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"Spirited away" - two maiko, apprentice geisha and a geisha/geiko in Gion Hanamachi, Kyoto
Walking around in Gion is magical. Like mice, shadows or ghosts they might appear. You can look for them but nothing happens. Maybe you can hear distant voices and laughter behind sliding doors and curtains in a hidden world, unaccessable for the common foreigner. --------------------------------
Then out of nowhere they appeared right before me. Not one, but three! Not knowing exactly what to do, I fumbeled for the camera. Should I just watch and appreciate or should I start snapping rudely and look through the viewfinder? As I watched in the dark, had they not even noticed me? I didn't want to miss this moment by looking through the lens, so I gambled on a few discrete, no flash hip shots. But as quickly as they appeared, after some bows, a few exchanges of words and giggles they vanished into the night under the red lanterns. Only the clicking from the wooden soles lingered longer in the crisp, sakura scented night air, and hammered into me what I was unsure of having seen a glimps of. I checked the camera. Did I get something? Did I get it right? A mixed feeling of excitement and disapointment. On the upside, I got the situation down in a nice moment and a good angel with all of them in a triangle interacting. The colorfull precious silk kimonos came through and lit up the darkness. I got a hint of the sensual unpainted necklines and the incredibly high and weired okobo? wood clogs. The two apprentice maiko in their bold kimonos and obi "belt" apparently payed their respect to an older and less boldly dressed geisha. On the downside, the quality as feared got somewhat blurred and grainy as moving spirits can be. What if...Yet with a mixed feeling, I still think I got something special and unique documented which only a few have been lucky to experience. And my first "meeting" with these facinating women and culture will always stay stronger in the memory because of it. I stayed on freezing in the street for longer for another chance for another shot. But noone was ever to be seen again that night...