Monday, August 16, 2010

BBC's "Geisha Girl"

If you're interested in geisha and haven't seen this yet, the 2005 BBC documentary "Geisha Girl" is an interesting peek into what it takes to become one, following teenager Yukina as she progresses from shy country girl to sophisticated maiko (apprentice geisha).

I watched it tonight and had some major "natsukashii" (happy memories/trip down memory lane) moments about Japan. From having taught over there, I can tell you the scene with her schoolmates making a video for her is typical: the support schoolkids can at times give each other as a group was one of the more pleasant surprises about the country.

My own observation about the alcohol issue: it's not just maiko that drink. I never drank before I went to Japan but got tired of getting hassled and eventually came to like the taste of beer. Drinking is a very expected part of socialization and parties and not drinking at all becomes a giant pain to try to maintain in the face of the encouragement, questions, and/or pressure to conform.

All that said, I enjoyed the show and thought it a pretty even-handed look into the world of geisha.

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