It just so happened that the day I arrived in Kyoto was also the day Katsutomo-san made her debut as Geiko. What fantastic fortune for me! I was ready. The following photos document my walk with Katsutomo-san. (Please click on the photos to enlarge them so that they can be fully appreciated.)
I waited for one and a half hours across from the door of the okiya so that I would get this first view. I was surrounded by many other photographers – some of whom pushed in front of me! This was the moment people saw Katsutomo-san for the first time as Geiko.
Katsutomo-san looked serious most of the time…I might even say, tense. I love the textures captured here.
While I was waiting I decided to try an unusual viewpoint for this photo.
Here you can see the pattern on Katsutomo-san’s obi.
I like the movements of Katsutomo-san and her Otokoshi here – almost like a dance. He looks like he is pulling her along with invisible thread.
Here is an idea of the difficulty of getting photos. One really had to work HARD to get into position: walk very fast and always try to be in the right place at the right time. Impossible of course.
Canine observed human. This is Chiro at Nishimura Okiya. I have been seeing him from time to time since he was a puppy.
I was trying to photograph this exit over a sea of heads , arms and cameras.
Not all of Gion is made up of historic wooden tea houses. The convenience store is ubiquitous in Japan; Gion is no exception.
We arrived at one of the most beautiful areas of Gion – Shinbashi.
Double portrait in idyllic Shinbashi. I think Katsutomo-san realised she was over half way now. Not much longer to go.
Katsutomo-san paused for a couple of minutes to give photographers time for portraits. But this was a classic case of me NOT being there. I was waiting further up the road. I had to rush back when I realised that this opportunity was being missed by me.
Perhaps this photo gives a hint of the intense heat and humidity. Just briefly Katsutomo-san shows us how she was feeling.
This is the gorgeous bridge which is a photographer’s delight. Trouble is, ALL the photographers were delighting there already – which means they became part of my photo. (And I’m probably part of theirs!)
Juxtaposition between tradition and modern.
I was waiting outside Katsutomo-san’s okiya from 10 a.m. She came out around 11.40 and we didn’t finish until nearly 15:00. It was hot and exhausting but also exciting.
Later that night as I walked around I saw Katsutomo-san flit by.
Tourists caught a glimpse…
…and she disappeared into the Gion night…
In my next post I will present my photos from day 2 of the Erikae walk. Katsutomo-san was so much more relaxed and there were way less photographers than day 1 (as always).
ps. Katsutomo-san has already appeared in two of my drawings, both done within the last year.
In the drawing “Diamonds” Katsutomo-san was the Maiko in the middle.
Here she is in my drawing “The Art of Elegance”
For photos of the second day, please click on Go Around Again
Browse “Contents of Posts Index”