Don’t Confuse Geisha and Courtesans (Oiran and Tayu)

Images of geisha and courtesans are often mislabeled. For those unfamiliar with subtleties in the styling and wear of kimono, obi, and traditional Japanese hairstyles, it can be difficult to differentiate between a geisha, a bride, a housewife visiting friends, … Continue reading

New York Diaries Redux

I really enjoyed the selection and arrangement of diary excerpts in New York Diaries: 1609-2009 (Modern Library, 2012).┬áRead my post on the book here. I particularly like how the segments capture the environment of New York depending on the period: … Continue reading

Geisha and Maiko – Japanese Classical Dance

I used to be involved in a Japanese dance troupe in New York city. Most people aren’t familiar with the dance style, and describing it as akin to kabuki still drew blank looks. Within the dance, there is a correct … Continue reading

Iro Iro: My Brief Moment as a Japanese Classical Dancer

Kimono? White makeup? Shamisen music? In New York City? I spent a few years as part of a semi-professional kabuki dance troupe here, as a student. Many westerners might think white makeup when “kabuki” is mentioned, but they might be … Continue reading

It’s Friday! Do “The Baltimore”

While I think the city of Baltimore had little to do with inspiring the creation of this dance tune by Fred Rich and the Hotel Astor Orchestra, this 1928 ditty is well equipped to send us into the weekend. Click … Continue reading