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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(3 star). See all 21 reviews
on 24 February 2013
I found this book interesting and no one could take away the fact that Liza Dalby worked as a Geisha for one year.

However I found it a little misleading as the write up led one to believe Liza Dalby was the only Western women to become a Geisha, my understanding is, the lady ACTED as a Geisha for one year in order to write about Geisha life. I understood to become a Giesha took years of training.
However Liza Dalby is to be congratulated for her contribution,This must have been a great time for Liz.
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on 25 April 2006
This book is interesting and certainly has some use in understanding the world of the geisha. However I was disappointed in some respects. The book is very dry, almost like a university dissertation. Of course it shouldn't have been as racey as Golden's book (Memoirs of a Geisha), but she still could have been more eloquent.

Also it is important to mention that Liza Dalby was NOT a geisha. This has either been a bit of nice PR from her publishers, or perhaps from Dalby herself. Although she was allowed to accompany geiko friends to some of their parties to help better understand their world:

a) she never went through the formal processes of becoming a geisha (or maiko) herself, including the years of training.

b) she was not formally associated with any of the okiya or ochaya in Kyoto.

c) she was not formally registered as a geisha with the community authorities.

d) clients were not billed for her attendance at parties.

It may seem exciting to believe that a non-Japanese woman was a geisha, but slapping on some makeup, wearing a kimono and going out into the night is not sufficient. It is unfair to the real geisha and maiko of Japan to continue with this belief, as it belittles the hard work and effort they put in every day.

Instead I would recommend "Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World" by Lesley Downer, as she is more modest about her experiences with the various geisha communities.
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