May Kwento Ako #20 : Memories of photographing a Geisha


Pretty Geisha; Kyoto, February, 2018


They looked flustered.  And I dont know why.

I was taking photos of the fascinating centuries-old houses in the Gion section.  All in wood, all looked delicately made yet strong and sturdy eventhough they seem to appear to be made of soft wood, of Palo China as we refer to it back home.

And typical of me although my photography teacher taught me not to keep checking my photos every so often, I turned to check my photos. When suddenly, I felt a sudden commotion.

People around me seemed to look stunned. They literally halted in their tracks. Then, she appeared. She was tall and beautiful. In full Kabuki make up. In the finest and most Kimono ensemble that I have seen. She stunning. But she was hurriedly weaving her way around the stunned people, just like I was. Like she was trying to escape this place she was in or was rushing to where she had to go to. It was close to dinner time then.

Honesty, I was thrilled by the experience of having been able to capture this moment. Admittedly, the camera’s settings were not perfect. I had no camera flash with me. And I had thought of how the photo-journalists did it. Maybe I would be able to go another time. And take better photos.

But I was shaking after that first encounter that I entered to dine at one of the restaurants in this street and have my first steak at a Japanese restaurant in Gion.

A couple of nights after, I thought I would take my chances again. While I felt I would not see one again, I figured since I had the time, it would be worth it if it meant just being in this fabled street once again.

Apart from the restaurants, I had noticed the presence of a few premium brands like Leica and Hublot.

Looking back, I would have wanted to see a different expression on their faces. A happy one. Maybe there’s a story behind this. After all, it is 2018. Many people can be found walking in the streets, wearing fabulous kimonos in full opera make up. If I were one, I would be proud.

I shall look for that famous book and read it, now that I have had a brief encounter with a few of them.

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