JAPAN “Work of self, obtainment of self”

“Work of self, obtainment of self.” This saying is the base of human success.

World traveling has taught me many foreign cultures. Japan offered an education into the personal discipline of the country.

Tokyo, a city with limited garbage cans but no street garbage and people waiting for a train standing in straight lines.

The uniform of all businessmen was black suits, white shirts, and ties. Ready for this, a young man in a black suit walking the sidewalk bent down and picked up a piece of paper, and put it in his pocket. I thought I was on the set of the “Stepford Wives”.

Geisha… the good, the bad and the myths. The good, today they are celebrities and can become wealthy. The bad is historical, the geisha was the female escort and mistress to samurai, emperors, wealthy men, and last of all the kamikaze pilots.

The myth, some people still think of them as ladies of the night, which was abolished.

To be a geisha, they cannot marry, must obey high standards and work in a cloistered environment for five years. A potential geisha must be beautiful and embrace the desire to become cultured and wealthy. They never stop learning,

Some geishas have forty years of learning and teaching. These young women (called Maiko)live together with a Geisha Mother (teacher) will spend in excess of $500,000 dollars over the long learning period.

She trains them in the arts, music, dance, unique etiquette, dress, and makeup. A senior girl is assigned to an apprentice for training and friendship. Their lives are sheltered, private and secure.

Performing concert levels of music and dance is a must, but still, are required to join and support dinner/tea parties.

The exquisite kimonos are fashioned using rare beautiful silk; top geishas have about two dozen, costing upwards of $8,000 each.

Uppermost geishas receive from $1,700 to $2,500 to perform for two hours. Geishas are now a hallmark of Japan’s highly regarded heritage.The disciplined of life of a geisha is unparalleled.

Thinking back, I reflected on the natural beauty. Wherever we went, there were manicured gardens. This is shown, visiting the simple home of a samurai, the backyard was elaborately landscaped. There were fountains, a small lake, and fantastic shrubbery.

We probably spent too much time visiting gardens, but it is also the pride of Japan.

We traveled with a Japanese doctor and his wife from California. At lunch in Hiroshima, he related the history of his family. He, his mother and siblings lived in an internment camp during WWII, while his father, a U.S. citizen, fought in the U. S. Army.

Discussing this real-life tragedy makes the period become a reality.

In Hiroshima, the only structure kept was one destroyed building, the new Peace Memorial Shrine, and a new museum. This is a reminder to all of what happened.

Not a word was spoken about Pearl Harbor or the over 300,000 U.S. soldiers killed, wounded or missing in their war on America.

This could be logical because the younger Japanese may not be taught this fact. A lesson to be aware of in our American schools, history should not open to individual interpretations.

This trip with my wife was a structured tour. Consequently, not much time to use my camera or I would riding UBER back to the hotel. www.RonMcGinty.com

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