Joanna Lumley's Japan (2016) s01e02 Episode Script

Tokyo - Kyoto

1 JOANNA LUMLEY: This is Tokyo, Japan's colossal capital city.
Wow, it's endless.
It's like a perpetual Times Square or Piccadilly Circus just multiplied again and again.
This is a place that assaults your every sense, where everything feels like an unfathomable matrix of discombobulation.
I can't wait to explore it.
So far, my adventure travelling the length of Japan from north to south has revealed a land of great natural wonder Isn't that beautiful? (CHITTERS) Hello, monk.
and a rich culture formed over thousands of years.
Look at that! Now, on the main island of Honshu Bam.
I'll be exploring the modern and sometimes crazy metropolis of Tokyo.
Beautiful creature.
It's just a creature.
I'll explore an ancient mountain walkway once trod by shogun and samurai "Ring the bell hard against bears".
before seeing Kyoto in full bloom and exploring the secret world of the geisha.
You're wearing your tall shoes.
Yes, I am as tall as you now.
(BOTH LAUGH) Come with me to Japan.
(GIGGLING) To get a better understanding of this megacity, I'm taking to the air.
Tokyo has been the centre of power in Japan for over 400 years.
It has the biggest population of any urban area on the planet, and from the air, the city seems never to end.
It is absolutely awesome up here.
No matter where you look, Tokyo spreads out underneath you.
Buildings everywhere, 38 million people living here in this huge city.
The most extraordinary thing is that practically everything you can see was built after World War Two.
The city was firebombed.
There was practically nothing left standing and so it pulled itself up by its bootstraps and began to grow.
It's astonishing.
After the American bombing, the single-minded dedication of the people that rebuilt the city from ashes into the world's second-biggest economy also created a society with culture, security, excellent food and extraordinary courtesy.
Look at that tower! Despite its size, modern-day Tokyo is now a rich city with barely any poverty, a low crime rate and world-class transport system, and has been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world.
It's fantastic.
Back to Earth with a bump, and on the street, it's clearly apparent that nearly one-third of the population of Japan lives in Tokyo.
These facemasks are intriguing.
Almost everyone seems to be wearing them.
Nobody's really sure if it's to stop the wearer getting sick or to stop them making someone else sick.
Or maybe it's just to remain anonymous in this crowd.
Or maybe it's just to hide your emotions.
14 billion people travel on the Tokyo Metro each year .
and being Japan, it's incredibly clean and efficient.
I've come to Asakusa, the old entertainment district.
These days it's home to a unique street that supplies the city's 80,000 restaurants.
Although, technically, I'm not in the catering trade, I'm always drawn to useful kitchen wear.
I always want housecoats.
I always want to wear things like this.
I actually I think I love this.
That's gonna come home with me.
I won't put it on now because we're filming and making a programme, but that's mine.
This is Kappabashi Street.
If you wanted to open a restaurant, you'd come here, because you can get all the chefs' whites here.
You get little skillets.
Oh, my gosh, you've got everything.
You've got whisks, tiny tin bowls.
Oh, look, how beautiful, a little apron with pockets.
Here you could get all the signs, all your restaurant signs.
But I've stumbled upon a fantastic little shop that helps explain Japan's bewildering menus.
This is a shop that supplies Tokyo's restaurants with the plastic food that they put in their windows.
Look at this.
Plates of meat.
Lobsters, fish and beer.
You'd believe that was ice but it's actually just plastic.
They are so lifelike.
If you saw that in a window, you'd almost think it was freshly-cooked chicken goujon in breadcrumbs, lovely slice of lemon, tomato, fresh as a daisy.
And will last for years sitting in your window.
Oh, and look at this .
a sushi clock.
So it'ssort of shrimp past mackerel or something like that.
(CHUCKLING) I think that's terribly funny.
It's divine.
Simply being able to point at a plastic pizza rather than decipher a menu is one of those inventive courtesies they do so well in this country.
Courtesy and good manners are big in Japan and are learnt from a very young age, especially at meal times.
Thank you.
I've been invited to spend lunchtime with the children of the Fuji Kindergarten.
This one has got a very cute little face in the rice down here.
And this little person has got just a darling little lunchbox.
Before they started their lunch, they were sitting patiently around.
Then they sang a song, which was "When they wake up, it's lunchtime.
" "We've washed our hands, we're ready and we're happy and excited to eat our lunch.
" Then they thank the teachers, so an immense amount of courtesy for, really, quite little people.
For Japan, this is a unique school that goes beyond teaching traditional values.
Rather than the normal focus on discipline and conformity, here, free thought and movement are actively encouraged.
With the building's specially-designed oval roof creating an endless playground.
The brainchild of all this is its principal Seikishi Kato.
The children here have got such free spirit.
What makes this school different from other primary schools, baby schools? (SPEAKING JAPANESE) In a country that was closed to all outsiders for hundreds of years, Kato-san is making sure his students have broad horizons.
Can I sit in on your class? Of course.
Speaking English is being seen increasingly as an essential life skill in Japan.
What kind of animals can you see at the zoo? A turtle.
Llama! Llamas, very good.
Do you guys have animals at your house? No.
Anybody have a pet? A rooster.
You have a rooster at your house? Yes.
Do you have an animal at your house? I have two cats.
Boys and girls, do you like cats? CHILDREN: Yes.
How old are you? CHILDREN: Six.
You can usually tell a six-year-old, because that's when their teeth come out.
You've still got no teeth.
Can we all see teeth? We show our six-year-old teeth, go like this.
Look at you, darling, excellent tooth work there.
With progressive schools like this, it's positive change at a grass-roots level.
Bye-bye, sweetheart.
The old ways are starting to change throughout all spheres of Japanese society.
What I love about this school is the sense of freedom it has.
The children are all treated as individuals, encouraged to be individuals.
Courtesy, responsibility, individuality - fabulous.
I wish I was here now.
Unlike the West, individuality has traditionally been looked on with misgivings in Japan.
I've even heard a famous old expression, "The nail that sticks out must be hammered down.
" But here in the wastelands of a Tokyo suburb, one person is striving to be different.
Minori is 23 and is credited with reinventing a centuries-old Japanese style called Shironuri, which means "painted in white".
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) She may look like a modern-day geisha, but Minori designs and makes all her own clothes and make-up.
She collaborates with her photographer Teppei to create strange ethereal characters that have been exhibited internationally and featured in Vogue.
I love the way they've chosen this location where all her soft clothes go with this dead and dying vegetation.
And the green in her scarf picks up the green of that bridge and the slightly tawny-coloured hair and that chalk-white face.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) This reminds me of modelling days, and no matter how cold it is, how much the wind blows, you're still there, beautiful.
She hasn't flinched all this time.
She must be frozen.
Beautiful creature.
It's just a creature standing amongst the reeds.
Hi, Minori-san.
Oh! Oh.
(GIGGLES) My dear little one.
Can I carry your beautiful dress? There, I shall be your train-bearer, Minori.
Thank you.
(LAUGHS) Thank you.
Minori-san, you have won a new fan.
Oh! (GIGGLING) Really? I think you're wonderful.
You look wonderful, really beautiful.
Thank you.
How does Japan see you? (SPEAKING JAPANESE) In Japan, there is a saying .
that a nail that sticks up too much must be hammered down.
What do you think about that? (SPEAKING JAPANESE) (GIGGLES) I quite agree.
Teppei-san? Yes.
Will you take a picture of us together? Yes.
Thank you.
In a country of conformity, Minori is a unique individual who's trying to break the mould.
OK, cool.
(CAMERA SHUTTER) But after dark, in the Akihabara district of downtown Tokyo, this sense of theatricality continues.
Groups of besuited male office workers are joining forces with gangs of teenage boys to celebrate Japan's new masked entertainers.
ANNOUNCER: This is Kamen Joshi! (POP MUSIC PLAYING) (CROWD CHANTING) Kamen Joshi is an 18-piece girl group that performs twice nightly to its legion of devoted fans.
Its name translates as "masked girls".
(MUSIC CHANGES TO HEAVY ROCK) Sakura Yuki has been in the band for two years.
Tell me about the mask.
Put it for me.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah! (LAUGHS) All the girls are what sort of age? How old are they? 18 and 26.
Up to 26? Yeah, yeah.
And so is this your only job or do you study somewhere or have jobs? Yeah, yeah.
Oh, wow.
And what do you study? Psychology? (CHUCKLES) Well, then you will give me a glimpse into your fan base, the fans, the audience.
Do some of them come after a long day at the office? Some seem very young, some a bit older.
(SAKURA YUKI SPEAKING) Are they mostly men? Yeah, yeah, mostly men, mostly men.
(CROWD CHEERING, BAND SINGING) It's an incredible statistic that nearly a third of all Japanese men are single today, and that perhaps explains the enthusiasm of the audience tonight.
Each fan can show just where his loyalty lies, the colour of the glow stick signifying which girl he likes the best.
How often do you come? Umonce or twice a week.
Do you? And you know all the songs and all the movements? Almost.
Which is your favourite girl? Mai, over there.
This one holding the card? Yeah.
And so, when you have your light, what colour do you have? Purple.
That's her colour? I had a purple one tonight.
Oh, really? Yeah.
I didn't know it was her colour but I went (HEAVY ROCK MUSIC PLAYING, BAND MEMBER SHOUTING) There might be something slightly strange about these men fanatically following a group of young girls.
(CROWD CHANTING) But maybe with so many single men, they get a sense of belonging and camaraderie that their day jobs and social lives don't provide.
(SINGING CONTINUES) It's extraordinary, it's fantastic.
I've never seen anything like it.
The audience is as skilled and as important as the stars on stage.
The 18 girls are fabulous, but the audience seem to know every single song, all the gestures.
They've got clique-y things they do together and Wa-wa-wa! It's just extraordinary, very exciting.
I love it and I think it's time for more.
It's my last night in Tokyo and I feel as if I've only scraped the surface of this vast, dazzling metropolis.
It's so huge, I could live here for a year and it would still be just as bewildering.
I love this.
I've spent hours sitting at this window just staring down at people crossing, hour after hour, just dreaming about a life in Tokyo.
That's actually a complete lie.
It's the first time I've ever sat down at this window.
You just get five minutes to sit down on this shoot, you know .
and have some ginger ale.
I've left Tokyo and I'm travelling south now.
I'm heading for the legendary Mount Fuji.
People who don't know Japan say "Fujiyama".
It isn't, it's "Fujisan".
It's cos I know Japan now.
But before I get to the mountain, I have a quick stop-off to make.
MATSUSAKI: Konnichiwa.
In my home back in England, I have the most beautiful woodblock print of Mount Fuji.
And I've always wanted to see first-hand the painstaking skill it takes to create these traditional Japanese works of art.
Oh, oh, oh, look at this.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) Oh! 79-year-old Keizaburo Matsuzaki is one of the last masters of this great art form.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) (GASPS) Look, it's beautiful.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) Ah! This is master's work.
Centuries before printing machines were available, wood-block printing was the only way to reproduce intricate art works.
Using a series of carved wooden blocks, one block for each colour.
Look at that.
The greatest artist who worked with wood-block printing was the 19th-century painter Hokusai who was renowned for his depictions of Mount Fuji.
Gradually building up, piece by piece.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) This is exactly the way If we were in Leonardo da Vinci's studio, or if we were back in the 1500s, 1400s, even 1300s, this is how people were working.
Nowadays, we get so used to everything being able to be aligned by computer.
This is the real skill.
This is why a handmade wood-block print is worth so much more than just perfection things, smack down, smack down.
Absolutely gorgeous.
(GASPS) Look at that, that's the finished one.
Isn't that beautiful? To see it from just an outline, suddenly to this gorgeous picture with depth and warmth and It's a privilege to watch a master at work.
(LAUGHS) Arigato.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) A couple of hours later, I'm approaching the real thing, the majestic Mount Fuji, and I'm positively giddy with anticipation.
Mount Fuji in all her splendour.
Blue skies, white slopes.
In fact, today, of course, it's not quite like that, but it gives us a tantalising glimpse of what she looks like in different weather conditions.
I think you can see that we've got the slope of the mountain here.
The little boat's missing.
It's not really cold, it's got this sort of golden feeling, the hard blue sky at the top and the reflection clearly showing underneath.
Undeterred, we continue travelling south through Honshu.
Centuries ago, the route between Tokyo and the ancient capital Kyoto passed through the remote Kiso Valley on the legendary Nakasendo Way.
This road was like the M1 of 16th-century Japan, and back then, in the days of samurai and the shogun, it was one of the few ways you could travel between the two great cities.
And this, believe it or not, is actually part of the road.
Terribly ancient.
People have been walking on this road for centuries.
Unbelievable little villages like this dotted all along the way.
The starting point of my walk is Tsumago, one of 69 postal towns along the route.
Apparently there's a man in the village, Yoshinori Fujiwara, who has a detailed map of the Nakasendo Way, so I thought I'd pop in to see what I might expect en route.
Hi, Joanna.
How good to see you.
Fujiwara-san's map is not what I expected.
(GASPS) Oh, my gosh.
Oh, my goodness.
Wow! No! It's got pleats within pleats.
This is the longest map I've ever seen.
Where are we? Just down here.
Oh, that's us here.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) So we must be one of these little houses here maybe? Yes.
(GASPS) Well, well.
Does this show the whole route from Tokyo to Kyoto, or just a part of it? (SPEAKING JAPANESE) (CHUCKLING) 20 maps.
You could put them around a room and still you wouldn't have room.
How extraordinary.
But it's so detailed, it shows the little houses, it shows all the bends.
It's beautiful.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) This is Magome? Yes.
That's where I'm walking to.
And that's only a 20th of this whole journey, and that's not even a 20th of the 20th, cos this is a tiny fraction of this map.
They were tough people in those days.
I think I would have brought a pony along with me, a pack animal of some kind.
Before I set off, there's just time for another stamp in my book.
Get good ink on it.
Oh, look, that's beautiful.
Thank you so much.
Signpost saying "Nakasendo".
You get very good sweets in Japan.
Nice to have them in your pocket and your mouth when you're walking.
"Naka" means "middle", "send" means "mountain", "do" means "way", "Nakasendo" means "the middle mountain way".
Look at these bamboos, they're immense.
It's like a forest.
My five-mile trek to Magome through winding, unspoilt countryside is hilly, and feels remote after the busy city.
And at all times, I have to keep my wits about me.
"Ring the bell hard against bears".
Wild bears aren't a threat today, but in the past, this route was fraught with danger, and people in high places had to take precautions when travelling this road.
In 1862, Princess Kazunomiya needed an entourage of 25,000 people to ensure her safe passage to Tokyo to marry the shogun.
This vast train of soldiers, servants and porters was so huge that it took three days to pass by.
People with less security often came a cropper, and all along the route are reminders of dastardly deeds committed centuries ago.
That's the Kirishima-Jingu shrine.
A terrible thing happened here, a vassal of the local noble lord was travelling with 30 of his servants, and bandits and brigands came out of the hills and killed them.
I wish I knew what that meant.
Maybe the horses were killed, as well.
I wouldn't have thought so, brigands would've used horses.
Somebody's put fresh daffodils.
Look at this.
Little squirrel's been down here and made its own offering.
Walnut shell.
This road is like a journey back in time, and it seems that at every turn, there's a story of Japan's past to be told.
The great samurai swordsman of the 17th century, Miyamoto Musashi, used to practise his sword skills here.
We're not going to film it, I know, but over there is the female waterfall.
This is the male waterfall, big, and that's fair enough because men are big.
And this is the female waterfall, very slightly smaller, and in many ways, women are slightly smaller than men.
And in many ways, very much bigger.
I'm a few miles into my walk along the Nakasendo Way and it feels like another time and another country.
This is so beautiful.
In a way, it reminds me of Switzerland or I don't know, any alpine or, in fact, any mountain villages.
Beautiful little wooden houses and woodpile stocked, everything kept neat and tidy, swept, small vegetable patches .
clothes hanging out to dry.
It's gorgeous.
The Nakasendo Way was really a political tool for the ruling shogun to maintain the fragile peace in Japan.
This way he could keep tabs on the unruly feudal lords, who he regularly forced to trek all the way to the capital and back.
Checkpoints were set up along the route and everybody would have to show credentials and explain their reason for travel.
Commoners weren't allowed to go anywhere without a very good reason.
A tea house.
Tea houses like this one were set up to offer weary travellers refreshments.
Hello? Can I have tea? Yeah.
This guy didn't ask to see my papers or ask any probing questions .
but he seems happy to bring me tea.
I can't see any price lists, so I think that what you do is you just get given tea and put a donation in this little donation box, bit of bamboo cut off.
What a darling house.
Oh, look what's coming.
Thank you.
What is this? (SPEAKING JAPANESE) That's wonderful.
It's Is it radish, do you think? I think it is radish.
This is wonderful.
And tea.
Mm! I sing a song.
That's very good.
This is wonderful.
Gosh, how beautiful.
We should have more singing in tea shops, I think.
The great danger of sitting down in the middle of a walk is that you never want to get up again.
Just have one more of these, cos they are so good, or two more.
Thank you very much.
I've loved walking through Honshu's pristine forests .
but I know they've been preserved at a cost.
Other Asian countries willingly sell their own rainforests to make disposable chopsticks for the Japanese market.
This is the beginning of Magome and it's the end of my very short walk.
Lovely to think of this old road.
In the old days, it had all kinds of things, bandits and horrors and villains and splendour, and now it's just got happy tourists, happy walkers like myself.
But I can't hang around in Magome.
Spring is in the air and I have to press on.
There is a very important seasonal event in Japan's former capital city Kyoto.
It may have been the historic capital, but Kyoto Station is a gleaming modern statement of Japan's brilliant infrastructure.
I've arrived along with thousands of others in search of Kyoto's famous cherry blossom.
Now all I have to do is find it.
Taxi? Japan is bending over backwards to encourage foreign visitors to come here and spend their money.
Can you imagine that? Taxis especially for foreigners.
And quite a long queue.
They're a bit busy, sorry.
Busy? Wait20 minutes.
20 minutes? 20-minute wait? Yeah, sorry.
Is this because of cherry blossom? Yeah.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
Just by delaying, trying to find a foreign taxi, I've completely ruined this.
It's now 40 minutes cos the queue's got a bit longer.
I've been planning my trip to arrive in Kyoto at exactly the right time of the year to see it in full bloom, so 40 minutes to wait is nothing.
So nice to meet you.
My name is Kanu.
Kanu-san? Yes.
Kanu-san, my name is Joanna.
When did you start being foreign-friendly? Foreign-friendly taxi system is just started.
Really? This year? It's brand-new? Yes, brand-new.
It's brilliant.
I think it's so courteous, so kind.
And you learnt English here? Ah, yes.
That's excellent.
Here in Japan.
I'm so ashamed I don't speak Japanese.
(CHUCKLES) Thank you.
I feel that Kanu-san and I are now well-acquainted enough for me to offer him one of my favourite sweets.
Kanu-san? Would you like a lovely sour sweet? Ah, thank you.
I put one out for you? There you are, in my fingers.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Crikey, it's sour.
(BOTH CHUCKLE) Very sour.
Very sour.
It's brought tears to my eyes.
(GASPS) Oh, how pretty.
Kyoto is famed around the world for its cherry blossom, and in 2014, tourists visiting the city spent £4.
5 billion.
Not only is it difficult to get a taxi, but at this time of year, hotel rooms are like gold dust.
The arrival of this beautiful blossom, or sakura as it's known, is hotly anticipated throughout the whole country.
(SPEAKING JAPANESE) I'm wearing cherry blossom-related colouring today.
I'm actually quite excited.
I mean, I am seeing it, but I want to see sort of clouds of it.
Look, you see, we're just getting blossom along here.
(GASPS) Look at it.
Here in Japan, the seasons are terribly important and celebrated.
And particularly spring coming with the arrival of the cherry blossom, people going out to have picnics under the trees just to stare at the beauty, it's something I so believe in.
I love the idea that a whole country can be gripped by blossom fever.
The Japanese make a big thing of going out and taking in the natural beauty of the new cherry blossom.
They call it "hanami".
Oh, it's just beautiful.
I've been dropped off at the Philosopher's Walk that is a popular hanami spot, and I can see why.
Sorry, I have to take a picture of this.
I have never seen so many cameras out everywhere.
People are just taking pictures, pictures.
People are taking pictures of people taking pictures of pictures.
It doesn't have much scent but there's something quite intoxicating about seeing cherry blossom on this scale.
Will you come and be in my picture and so I can take a selfie? And we put In closer.
I think it's iPhone.
Oh, I see, yes, hang on a second.
Come on, where are we? I don't want that, I want to go back to here.
Let's go back to that.
(LAUGHING) Put your heads in, baby, nice and close, nice and close.
(GIGGLING) Thank you so much.
Thank you very much indeed.
All right.
Thank you.
It's so adorable.
I wish we dressed beautifully still.
I wish we put flowers in our hair I feel massively underdressed now, dejected even.
This is called the Philosopher's Walk, and me, obviously, philosopher kind of thinking, kind of person that I am, the kind of person who'd have a jewelled teddy bear hanging off their iPhone.
I think it's just one more selfie.
Philosopher's face, not looking.
Thinking of something.
(CAMERA SHUTTER SOUND) Yeah, thank you.
Very nice.
Up here for thinking, down there for dancing.
Kyoto was Japan's capital for over 1,000 years and it still has a proud and refined air.
Its thousands of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and ornate gardens were spared the blanket-bombing of World War II, and now attract a throng of tourists, especially at this time of year.
But there's another part of Kyoto that comes alive at night.
Gion district is synonymous with that most Japanese tradition, the geisha, or as they're known here, the geiko.
It's got a slightly different edge to it here.
There are practically no tourists, even though it's full of bars and restaurants.
There's a reason for that, because these bars and restaurants are geisha bars and restaurants.
You can't just walk in, you've got to be invited in.
It's a world absolutely shrouded in secrecy, which famously shuns the press and media and To tell you the truth, I'm excited and a bit nervous because I'm going to meet a trainee geiko, they're known as maiko.
And her name is Tomit Suyu and she's 18 years old.
Tomit Suyu has invited me to a traditional tea ceremony, one of the many rituals she's trained in.
She's three years into a rigorous five-year programme, preparing to become a fully-fledged geiko.
The beauty of this procedure, everything done absolutely precisely with no speed, no flurry.
The folding of the napkin with one hand, the very careful cleaning, the precise placing of things, I'm so thrilled to have seen it.
Contrary to popular belief, geishas are not some form of "ladies of the night".
The literal translation of geisha means "art person".
In the 18th century, they entertained clients in the pleasure quarters of cities with music, dancing and singing, and were distinctly separate from the prostitutes and courtesans.
In modern-day Japan, they have a certain celebrity status.
Mainly, they are hired by rich businessmen as party hosts, or to entertain important guests in private tea-house parties.
It's delicious tea.
Green tea, as green as pea soup, really.
Tomit Suyu does not speak when she does this ceremony so I don't speak to her.
But I think she knows how grateful I am to be drinking this beautiful tea.
Tomit Suyu-san (SPEAKS JAPANESE) Thank you for such lovely tea you made me.
Thank you for coming.
It's beautiful.
What attracted you to the life of geiko? I was born in Kyoto Yes.
and some of my family members were working for kimono kimono industry.
So I liked wearing kimonos since when I was a kid and I also loved watching Japanese historical movies and I thought maybe I could do something related to the tradition.
And what did your parents think about that? My parents were surprised Yes.
and they didn't believe me because they know how hard to become maiko-san is.
You look so beautiful.
Thank you.
Do you do your own make-up? I do.
You do.
And the back, I paint by myself.
Can you see that, too? Oh, look.
Look, look.
Geikos only use black, red and very thick white make-up.
This was originally done so their faces would glow in the candlelight.
The nape of the neck, which is considered especially attractive, is seductively left bare.
You can do your hair? I go to a special hairdresser once a week.
It takes one hour to make the hairstyle, but I have to sleep with this hair done like this.
How do you sleep on your back, very neat? On my side neck.
But I have a very special pillow made out of wood.
It's a proper discipline, this, isn't it? It's hard work to do what you do.
Tell me what your week is like.
What is a day like? Normally, in the morning, I have to spend about one hour fixing my hair from the pillow, the wooden pillow, and go to lessons.
What are the lessons? Uhthe tea ceremony Yes.
dancing Dancing? .
flute, drumming, singing.
And then, maybe, two or three o'clock, I start getting ready.
It takes maybe two hours fixing my hair again, put those hair accessories on, put my make-up, and then start working from six o'clock at night.
That's when customers arrive here.
What is it that people come for? It depends on the customers, but sometimes they want us to accompany to go to theatre or umdinner.
(GIGGLES) How many maiko-san and geiko-san are there in Kyoto? In Kyoto, well, there are around 180 geiko-san.
So not so many.
Even girls really want to become maiko-san .
unfortunately, most of them don't Don't make the grade.
Last year, five girls came to this district and only one could become maiko-san.
You're very young still at 18, and you joined when you were 15? Yes.
Now, other 15-year-old girls are listening to music and trying on clothes and going out with boyfriends, maybe.
Do you miss any of these things? Sometimes.
(GIGGLES) What do you miss most? I miss my parents and my friends, and also the modern technology.
I'm not allowed to have phones or Internet connections, so I can't go onto, like, Facebook and other things.
So, it's a solitary life, but you're walking in the street with people, but not doing what other people do.
No, I'm not allowed.
Do you sometimes wish you could? Sometimes? Sometimes.
(LAUGHS) I'm somehow both shocked and entranced by Tomit Suyu.
It makes me feel sad thinking about the normal adolescence she'll never have.
But I'm also in awe at the level of devotion she shows to this strange life she's chosen.
You're wearing your tall shoes.
Yes, I am as tall as you now.
(BOTH LAUGH) You walk in them beautifully, but are they quite hard to walk in when you learn? I had to practise for .
over half a year.
Half a year.
(GIGGLES) You must be paid for this work that you do.
No? Not for five years.
(GASPS) Not till you're geiko.
Because maiko-san is an apprenticeship.
So we don't have to pay anything to become maiko-san No.
so everything like accommodation, food, lesson fees, hairdresser fees, everything's provided by the house.
But I don't get paid for five years.
(GIGGLES) I sometimes forget my real name.
Your real name is Tomit Suyu? No.
What is your real name? I can't tell you.
(GIGGLES) I've been calling you Tomit Suyu thinking that was your real name.
That's Maiko Tomit Suyu.
So it's like a stage name.
Stage name, yes, exactly.
And do you think that maybe one day you will come back and be an ordinary person again? Maybe.
Maybe get married, maybe have children.
Because I'm only a child.
You're only a child now.
I hope that you have such success as geiko-san, but I hope that, also, that later on, you can escape.
(LAUGHS) As Tomit Suyu leaves for another discreet evening engagement, it's reassuring to learn that she's still a normal teenager at heart.
Have you ever been to England? No, never.
Would you like to come? I'd love to.
What would you do when you came there? I want to go to Harry Potter World.
Oh, Harry Potter.
(LAUGHS) I've met Daniel Radcliffe, you know.
Really? Yes.
(GASPS) (BOTH LAUGH) He's a charming man.
He's charming.
Wow, really? (GIGGLING) Next time, the final leg of my journey.
I'll be uncovering the secrets of ancient Japan.
It's 5:30 in the morning.
Flying over this monster.
Confronting the horrors of the war.
I find this so .
so unbearable.
And throwing a few shapes with some lovely old ladies.
These incredibly funky-looking people.