Japan: For $5.50, your own geisha tea ceremony
–Kyoto started a campaign to attract tourists with a special rate to take a picture with a geisha and have a tea ceremony with an apprentice.–
The Christian Science Monitor 2010jan12
… [at a geisha] tea house, where the average customer spends around $500. First-timers are usually turned away as an introduction is needed to get in.
Kyoto, however, started a campaign last month in which tourists pay 500 yen ($5.50) for a tea ceremony with maiko and geisha and a chance to pose for pictures with them…more…
The way of the geisha has been in decline for decades in Japan. Back in Japan’s Bubble, boys loved taking a foreign client like me to a geisha house—It was a great way to waste company’s entertainment budget to the tune of a few thousand dollars in an evening (not get laid). In the current crappy economy, business people neither need nor want the services of 60 year old grandma in clown makeup telling witty 200 year old jokes and yowling 3-sting banjo ditties. The Willow World of geisha is infinitely less relevant to an average Japanese than opera is to the average Western college student.
In order to survive, geisha houses are trying the tourism market (which means they can avoid directly devaluing their services for the Japanese business community).
All I can say is, Rots of ruck. Maybe the next big trend in the geisha industry will be more cost cutting using foreign outsourcing such as…
Or maybe costs can be reduced using Robogeisha! (3Yen link)