35. Oheya-Mimai, Visiting the Backstage
Oheya-mimai (お部屋見舞) is a gift for Maiko (舞妓) or Geiko (芸妓) during the dance performance in theaters. We receive many Oheya-mimai, such as flowers, confectioneries, or sometimes even Goshugi (ご祝儀, tip money). The senders were mainly Okasan of Ochaya (お茶屋のお母さん, female owner of Tea houses), customers, or Oneisan (お姉さん, senior Geiko).
I received my first Oheya-mimai when I was fifteen years old during the spring dance festival. The sender was a retired Geiko from the same Yakata (屋形, Maiko house). She gave me a figure of a clown with its belly stuffed with colorful chocolates and candies. I was very glad and determined to become a great Geiko like her, giving her juniors such kind consideration. In addition, I tried not to forget to bring Oheya-mimai when visiting the backstage of modern or Kabuki (歌舞伎, Japanese traditional theater play all starred by male) actors.
When I had an opportunity to be a part of a play at Minamiza (南座) theater as a dancer, I received a lot of Oheya-mimai from actors, such as Japanese hand towels with my name embroidered, many boxes filled with delicious sweets, and handbags. On the middle day of the performance period, the main actor of the play arranged lunch boxes of Unaju (うな重, rice bowl topped with grilled eel) to be delivered to everyone.
Oheya-mimai is a term used within Hamamachi (花街, Maiko and Geiko district) and more commonly referred to as Gakuya-mimai (楽屋見舞) in general.
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