• Beniko

7.Busy days before "Omisedashi (debut)"


Along with the commencement of Spring Dance Performance lessons, the preparation of my “Omisedashi (お店出し)”, the debut, was launched. I bet you remember that I skipped the topic of “What is Mentor-Oneisan (お姉さん)?” last time.

The Okasan (お母さん, the female owner of Maiko house) chooses one certain Geiko (芸妓)to be the mentor of a new Maiko (舞妓), initiating rules and codes at Ozashiki (お座敷, banquet with Maiko and Geiko). Sometimes the role can be allocated to advanced Maiko.

Once the Geiko accepts the role, a ceremony will be held where the new Maiko and the Mentor-Oneisan make a vow by exchanging cups of sacred sake. It’s just like an wedding, and by this two will be announced as a sisters in Hanamachi (花街, Maiko and Geiko district). This relationship lasts for their lifetime unless the Maiko makes a crucial mistake which results in breaking up by the Oneisan’s intention.

In case of breaking up, Maiko have to return the one character of her name which was originally given by the Oneisan. Since changing name is regarded as extremely disgraceful in Hanamachi, Maiko are required to faithfully serve to Oneisan from that moment on.

At the same time, Okasan gets very busy with making courtesy visits to Yiemoto (家元, grand masters), Oshisho-san (お師匠さん, teachers) of tea or dance schools, and hairdressers. Okasan also need to place orders for novelty goods with new Maiko's name on it.

As for me as a new Maiko, I was occupied with learning so many detailed rules and codes, such as: how to open/close Fusuma (ふすま, Japanese sliding doors), how to enter the room, how to greet customers/Oneisans, seating positions, and roles and tasks for new Maiko. This may surprise you, but takes for new Maiko include taking customers to the restroom door.

These rules are all about being a professional, whereas the rules I was taught during the Shikomi-san (仕込みさん, Maiko trainee) days were more about general behavior. I am so grateful for what I was taught in both ways. These lessons have become my lifetime treasures.

Well, I guess I was going through such busy days, waiting for the date of my Omisedashi (debut) with a mixed emotions, eagerly but slightly frightened.

Thank you so much and talk to you soon.

Kyoto Karasuma Gojo Tourist Information Center ( Kimono Yumeyakata )

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