A Walk with Katsutomo-san
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
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