This April we anticipate the Misedashi of Hachihana.. the debut from shikomi through minarai to maiko of our misha-chan. Misha has always had art quite prevalent in her life starting shortly after she learnt to sit up as a baby. She would sit next to me as I painted my Tibetan Thangkas.. and of course she has been watching and supporting me all the time I have been exploring this Geisha Path. Her journey has been much different from mine therefore as she is engaging with a functioning Okiya in Totnes 🙂
As her biological mother it has been important for me to strike a balance between being open about her learning to become a maiko.. and spreading awareness that this was a path ‘I’ had chosen and therefore not one she should feel any pressure to follow herself.
However, given the choice between staying over at a friend’s house whilst we hosted our events and coming to help out she mostly chose to come help and was identifying as a Shikomi before too long (still I would keep on making sure there was no pressure at all – this dedication to making sure that was the case probably tested her patience a few times) ^^
As we put our okiya activities together more formally in the approach to my Misedashi she was very helpful.. taking care of the younger people in our lives during times that needed more focus.. stitching things here and there.. and learning things like the games.. making sushi and tea ^^ She got very good at respectfully reassuring me through my nervousness also.. which indicated to me that we could work as ‘sisters’.
After assisting at a few of our regular ozashiki Misha-chan moved onto our junior minarai stage (reflected by donning a furisode kimono with long sleeves). Her help became more concentrated as she worked with our Taikomochi ‘Hachizaru’ – creating more of a flow in the main room, coordinating entertainment and encouraging others to participate in the games we play at the ozashiki.
About a year into her helping at the Ozashiki Misha-chan then received her geisha name ‘Hachihana’. She received this as part of her sisterhood ceremony (bonding us as sisters in the okiya) moving on shortly after the ceremony to wear her senior minarai outfit we grew to love so much!
By this time our okiya activities had grown into providing regular ozashiki and people were more and more recognising us in the town. I heard more times from people ‘Oh.. you are the Totnes Geisha’ and less of ‘Oh.. the Mikado must be on’. With Hachihana getting well used to her trailing kimono it was time to think about what sort of maiko she might like to be. Hachihana started helping us to dress people at our larger events and we were requested to perform at a few places.. so we planned a performance we could both do together…
We appeared at the Amala Festival in Totnes and also the Carnival Procession.. Hachihana’s fame was spreading and she gained confidence over the time approaching her Misedashi