Part of the fascination of the East is that they do things differently there, including their karaoke singing in bars and clubs. There are also the famous geishas and, unbelievably, religious ceremonies are held in temples for retired gaming machines. Geisha girls are one of the most enduring symbols of Japan, yet they are rarely seen.
Sort of like cowboys in America, only less dusty. There used to be around 17,000 of them in the 1970s but today their numbers are down to fewer than a thousand, mostly in Osaka and Kyoto. The geisha is an important part of traditional Japanese social life. Usually circulating their services in the higher classes exclusively, these women are extensively trained in many of the traditional Japanese arts as professional hostesses.
They are said to have exceptional grace and exquisite charm.
The earliest geishas were men, but by the 18th century, women dominated the trade.
Young girls may start training before reaching puberty. At age 17, they begin living in a maiko, a house where young novice geishas learn their arts. Only women who are at the top of their group and pass a rigorous exam actually become geisha. Geisha means “Beauty Person” or “Person who lives by the arts”, and that they do.
They are trained in music, calligraphy, sado (tea ceremony), poetry, conversation and social graces as well as a three stringed instrument called a shamisen. They dress in traditional kimonos, gorgeous in their elegance. Simple wooden clogs are worn for footwear, and hair is up in coiffures adorned with metallic accessories.
The makeup of centuries is a white foundation; lips are painted a stark red. For the younger girl, only the upper lip is painted. For extra sensual appeal, a red streak is painted at the nape of the neck, for the more neck you show, the more risqué your costume. If you want to hire a geisha, the charge for two hours is around $ 300 and for that a geisha will perform dances with song, pour your beer if you’d rather not have tea, and politely answer your questions. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not prostitutes.
The easiest way to see a geisha is to attend the famous Cherry Blossom Dances in Kyoto.
Change is inevitable, however, and many Japanese businessmen feel more comfortable in the company of modern hostesses and barmaids. The Japanese have always been famous for keeping abreast of modernity and for their interest in profiting from the stock market, though for some years now, it has been extremely hard to make money in Japanese shares.
Gambling is a strong part of Japanese culture.
Japan is the only country in the world where funerals are held for retired gaming machines. Buddhist monks surrounded by incense chant sutras while mourners in black suits look on.
On altars in Japanese temples, you can really find pinball machines. Each year some 500,000 machines are put to rest to make way for newer versions, and these temple ceremonies are held to bid farewell to a few faithful machines.
The Japanese version of pinball is pachinko, a wildly popular game. It’s a form of vertical pinball in which the player shoots small metal balls into a pin-filled playing field. The balls then bounce from pin to pin until they come to rest in one of many compartments with various payout values. Japan’s 17,000 noisy, smoky and garishly lit gaming parlors took in an estimated $ 230 billion in sales last year from four million machines. In contrast, there are only about 500,000 gaming machines in the U.S. Japanese companies are also moving into Las Vegas.
One of Japan’s largest gaming companies has announced plans to invest over $ 250 million in a company owned by Steve Wynn. A Japanese language edition of a Las Vegas tourist magazine named Showbiz magazine is planned for next April. Negotiations are under way to also distribute the publication on Northwest Airlines and Japan Airlines nonstop flights between Tokyo and Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is one of the top foreign destinations for Japanese tourists and Japan is the top overseas market for Las Vegas. Two Las Vegas-based companies, Mikohn Gaming Corp. and Anchor Gaming also have plans to introduce a new slot machine game based on pachinko. That’s even more reason to introduce a new online casino where the accent is Japanese. At JapaneseCasino.com, the nearest game to pachinko is of course the slot machine, but there are other games to interest players. There’s blackjack, roulette, paigow poker, Caribbean stud, craps, video poker, and more.
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