serious. Was he scared? Or was it a Say Anything moment?

Cherry said...

I love Kyoto, too!!!

shigatsuhana said...

I know why you love Kyoto. Same reason I do! Such a nice picture and a wonderful opportunity!

Cherry said...

And at that point,did you pass out from the excitement of it all?? You got an invitation from one of the maiko's friends?? I'm ready to pass out from reading your blog!! How exciting.

Sera said...

Wow, what an honor to be remembered by a Maiko!!

Again, Melissa, LUCKY!!! :D

Sarie said...

I adore Kyoto. It feels like my hometown. You have the most amazing encounters! I'm a little envious, actually ;) And your pictures are gorgeous, as usual. Thank you for sharing them with us!

http://sakura-breeze.livejournal.com/

Anonymous said...

are you this girl? you are very nice:) lily

Jenny said...

LUCKY!!! I'm jealous ^^