Saturday, December 10, 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha

When I moved to Japan, I spent the first month wishing it was France. It was unbelievably humid, raining all the time, and I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying. My work hours were horrendous and I didn't know any Americans.

I remember my roommate giving me a book and this. It was a book about geisha (which I first pronounced GEEsha until a kind student corrected me--the actual pronunciation is GAYsha) I was skeptical at first and convinced that I would be bored. Nonetheless, I had nothing else to read (and I am a big reader), so I started reading it.

Almost instantly a whole new world opened up to me. A world of an older, still somewhat secluded pre-war Japan where children were sold into slavery to become the absolute woman. Beautiful, skilled in all of the arts, mysterious, and available to the highest bidder. They (geisha) were the trendsetters. Yet they lived in slavery to the owner of their geisha house with no freedom to be what they wanted or to love whom they chose.

Except for Sayuri, the main character who loved a man who gave her hope as a child and did everything in her power to bring herself to that man.

In many ways, this book was the doorway to a new love affair for me...a love affair with the mysterious Japan.

The film version of this wonderful book has hit selected markets this weekend and will open everywhere December 23. I hope you get a chance to see it as well.

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