Dear Ichiroya newsletter readers,
Last month, my family celebrated our second son's "Shichigosan", The Seven-Five-Three Festival, at the shrine in our neighboor. It is a traditional rite of passage and festival event in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually in November to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. We dressed him in Kimono. He looked like a little Samurai!
He befaved very well. As usual, we took a "Happy jumping" picture.
I do JUMP even when I'm in Kimono!
Now, have you ever been to Kyoto? Yes, you have ;-) As you already know, Kyoto is one of the most popular tourists' destinations in the world. I live in Osaka, which is located right next to Kyoto. Still, visiting Kyoto makes me exited. This time, I went to Kyoto to attend a luncheon with Maiko.
There is a Japanese restaurant called "Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen" at the center of Kyoto. It is a renovated classic Japanese-style house which was built in 1611. They serve pretty good Japanese traditional cuisine.
Also, they can arrange a party with Maiko.
Me and my family had a great time with "Tomitsuyu", a Maiko from East Gion.
She danced first. Then, she greeted each table, and gave us a sticker which has her name on it. In Japan, Maiko stickers are believed in lucky charm. I keep it in my wallet for money to "Maikomu"(coming in).
She was such a great entertainer who made every one of us smile. Actually, she used to live in New Zealand. So, she speaks English. If you are interested in having a party with Maiko, ask to book "Tomitsuyu" when you make a reservation.
I highly recommend her!
You can check their Maiko Plan on their web site.
After we were stuffed with Japanese full course dishes, we played traditional "Ozashiki Asobi" (games we play with Maiko and Geiko).
It was a popular game called "Konpira-funefune".
The following YouTube movie shows how to play the game well.
Some of the attendees played with Tomitsuyu. Non of them won... Of course, Tomitsuyu was the winner! Well, she plays the game every night and day. There is no surprise that no one could beat her. However, it was a surprise that my 10 years old son was the best player among those gentlemen. He played for a couple of minutes until Tomitsuyu speeded up to win. Everyone at the party approesed him when he lost. That was the moment of the party!
While we were chatting with Tomitsuyu at our table, she explained us that her han-eri(decorative collar for juban) is white which is fully embroidered, because she is an elder Maiko. Maiko are 15 to 19 years old girls. When they are new commers, their han-eri is red with less embroidery works. As they get older, their han-eri become whiter with full of embroidery works. That also means they are getting
ready to be Geiko.
There are some Maiko han-eri at Ichiroya.
Once you take a close look at them, you will be amazed how much embroidery works are applied on them.
You can see more red on the followin han-eri which are for young Maiko.
These are the one like Tomitsuyu was wearing.
Also, Maiko wears special kimono called "Susohiki".
Susohiki literally means 'trail the skirt' and this particular kimono is much longer than other kimono. "Geiko", older geisha, also wear Susohiki. However, their Susohiki has shorter sleeves. Maiko's susohiki has longer sleeves. It also has "Kataage"(shoulder tucks) and "Sodeage"(sleeve tucks) to be look younger. Child kimono has
those tucks to be adjusted as they glow. Maiko's "Susohiki" still have them to be look young.
If you ever visit Kyoto, why don't you try to have a party with Maiko? or dress like Maiko?