August 22, 2006
I thought you might enjoy the little film I've attached to this
page. It was, of course, made by fans of "The Mikado".
May 3, 2004
My most humble apologies! I let the entire month of April slip
by, and it was such an exciting month, too! The first few days
of April are Cherry Blossom viewing time, and everyone here in
Titipu turns out to spread blue picnic blankets and lie under
the pretty trees, enjoying the flowers, the spring weather, a
spot of tea (or a bottle of saki for some) and a picnic lunch.
A lovely and pleasant way to spend a morning.
But alas, it was not to be! Most of the month it rained horribly,
almost every day, and most of the blossoms were blown off before
anybody could enjoy them!
March 3, 2004
I am happy to say that it looks like Spring has finally come to
Titipu! The ice and snow of just two weeks ago is at last
no more than a memory, and daffodils are popping up along the
pathways, and flower buds are in all the trees. Soon there will
be wisteria and cherry blossoms, and that means it is time to
hunt for the blue picnic blankets so that everyone here can go
cheery-blossom viewing next month. That is something we do in
Japan, and it is a very pleasant nature-holiday.
By the way, we just had a birthday party here on February 19.
It seems that a certain pirate named Frederick celebrated his
35th birthday, which is odd because his 21st birthday was in
1940. If you haven't figured it out for yourself, I suggest you
click this little picture of Frederick and visit his party page.
In the meanwhile, it is March and there is a fine breeze coming
up just now, so please excuse me while I go and find a kite.
I will see you next time!
February 5, 2004
I have posted an excellent copy of "The Mikado" online today -
You know, the famous play by Gilbert & Sullivan that tells my
story. I hope you enjoy it. I also recently attended a very
interesting new production of the is same play, starring
"Hello Kitty" as myself! It was most unusual.
In any case, this is National Flirting Week I am told, and I
find that very intereting indeed. I still have not figured out
who reported me for flirting that time, long ago, and I dare not
ask myself too deeply. I may not like the answer I'd receive.
But they say that to flirt is capital, and it is
so I'll let it go at that. I am just glad that the Mikado finally
saw fit to remove this foolish law, and we can now go about our
business without fear. After all, Valentine's Day is next week.
January 13, 2004
Brrrr! It is a bitterly cold day here in Titipu. There has
not been much to tell since New Year's Day, and you will have
to look elsewhere if you want to see what we did over the
other winter holidays. But I see that the next event on my
holiday calendar is...Valentine's Day! A most interesting
holiday where the ladies give their male friends - especially
boyfriends or husbands - heart-shaped boxes of candy.
There is another holiday where we men reciprocate the honors,
but right now I am wondering if I shall get one at all.
Yum-Yum is no longer speaking to me, of course. Peep-Bo
and Pitti-Sing have gone back to the Titipu Geisha Guild,
and I honestly do not know what
to expect from Katisha!
I will keep you posted.
November 17, 2003
My goodness, it has been awhile since your last visit --
The pretty young girl in this picture is a maiko, and she seems
to be in a big hurry--no doubt to one of her lessons. She will
train for hours to do wonderful old dances, skillful fan work,
and will train as a musician either to sing, or to play
traditional instruments such as the samisen or the koto.
This is the instrument that Mr.W.S.Gilbert mistakenly called a
"native guitar" because he had no previous experience with a
Maiko do not say much at a geisha party because their job is to
watch, listen and learn, and to just look pretty. It is easy to
tell the difference between a geisha and a maiko. These two
little maiko are between 14 and 18 years of age. You can easily
recognize them by their bundled up hair, their elaborate
hairpins and decorations, their tall clog shoes (called
geta> , which are made that way so her feet and hemline
don't get wet and muddy in bad weather. They wear very colorful
kimono and theirobi--the big,long brocaded sash,
hangs almost to her heels.
When the maiko turns 18, she changes her hair to something
much more geisha-like, as in this picture below.
This is when she begins to get many marriage proposals--and
often for the sons or grandsons of rich, elderly customers.
She also usually thinks about selecting a wealthy patron to
sponsor her career. Often, this is a rich businessman or
politican who needs a good geisha he can count on. In spite
of a popular myth, he is rarely her lover. She is an
independant young woman who makes the rules for herself,
and is no man's plaything unless she wants to be.
This is the sort of senior-level maiko Yum-Yum was when I
asked to marry her. She probably didn't really want to
become a geisha, and there was no one else who had asked to
marry her. So I purchased her contract, making me her
guardian, for lack of a better word.
Had she gone on to become a geisha, she would have dressed
more like this:
This costume is much more mature and serious than a maiko's,
and some western people are surprised to see it. She can
write her own ticket anywhere, and she usually does.
And now, you may ask, what about Yum-Yum-s sisters, Peep-Bo
Actually, they were not her real sisters at all, but her
guild sisters. In the world of the geisha, the ladies belong
to certain houses, much like medieval tradesmen, and they
consider themselves part of professional families. The woman
in charge of the okiya
, where the girls of one "family"
live, is called "Mama". The geisha who acts as a mentor to a
young maiko is called her "older sister". And the other ladies
of the house are called her "sisters". And just as in the old
medieval guilds, they even have marks of heraldry. This little
picture is the heraldic device of one of the more famous
Well, I hope you've enjoyed this rather instructional visit
and will return again very soon.
November 4, 2003
Today is the first day I have opened this teahouse to so
many visitors, and I hope you will come around often.
And now, let me tell you a little more about myself.
This is the castle I live in, as Lord High Executioner.
As you can see, I have a wonderful view of Titipu from every
window or balcony.
But I did not always live in such a fine castle,
I did not always live in a fine castle. Oh,no!
I am the only son of an artisan, a tailor by trade, and I
learned my craft from him. I was not just any common,
ordinary "cheap" tailor, whatever Nanki-Poo may say.
I was, in fact, a well-paid tailor who did work for the best
Excuse me? You don't know what a karyukai
This is a very special, very beautiful place where all the
) and geisha houses (okiya
The ladies who live and work there must have only the finest,
most expensive and most beautiful clothes to wear, and it must
all be made to precises specifications.
Oh, now you're going to raise an eyebrow and ask what all this
means! Shame on you! You have watched too many movies and read
too many novels. A geisha is not a courtesan or glorified "call
girl", as you would say. She would never have any "hanki-panki"
with a customer, because she is a disceiplined, well-trained lady,
who considers herself an artist. In fact, the word "geisha"
means "art person". She is a work of art in herself, and is
always to be treated with great respect.
is a district always kept as
beautiful as possible because wealthy businessmen, politicians,
and many tourists come to visit the geisha and spend a lot of
money in the chaya.
This is often translated into the
better-known word, "teahouse".
What happens in the chaya
? Some of you may be
disappointed. Saki is served, and dinner is served.
And more saki. A lot of little table games are played.
And saki is served. Jokes are told, and a lot of flirting goes
on (Oh, the Mikado would notbe pleased about that!),
and more saki is served. The maiko dance and the geisha play
instruments. They sing tear-jerking, three-hanky songs while
everyone drinks saki. Men talk business and discuss very
important secrets while they drink saki, and they
do not have to fear that the ladies will gossip and tell their
girl friends, boy friends, or anyone else what they heard --
because one of the things that makes a geisha so important is
that she is trained to be totally discreet in what she hears.
Then, when the evening wears on and everyone has eaten their
fill and consumed much saki, the gentlemen are bundled off on
their way to stagger home, and the geisha and maiko count up
their fees and tips before going home themselves.
A "maiko" is a young teenage girl, trained for years in a very
strict apprecticeship, after which at age eighteen she will
become a geisha. More on that shortly.