48. New Year's Leave for Maiko
For Maiko (舞妓), even the New Year's eve, nor the New Year's day, are not officially day-offs. During those holidays, some Ochaya (お茶屋, Tea houses) accept their regular customers from Tokyo or overseas, and Maiko have to work if their Oneisan (お姉さん, mentor Geiko) have Ozashiki (お座敷, banquet) of their frequent customers.
However, we Maiko were able to go home because our Okasan (お母さん, female owner of Yakata) let us unless we had work. Maiko from Kyoto or neighboring regions were sent home by noon on December 31. Those who from other regions were sent home around December 30. Not as much as today, but already in our era, there were some Maiko from remote places, such as Kyushu (九州) or Tohoku (東北).
After the New Year's leave, those Maiko returns to Yakata (屋形, Maiko house) with souvenirs of local sweets. We used to have fun throwing a picnic in our dressing room with a lot of confectioneries. They brought chocolates available only in the Kanto (関東) region, Kyushu (九州)-limited Pokky (ポッキー) biscuits, and traditional Maiju (饅頭, sweet dumplings) from the Shikoku (四国) region.
Having such fun was a privilege of belonging to a Yakata with many Maiko. Indeed, sometimes I felt envious of other Maiko with no competitors, but I enjoyed the company of my colleagues, especially when having fun with each other.
Thank you very much for reading my blog throughout this year. I wish you all a very happy New Year. Talk to you soon!