When most people think about Kyoto they think Geishas. Before they become the glamorous geishas, though, most start off as maikos. The most important thing to dispel about geishas and maikos is that they are NOT prostitutes, at least not true the geishas and maikos. They are more or less entertainers trained in the arts of tea ceremony, dance and music. Maikos can range in age from 15 to 20. Any woman older than that is deemed too old to be a maiko, but can become a geisha without any training as a maiko. For maikos and geishas, there is generally a year long training session where the women learn the various aspects of hospitality, traditional dance and playing the shamisen. Lucky for me, there are plenty of places scattered in Kyoto that offer you the Maiko experience without having to train. All it takes is a kimono, some white make up and lots of hair wax.
“Hi Jasmine, do you want to go to Japan, I’ll pay for your airplane flight?”
It had been a couple months since a bad breakup from my ex and I was looking for any reason to get my mind off it and to get out of New York. Travel to Japan with my mom, a native Japanese? HECK YES! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, neither my mom nor I are good planners when it comes to travelling, but that’s part of the fun. I had no idea how cold it would be over there in November, but I packed my favorite (and only) leather jacket, basic necessities and, of course, my camera. It was the first time since I was born that I would be going back to my “home country”. I was pretty excited. During the time, I was working as a bartender, so it was easy enough to find people to cover my 5 shifts and besides, a lot of people owed me. Passport? Check. Toiletries? Kinda check. Clothes? Check. Was I missing anything? Oh most likely. I was more or less ready for my 10 days in Japan.