(OOC: Let's get this party started!)
Ryuuki climbed out of the taxi and stretched a little, looking around at the park and the people wandering through it. Despite the fact that the Hanazaki’s entrance was hidden in Sakuragawa’s central park and was hard to find, the most die-hard of the geisha-hunting tourists all knew where it was and they all came out in force, with their digital cameras and mini video recorders to catch a glimpse of Sakuragawa’s elusive maiko and geiko. And, if he was honest with himself, the tourists sometimes wanted to catch a glimpse of the people who had the money and connections to hire them too.
If someone asked, he would never call himself wealthy. Indeed, coming to the Hanazaki for a party was a true treat. But being a member of the city’s kabuki theater had its perks. The world of kabuki and the world of geisha had long shared a connection -- some historians claimed that they even shared common roots -- and in Sakuragawa it seemed that everyone liked to support everyone else. In December the geiko, maiko, and their teachers would all descend upon the theater for the Kaomise Soken, a spectacle of traditional arts that made the camera-toting tourists go wild and transformed the interior of the theater to a showcase of the best and most beautiful arts the city could offer. Just a few months ago, one of the shamisen teachers in the district had invited everyone to a party for his wife’s birthday (Ryuuki fully expected a repeat of that in a few months, if the rumors he had heard of the wife’s plans for her husband’s party were true). Sakuragawa was the only place he knew of where the maiko and geiko included the kabuki theater in their rounds of greetings for events like New Year’s, a new maiko’s debut, or a new geiko’s erikae. In a departure from tradition, the theater liked to return the favor by sending all of the maiko and geiko fukudama for the New Year, and a few times a year they would bring the new or newly-promoted young actors around to greet the geiko and maiko and thank them for their continued support of the theater. He had never heard of any other kabuki theater in the country doing such a thing. But right now, the thing that concerned him the most, was the fact that he could get into a place like the Hanazaki regularly without being a terribly wealthy man, because Sakuragawa’s geiko association was loathe to charge the kabuki actors the normal fee for a party.
The sound of another taxi approaching shook him from his thoughts, and he peered into the car windows, trying to see who was coming now. It could be the maiko or geiko arriving for a party -- he had requested several for the evening, and he was sure there were other customers coming tonight too. The realization that it could be customers coming to their own party made him look away. There was a strict code of silence here, and whatever happened in the hanamachi stayed in the hanamachi. Far be it from Ryuuki to disturb someone else’s privacy. But the third possibility made him glance up as the taxi stopped. He had invited another member of his theater, Onoe Shido, to come with him to the party tonight…and indeed, the taxi was dropping him off. Ryuuki waited until the taxi had gone before calling and waving to get his friends attention.
“Onoe! About time you made it. You take longer in front of a mirror than me!”
Just posting these here in case anyone has ideas or thoughts on the projects.
- Creating a kabuki theater for the various kabuki characters. This one is tough because I don't know much about kabuki, but we'll get there.
- Drawing really awful floorplans of the okiya (and maybe later of the ochaya). They aren't really meant to be pretty or to scale, they're just meant to give a visual representation of where things are in each house. I don't know about you, but I keep forgetting where the bedrooms and other rooms are supposed to be in each house and thought some pictures (even crappy ones) might help.
- Family crests. It occurred to me that every real family in the real kagai (hanamachi) has a crest, so I'm going to work up some original ones for our families too. Anyone out there who wants to join and start their own house is welcome to do the same (though I would ask that you try to avoid using the crests of real geisha families).
- Finding photos to use as references for the appearance of places and things in Sakuragawa. They would just be to give an idea of what things looked like. Ideally, we would avoid using famous and easily-identifiable places (e.g. the Ichiriki teahouse in Kyoto) as representations of anything in Sakuragawa. I'm in the very earliest stages of thinking about this though.
Other than that, once our two current new characters (Hotaru and Sami) get to the point where they would both be taking lessons, I'll put up a thread or two where they can interact in their lessons, and you guys are more than welcome to start up our own threads for things you want to do too. It's more fun to play with more people :p
Kogiku, the formidable okaasan of the equally formidable Hoshino okiya, quietly hung up her phone and made a few final notes in her oversized schedule book. Like every other okaasan in Sakuragawa, she kept a schedule book to keep track of everything from lessons to party bookings to any other important appointments for herself and the young women under her care. But her book was larger than most. Even so, each day was filled to bursting with notes in her almost impossibly-small, neat handwriting. She had just gotten off the phone with one of the office ladies in the Sakuragawa kenban, the main office in charge of booking ozashiki and other similar appointments for the district’s maiko and geiko. There had been a few last-minute bookings for the night, and both Hinako (the house’s resident geiko) and Kozen (the house’s resident maiko) had been asked to attend a few additional parties. They wouldn’t be able to stay for the whole time. Okaasan had made sure to tell the secretary who called that. And as much as she hated sending them to parties where they couldn’t stay, she had long ago decided that doing this from time to time was a calculated risk. The parties in question tonight involved several new clients who were considering membership in the district’s various teahouses. If Hinako and Kozen could make an impression tonight, the new clients might just become regular clients, and if they attended parties in the district and asked for the Hoshino girls regularly, well, that would just add to their popularity and aid in their rise to higher levels in the district.
But she didn’t have much time to think all of that through today. She quickly wrote a note for the girls and left her desk for a moment to hang the note on staircase. Hinako and Kozen would see it when they came down for dinner before dressing. Kogiku quickly returned to her desk and pulled a thin, dark green file from beneath her schedule book, and flipped it open. The file only contained one page with a small amount of information on a girl who was coming to see her today about the possibility of joining the house. The kenban had forwarded some information about her already -- she was young (only 14), related to a geisha and the geisha’s danna, and had some experience with dance already. That boded well. She insisted that her girls become excellent dancers, and prior experience would help. She pulled a few sheets of loose-leaf paper from inside her desk and tucked them into the file as well, along with a perfectly-sharpened pencil. The new girl should be arriving soon. In the meantime, Kogiku leaned back to relax for a few moments and listen to the sounds of shamisen music floating down from upstairs, where the house’s other two residents were practicing together. After a short time, the gentle chime of the doorbell shook her from her reverie. Normally she would let Kozen answer the door, but today she had told the young maiko to ignore the door and continue practicing through the interview. Instead, Kogiku herself rose gracefully to her feet, smoothed her kimono over her legs, collected her file and pencil, and went to answer the door.
She pushed the wood and glass door open and looked down at the girls standing before her. “You’re on time. That’s a good sign. I expect only the best from my girls in everything they do.”
It was a sunny, but chilly day in Sakuragawa, and the residents of the Ishida okiya were even busier than usual for the time of year. The last few days of one year and the first few of another were usually filled with all kinds of interesting tasks -- extra cleaning, the rotating of kimono from one person to another (when possible), the arrival of new kimono Okaasan had ordered for the start of the year, and of course the days spent making special New Year’s visits around the district. The maiko and geiko of Sakuragawa all dressed in their most formal kimono and paid visits to their teachers, the teahouses, the shops that supported them, and even to each other’s houses to thank everyone for their support and help in the ending year, and to pass on best wishes for the new year that had just begun. It was a busy time, especially considering that all of this activity had to be fit in around their usual schedules of daily lessons and nightly parties.
That explained why the pair of maiko scurrying down the street seemed to be in such a hurry. For the most part they managed to dodge through the crowds with no problems. Since it was daytime and they were just going home from lessons, they weren’t in their elaborate and eye-catching costumes…except of course for their hair. They wore their hair up in identical, complex coiffures that definitely caught the attention of most passers-by, though only some seemed to know anything about what the styles meant and only a few managed to snap hasty pictures of the girls as they scurried by. More people seemed to notice that the girls were wearing nearly identical kimono, and carried their cloth-wrapped instruments in nearly identical ways. They passed an older girl and paused for a few moments to greet and bow to her, and their greetings revealed that they had nearly identical voices too. In fact, had anyone stopped to look long enough, they would have noticed that the girls’ faces were strikingly similar -- identical, really.
The two girls just happened to be two of Sakuragawa’s newest members, the maiko Ichishou and Ichizakura of the Ishida okiya. They had only been maiko for a few months, but they had grown up together and were in fact real-life identical twins. Their okaasan, Ichigokoro, allowed them to do almost everything together, including their music lessons (as long as the teachers permitted anyway). That was one reason why they both happened to be rushing back to their okiya after completing their shared shamisen lesson. The other reason, and the one that really explained their rushing, was that they had to get home early to make sure that at least the front entryway and Okaasan’s office were clean and tidy. As if the excitement of the new year wasn’t enough, Okaasan had mentioned over dinner a few days ago that a new girl was coming to the okiya. The twin sisters couldn’t remember whether the girl was just coming for her interview or if she was actually moving in to begin maiko training, but either way, they wanted to make a good impression. And while the girl met with Okaasan in her office, they would join their older sister, the geiko Ichisei (who wasn’t their real sister of course) in cleaning the upstairs. Just in case the new girl was going to be seeing that part of the house too.
They pushed their house’s sliding wooden door open with a loud crack, called out a quick “Tadaima!” to the rest of the house, and rushed to slip off their zori. Ichishou took both of their instruments and rushed up the stairs to put them away while her sister straightened all of the zori, geta, okobo, and even a few stray pairs of Western-style sneakers in the entryway, then she rejoined her sister and they both darted into the kitchen to grab some brooms and washclothes for a quick round of cleaning in the entryway. The new girl would be here soon, after all, and they didn’t want to be caught scrubbing when she arrived…
(Tagging: Shimizu Hotaru)
A listing of major events in the hanamachi, sorted by month. Still a work in progress!
1-5: New Year’s events (includes ceremonies at the Kaburenjo and visits by each okiya to the local teahouses, businesses, and other okiya. The ceremonies at the Kaburenjo include the maiko and geiko vowing to continue working hard, the Baika Shourei Shou awards granted to the year's most successful maiko and geiko, and further awards for attendance at lessons, coming-of-age for maiko who turned 20, and an award to the most popular ochaya that year.)
23-26 Baikasai (a short festival during plum blossom season, featuring dances, tea ceremonies, and opportunities for picnics with maiko and geiko in the main park of Sakuragawa)
3: Hina Matsuri (one-day festival. Girls can visit the main shrine in Sakuragawa and get special treats from maiko. The maiko have a special mid-day dance performance at the shrine too)
Most of the month: Cherry blossoms festival (mostly an event that doesn’t include the maiko and geiko, but many customers invite them out for picnics in the parks and evening cherry-blossom-viewing excursions)
Middle 2 weeks: Wisteria and Iris Festival (features the hanamachi’s annual spring/summer dance performance)
Third week: River Boat Festival (the boats on the river used to be a source of livelihood for people in the city. Now they’re mostly just fun things for tourists to ride. The festival involves demonstrations of the old boating and fishing methods, boat races, opportunities for tourists to ride the boats, and the one and only time of the entire year when non-members can enter any part of the Hanazaki…though it’s only part of the garden and only for some brief refreshments and dance demonstrations)
5-7: Tanabata (celebrated throughout Japan in either July or August. Most of the festivities are not hanamachi-specific activities, but the nightly fireworks display does take place in Sakuragawa’s largest park, and each okiya, ochaya, and other business in the area creates and donates at least one large streamer to decorate the park)
10-17 (exact dates vary slightly): Obon festival (another holiday celebrated throughout Japan and not specific to the hanamachi. Many of the maiko and geiko return home to be with their original families for part of the holiday, but return by the last day to participate in Sakuragawa’s Obon events, including the Bon Odori and the floating of memorial lanterns on the river)
Second week: Autumn dances (the second round of annual dances in the hanamachi, this time with an autumn/winter theme)
31: New Year’s Eve (merges into the New Year’s celebrations of January)
Various (events not tied to a specific date in the calendar)
- Misedashi for new maiko
- Erikae for new geiko
- Jimae aisatsu for new jimae (independent) geiko
- Recitals for geiko and maiko, especially those receiving natori titles for their arts
- Hiki-iwai for retiring geiko and maiko.
As events are scheduled that involve maiko and geiko, please make sure shiori_hime
is aware so the event can be added to this list!
~*~ NO EVENTS SCHEDULED AT THIS TIME~*~
Wondering how popular your geiko or maiko character REALLY is in the hanamachi? Check the rankings here! Right now my goal is to update at least once every month, real time. Rankings will be determined by a combination of factors, such as number of specific requests for a maiko or geiko (please don't cheat on this one by having your customer characters always ask for your maiko and geiko characters!) and even a bit of chance. Every single maiko and geiko character will be ranked here, and every single one has the chance to be popular.
Wondering which characters are more senior than others? Scroll more for the ranking of current active characters (i.e. not retired characters like the okaasans) by seniority.
Last updated March 19 due to the addition of a couple of new geiko characters, one of whom has been in the district for a long time (long enough to become independent) and should therefore be included in the rankings.
Popularity Rankings (as of mid-April, in-game time, and March 19 real-time)
1) Hanatoshi and Kimitoshi, tied (must be the misedashi and upcoming erikae double-whammy...)
3) Ichifumi and Kozen, tied (Kozen is NOT gonna like that)
4) Yaesuzu and Ichizakura, tied
5) Tsuda Saori (independent geiko affiliated with Ishida okiya, geimyo TBD)
6) Hachimitsu (independent geiko originally from another city, rank calculated assuming she arrived and began working around the second week of April)
Shimizu Hotaru (shikomi)
Ranking By Seniority
Ichishou and Ichizakura
Shimizu Hotaru (shikomi)
Technically speaking, every girl in each okiya is oneesan or imouto to everyone else. All older/more senior girls share some of the responsibility of caring for younger and more inexperienced girls, while the younger/less senior girls owe respect and gratitude to their seniors. This is a list showing the official oneesan/imouto relationships between individual geiko and/or maiko in the district.
- Tsuda Saori (independent geiko) currently has no little sister but may become oneesan to Hotaru.
- Ichisei is oneesan to Ichifumi and may be oneesan to Hotaru.
- Ichifumi is oneesan to Ichishou and Ichizakura.
- Ichishou and Ichizakura do not currently have younger sisters, and okaasan thinks they are not experienced enough for the responsibility.
- Hinako is oneesan to Kozen and will most likely be oneesan to Sami.
- Kozen does not have a younger sister, though okaasan may decide to make her Sami’s oneesan.
- Yaekano is Yaehisa’s oneesan.
- Yaehisa is Yaesuzu’s oneesan.
- Yaesuzu does not have a younger sister.
- Kanotoshi is oneesan to both Hanatoshi and Kimitoshi
- Hanatoshi does not have a younger sister.
- Kimitoshi does not have a younger sister.
Regarding Ichisei, Hinako, Yaekano, and Kanotoshi’s oneesans
All four women do have oneesan, though (with one possible exception) they never come into play as game characters. For the curious, here are the backstories:
- Ichisei’s oneesan was a senior maiko named Ichiwaka, who suddenly quit and ran away from Sakuragawa just before entering her sakkou period. Nobody knows what happened to her, where she is now, or why she left. The position of oneesan to Ichisei was kindly taken over by a retired geiko who had been part of Ichigokoro’s okiya when they were both young.
- Hinako’s oneesan is Ueno Hanako, who was a geiko before she retired to join her sisters in teaching dance lessons. Though she would never risk the disgrace of dissolving her sister relationship with Hinako, she is often embarrassed by Hinako’s immaturity.
- Yaekano and Kanotoshi share an older sister, from whom they both inherited the “kano” portions of their name. Former geiko Kanomi is the current proprietress of the Kawayanagi ochaya. She encourages everyone in the district to modernize and be more open to first-time customers, and her influence helped Kanotoshi appreciate performing for tourists and educatiing them about the world of geiko and maiko.
- Tags:hanatoshi, hinako, ichifumi, ichigokoro, ichisei, ichishou, ichizakura, kanotoshi, kimitoshi, kogiku, kozen, toshiyasu, yaehisa, yaekano, yaemaru, yaesuzu
An ozashiki just isn't complete without a few geiko and/or maiko to entertain your guests. This thread will help you figure out how to hire all the geiko and/or maiko you need for your event!
To hire maiko and/or geiko, please copy and paste this form into your own new post with the subject "Ozashiki Request":
Your character name:
Event date: (please use the REAL day you want to have the event, and please work out the time it will happen with the other players involved)
Type of event: (e.g. wedding, party at a hotel, ozashiki at an ochaya, private party...any even you might possibly want to hire a geiko or maiko for)
Location of event: (e.g. one of the ochaya, the hotel or ryokan, etc.)
First choice of geiko and maiko to attend: (please note that if your choices are busy or their player(s) won't be available when you want to play the party, they might not be able to attend your party and a different maiko or geiko might be suggested.)