The Apprentice Geisha of Gion (aka henshin)

A very helpful Flickr user posted a response to my photo “Geisha of Gion”. I thought I’d share the response, as I wasn’t aware of this at all. (Even after reading Memoirs of a Geisha 😉 ) I feel like such a tourist.

“Sorry, but this lady is just a regular lady dressed up as a maiko (an apprentice geisha) for the day. This act is called “henshin”. But this is a lovely composed picture!

Geisha of Gion

(1)really worn down or “half-size” okobo (tall shoes) – real maiko have very tall okobo and get new okobo when they become too worn down. Henshin often have “half size” okobo because most common women would not be able to walk in the very tall okobo or maiko. Additionally, these half size okobo get worn down because they are worn by so many customers every day all day. here are maiko okobo:

(2) her hair ornaments don’t match the season. October kanzashi look like for junior maiko and for senior maiko (i.e. it is chrysanthamum). her ornaments look like fuji perhaps (looks like ) which are for may.

(3) Her collar and tied obiage (red little belt above the big obi-belt) signal that she is very senior, but she has bright red hanao (shoe straps). Senior maiko wear pink, purple, and blue (in order of seniority).

(4) other things is that the condition of the red strands in her hair is poor (I real maiko okaasan would retire these before they become this condition) and she is too old to be a maiko (maiko in Kyoto are between 15-20 (21 is kind of really pushing it) years old and this lady is beyond that (although this can be hard to tell).

If you have pictures of her back I can probably notice some other things ^_^. Also, a mistake not here but very common it to have mismatching seniority in hair ornaments and collar. Look here: these girls all have very white collars (sign of senior maiko) but dangling hair ornaments (ornaments for a first year maiko). These dangling hair ornaments are different from the fuji kanzashi on your henshin. Fuji are always flowing down but not in the same way if you compare them. Other common things are empty kago (bags) and wigs (maiko are not allowed to use wigs and must use their real hair to make Nihongami).”


Photoblog (not this blog) down for a while

Unfortunately, my photoblog has been taken down for a while. As you may remember, I had a separate photoblog dedicated to just the images via thejavajive. It was receiving decent traffic, had a design which I thought was pleasing, and received helpful commentary regularly.

You also may remember that it became infected with code-injection – malicious code – in June 2009. (feel like I’m in The Matrix saying that). I tried my best to resolve the issue, even bringing in my web host, web developers and coders, and yet no one could fix it.

My only brutal method of clearing things up was to completely shut it down and remove it altogether from my web hosting package. I couldn’t leave it as is, and this is a sure-fire way of clearing things up.

However, now anyone who had linked to that site (including many of my flickr images), will arrive with a broken link. I’ll do my best to figure something out, but even if I rebuild it, I fear I’ll lose the permalinks.

What do you think? Should I strive to rebuild the same site after disinfecting it?


Should I start from scratch and build something new altogether?

If I go that route, does anyone have suggestions for a great way to showcase images without Flash and preferably in an easy to update way?

What is your best photo of 2008?

Following in the footsteps of this thread on flickr, I’d like to see examples of your best photos of 2008. Taken or posted in 2008. Either submit a link to your image, or post to the thread on flickr and throw up a link so we can view it.

Mine? I guess I’d say it’s between these (in no particular order), but it’s rather difficult to choose!

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
What the Ancients saw

Tirthagangga, Bali

Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok
Thai Temple

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Walk a mile in my shoes

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Balance (cropped)

Dreamland, Bali

Camera shy? More self portraits.

Yoyoma said, “So this is like the first time ever for you to post your own picture here, right?”.

Actually, here are quite a few more: (search my flickr site for the tag, “selfportrait”)

Just funny that I try to be all artistic with every other photo than my own. Most of mine are just snapshots cause they’re taken by other people. Maybe I’ll start posting more before I get too old and fugly. 😉

And yes, I do wear normal shirts with sleeves every day to work, but it just so happens that when I go out to take photos I’m dressed down to deal with the stifling heat. I’m not a total meat-head, I swear.