April 9th at Yoshiwara, a few minutes walk from Senso-ji Temple; found me enjoying the Oiran Dochu Procession.
We arrived just as it started, and managed to snag a very good viewing spot right at the side of the stage. Nobody in front of my camera. My Google maps was directing me another 5 minutes north, when my husband saw a crowd gathered up ahead. So glad we decided to check it out, as it was where the Oiran Dochu parade would end. Awesome discovery saving us some precious minutes.
As we were standing where the parade would end, we had the longest to wait for the Oiran. This turned out being a good thing, as it gave my husband time to go get food, while I secured out spot. Unfortunately, my fussy two year old decided sitting in the stroller, waiting for food and entertainment was absolutely NOT what he was going to do. Distracting my son worked for about 2 minutes. There was no way my husband could get to us with the food. There was a crowd of about 10 people deep between us, and the security guard wouldn't let my husband pass the bag of food to us. I think this was a lack of communication, rather than the guard being unnecessarily difficult.
I was ready to admit defeat; having got there just in the nick of time, with a great view, but a hungry kiddo, tired and about to wail. At these moments, I look from my camera to my child, and put the camera away. Sad face.
Leaving the stroller where it is (no way to get it out) I walk my son under the barrier and around to where my husband is. The guard lets my son through to my husband, and I run go back to my photo spot. So thankful and relieved.
So now, both my son and husband are happy. They have food and go to a nearby playground. And I get to wait for the procession to make its way to the stage. I am so thankful for opportunities like these: cultural experiences, enjoying my host's festivals and celebrations. The places and things I am blessed to witness, and photograph are such a driving force in my creative practice. I couldn't do it without the support of an ever patient husband, who doesn't mind getting up early and traipsing all over the place; even to the point of hiking mountains (he does not care for heights, shall we say). And more often than not, I am the lucky one who gets to see these delights while Father-Of-The-Year is watching our son, and making sure he's pacified. Such a blessing from the Lord is my husband.
Oiran (花魁) were courtesans in Japan.
They were entertainers, and many became celebrities outside the pleasure districts.
There are no remaining oiran. The women who play the roles of oiran in courtesan parades are actresses.
Dōchū is a shortened form of oiran-dochu, also the name for the walk the top courtesans made around the quarter or the parade they made to escort their guests. This parade features three oiran in full regalia—Shinano, Sakura, and Bunsui—among the cherry blossoms in April. Each oiran wears 15-cm tall geta.
Thousands of spectators crowd the shopping streets on these days to get close enough to photograph the oiran and their retinue of male bodyguards and entourage of apprentices (young women in distinctive red kimono and white face paint).
(referenced from Wikipedia)