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03 July 2013

Entertained by a male Geisha

Did you know there are male Geishas in Japan? Geisha usually means female escorts in kimono. But there is male version of it.

Men in kimono entertain guests in the tea houses or Japanese style restaurants.

They are called "Taikomochi" or "Hokan" in Japanese.

Last month I went to the lunch show of a male Geisha in Kagurazaka district in Tokyo. The Geisha name is Yugenteitamahachi.

Geisha, kimono,

He is one of very few male Geishas remained in Japan. In the old days like in middle of 20th century there were more than 400 of them. As time passes by, not many people do not enjoy Geisha shows in Japanese style room. He said that as entertaiment is diversed, people can have more choice for entertainment, not just Geisha play.

Male Geisha do not play the same role as Geisha girls. They are not sexy, they are rather funny characters, like comedians. They coordinate between male guests and Geisha girls. So the guests can know who can be best girls for them. They know how to chat with guests, including man to man vulgar chatting. They are very considerate, avoiding politics and religions as topics.

But they can do performances as singing, playing shamisen guitar, mimicing celebrities, and dancing.

Geisha,

  Geisha, kimono, 

The show was not as impressive as Geisha girls' show I enjoyed a few months ago. But it was good that I could learn one form of Japan's tradition. Sorry to know that this is an endangered occupation.  

17:06 Posted in Culture, Tokyo Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: geisha, kimono

20 June 2013

Attended the Speech meeting of Japan's first openly gay parliament member

Her name is Kanako Otsuji. She is now 38 years old. Last month she obtained the seat for Japan's upper house parliament.

On 18 of June, she made a speech in the meeting titled "Sexuality and Politics" held by Rainbow Action group, at Nakano Zero Hall in Tokyo. Around 60 people including me attended the meeting.

gay, homosexuality, lesbian,

She was a candidate for that position in the election held 5 years and 10 months ago. She was listed in candidate list of nation-wide proportional representation constituency for one of Japan's major political party, Democratic Party of Japan. That was very first time in Japan's history that a major party nominates openly gay person as its candidate. She gathered some votes but could not reach passing border line. However, after more than 5 years, only 2 months left until the end of the term, she got to the position because several members died or resigned from the parliament. Kind of strange incident.

In the speech she talked about profile and how she is doing now. She used to be a member of prefecture congress in Osaka. She came out during that time. She is now actively working as a national parliament member and got involved in many law-making tasks. She recently was invited to and then attended a sexual minority's meeting held in US embassy in Tokyo.

I asked her how Japan can be changed in terms of this issue since Japan is different from western nations in the sense that Japan is not advanced in minority rights issues.

Her reply was, those nations and Japan have things in common that are practicing democracy. Democracy does not necessarily mean majority of people make the rule. Everyone has decision making right. We can make changes by making laws. Japan can change drastically when the time comes. Japan is not very religious like western nations. We are rather concerned about peer pressure matters.

That may be right, I think. According to the Reuter news report, the world-wide survey on ordinary citizens opinion about gay issue revealed Japan is as open-minded as western nations. Especially, younger generations' supporting rate for gays was higher than that of US.

Is it due to the recent gay liberation movement? That may not be a major cause. As she described Japan's morale standard is based on peer pressure. Homosexuality has been considered abnormal in this society but never been considered sin like Christian societies in the West. In fact histricaly Japanese society tolerated gay relationship until premodern time ended. Details in this post.

Furthermore, when we acquire new things, we can change very rapidly like late 19th century's industrialization or reconstrution after the second world war.

Ms. Otsuji said even after entry of parliament, she never experienced any harrassment by other people in the house. People are friendly and trusting her very well.

Thanks to her, her outing of what she is helps our nation progress further, to more democratic and civilized. She is the proof of our democracy, freedom and flexible culture. I am proud of her. We all should be proud of her.

28 May 2013

Weight Training at home by a Pro Personal Trainer

I am training myself to be a healthier and muscular man.

I go to training gym nearby. The gym is Gold's Gym (Gorudo Jimu, in Japanese) located neaby area. It has good equipments and interior is fancy. Its trainers are well-educated and kind.

I recently realized that I should do work-outs not only at gym but also at home. I do not know how. I never had any work-out machine at home though I had a treadmill.

Then I asked a former Gold's Gym trainer who is now working as a freelance to come over to my place and give me instruction. I bought a dumbbell (10kg) for that.

body building,training

His personal training was excellent. He first taught me how to run on a treadmill, then push-ups, several ways of muscle training using one dumbell and finally abdominal. Surprised to know there are many ways to do at home. I am doing this excercise menu twice a week at home.

I really met a great personal trainer. He was nice, friendly, energetic and caring. But he is also polite and gentle. I will continue receiving his instruction. He, himself is a body building competitor. He is now working hard to participate in the Tokyo Open tournament held in July. He said he could not eat rice for dinner for the preparation.

I have a goal for training as well, not just being healtheir and muscular. I will be a nude model for drawing at an art school. I want to make my body more suitable for drawing.

Not just work-outs, I change my lifestyle for eating. From now on, I do not eat rice or spaghetti for dinner. I eat eggs and soys more often than ever. I will have much less sweets and alchohol.

Every day I drink protein powder with milk or water twice to gain more protein in my body.

I will make it.

20 April 2013

Entertained by Geisha girls

That was first time in my life. I saw them on TV or films but never met actual ones until that time.

Geisha

 

I went to one of tea houses in Mukojima, Tokyo, famous Geisha town.

I joined lunch party course set up by tour agency, which cost around 100 US $.

It was great. The meal was delicious and 3 Geisha dressing up in beautiful kimono served and entertained guests by performing music and dances and playing games.

P1020060.JPGGeisha

When I drank sake, a Geisha came up to me and pour that to my cup and start chatting with me. They did it very nicely. One Geisha gave compliments to my kimono. I was really glad. I talked about my favourite Geisha film, Memoirs of a Geisha. A youngest geisha, apprentice one said she saw the film. Then she said that portrayal of Geisha in TV shows and films is exaggerated. She did entertain foreign guests many times.  

Many may wonder what Geisha means. Gei means performance or art, sha means person. Geisha is performer or artist or entertainer.

I really enjoyed their entertainment. It was a bit expensive but worth it.

Geisha

Why not try if you have a chance to visit Japan?