Arthur Golden Memoirs Of A Geisha

Author of Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden Memoirs Of A Geisha
Arthur Golden Memoirs Of A Geisha

Arthur Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was educated at Harvard College, where he graduated in Japanese art history. He graduated from Columbia University in 1980 with an M.A. in Japanese history, where he also learned Chinese Mandarin. He worked in Tokyo after a summer at Beijing University and earned an M.A. in English from Boston University after returning to the United States. He lives with his wife and two children in Brookline... , Massachusetts. http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/re..READ MORE

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If Mother and Mameha couldn't come to an agreement, I would remain a maid all my life just as surely as a turtle remains a turtle

From this experience, I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.

If you aren't the woman I think you are, then this isn't the world I thought it was.

Geisha   Love   Memoirs   Woman

Water is powerful. It can wash away earth, put out fire, and even destroy iron.

Sometimes we get through adversity only by imagining what the world might be like if our dreams should ever come true.

His face was very heavily creased, and into each crease he had tucked some worry or other, so that it wasn't really his face any longer, but more like a tree that had nests of birds in all of the branches. He had to struggle constantly to manage it and always looked worn out from the effort.

Some people have difficulty telling the difference between something great and something they've simply heard of.

He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since.

A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory.

The swan who goes on living in its parents' tree will die; this is why those who are beautiful and talented bear the burden of finding their own way in the world.

Whatever any of us may have thought about Hatsumomo, she was like an empress in our okiya since she earned the income be which we all lived. And being an empress she would have been very displeased, upon returning late at night, to find her palace dark and all the servants asleep. That is to say, when she came home too drunk to unbutton her socks, someone had to unbutton them for her; and if she felt hungry, she certainly wasn't going to stroll into the kitchen and prepare something by herself--such as an umeboshi ochazuke, which was a favorite snack of hers, made with leftover rice and pickled sour plums, soaked in hot tea. Actually our okiya wasn't at all unusual in this respect. The job of waiting up to bow and welcome the geisha home almost always fell to the most junior of the "cocoons"--as the young geisha-in-training were often called. And from the moment I began taking lessons at the school, the most junior cocoon in our okiya was me. Long before midnight, Pumpkin and the two elderly maids were sound asleep on their futons only a meter or so away on the wood floor of the entrance hall; but I had to go on kneeling there, struggling to stay awake until sometimes as late as two o'clock in the morning. Granny's room was nearby and she slept with her light on and her door opened a crack. The bar of light that fell across my empty futon made me think of a day, not long before Satsu [Chiyo's sister] and I were taken away from our village, when I'd peered into the back room of our house to see my mother asleep there. My father had draped fishing nets across the paper screens to darken the room, but it looked so gloomy I decided to open one of the windows; and when I did, a strip of bright sunlight fell across my mother's futon and showed her hand so pale and bony. To see the yellow lights streaming from Granny's room onto my futon...I had to wonder if my mother was still alive. We ere so much alike, I felt sure I would have known if she'd died; but of course, I'd had no sign one way or the other.

We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.

Seeing him again after so long awakened something inside me. I was surprised to find myself feeling sad rather than joyful, as I would have imagined.

I dont think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.

Autobiography, if there really is such a thing, is like asking a rabbit to tell us what he looks like hopping through the grasses of the field. How would he know? If we want to hear about the field on the other hand, no one is in a better circumstance to tell us-so long as we keep in mind that we are missing all those things the rabbit was in no position to observe.

Was life nothing more than a storm that constantly washed away what had been there only a moment before, and left behind something barren and unrecognizable?

This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.

I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon's funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you won't want to lend yours out.

I had to wonder if men were so blinded by beauty that they would feel privileged to live their lives with an actual demon, so long as it was a beautiful demon.

For a flicker of a moment I imagined a world completely different from the one I'd always known, a world in which I was treated with fairness, even kindness-- a world in which fathers didn't sell their daughters.

A tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infesting it, and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease, even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificence.

I don't know when we'll see each other again or what the world will be like when we do. We may both have seen many horrible things. But I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world.

Occasionally in life we come upon things we can't understand, because we have never seen anything similar.

We none of us find as much kindness in this world as we should.

I was thanking him for...well, for something I'm not sure I can explain even now. For showing me that something besides cruelty could be found in the world, I suppose.

If you have experienced an evening more exciting than any in your life, you're sad to see it end; and yet you still feel grateful that it happened.

Here's the thing: this eel spends its entire life trying to find a home, and what do you think women have inside them? Caves, where the eels like to live...when they find a cave they like, the wriggle around inside it for a while to be sure that...well, to be sure it's a nice cave, I suppose. And when they've made up their minds that it's comfortable, they mark the cave as their territory...by spitting.

How many times already had I encountered the painful lesson that although we may wish for the barb to be pulled from our flesh, it leaves a welt that doesn't heal?

Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.

The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.

Isn’t there one thing I can ask of you that you won’t disregard?. . . . You could just reply, "Yes, Baron," and be done with it.'
Yes, Baron.

I'm not sure this will make sense to you, but I felt as though I'd turned around to look in a different direction, so that I no longer faced backward toward the past, but forward toward the future. And now the question confronting me was this: What would that future be? The moment this question formed in my mind, I knew with as much certainty as I'd ever known anything that sometime during that day I would receive a sign. This was why the bearded man had opened the window in my dream. He was saying to me, "Watch for the thing that will show itself to you. Because that thing, when you find it, will be your future.

Watch for the thing that will show itself to you. Because that thing, when you find it, will be your future.

If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.

Of course, a sign doesn't mean anything unless you know how to interpret it.

Well, a peach has a lovely taste and so does a mushroom, but you can't put the two together...

An en is a karmic bond lasting a lifetime. Nowadays many people seem to believe their lives are entirely a matter of choice; but in my day we viewed ourselves as pieces of clay that forever show the fingerprints of everyone who has touched them.

We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we've just played, it's perfectly clear that we're affected every day by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them.

Hopes are like hair ornaments. Girls want to wear too many of them. When they become old women they look silly wearing even one.

Age   Hope   Life

This humble person has been alive long enough to see two generations of children grow up, and knows how rare it is for ordinary birds to give birth to a swan. The swan who goes on living in its parents' tree will die; this is why those who are beautiful and talented bear the burden of finding their own way into the world.

Those of us with water in our personalities don't pick where we'll flow to. All we can do is flow where the landscape of our lives carries us

Oh I'm sure you're right," Auntie said. "Probably she's just as you say. But she looks to me like a very clever girl, and adaptable; you can see that from the shape of her ears.

To the eyes of the American soldiers who drove past, I looked no different from the women around me; and as I thought of it, who could say I was any different? If you no longer have leaves, or bark, or roots, can you go on calling yourself a tree? "I am a peasant," I said to myself, "and not a geisha at all any longer." It was a frightening feeling to look at my hands and see their roughness. To draw my mind away from my fears, I turned my attention again to the truckloads of soldiers driving past. Weren't these the very American soldiers we'd been taught to hate, who had bombed our cities with such horrifying weapons? Now they rode through our neighborhood, throwing pieces of candy to the children.

We all know that a winter scene, though it may be covered one day, with even the trees dressed in shawls of snow, will be unrecognizable the following spring.

Yet somehow the thing that startled me most, after a week or two had passed, was that I had in fact survived.

Finally the homeless eel marked its territory, I suppose, and the Doctor lay heavily upon me, moist with sweat.

I never seek to defeat the man I am fighting, " he explained. "I seek to defeat his confidence. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. Two men are equals - true equals - only when they both have equal confidence.

We don't become geisha because we want our lives to be happy; we become geisha because we have no choice.

When we fight upstream against a rocky undercurrent, every foothold takes on a kind of urgency.

Sometimes," he sighed, "I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see.

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