Back from the east

August 5th, 2011

I’ve returned from Japan – a trip that opened my eyes and heart. I was there on business, but also had a chance to connect with family members. I spent time in Kyoto – an ancient city, home of the geisha culture.  The meeting I attended opened with a performance by geisha and apprentices.

At first the life of a geisha, and those of the support systems of these “entertainers”, seem very strange. But the rules and customs are consistent in their own way. Memoirs of a Geisha is an interesting read, and gives the reader an inside view of the culture surrounding the working geisha and the network that supports them.   Who knows – at some point I may try to write a mystery, set in Kyoto, with geisha as main characters. We’ll see. I need to finish Maiden Murders first – and I’m getting close!

While in Kyoto, we walked through Gion (one geisha district) to  a famous temple. It was very hot, more than ninety degrees, and we sweat a lot as the journey was uphill all the way. But the view from the temple above the city was well worth it. In the temple itself, which was open air, we were surrounded by tall trees. I was reminded of the camphor tree in ToToRo. After walking through the temple area itself, we walked below it to a place where a spring, thought to have sacred properties, came out of the rocks. Visitors were allowed to drink it, in an orderly fashion, by using cups on long poles to catch the cool and crisp water. My grandson and I shared a cup, one of the highlights of the trip for me.

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