Had a Maiko make over experience and it was breath taking, literately. First of all, starting from the underclothing, breathing feels like a privilege. Every breath becomes an effort. After 2 hours of hair, make up and serious layers of clothing, the faux Maiko me is made. Tata! Asian deluxe me.
I have big respect for Maiko-san and Geisha-san, of course. Their craft is a perfected ancient art form. All qualified Maiko / Geisha not only dress in style, but also highly skilled musicians (ancient type), graceful dancers, qualified class etiquette and knowledgeable in Japanese history & politics. Did I mention that they also need to be fluent in honourific Japanese? That’s a different world of Japanese that even the locals battle with.
Well, after this dress up experience, I have a bunch of question marks… These are my top 4.
Maiko/Geisha does not sweat or have any shiny spot on their face?
The attire has 4 layers exclude belt, which is already the simplified version. How on earth does the real Maiko float around effortless all evening and WITHOUT sweat? They dance in this as well. Kyoto is not exactly cool in summer. Has anyone ever spotted any of them sweating? or have a shiny spot? I certainly have not.
How do they breath? I almost faint when the photographer asks me to kneel and sit on the tatami. No kidding, I really feel faint as I can hardly breath. As I kneel, the obi digs into my chest and having my weight on the back of my heels is also killing. Who invented this way of sitting?!?!?!?
The sleeves are a meter long, each. How do they serve a meal and pour anyone tea / sake elegantly without damaging the $1m worth of art that she is wearing? This things is jacquard silk.
Most of their kimono are one of a kind, hand made textile masterpiece. They wear ART, not clothes. Serving drinks and food wearing art sounds like a risky business to me.
How do they walk so fast?
For anyone who has come across a real Maiko / Geisha, one will notice that they can walk very fast and silently. Their shoes are more than 3 inch high and weirdly shape, plus the movement restricting kimono. How the hell?!?!?!?
As you can see, I almost roll off the stairs. Both hands on the rail.
P.S I no longer dream of becoming a geisha.
How to get here and do this?
There are lots of photo studios that offers this type of service. In Gion and also near the Kiyomizu temple. Walk in a few to spot the special deals.
Please be a sweetheart & follow one of my social media xox