Geisha Girls

By: Wong Yee Lee

What is Geisha?
‘Gei’ is arts or performance while ‘Sha’ means people. They are the professional hostesses to entertain guests who are nothing like prostitutes. It is said that Geisha started in the 11th century when there were dancers for the warriors. They are trained with traditional skills such as Japanese style dance, singing, wearing kimono, calligraphy, alcohol serving, and many more. The are the talented women who would keep improving themselves.

Geisha District and House (0-chaya)
The o-chaya is the teahouse where Geisha entertain guests. An o-chaya is a small Japanese style house with tatami floors and Japanese style gardens. The district in which these o-chaya locate is called hana-machi. Apart from renting rooms out for parties, these o-chaya would be used for training geisha and maiko (young geisha).

How to become a Geisha?
It is not easy to become a good Geisha.

The head lady, usually called ‘okami’, there would offer interviews to potential girls, who are usually between 15 and 20 years old, before accepting them as an apprentice. Once a girl is accepted into the o-chaya, she has to live and be trained there for 5 or 6 years while also helping with the chores. It is there when the girl starts learning all the skills she needs. A maiko wears a colourful kimono with long sleeves and high wooden shoes. She will follow a geisha to her appointments in order to be a geisha in future. When a maiko gets to 20, she can decide to become a geisha or to quit.

Party with Geisha
The cost for calling the geisha girls is called ‘o-hanadai’ Geisha can perform in restaurants, hotels, inns or o-chaya. If you want a geisha girl to perform in your party, contact the okami. Then the okami will arrange for you the geisha. Remember one thing, o-chaya are very exclusive places which only accept members or referrals. Also when you do your request, make it clear whether you want a Japanese dance (mai) or songs or instrument (jikata) that you want. The total party cost depends on the number of geisha, food, drinks, hours and etc. To give a rough ideaFind Article, a two-hour appointment can be $150 per person.

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