• Beniko

29. Business Trips


A few years after I became Maiko (舞妓), the opportunities for business trips increased. I visited Tokyo, Sendai, Kyushu, and even went abroad.

For a Maiko, business trips demand enormous effort. For example, packing alone was more like a moving. We have a countless number of items required as professional, such as gorgeous Kimono (着物) which are extremely heavy, matching Obi (帯) belts which are also heavy, Kimono accessories and other dressing items. We also have to bring Hakomakura (箱枕, tall wooden pillow to keep Maiko's hair set), and Okobo (おこぼ, Maiko's lacquered tall wooden clogs), etc. All Maiko items are bulky! In addition to above listed, we need casual clothes for the daily use.

With regard to luggage, Shamisen (三味線, Japanese three strings guitar), the instrument our Jikata (地方, female musician) carried, was always a problem. Separated into three parts, and packed in a carry case, Shamisen looked exactly like a rifle through the X ray inspection at the airport. I believe that there were no Jikata nor Maiko who was able to speak English at that time. Our Jikata lady made a desperate attempt to explain to inspectors, with gestures and strange language I had never heard. In fact, she was speaking in Japanese and adding the strange accents, in the hope of sounding as if speaking English. Poor us!

Ordering meals were issues too. One of my colleague Maiko ended up having orange juice and egg sandwiches three times a day for three days, just because those were the only words she could communicate. Another big issue was beds. For us, beds in overseas were too high. Every night we had to jump onto beds, and it often destroyed our Maiko hair set. In addition, taking shower was a problem too. We Japanese always take a bath, and it was very difficult to protect the hair set from the hot shower water.

Moreover, there were souvenir issues. Once I bought a CA uniform of Singapore airlines for my colleague, but very unfortunately, she didn't like it at all. I remember the bitter feelings when I put the uniform deep in the closet. Anyways, we were young and everything was fun.

Thank you so much. See you later.

Beniko

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