• Beniko

23 Appeared on TV Show


“Good evening!!”

As I entered the Ozashiki (お座敷, Maiko banquet) as usual, I saw a famous actor for Samurai (侍) drama (hereinafter called Mr. M) sitting in the Tatami (畳) room. It was the first time for me to see the actor in person. I gave him my business card and he was very gentle and kind putting me a lot of questions such as, “When did you make your debut?”, or “Who is your mentor Oneisan (お姉さん, Geiko)?”. The conversation was nice and he seemed to be having fun telling me his acting experiences in movies and TV shows.

The next morning, I was told by my Okasan (お母さん, female owner of Maiko house) to go to the film studio in the Uzumasa (太秦) district. Okasan told me that an actress got sick and the actor requested to have me as the replacement. Okasan also said, “You’ll be acting as a Geiko (芸妓). Since you are not a famous Maiko (舞妓), it’s convenient for him to use you as an extra”. I felt insulted but at the same time excited to be able to experience a film shoot.

The studio was dark...I was forced to put on a dusty Geiko costume and acted with Mr. M starring as Mito Komon (水戸黄門, the nickname of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, who was a lord of Mito han, a feudal domain of the Eastern Japan, in the early Edo period). I even had some lines, but the director hated my Kansai (関西, the western Japan) accent since my role was a Geiko from Kanto (関東, the eastern Japan). I had to repeat the lines over and over, listening to the director and Mr. M complaining that I was not sexy nor sophisticated. For me that was nothing but a disaster…

When I got home, I was miserably discouraged. Fortunately, I didn’t have to work at Ozashiki on that night since Mr. M kindly arranged a break for me.

The worst part came later. When the TV program aired, everybody at Yakata (屋形, Maiko house) including my Okasan, Oneisan, and the restaurant staff members, got together to watch the drama. Adding to my grief, I had to listen to many cruel comments like, “Oh, TV makes you look chubby!”, “Your lines are is just like school play!” and many other negative statements. Everybody chaffed me and some of them were even crying because they were laughing so hard. I felt like an idiot and swore to myself "Never again".

Thank you so much.

Talk to you later.

Beniko

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