Bebe Taian: Geisha Show Tomorrow!

January 21, 2014

Geisha Show Tomorrow!

A Japanese-run group here in Florida hired me again for an educational and fun show for a private company. It's a fairly small venue, but I like small gatherings better than huge ones. Much more intimate and personal, a 'closed world'. I expect this one will be much like the last one, so I'm very excited!

The show involves geisha/maiko henshin (and it's naturally made clear that it's a performance, not actual geisha/maiko), with an open-ended skit. Set up on a stage, there's two or three of us dressed in kimono with various articles of furniture and folding screens, chatting away as if we are on a day off in a residence. We introduce ourselves and talk about what geisha do, some of the history of geisha, banter between each other a bit, and answer questions from the audience. I'm usually the cheeky apprentice (although that isn't so much an act as it is real life...), but maybe I'm a little less trouble since I can dress myself. At least, I hope I'm less trouble than I think!

I try to avoid questions regarding most politics, especially regarding American involvement in Japan. It's a pressing issue even today, but it isn't the sort of thing that gets you invited back when you ruffle feathers. If asked about something, I try to refocus it on how it affected geisha, the economy in Japan, and the survival of every-day people... especially in front of women-predominant groups, probably. I think issues women face largely depend on culture, and cultural views of outsiders who have more sway in their countries than the natives do. So especially when it comes to Western views of mizushoubai, the "water trade", attitudes need to be checked and gently corrected.

Since the details are basically set, now I have to decide what to wear tomorrow. Something subdued, given the location? Something flamboyant (even though geiko generally wear subdued outfits) as it's a stage production? Something vintage and beautiful? Something synthetic and rather plain, so it can be washed? I'm definitely leaning towards synthetic and new, considering the damage to my kimono last time. So that leaves me with a choice- something red and bright, like this outfit, or the purple cloud iromuji with either the red plum blossom obi (seasonally appropriate) or a bright green shousou-in/karabana pattern?

I think the peachy-pink kikko obi, while pretty, might be too 'quiet' for an entertainment production, so it's probably out, but I think I'll still use the purple and orange accessories if I go with the bright green shousou-in obi. I'm not sure what I'll use if I go with the red plum blossom obi. Maybe soft pinks, white, more seasonally-appropriate colours to 'quiet' such a bold obi on such a pastel kimono.

What should I do? Well, I only have maybe 15 hours to figure that out, but even so...

Red iromuji, gold obi, white/red accessories?

Purple iromuji, green obi, orange/purple accessories?

Purple iromuji, red obi, ??? accessories?

Hnnn January is so difficult. Because now is plum blossom season... a few months ago, the choice would be easy: my black fukuro with winter motifs of shouchikubai. But the pine and bamboo pattern is out of season now! Even though they won't know, I will, and likely the coordinator will, since she used to work in Japanese textile manufacturing. Muzukashii dosu e...

And naturally, if anyone has ideas about these types of shows or would like to offer some guidance, always let me know. I'll do my best!

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