The Geisha

by Stefan Chiarantano, Aug 30, 2005 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

The Sakura had come into bloom in the early weeks of April and their blossoms brought beauty and colour to Tokyo.

A Japanese acquaintance invited me one evening to see the Sakura that lined the riverbanks of the Asakusa River. Sitting under the Sakura on coverings of blue plastic, were hundreds of partygoers eating, drinking, and making merry. There were numerous stalls selling traditional Japanese foods such as okonomiyaki, takuyaki, and yakisoba and, of course, beer. It was a happy time for all. It was a lovely evening. We stopped along the way to buy some beer. I figured that this was probably one of the very few occasions when one could eat and enjoy a drink while walking in public otherwise it isn't allowed and considered taboo.

I had hoped to see a geisha in Japan and this evening I got my chance. There standing beside us was a geisha. A small circle of people surrounded her. She was exquisite looking. She was striking. She was dressed in a silk kimono. Her hair and face was done up in the traditional way. She was petite. Silly me kept glancing over. I thought perhaps I was making a fool of myself by doing so but she was bewitching. It was then while I was glancing over at the geisha that a TV crew interviewing revelers and passersby approached us. They wanted to interview a foreigner about the Sakura and so, I agreed. My acquaintance translated for me. "Where are you from?" They asked. "I'm from Canada." I responded. "What did I think of the Sakura?" They asked. "They are very beautiful and I am very pleased to be able to take part in a traditional Japanese custom, cherry blossom viewing." I said. "What is your impression of the blossoms themselves?" They asked. "They are pleasing to the eye." I responded. They seemed very pleased with my responses, thanked us and moved on to interview others. Suddenly, I found the courage to approach the geisha and kindly asked her if I could take her picture.

She graciously consented and even allowed me to have my picture taken with her. Wow! I couldn"t believe it. So, I got my wish and a little more too. Lucky me!

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