• Beniko

18. Gohan Tabe (Dining out with Customers)


This time, I would like to introduce what is Gohan Tabe (ご飯食べ, Gohan=meal, Tabe= to eat something).

Gohan Tabe literally means going to eat out with customers. It may sound like a date, but it’s different. It’s more like a gift from customers for your services.

Believe or not, our work place Ozashiki (お座敷, Maiko banquet) involve a lot of business matters. Our customer invites their important clients to Ozashiki, and the success of the Ozashiki is our responsibility. We have to please them with extreme care and attention, aside from our dancing and conversation skills. So, most of the time, Gohan Tabe is the reward from the customer for our service that led the Ozashiki successful. Of course, some customers might simply like you, and think they want to take you to their favorite restaurants though... When I was new, I was taken to Gohan tabe mostly by my Oneisan (お姉さん, mentor Geiko) with her frequent customers. Once there was a time I was able to join an appointment of Gohan Tabe as I opened Fusuma (襖, sliding door of Ozashiki), since my Oneisan and the customer was making the appointment at the very same moment. I was told that I was lucky!

As for the outfit for Gohan tabe, we usually wore daily use Kimono (着物) called Karage (からげ) without our face painted in white. Only with a few very frequent customers, we wore Western outfit with our hair untied.

Maiko almost never go to Gohan Tabe alone with customers without company of Okasan (お母さん, female owner of Yakata) or Oneisan. Whether it’s Gohan Tabe or Ozashiki, there's not much difference. Being with customers was a work for us, and I had precious lessons of manners and etiquette from those opportunities.

The first time I had Pizza was Gohan Tabe. Pizza was unbelievably delicious and I was turly blown away.

Thank you so much.

See you later.

Beniko

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