kyonoki

京のキー Geiko

Geiko

Decidedly pissed off mutterings. That was all I could hear as I returned from work, the girls both fuming and unimpressed that their geisha transformation had been less than magical. When I had left them both earlier, supping coffee and nervously waiting for their appointment, I had been under the impression that their money would be well spent in the swank little studio behind the narrow street that winds up to Kiyomizu. Five hours later and the rain was pelting down and both girls were waving their studio photos around in disgust. To be fair I think the pictures themselves are not too bad, and will be something fond to look back on in later years, but it was the experience that seems to have got their hackles up.

The man at the front desk in the morning seemed polite and smart, and led me to believe that the whole few hours of choosing a costume and applying the thick make-up would be one-on-one, with assistants to advise, help and pamper. Apparently this was not so. The whole venture behind the mock-traditional facade was like a cattle run. Girls were stripped and lined up for a quick plastering of make-up, costumes, a few studio photos and then they were led to a waiting room where they could use their own cameras. Mike was on hand to help them, though after he had left both Nickie and Lou were required to remove their own make-up, pay up and leave. All very conveyorbeltish.

Now that I have doctored these photos a little, I think some of them look very cool. Look a bit closer and it is possible to see patchy make-up and the loose edge of the wigs, not brilliant when you have parted with sixty pounds (give or take). Sure, they look amusing because they are not Japanese to begin with, but the make-up is about as clownish as you could get, with no attention paid to the true geiko styles of Kyoto.

From my perspective, I'm really glad they went through the rigmarole of dressing up, and a few of the pictures are cracking. Luckiest thing is that they did not pay extra and have their photos taken on location around the temples and shrines of Higashiyama. I think they would have been more than mortified. Oh well, better to have tried than not tried at all.

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Rhod and Ki's tour of life in Kyoto, Japan.

Kyonoki Gallery


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