Hangyoku Henshin Diary

Hangyoku Henshin Diary

10th of December 2017

An once in a lifetime experience

7:30 Me and my friends met up at our dorm and started traveling to Asakusa station. It was still a bit dark outside and the degree was only around 5-7 Celcius. However, our group had managed to wake up on time for the trip and had a little breakfast on the train.

9:40 We arrived at an old geisha hair salon near Tokyo Sky Tree. The neighboorhood was soundless as we could hear a pin drop but inside the hair salon, everyone was excited and the atmosphere was very bustling. One by one, each of the girl got their hair pinned up, sprayed and decorated with various colorful geisha hair accessories. It took 40 minutes for each person and there were only two senior women making hairs for a total of 8 girls.

It was our first time, ever, dressing up like geisha. we were not just excited but also were confused.

Around 12:00 We arrived at our teacher’s house for the makeup and kimono. Taking one bus which takes around an hour, half of the day had already passed so we were a bit worry if we could finish everything before the dawn. The purpose of the hangyoku henshin is for us to experience a day like a truly “hangyoku” – a geisha apprentice; therefore, we came to realize that the entire process of dressing and makeup costs a lot of money and time as well as one’s effort.

As we arrived, we immediately got up to the second floor to do the makeup. And the best/ worst part was, we got to do it by ourselves. That’s why all of us have to do a small research on how to put on geisha makeup and practice a week beforehand. After we finished our makeup it was already 14:00.

By 17:00 All girls were ready with kimono and makeup. Massive thanks to our professor, she helped us with kimono wearing which none of us knew how to put it on. Personally, the most interesting and meaningful part of being a maiko was how complex and fascinating it is to wear a full kimono. It goes along with approximately 3 to 4 layers, followed by 15 strings and obi. The design of every kimono that we had was beautiful and handcraft-made; thus, it is very expensive. Finally, the outlook was amazing as all kimono fir perfectly on every girl.

18:00 ish We have a privilege to meet a “onesan” who was a former geisha in Fukagawa. Joining along with us from the beginning were some journalists from China and the local Fukagawa prefecture newspaper. She was taken to the Hachiman Shrine and walking around the town, as our professor would say “experience of how being famous is like”.

Down below are several pictures that we took while having fun.

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