Archive for traditions

Geisha

Geisha are professional female entertainers who perform traditional Japanese arts at banquets. Girls who wish to become a geisha, have to go through a rigid apprenticeship during which they learn various traditional arts such as playing instruments, singing, dancing, but also conversation and other social skills. In Kyoto, geisha apprentices are called “maiko”.

Geisha are dressed in a kimono, and their faces are made up very pale. As a common tourist, you may be able to spot a maiko in some districts of Kyoto, such as Gion and Pontocho or in Kanazawa‘s Higashi Geisha District.

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Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony (Sado) is a ritual way of preparing and drinking tea. The custom has been strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism.

Nowadays, the tea ceremony is a relatively popular kind of hobby. Many Japanese who are interested in their own culture, take tea ceremony lessons with a teacher. Tea ceremonies are held in traditional Japanese rooms in cultural community centres or private houses.

The ceremony itself consists of many rituals that have to be learned by heart. Almost each hand movement is prescribed. Basically, the tea is first prepared by the host, and then drunken by the guests. The tea is bitter matcha green tea made of powdered tea leaves.

Traditional Japanese Clothing

Kimono and yukata are traditional Japanese clothing.

Kimono are made of silk and are usually very expensive. Nowadays they are worn at formal or traditional occasions such as funerals, weddings or tea ceremonies. Only rarely kimono can still be seen in everyday life.

Kimono differ in style and color depending on the occasion on which it is worn and the age and marital status of the person wearing it. To put on a kimono needs some practice. Especially tying the belt (obi) alone is difficult so that many people require assistance. Wearing a kimono properly includes proper hair style, traditional shoes, socks, underwear, and a small handbag for women.

The yukata, on the other hand, is more of an informal leisure clothing. It can even be worn without underwear and is very comfortable on hot summer days or after a hot bath. Yukata are relatively inexpensive and made of cotton. While staying at a ryokan, you will be provided with a yukata.

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