Researching the World of the Flower and Willow has brought me a whole lot of mixed feelings, as well as several life opportunities. When I first started my little blog, back in 2011, I posted news from Kyoto for fun as I’ve never thought that anyone else could’ve been interested in the geisha community. It definitely wasn’t a fashionable topic, and usually, people were giggling when they found out what my passion is. That being said, I was in great shock when I noticed that things I write for myself (as a diary even!) are frequently read by more than 25 000 people from all over the planet.
Traditional Japanese culture is not popular in my Polish motherland, though. There’s a small group of friends who also happen to be kimono and Japanese arts and crafts aficionados. They organize and participate in few Japanese events across the country. Living in Poland made me neglect my biggest passion, traditional Japanese culture, which I’ve been in love with since I was a small child (a fellow blogger interviewed me once, so here you can find out how it all started. Spoiler: it’s in Polish, but well-translatable!). Somehow, I had to survive my 20s in current political and economic climate—I quit Japanese Studies and switched to Economics, Management, and Marketing at another university and worked as a paid meme artist after classes. I moved out of my lovely hometown Kraków twice; in 2016 to continue my studies in Belgium and then, when I came back to Poland, I took my first steps directly into Warsaw where I’ve started a super-demanding and stressful job at a soul-sucking corporate office (and I was studying in Krakow simultaneously!). It’s been very hectic despair, and I felt it wasn’t the life I wanted exactly. I’ve been dreaming of working in the art field, speaking Japanese fluently, and spending my free time at the Kamo river. All I’ve got from life was a bunch of nerve-wrecking struggles every day instead.
In 2015, when Mr. Komorowski and Mr. Abe negotiated over a special visa program for young Poles, I was probably somewhere in between being a hard-working broke student and writing essential knowledge bits about geisha for my blog. I would have never imagined that I could apply for this kind of visa—living alone in Belgium was quite easy (even though I witnessed 2016’s terrorist attacks in Brussels), yet incredibly expensive. I couldn’t even afford the cheapest one-way ticket to Narita, as the price equals an average salary in Poland. But when two of my best friends left everything behind and moved out to Tokyo from Warsaw one day, I knew I should follow them somehow.
I decided to do everything I can to achieve my dream. I really needed to hurry up—this particular visa can be obtained only by people under 30, and I’m turning 27 this year. One day I simply quit my terrible job, packed all of my stuff, and applied at the Embassy. Usually, I worry and hesitate too much before making such a big life-changing decision—this time I’ve never been more sure and calm. I just feel that it’s going to be finally the right place on Earth for me.
I’ll keep on researching the fascinating geisha world while I’m in Kyoto. Ideally, I’d like to travel across Japan and find out more about geisha living and entertaining in other cities, as well as write about historical figures such as Sadayakko or Teruha. Continue my jiutamai apprenticeship. Try out new forms of art. And brand new topic fields for the blog (or maybe even a channel)—kabuki, traditional crafts, food, travel, and more! I’ve got one year in Japan ahead, starting September 11th.
However, everything depends on my funds.
You can support my trip and contribute to the Geishakai project either on Patreon:
All of the funds will be used strictly to realize my goal and to provide you with a lot of quality content here, on Instagram, and on Facebook.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!