Meandering around the Asakusa district in Tokyo, you see all kinds of Japanese culture at its best. We were there to see the shrine, eat some tempura, and gawk at the vendors and other buskers trying to make a few yen for the day. On a Sunday, the area around the shrine is teeming with pilgrims, tourists, and families out for the afternoon. It’s one of my favorite places in Tokyo.
This pretty Tokyo geisha was being photographed and followed around by a woman that kept fixing her hair, her dress, the way she stood. The modern day geisha is not as frequently seen as in the past. Too much hype and mystery surrounds them, so whenever one is about, she is usually hurrying away. That wasn’t the case on this day. I’m not sure what was going on, but they also had a photographer with them, and the geisha patiently waited while I took a few photos, smiling directly at me.
This is such a fine example on what wonderful hosts the Japanese are. In every aspect, they want foreigners, tourists to have a great time in their country. As a white woman, it’s easy to see that I’m a foreigner. The peope of Tokyo had no idea that we had lived in Japan for three years and speak passable Japanese, are even able to read a few signs. But, everytime we looked like we had a question, someone would approach us and ask if we needed help. We took it. No traveler ever turns down help with directions!
The other thing that made me smile about our short interaction was that the Japanese love getting their pictures taken. For a travel photographer like me, it’s so nice to know that you will very rarely be turned down when wanting to take a photo. After traveling throughout the Mid-east, where many people still fear that a photograph will steal their souls, I was more than happy to be back in Japan where having their photo taken was always a YES and so much fun.
Have you been to the Asakusa district in Tokyo? Have you had the good luck to see a geisha? What are some of the things that you appreciate about the Japanese culture?