15 March 2016
Watashi no namae wa Atsuko desu
My name is Atsuko. I am 16 years old, born and raised in the small fishing village of Funaya in the Yosa district. My Obāsan (grandmother) was all I had. Sadly she suddenly fell ill last autumn and passed away in December. She left an empty place in my heart that can never be replaced. Obāsan told me exciting stories about the Edo period and the beautiful geisa and maikos living in the okiyas. The culture captivated me. I used to paint my face and dress up as a geisha dreaming away many afternoons in the house of my beloved Obāsan. Before her death she encouraged me to follow my dream and apply for shikomi. She knew I would be provided for by the Okaasan if I got accepted. In March I started my training as shikomi under the strict guidance of Okaasan Kikuyu at Hanafusa Okiya, Kyoto. During the probation period I am not allowed to leave the hanamachi. A new journey has begun and I am excited and ridden with fear entering the mysterious 'flower and willow world'.