While we were strolling the streets of Gion, the most famous Geisha district in Kyoto, we luckily came across a Geisha parade. All the Geishas were dressed in beautifully ornate kimonos, and were walking gracefully in their high wooden sandals. Later that day we watched an entertaining show in which Geishas performed tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and played musical instruments while singing.
A Geisha, is a woman who is well-rehearsed in the arts of conversation, dance, and music. They are artisans who serve to entertain men. It takes a lot of training, hard work, and patience in order to learn and develop the skills required for becoming a Geisha. Before traveling to Japan, I promised myself that I would dress-up like a Geisha in Kyoto. I thought it would be pretty neat to walk in the shoes of a Geisha for a few hours.
I never before had so much makeup put on my face and neck! The makeup included: layers of white powder, red-pinkish lipstick, black around the eyes, and black and red accents on the eyebrows. After completing the makeup, a wig decorated with colorful flowers was placed on my head. The wig was very heavy. I was surprised by how a Geisha managed to wear such a heavy wig for hours. Next, I was told to wear a red and white patterned under-kimono, underneath the more elaborate pink kimono. My assistants tied the kimono together with a large intricate waist belt called an obi. At last, I wore special socks called tabi, and large wooden platform sandals known as okobo. When I wore the wooden sandals, I was shocked by how difficult it was me to move at all. The okobo like the wig were very heavy and uncomfortable. It took my assistants 2 hours to dress me up as Geisha!
After dressing up I walked over a bridge and down the streets of Kyoto to a park. My two assistants literally had to hold both my arms during the entire walk. Despite the struggles with walking, it was an extremely fun and memorable experience. I felt like I was a completely different person, in an entirely different world.