OMG it's time already! I spent so long waiting for this week to come, and now it's here, and where did all the time go? The older I get, the faster I notice it slipping by.
Natsu Matsuri, the annual Summer Festival in Tampa, is next Saturday. I'll have a booth all to myself for a few hours. It only runs from 9am-12noon, since it gets really hot this time of year. I wish it did run longer, though, at least until 2pm. It would give us late-risers and night-shift workers a chance at attending! I don't know about you, but if I work at a gas station, call centre, or even as a first responder (EMS, police, whatever) until 2am, I am NOT getting up at 8am to go to a festival! ::sighs:: Even so, the organizers really do a wonderful job every year, working within the event location that we have. And they managed to secure a wonderful covered location that is large enough for us to spread out a bit, all under a cement pavilion, which helps us avoid the rain and wind of previous years.
I can't wait to break out some of the things I am bringing this year! I should probably get to sewing a bit, to have some handmade crafts for the event, but I don't know that I want to put forth effort on low-demand traditional goods. Unfortunately, competing means having large sums of start-up capital, something I've never had for niche-market projects. I do want to do something different this year, though! I may make a series of magnets or other items to showcase traditional Japanese beauty, and bring high-quality prints of ukiyo-e art to demonstrate that kimono are indeed wearable, and have been for two thousand years.
If you're in the Tampa, FL area, be sure to come by! We're at Christ the King Church on the corner of Henderson and S Dale Mabry Hwy.
From Asahi Shinbun, 25-03-2014
Keeping Tradition Alive: Geisha to Get Subsidies for Clothing
KYOTO--Young geisha starting out can easily splurge
as much as 10 million yen (nearly $100,000) on exquisite kimono and
accessories in their first year as a free agent.
Not surprisingly, the ranks of geisha, called "geiko," are thinning.
Alarmed at the dwindling number of professional geiko plying
their art in Kyoto's Gion and other districts of the ancient capital,
the Foundation Ookini, a Kyoto organization for promotion of traditional
performing arts, decided to subsidize kimono expenses for young
independent geiko from April.
Officials said their aim was to ease the women's financial burden so that the venerable geisha tradition will continue.
According to the foundation, eligible geiko are "jimae-san"--independent free agents, so to speak--who are in their early 20s.
The subsidy will cover 50 percent of clothing expenses, or up
to 500,000 yen, between the three months prior to the time leaving her
geisha house and the five years after becoming independent. The
foundation set a limit of one purchase per year and three purchases over
a five-year period.
A geisha house will take care of clothing, food and housing
for a girl from the time she joins the establishment upon graduating
from junior high school until she transitions from "maiko"
apprentice-level position to geiko and independence.
After reaching jimae-san status, a geiko must procure her own
garments and other items. An inexpensive kimono will run between
700,000 yen and 800,000 yen while the "obi," or sash, ranges from
300,000 yen to 400,000 yen. If an independent geiko buys a new outfit
for each season, her expenses can easily nudge the 10 million yen mark
in her first year.
As of the end of January there were 181 geiko in Kyoto's five geisha quarters, a drop of 21 women from 2006.
Over the five years, 59 women apparently retired upon becoming geiko or jimae-san.
The foundation was established by the Kyoto City Tourism
Association and the city's geisha quarters. Until now, it has provided
financial incentives for veteran geiko who are well-versed in the
An official of the foundation noted that the geisha tradition
will fade without an influx of young people. The subsidy is intended
"to provide some encouragement to young women who are hesitant about
Fumisono, 26, a geiko who has gone independent, says, "There
are many cases of women quitting because they're worried about whether
they can make it financially. The subsidy will help."