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A few weeks ago when I wrote that I was planning a trip to Kyoto, my good friend Atsushi-san invited me to an ozashiki.  Who would not jump at such an invitation?  I wrote back “YES PLEASE!”  On 27th June at the appointed time and place we met and walked to the ochaya (traditional teahouse) where the ozashiki was to be.  I was introduced to the owners of the establishment, Master and Okaasan, who are warm-hearted lovely people.  Soon after, Satsuki-san entered the room.   If she looks amazing in photos, she is even more beautiful in real life.  Her glow lights up the room.

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I had found a funny little person at Perth Airport called “Koala-Mate”.  If you spoke to him, he repeated what you said – but in a high-pitched voice.  Needless to say, he was a big hit.  Satsuki-san could hit a high note but Koala-Mate talked back even higher.

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After chatting for a while (and drinking sake) it was time to go upstairs to see dancing.  At this stage our second maiko companion arrived; effervescent and exquisite Chiyoko-san.  The two elegant maiko danced a summer dance about fireflies.  They danced to the accompaniment of shamisen played soulfully by Mameyoshi-san.

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While an ozashiki is relaxed and joyful, the dance is performed with utmost respect.  This is high art and one feels privileged to be watching.   So much grace – it is enough to bring a tear to one’s eye – (and it did).


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After the dancing there was plenty of time for photos before we all descended back downstairs to the bar for more refreshments and merriment.

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Isn’t Chiyoko-san gorgeous!?  I noticed the circular window behind her and asked her to pose for photos.  I was mentally composing how she would look in this harmonious setting.  The little horse on the right reminds us that 2014 is the ‘Year of the Horse’.

How do I feel now that I am back in Australia?  I feel that I visited an ‘other’ world; a world as magic as those created by, say, Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, P.L Travers or Hayao Miyazaki.  I am still under the influence of the enchantment.

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Will any drawings come out of this night?  YOU BET!

Thank you, Atsushi-san.

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19 thoughts on “OZASHIKI!

  1. stefan2009

    I’m happy for you Julie ^^. Through your writing we feel how marvelous this evening was to you and how pleasant the atmosphere was (I hope it wasn’t too hot by the way !). Did Satsuki-san and Chiyoko-san speak a little english ? or did Atsushi-san do the translator ?

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Stéfan, Atsushi-san speaks really good english. Satsuki-san spoke surprisingly good english too. I was stunned at her english skills. Chiyoko-san had a few words of english. Master spoke and understood english too. As you already know, my Japanese is 0:00001%.
      The temperature was just fine at the ozashiki. Most of the time it was okay even outside. It was only on the last day of my trip that the heat got to me.

  2. Barbara moore

    What a wonderful experience.. And even more so because you can transcend it into your art. Will be looking forward to seeing it Julie. Thank you for sharing..

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      In modern-day Japan, many young women do not know how to wear kimono any more. If they do wear them for special occasions, they may be not quite comfortable in them. However maiko and geiko wear kimono with ease, grace and style. They are the ultimate in chic.

      1. Journey Forgotten

        Agree, as years goes by it is even harder to get the younger generation to wear such traditional attires.. It is quite a waste though as kimono is really beautiful.. 🙂

  3. Sherry Telle

    What a wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing! You paint such a vivid picture with your words, you are an artist in more than one medium! I know so little about the Japanese culture even though I worked closely with 3 Japanese techs for 6 years.

  4. mousy

    Awww the pictures of Satsuki-san with the little koala are so cute!
    She and Chiyoko-san look absolutely stunning in those kimono and obi!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I can only speak for myself, Lee, in proclaiming Kyoto to be best city in the WORLD. I enjoyed your post very much. Thanks for putting the link with your comment.


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