6-10-2012 9:21:09 AM
Sunday, June 10th
Today is my birthday. I am 26 years old.
With that being said, we decided to check into our hotel, APA Kyoto Gion Hotel, and enjoy the day. Hotel Gion is in the Gion district in Kyoto. The Gion district is where all of the Maiko train to become Geisha and the Geisha entertain male patrons. Let’s also be clear that a Geisha is not a prostitute. A high-class geisha entertains tired, work-weary patrons with song, dance, musical instruments, stories, jokes, and a LOT of sake and umeshu (plum wine). You will never see a geisha or a maiko by themselves. They always travel with groups to keep their integrity.
We spent the morning walking around the Departo, which, if you couldn’t guess, is the Japanese department store. They are built to be massive hubs for all types of shopping. There were about 10 floors plus another two or three basement levels. The basement levels are reserved for grocery shopping and fresh meats and vegetables. You can get sushi at lunch for about 50-100 yen, which is about 50 cents to a dollar, for each piece. They had fresh fish, apples that cost $6 each, and rows and rows of unique pastries. The upper floors were filled with clothing from Prada to traditional Kimonos worth five thousand dollars for just the obi (belt across the waist of the kimono). After this, Chris and I walked around the rest of the Gion district and found a neat shop. The shop offered packages that allows girls dress up in kimono and act as a maiko (apprentice geisha) for pictures. They had a time slot open, so Chris and I decided that this would be the coolest thing to do for my birthday. Check out the pictures for the pictures Chris took.
After we were done playing maiko, we went back to the Departo and bought all of the gyoza that I could ever eat. It was delicious. It was a very happy birthday, thanks to my dear husband.