Special night with Maiko (September 26, 2017)
Autumn is officially here!
The weather in Kyoto is warm and sunny by day and cool by night, perfect to walk on the streets and finish your day with a special Japanese dinner and enchanted time with maiko at Yasaka Dori Enraku.
The maiko appears on stage with her lavishly make-up, astonishing kimono and hair arrangement. After impressing the guests with her beautiful dance, she went to each table and talk with everyone. This is the opportunity to talk and know more about maiko’s world and life. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese: we have interpreters. All the maiko are very good at conversation. The frequently questions are “What motivated you to become a maiko?”, “What’s the best part of being a maiko?” and “How do you spend your free time?”. The guests were surprised when she told she usually has only 2 days off each every month. You are free to ask anything, she always talks with a lovely smile on her face.
Tonight’s maiko is 17 years old Chikasaya-san from Miyagawacho, one of five flowers district in Kyoto.
Originally from Nara, a prefecture pretty close to Kyoto and, as Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, it is her second year as Maiko. The Japanese guide explains about her beautiful autumn kimono and hair arrangement varies conform the season and changes each month. Bellflower is one of the seven herbs of the autumn and it’s used in her hairpins in September. Combined with pink and pastel shades pattern kimono represents the transient season and refreshing fall in Japan. The guide explains in English and Japanese about the choice of kimono, obi (kimono belt), kanzashi (ornamental hairpin) and hair decoration. So it is easy to understand even if you know nothing about maiko or geiko.
A professional Japanese photographer was one of the guests. He’ve been taking several pictures of geiko and maiko for many years and told us her favorite maiko is Chikasaya-san cause he appreciates her dance so much. He was very happy and surprised by met her by chance tonight.
A mother and her three lovely kids originally from Georgia, south of United States, have been living in Japan 2 years since her husband started to work at U.S military base in Tokyo. Since the American family is based in Tokyo, they can speak some words in Japanese, and the kids showed us their origami skills.
At the others three tables was a 4 people family from Israel visiting Japan for the very first time – our staff recommends some little-known good places in Kyoto and Osaka – and a Japanese father from Tochigi prefecture and her daughter from Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Their passion for traditional Japanese cultures such as maiko, geiko, Matsuri, and kimono bring them to this event tonight. And a Filipino illustrator and her Dutch husband, both based in New York. WOW! Enchanted Time With Maiko always gathering people from around the world! After the conversation, Chikasaya-san performed a dance with a song from Gion, well-known by lovers of ancient Japanese culture and located just north of Miyagawa-cho, where our tonight maiko’s lives.
It’s Drinking Games time!
After dances and conversation, it’s time to had more fun playing traditional drinking games held by maiko and geiko, Konpira Fune Fune and Tora Tora. An object is placed above a table between two players and a song is sung to start Konpira Fune Fune. Each player must tap or lift the box, in turn, if the box is lifted they must tap with their closed fist on the empty table. This game is guided by the rhythm of the song and gets faster and more difficult as the song progresses. Tora Tora is similar to rock-paper-scissors game, but instead rock, paper and scissors we play tiger (tora), old lady and warrior (samurai). It’s challenging and really fun. Don’t be shy! Even the kids can play. And our staff is prepared to help you anytime. Although they are different, these two games have one thing in common: If the guest loses must drink beer or tea, if wins, maiko gives a special gift. It’s the best of two worlds!
｜See you !
The guests are free not only to talk with maiko, but also to take pictures with her. At the end the guests posted a photo with the hashtag #time_with_maiko on their Instagram account, so they receive a japanese coaster autographed by tonight’s maiko as a token of appreciation, a special memory from this special night.
In reality, these opportunities are extremely rare even for Japanese people.Fortunately, Enchanted Time With Maiko has answered the wishes of Kyoto tourists with weekly events every month.
We can’t wait to meet and share with you the best of Kyoto and Japan.