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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

欲望、愛、ロスト&芸者 "Lust, Love, Lost & Geisha............."

Click Here to read a more define review.
It's a universal truth. The novel is tenfolds better, than the film. 
"Memoirs Of A Geisha" By Arthur Golden goes into the symbolic life of his idea of what life is like for a Geisha.

I bet you're thinking 
"wow, she just finished the novel?" 
Well I have, what I call  "Reader Block Ending". I can't ever finish a novel. I'll stop five pages from the end and let it stay like that for months.
I dread an ending.

Everyone always tells me, "Well, you can read it over again". Yet, to me it's never the same.
It's like the character becomes part of your life. When it ends, he/she dies with it.
Young Chiyo Sakamoto
And when you read it again, it's like going back to a grave site of an entity that pierced your soul. The character teaches you a mystery, you never knew, or never wanted to know, or wanted to hide.....

Nonetheless, this novel is completely Americanized.
It's kind of hard learning about Japanese culture through someone that's not Japanese, or in this case not even a Geisha.
Although, I did appreciate the art form of a Geisha Mr. Golden described, and terms that I probably would have glossed over. 
Such as: Danna, Mizuage, Kanzashi, Maiko, Geta, Hitoe, etc.
Memoirs Of A Geisha" surrounds a young girl named Chiyo-chan. An ingenue character from Yoroido. 
A poverty life leads to life as Geisha. 
When, the tipsy household can too a drastic end with her mother on her death bed, and a father with no sense of hope. 
Left his two daughters futures up for grabs. 
A strange encounter with Chiyo-chan, and  Mr. Tanaka Ichiro. Planted the destiny of Satsu-San, & Chiyo-chan by selling theses two into life of Geisha.

The mesmerizing eyes of Chiyo-chan, & the dull appearance,and questionable virtue of Satsu-San... led these two girls on two different journeys.

One on the journey of a life of wood that's rooted to the earth, The other, on the journey of water, that crave the storm.

With Sastu-san finds herself in "The pleasure district" Jorou-ya ( a prostitute house). On the other hand, Chiyo arrives to an Okiya.

Upon Chiyo's arrival to her new dysfunctional family. 
Suzuka Ohgo as Young Chiyo Sakamoto
& Ken Watanabe as The Chairman
One penny pincher, Mother. One needy, and rude Granny.One lonesome Auntie. One partisan pumpkin, and vindictive Hatsumomo-san.

Chiyo-san stunning looks, and cleverness becomes a threat to Hatsumomo-san. Which leads her to a beleaguered behavior towards Chiyo-chan. 

Wishing to become a Geisha
This defines their relationship. A rivalry. 

 Chiyo is resistance of her new role, and future in her Okiya. Everything seems foreign to her. Her only hope is to find her sister, and run away.

She tries to find an escape, through memories of her mother,sister,father, and the tipsy house. 

Eventually through playing mind games with Hatsumomo, Chiyo finds her sister in a horrible state. The two plan too escape, Yet, Satsu-san makes it clear that she'll leave with, or without Chiyo.

Nonetheless, Chiyo takes the gamble, and tries to escape. But, the escapee is caught with a broken leg, and this failed attempt to flee added more to her debts. 

This failed escape, laid out only a life as a mere servant.
Yet, this didn't seem to be a problem. Chiyo's life was empty, without hope. 

Well that changed when she met The Chairman.
A kind, and successful entrepreneur in the electric business. He shows Chiyo-chan kindness, gentleness, and tells her:
 " None of find as much kindness in this world as we should"

This little encounter and chat turn into an innocent admiration, on both parts. Leaves Chiyo in a need to become a Geisha, and a handkerchief that becomes part of her being.

Yet, her desire to become a Geisha didn't happen overnight. Not until the sudden death of Granny, and beautiful Geisha (whom Chiyo had crossed paths with the help of Hatsumono.)
Mameha teaching Sayuri
How to use the hand fan correctly 
With an urgent whisper the beautiful Geisha requested a chat with Chiyo, after looking at her peculiar eyes.

Mameha-san was a very popular Geisha. 
With a little apprehension, and bewilderment Chiyo snuck out, met and chatted with Mameha.
Mameha decided to take on Chiyo as a younger sister.

For reason that remained secret, til the very end.
Her years as a servant, now made her a late pupil.

It wouldn't be a Cinderella story without a jealous, stepsister. 
Hatsumomo-san putting in road blocks, for her future competition. 

Every since Chiyo became the little sister to Mameha, she lost her dear friend Pumpkin. Who's now Hatsumomo-san protégé. 

The Okiya has now become a battlefield. Pumpkin only hopes of becoming adopted by Mother, for the Okiya. 
Only for future comfortability. However, being mental tortured by Hatsumomo-san.

For old rivalries, there's always new ones.
Mameha and Sayuri
Pumpkin becomes a Maiko apprenticeship, while Chiyo still studies to become a Geisha. 
Her debut eventually comes with hard work and Mother giving Chiyo a second-chance, due to her little bet with Mameha-san. 

Chiyo now becomes Sayuri-san, and Mameha-san becomes her "older sister". 
Sayuri-san becomes well-liked. 
Hatsumomo is trying hard to tarnish Sayuri reputation. Her success made only slight dents in Sayuri popularity.

After her first sumo match, and coming in contact again with her clandestine infatuation with The Chairman. 
She come upon another road block, Nobu-san Toshikazu. Who has a reputation for being harsh, narrowed-minded; nevertheless a good heart. 
Sayuri-san Dancing
"Dances of the capital"
However Nobu-san, and the Chairman are great friends, and would never fight over a geisha.
 So, the chairman steps aside.

Sayuri is getting use to the idea, and don't mind waiting. Keep the chairman locked her heart.
Sayuri has been introduced to influential men, and made a name for herself at the "Dances of The Capital"; and becomes another high commodity.  

Mameha's Danna "The Baron" has taken a liking to Sayuri. "The Baron" is known for defiling women. This invitation extended especially to Sayuri, when he requested her presence at his party. 
 However, Sayuri left as she came in. 
A virgin.

When the bidding began for Sayuri Mizuage ( her virginity). The bidders: 
Nobu-san, Dr. Crab, and The Baron.
Dr. Crab won this bid.  
Nobu shows his affection for Sayuri
Yet, Dr. Crab ( who's known for only an interest in the mizuage), Sayuri-san deflowerment, went more like a Bill Nye the science guy voyage.

The rumors Hatsumomo spread. did little damage. 
Nevertheless, left Sayuri becoming Mother's daughter. Her mizuage was the highest bid since Mameha, which made her highly profitable. Granny wanted to keep her for that exact reason.

 That means she'll have control over the Okiya, when Mother dies. Yet, the Okiya, was promised to Pumpkin. 
Which would have gave Hatsumomo a long term residence.
Once Sayuri, became Mother's adopted daughter; Hatsumomo became odious, parallel to Eris. 
She become destructive, and destroys herself. 

And, eventually is kicked out of the Okiya. Yet, Sayuri can't help to think ..would this be my future? sad, lonely and mad. 

The lifestyle of the Geisha, left her feeling worthless.. She never saw Hatsumomo-san again.

The world was changing. As Sayuri described it before her life was a stream of water that took her wherever the wind blows. 

 It blew over the her friendship with Nobu, it blew over a war.
After her mizuage Sayuri took a Danna, General Tottori . 
Which left Nobu, and Sayuri on bad terms. 
Her life with her Danna was unsavory, dull, and predictable. 
That was until the war struck.
The Okiya split up. 
Every woman for themselves.
Nobu arranged for Sayuri to be hidden, but not without a harsh goodbye.
These two don't cross paths, until after the war. Sayuri goes into the details of her life during the war.
Bleak, and a sad cry from the life of a geisha.

The war is over, and Nobu comes back asking for favors.

Iwamura Electric, has been destroyed, due to the war.
The only way that Nobu, and The Chairman can rebuild their company, Sayuri has to entertain Deputy Minister Sato. Who can help rebuild Iwamura Electric, to what it once was.

After a short reunion with Mameha, and Pumpkin. They decide to help with entertainment.  

Yet, with a little apprehension from Pumpkin, who seem to had the war weighing heavily  upon her. However, it did wonders for her beauty.
Now with the Americans looking for the next Geisha for their mere entertainment, Pumpkin has become very popular.
After entertaining  Deputy Minister Sato on many occasions; Iwamura Electric was back in business.
 And, Nobu already grabbing dibs on Sayuri. Now that he can afford to be her Danna.

Nonetheless, Sayuri is not joyous as Nobu. Seeing her future becoming more gloomy, than life as a Geisha.

Ultimately, this led her on a scheme to rid of Nobu, from becoming her Danna. She knows if Nobu catches her in a tryst, he'll never be able to forgive her.

That's exactly what she does on a weekend trip.

Sayuri's plan backfired in Amami Islands, when Pumpkin betrays Sayuri. After, agreeing to bring Nobu where she planned to seduce Deputy Minister Sato. 

All the hate that been passed down from Hatsumomo, and all the trauma Pumpkin had to endured during the war...turned into hatred.
Sayuri becomes idle, in a state of sock think her life would only a nothingness. Her life with Nobu.

She is fond of Nobu and thankful for all his help. Nevertheless, she's not in love with him. 

Yet, it come to her surprise that  Nobu has giving her up. The chairman, proclaim his love, and explain why he stayed o the sidelines for so long.  
He explains to her that he knows why she did what she did, and he forgives her, but Nobu could never.

The Chairman becomes her Danna, Sayuri retires from being a Geisha. They spend of the rest of their days In New York, with memories, and a love that was enduring.

The story ends with exotic surrounds, and ex-geisha in Kimono, reflecting on her past and her future as a  wave rising ocean.....
Words Of 愛 "Love"
I saw  "Memoirs Of A Geisha" movie before reading the novel. And let me tell you, I knew nothing about the life of Geisha, and I was completely turned off about a romanticized prostitution fable.
Yet, once I learned more, and more about Geisha and the art form these women present..
I developed more respect. 
I love how this novel was written. A lyric, and imagery writing style.. Mr. Golden is poet.
But, like Arthur Golden I can't say a geisha is a courtesan or not. But either way, I never saw such a beautiful display of beauty. I come to admire Geisha, not as wives, a courtesan , but as a secret world of beauty.

Amour Toujours 
Nailah D'arcy 

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