Sunday, June 17, 2012

Arigato, Japonia! 24. Gion / Arigato, Japan! 24. Gion


I arrived in front of the Yasaka Shrine in a late rainy afternoon. I wanted to see a little of Gion (pronounced “ghion”), one of the main attractions of the city, the place were the famous Geisha and Maiko lived and worked since the 17th century. The shrine has been constructed in 656, and during the Heian period it was under Imperial patronage. Gion “hanamachi”, “the flower town” was full of ryokans (Japanese inns), and okya (tea houses) to serve the pilgrims, who came to visit Yasaka Shrine.

I had no illusion that I will manage to see a Geisha or a Maiko but after I turned a corner, I found myself in front of a little crowd. Everything passed rapidly. I saw pieces of a bright blue kimono with white flowers, and then the painted neck. It was a Maiko who descended from a taxi and disappeared in a restaurant. I had no time to take a picture. Even if I didn’t see her face, I was glad to retain these cinema-like fragments.

I admired the old Machiya, merchant’s town-houses, made of wood in the period between 1600-1867. They have been restaured to re-create the atmosphere. Very narrow on the street, the machiya are extended behind. This is because of the tax system during Edo period, which took into consideration only the width of the house at the street. A little bamboo door, named genkan, opens to the inner garden. On July, when all Kyoto celebrates the Matsuri Festival in Gion, the genkans are opened for the public.
 
There were no many tourists because people start to come here only after dark. But I was alone, tired after a day of temple visits, and – I presume – a person who can’t afford the prices of the restaurants in Gion. So, I had to be content with the photos I took.

Intr-un sfarsit de dupa-amiaza cam ploioasa am ajuns la intersectia Shijo-dori cu Kawabata-dori, in preajma zonei numita Gion (pronunta "ghion"), teritoriul faimoaselor Geisha si Maiko, unul dintre punctele de atractie ale orasului. Cartierul a aparut in Evul Mediu si, prin hanurile (ryokan) si ceainariile (okiya) sale, avea rolul de a se ingriji de nevoile drumetilor si pelerinilor veniti sa viziteze altarul Yasaka. Acesta a fost construit in anul 656, iar in perioada Heian a intrat sub patronaj imperial. Gion era numit "hanamachi", "orasul florilor", aluzie la curtezanele care locuiau si munceau aici.
pe stradutele laterale de aici incepe Gion-ul
in fata altarului Yasaka, o turista imbracata in kimono
altarul Yasaka
intrarea principala
Nu-mi faceam iluzii ca voi vedea macar o Maiko (ucenice de Gheisha), care sunt foarte discrete. Vin cu masinile si intra rapid in local, spre dezamagirea turistilor care le pandesc. Abia cotisem pe o straduta, cand am surprins ceva agitatie in jurul unui taxi, oprit in fata unui local. Pana sa ma dumiresc despre ce este vorba, stralucirea unui kimono albastru intens, cu flori albe, mi-a izbit retina. Abia cand am vazut coafura sofisticata si ceafa pictata, am inteles ca - la cativa pasi de mine - se afla una dintre locuitoarele Orasului Imperial, care inflacareaza imaginatia multora. A disparut imediat inauntru, nelasandu-mi timp sa imortalizez momentul. Ma bucur insa ca am avut acest prilej rar, chiar daca ce mi-a ramas sunt doar franturi aproape  cinematografice. Un barbat, care facea parte probabil din personal si pe care l-am zarit in curte, s-a ridicat imediat si a venit sa inchida poarta. Inainte insa, a stat cateva secunde in fata ei si asta e tot cu ce m-am ales.
 
M-am plimbat putin pe straduta respectiva, admirand vechile Machiya, case de lemn construite in vechiul stil japonez, in perioada 1600- 1867. Acestea erau case de negustori care ocupau un front stradal limitat dar se extindeau mult in spate. Motivul se poate gasi in sistemul de taxe din perioada Edo, cand impozitul se calcula dupa latimea frontului casei, la strada. Ele au fost restaurate cu grija pentru a re-crea atmosfera de alta data.
 genkan
In fata caselor de negustori se afla o mica portita de bambus, numita genkan, care duce in gradina interioara. In timpul Festivalului Matsuri, care are loc in Gion in toata luna iulie, circulatia masinilor este suspendata si genkanurile se deschid pentru public.
 
Nu sunt inca prea multi turisti, e prea devreme. Cartierul se anima dupa lasatul serii, cand oamenii vin aici sa petreaca. Pentru doritori, exista spectacole zilnice cu Maiko (nu foarte ieftine), despre care gasiti detalii pe internet. In aprilie, vremea sakurei, sunt spectacole speciale, la care biletele se vand cu mult timp inainte. Eu sunt singura si banuiesc ca nu-mi permit nici preturile practicate intr-un restaurant din Gion. In plus, oboseala unei zile de vizite prin temple isi spune cuvantul. Trebuie sa ma multumesc cu atat.

22 comments:

Joop Zand said...

Nice post again....i like that woman in kimono.

wish you a lovely sunday.

greetings, Joop

Doug Hickok said...

Amazing! I really like the historic Japanese clothing and foot wear. You visit such fascinating places TH!

Traveling Hawk said...

Thank you, Joop! Have a great week ahead!

Traveling Hawk said...

I was and still am fascinated by Japan, Doug! I'm not always following the usual path or I do not visit compulsory the "must see" places. Even if I do, I look for something different.

Kumiko said...

Beautiful photos in Gion!
And the episode you saw Maiko is interesting.
You seem to have enjoyed Gion to the full! That is good for you.

Traveling Hawk said...

I spent not much time there, Kumiko, but I was lucky to see that Maiko. I loved the houses.

Randy said...

Wonderful. I love the mailbox.

Traveling Hawk said...

Thanks, Randy. The mail box is very much alike the British ones

LifeRamblings said...

that's so cool of you to be able to visit such fascinating places. thanks for sharing the wonderful memories.

Traveling Hawk said...

Thanks for the comment, Life Ramblings!

Rizalenio said...

Seeing those traditionalhouses is a treat. Makes me imagine how they live before. Fantastic photographs. :)

cartim said...

Altarul acela este foarte frumos.

Din cate vad ei au o slabiciune pentru culoarea portocalie....

Traveling Hawk said...

I'm pleased you like them, Rizalenio!

Traveling Hawk said...

Cele construite in perioada Heian au aceasta culoare, asa era moda probabil. Kasuga-taisha si Heian-jingu despre care ai citit, probabil, deja sunt asa si Fushimi Inari, despre care voi scrie in curand.

VP said...

I like that mail box!

Traveling Hawk said...

It looks very British, VP. That's the reason I took a photo of it.

cartim said...

In psihologie aceasta culoare exprima optimismul incurabil, si modul in care vad ei viata este unul profund desi noi europenii nu prea le intelegem mentalitatea.

Daca aruncam superficial o privire spre modul lor de a fi tindem sa spunem ca sunt optimisti si deosebit de disciplinati .

Traveling Hawk said...

Disciplinati, da, dar optimisti nu as spune Cred ca sunt firi foarte complicate dar, desigur, eu judec dupa literatura si filmele lor.

Helma said...

I knew what a geisha was not what was Maiko. You already said that it is unfortunate that he is a no picture could make and I did too. I will google to see if I can find maiko em because this seemed quite interesting.A nice blog with many beautiful and variable elements.

Greetings, Helma

Traveling Hawk said...

Maiko is a Geisha's apprentice, Helma.

Francisca said...

We did not spend for the Gion restaurants either. :-)

Traveling Hawk said...

I only looked at the old houses too.