45. Matsutake-gari, Mushroom Hunting
Every autumn, my Oneisan (お姉さん, mentor Geiko) took us to Matsutake (松茸, the most valuable mushrooms in Japan which has a strong scent) hunting. On that day, we were allowed to wear Western clothes instead of Kimono (着物) because Kimono is tight and greatly restricts the movement of our body. We untied our Nihongami (日本髪, Japanese traditional hair style), and enjoyed the wonderful nature of mountain side of Kyoto.
For Maiko (舞妓), trousers are banned. However, only on these kinds of occasions, such as the spring Takenoko-gari (たけのこ狩り, bamboo root hunting) and the autumn Matsutake-gari, our Okasan (お母さん, the female owner of Maiko house) allowed us to dress in trousers.
Please imagine: troop of pigeon-toed girls with very long hair, climbing mountain all together. We must have looked very funny or strange. However we couldn't help because were strictly trained to walk intoed in order to look beautiful when wearing Kimono.
Finding Matsutake was usually very difficult, but fortunately, I was always able to have the delight of Matsutake Sukiyaki (すき焼き, beef hot pot with Matsutake) after the hunting. It was partially because other Maiko found Matsutake anyway, plus, a lot of Matsutake were always already prepared in advance to please us.
Matutake-gari is just like a treasure hunting.
Thank you so much.
Talk to you later.