Jewels of Kyoto in Perth

On Saturday 27th February there was an event in the city of Perth.  It was the Perth Japan Festival 2016.  Artists and performers were brought over from Japan.  The crème de la crème were Maiko and Geiko from Gion Higashi…”Jewels of Kyoto”.   I have chosen 20 photos to tell a little of the story as I saw it.  (Please click on photos to enlarge.)

10 o' clock in the morning at Forrest Chase in central Perth. It is one hour before Perth Japan Festival is due to start and already it is 36 degrees C. Up in the distance is the stage where the performances will be. The audience will sit in the white chairs in full sun.

10 o’ clock in the morning at Forrest Chase in central Perth. It is one hour before Perth Japan Festival is due to start and already it is 36 degrees C. Up in the distance is the stage where the performances will be. The audience will sit in  white chairs positioned in full sun.

From left ; Hinagiku, Tomitsuyu, Ryoka and Tomitae. It is now 11 a.m and the young ladies wait to go on stage for the Opening Ceremony.

From left ; Hinagiku, Tomitsuyu, Ryoka and Tomitae. It is now 11 a.m and the young ladies wait to go on stage for the Opening Ceremony.

As their performance is not until 12 noon, the Maiko and Geiko have time to explore their immediate environment. Myers Department Store is the coolest place to head to as its air conditioning is a great relief. Onlookers are amazed!

After the Opening Ceremony, as their performance is not until 12 noon, the Maiko and Geiko have time to explore their immediate environment. Myers Department Store is the coolest place to head to as it is air conditioned.  Onlookers are amazed!

The Okaasan of Tomikiku Ochaya; Reiko Tomimori, introduces the audience to the concept of Maiko and Geiko.

The Okaasan of Tomikiku Ochaya; Reiko Tomimori, introduces the audience to the concept of Maiko and Geiko.  Her English is very good.

A double portrait of Ryoka and Hinagiku as they stand on stage.

A double portrait of Ryoka and Hinagiku as they stand on stage.

Different Japanese styles!

Different Japanese styles!

The view looking back at the audience. By now (noon) it is 38 degrees C (that is 100.4 F). It is ferociously hot amidst all that concrete.

The view looking back at the audience. By now (noon) it is 38 degrees C (that is 100.4 F). It is ferociously hot amidst all that concrete.

Now I show you my problem...the setting. You can have a stunning painting but if it is badly hung and lit, its lustre is lost. And so it is here. I do not want to see an ice cream van behind the stage - but there it is and it spoils everything.

Now I show you my problem…the setting. You can have a stunning painting but if it is badly hung and lit, its lustre is lost. And so it is here with the Jewels of Kyoto. I do not want to see an ice cream van behind the stage – it spoils everything.  Where is the finesse?  Where is  sensitivity and empathy?

There is no vantage point to get a view of the performance without it being spoilt by the surroundings. Tomitsuyu and Ryoka do their best in a hostile environment.

There is no vantage point to get a view of the performance without it being spoilt by the surroundings. Tomitsuyu and Ryoka do their best in a hostile environment.

Ryoka - always lovely.

Ryoka – always lovely.

Ryoka again

Ryoka again – I’m doing my best to crop out the pink ice cream van.

Hinagiku - with green cactus "sculpture" behind.

Hinagiku – with a bit of green cactus “sculpture” behind.  (Cringe)

Ryoka and Tomitae.

Ryoka and Tomitae.

Tomitae (There's no escaping the pink monstrosity behind; sorry)

Tomitae
(There’s no escaping the pink monstrosity at the back; sorry)

Hinagiku sings (she has a lovely deep voice). Miyako plays shamisen and Ryoka plays Japanese flute.

Hinagiku sings (she has a lovely deep voice). Miyako plays shamisen and Ryoka plays Japanese flute.

After the first set, a Samurai warrior (he is also a professor at Tokyo University) is in the picture with Tomitsuyu and Tomitae.

After the first set, a Samurai warrior (he is also a professor at Tokyo University) chats to Tomitae while Tomitsuyu looks on.

During the second performance at 13:20 I have changed position and am now standing at the back of the stage. I think I might have a better view of surrounds but I am wrong. There is no 'right' place to stand. Therefore I take very few photos. The women, though stoic, show signs of the tremendous heat in their expressions.

During the second performance at 13:20 I have changed position and am now standing at the back of the stage. I think I might have a better view of surrounds but I am wrong. There is no ‘right’ place to stand. Therefore I take very few photos. The women, though stoic, show signs of the tremendous heat in their expressions.

Obi-view of Hinagiku. That's the central post-office behind and a banner advertising "PIAF" (Perth International Arts Festival).

Obi-view of Hinagiku. That’s the central post-office behind and a banner advertising “PIAF” (Perth International Arts Festival).  The faces on the banner look spooky.

Hinagiku leaves the stage. This would make a good source photo for a drawing, I feel.

Hinagiku leaves the stage.

Tomitsuyu leaves the stage.

Tomitsuyu leaves the stage.

Of course I am happy that “Jewels of Kyoto” came to Perth but I do wish some more thought had been given to the environment they danced in.  Even a curtain of some sort to block off the detritus behind the stage would have helped.  The acoustics were not good either plus there was some feedback.

They are in Auckland, New Zealand, as I write this post.  In Sydney, Auckland and Wellington they performed (and will peform) in small theatres.  It really would have been much better to see them in an intimate theatre than outside in a banal, soulless and boiling hot concrete jungle.  However, thank you, Japanese Government, for bringing them.

 

 

About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
Image | This entry was posted in art, geiko, geisha, Japan, maiko and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Jewels of Kyoto in Perth

  1. cara mia says:

    What a beautiful (if somewhat difficult circumstance) opportunity to see these talented women! And despite the garish backgrounds, your pictures are quite lovely! It is actually a very striking contrast, & while it may not necessarily complement the ladies, it does encourage the eye to truly focus on their outstanding beauty, & the dedication to their art. Each move is a photograph, each pose a painting. Thank you for sharing this experience so beautifully, i thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • Thanks for such a thoughtful and considered comment, Cara Mia. I may come to accept the photos for what they are in time. At the moment I am still probably feeling grumpy from the memory of the searing heat…and that pink van!

  2. Lovely photos of your Japanese visitors. It is a testament to their training and graciousness that they can bring elegance and beauty to any environment. Thank you for sharing your day at the festival.

  3. Jeannie says:

    I totally agree with the two comments above. And I hardly noticed the van because of that green leafy tree beyond the dancers that looked so refreshing and enhanced their expressiveness.

    Not that the beauty of the performance justifies the difficult conditions. Hopefully next time they’ll be more considerately chosen.

    • Thanks, Jeannie. I wish the entire background had been leafy trees. If it had been so I wouldn’t have complained in my post. I guess one can have interesting photos but they may not be what one wants to take further into drawings. I should just accept them for what they are.

  4. Those poor girls – it must have been very hard coming from a Japanese winter to Perth summer, and an extreme one at that. It shows their level of professionalism to just get on with it and do their dancing to their very high standards, despite the less than perfect surrounds. I think you still did get some great shots, maybe in time you will be able to re-see them and work out ways of eliminating (or incorporating!) the pink monstrosity! The spooky faces on the PIAF banner could be an interesting counterpoint … the young Japanese girl in modern Japanese fashion is a lovely contrast too.

    • Well Anna, it just so happens that I have found a photo I want to draw from – and – you picked it – it is one of the photos with the creepy banner face on. In the one I picked, just the eyes are showing. However I also have a Kyoto drawing I want to do which is very time-consuming (detailed) so it might take a while before either drawing is finished. However they are both on the table.
      Indeed the Maiko and Geiko were the ultimate in professional. ps. It is the “Hinagiku leaves the stage” image.

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