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  • Beniko

26 Catching Mumps on New Year's Day


Happy New Year to you all ! I hope you had wonderful holidays! Today I would like to share my story of a New Year's day.

I was feeling somewhat sick since the year end. I had a fever, and my ears hurt. I took a day off on January 4th, the commencement day, and saw a doctor anyway. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with mumps!

I called my mom to complain, "Why now? Haven't I gone through it when I was a baby?!". Of course my mother had no idea and I had no choice other than taking days off until I recovered.

The real fuss came when I went back to Ozashiki (お座敷, Maiko banquet) after a week or so. Everybody, including Okasan (お母さん, female owners of tea houses) and Oneisan (お姉さん, Geiko), told me that they thought I had a runaway. Some told me that my returning had surprised them. One customer even said to my face laughing, "I thought you cut your hair and ran away with your lover. I was expecting a romantic story!!" As Maiko's hair-set is not a wig but with her own hair, cutting her hair means resigning Maiko. In fact, sometimes there were run away incidents by Maiko (舞妓) who cut their hair and took a leap of faith.

The reasons for running away were various. Some simply couldn't bear the pressure of being a Maiko, such as hard trainings and strict disciplines. In addition, some escaped purely for love. Anyways, for whatever reasons, Yakata (屋形, Maiko house) falls into a complete turmoil if that happens. No wonder people thought I got my turn since I disappeared during the most important season of the year.

I, being falsely accused, felt miserable putting on my Oshiroi (おしろい, face powder for Maiko's white make up) with still hurting cheeks from the mumps. I had to bear the pain anyway, and it was not a joke.

Thank you very much.

Talk to you soon!


OKASAN**: female owner of YAKATA


YAKATA****: a house where MAIKO and GEIKO reside and wait for the calls for OZASHIKI.

OSHIROI*****: face powder for SHIRONURI (white makeup)





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