Geishas serve beer instead of green tea as recession hits Japan

     Geishas have turned to serving customers beer instead of the customary green tea because of the economic downturn in Japan. The beautiful kimono-clad women, who serve green tea, recite poetry and play classical instruments, have now turned to serving customers beer for 4 pounds. The slump in the global economy has forced them to seek a creative and cheaper way of earning a living, and they have started setting up geisha beer gardens, like the traditional inn Gion Shinmonso. It is situated in the ancient capital of Japan , and for the 4 pounds cost of a draft beer, visitors can raise toasts and make conversation with trainee geisha, called maiko, before they perform nightly traditional Kyotan dances known as "kyomai" on a special beer garden stage. Another is the beer garden at Kamischichiken, which enables visitors to buy a "geisha starter pack" for 13 pounds, including a mug of beer, two snacks and company of kimono-clad geisha. "We introduced the service because before, fewer guests were visiting the inn," the Telegraph quoted a spokeswoman from Gion Shinmonso, as saying. "We also wanted people to learn more about maiko and geisha. Many more people are able to see them now. They have attracted a lot more customers," she added. According to Ayako Itagaki, deputy director of the London office of the Japan National Tourist Organisation, the rise of the geisha beer gardens may help more people gain access to a world that was previously unaffordable. Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica (pls keep), a lecturer at Tokyo's Temple University and a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo, said that he suspects the idea of a geisha beer garden can really do well.

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