The geiko, swathed in fine cloth, passes beneath coarse fabric panels. She is about to disappear behind the noren curtain into Ichiriki, Kyoto’s most famous teahouse (though it has little to do with tea).
An international and insatiable public is gathered outside Ichiriki to see maiko and geiko. After a long empty wait, all of a sudden a harried geiko walks into the fray. The ungracious crowd exclaims and surges forward. Grim expression on her face, she casts her eyes down, mentally blocking out cameras flashing furiously upon her person. People jostle as they vie with one another to capture this unique Japanese curiosity. She hastens forward. The noren curtain enfolds her, pulling her into the inner sanctum.
A great divide can be as solid as the Rocky Mountains or the Southern Alps. Or it can be as insubstantial and fluid as panels of fabric wafting in the breeze. Through this floating fabric nobody uninvited may pass. Keep Out. Inside the courtyard oasis she lifts her eyes, breathes out and gathers herself into the charming witty hostess she has come here to be.
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