Skip to main content

Gion

Hanami-koji, Gion

My first impression of Hanami-koji was that it was clean and orderly. Wooden machiya merchant houses line this street of ochaya (tea houses) and expensive restaurants serving Japanese haute cuisine. It was late afternoon but the machiyas were still shuttered from the world. It was relatively quiet as I walked up the street hoping to see a geiko (term for geisha in Kyoto) or two.

A side street in Gion

I passed by somnolent alleys where not even a cat stirred. I reached the end of the street and looked up at the houses to check for signs of life. No such luck.  I retraced my steps to Shijo Dori past Gion Corner where one can pay to watch maiko (apprentice geiko) perform traditional Japanese arts like the tea ceremony, ikebana, music, and dance. Then suddenly I noticed a maiko coming towards me from an alley to my right. She was walking fast in her geta sandals. I had to move faster to get that fleeting image. What I saw was an exquisite woman in a beautiful kimono. Her nape was as white as her face and the red collar of her kimono identified her as a maiko.Then all the tourists converged on her like a hound of paparazzis and I genuinely felt sorry for her as she walked past them without looking directly at anyone.

A maiko (apprentice geisha)

"Now I understood what I'd overlooked; the point was not to become a geisha but to be one.  To become a geisha....well that was hardly a purpose in life.  But to be a geisha.....I could see it now as a stepping stone to something else." Quote from Sayuri in Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

Buses 100 and 206 go to Gion area from Kyoto Station.

*  *  *

Images by Charie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, A Nation Imagined

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, FILIPINO STRUGGLES THROUGH HISTORY Oil on canvas, 1964, (located at ManilaCity Hall) A National Cultural Treasure owned by the City of Manila
Carlos Botong Francisco: A Nation Imagined is the latest art installation at the AyalaMuseum in Makati to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912-1969), a Philippine National Artist. Forty paintings and lithographs were culled from various private collections to form this exhibition. Of the large scale paintings on display, Maria Makiling and Fiesta, both oil on canvas, are representative of the indigenous genre which Botong loved to portray. In Maria Makiling, Botong reveals a relaxed and recumbent woman with her legs dangling in the cool waters of the stream and playing with an exotic deer by her side. Fiesta is about how the Filipino people gather to celebrate an important occasion, be that a religious feast or a wedding. The central figures are dancing the tinikling, a po…

Tinapa Spring Rolls

Tinapa Spring Rolls
I've read and heard about tinapa spring rolls but have never tasted one. So on a stopover in Manila recently, I decided to try these much talked about "lumpia" appetizers with a twist. MESA at Greenbelt 5 in Makati serves these lettuce wrapped delicacies. I could smell the tinapa (smoked fish) as the waitress approached my table.  I dipped the roll in the vinegar sauce and mmmm, what a delight! I've missed eating tinapa, tiny fish with bronze skin you can peel open intact. The tinapa meat is delicious but it has bones. There were no bones in the tinapa rolls I tasted. The kitchen must have deboned the fish first before making them.

This plateful of tinapa spring rolls is only P140.00. And it's a generous serving for one person. There is also tinapa fried rice on the menu.  I didn't try it because I ordered palabok (a noodle dish) instead.

Palabok
To make the tinapa spring rolls, try the recipe from the link below:
http://www.yummy.ph/recip…

Greenhills Shopping Center Revisited

Religious articles
It's been years since my last shopping trip to Greenhills Shopping Center. We were looking for some giveaways for a big meeting and Greenhills has an incalculable array of gift ideas. We started in the jewelry section and found a fresh pearl bracelet with an attractive and colorful accent stone for P95.00. We were able to bargain with the vendor since we were buying 50 pieces. She marked down the price to P70.00 for each bracelet.
Souvenirs
Greenhills is divided into sections - handbags and accessories, clothing (separate sections for men and women), jewelry, home decor, souvenirs, Filipiniana arts and crafts, shoes and knick knacks. It's especially fun to shop here in November for Christmas decorations and gifts though the crowd might be unabearable. 
Knock-offs
Many shoppers come to Greenhills to buy knock-offs. And there are gobs to choose from. Be careful though if you are bringing this to another country because Customs at your destination may fine you…