Monday, March 30, 2009

Geisha, A Life

As I have mentioned I have been in a bit of a book slump. When this happens, I have found it helps to switch genres. So I went back to my old favourite, autobiographies. I was wandering the stacks at the library and found this one. I thought it was really interesting. I read Memoirs of a Geisha which after reading this one I realize really was fiction. This woman was hailed as the best geisha of her generation but eventually left it after finding it too demanding and confining. I learned there is a misconception of what exactly a geisha does. As she puts they were selling art, not bodies. Customers come to be entertained by dance, music, excellent food and conversation. She does make it clear that romantic entanglements did sometimes occur. The sort of "entertaining" portrayed in Memoirs of a Geisha occurred in another area completely and while those women were similarly trained they also underwent a ritual which consisted of her being ceremoniously "deflowered" after a customer had paid for the privilege. This has led to some of the confusion as to what it means to be a geisha. I found it fascinating to learn the rigorous training she went through to become a very famous dancer and the top geisha for many years. I would reccomend this one, especially it you want something really different.