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Some tourists seem to have the impression that Gion is a theme park, and geisha and maiko are walking the streets as part of a performance.

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An official of Higashiyama ward office. Geisha claim they have been pursued by visitors grabbing at their sleeves and wanting to take their photographs. Residents and local business owners in Gion, the Kyoto district where most geisha live, have now volunteered to guard the streets to stop any trouble. (BBC News)

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When performers walk in the street dressed for their next appointment, the tourists are supposed to ignore them and not disrupt the harmony of Japanese life? Irony is everywhere and hope springs eternal.

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funny how reality imitates reality ??

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Whereas Japanese tourists are world-renowned for their camera etiquete when traveling abroad!

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... and I would say that all of Japan is a theme park devoted to wa and nihonjinron.

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Look nad act normalo if you don't want to attrct attention. Otherwise shut your face, and get over it!!

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Maybe they should close off Gion like they did Tsukiji.

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What is not normal about a Geisha or Maiko walking along a street in Japan? Why should local people be bothered by tourists when they are going to work? You would the first to complain if people kept stopping you on the way to work.

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I take it that most of the Geisha don't really need the tourist money (if they are gaijin we couldn't give any way to go to their parties) but the local business that cater to people who want to see them do need the money. Close it off, stop the tourist, and let's see how those business do.

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look at any colorful brochure for japan and what do you see? mt. fuji, temples and geisha/maiko. whaddaya expect?????? people from other countries think they are part of the attractions of japan. of course, for the past twenty years or so i have lived in japan - the land of logic. ha! say nothing about the people who stop me on my way to work for free english lessons.

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Hmmm, I don't care if you're a clown or a geisha, people shouldn't grab sleeves and demand pictures. Besides, aren't there fake geisha hanging around tourist spots just for the sole purpose of camera fodder and photo opts for tourists?? There were a few in Saga-Arashiyama when I went there.

Bakabaka up there makes a point about Japanese tourists and their picture taking. Just go to Rome or Milan for that particular treat.

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So if it's okay to stare at or interrupt geisha or others to snap a photo with them, then it's okay for the Japanese to do the same to those exotic big-nosed foreigners in their midst, right?

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When I was at Kiyomizu last the two visiting Maiko I saw were litterly mobbed by tourists, and not foreign ones either. I took my picture, but did it from a respectable distance. The others, however... it was like they were a zoo attraction. I felt bad for them.

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The article would be more helpful if it told us which tourists do this, from what country, and how often this happens. If they did block the street from tourists, then it would devestate the tourism industry in Kyoto. Many restaurants and performance venues would be even harder to get to. Every time I've been to Gion, the Japanese and foreign tourists lined the street taking photos of the geisha and maiko who walked through the intersection. No one spoke to them or came close to them. It was very respectful. Reckless cab drivers did their part to keep people out of the street.

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As a 16 year old blonde model, I was hassled frequently for my photo by japanese around omotesando in Tokyo. It's not just gaijin who do such things. To be honest, you learn to put up with it.

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