The early summer of 1892 brought a heavy rainy season that year in Japan. Plum Rain, the Japanese called it, because it comes when the fruit bulges with ripeness and promise. Like a young girl reaching womanhood.
A girl like me.
In the ancient Japanese tradition of beauty and grace, sex and erotic fantasies are hidden secrets that only a select few may learn, and which are forbidden to foreigners. But when a threat to her father's life puts her own in jeopardy, young Kathlene Mallory is sent to live in safety at the Tea House of the Look-Back Tree, where she is allowed to glimpse inside the sensual world of the geisha.
During the years of her training in the art of pleasuring men, Kathlene's desires are awakened by the promise of unending physical delights, and she eagerly prepares for the final ritual that will fulfill her dream of becoming a geisha — the selling of her virginity. The man willing to pay for such an honor, Baron Tonda, is not the man for whom Kathlene carries a secret longing, but he is the man who will bring ruin to the teahouse, and danger to Kathlene, if he is disappointed .
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Jina Bacarr wrote the award-winning The Blonde Geisha and The Japanese Art of Sex. She worked as the Japan consultant on KCBS-TV, MSNBC, TechTV's Wired for Sex, Canada's Pleasure Zone, British Sky/Saucy TV, La Biennale, Venice, Italy, Men's Health Guide to the Best Sex in the World, Passport to Pleasure, The Vision Board and Playboy TV. She is author of Naughty Paris, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, Cleopatra's Perfume (RT Reviewers' Choice nominee) and The Blonde Samurai, an RT Top PickExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I couldn't tell anyone, not even the gods, but I was scared...really scared. Even before I got to the nunnery, I knew I had to escape. Though I respected the nuns for their piety and servitude, I wanted to be a geisha. Had to be. Didn't nuns shave their heads and their eyebrows, making their eyes bulge big and unnatural in their faces? I held on to my long hair, vowing never to let them cut it. Even more disturbing, nuns wore plain white kimonos. White was the color of death. Why was my father taking me to a nunnery? Why?
Was I being punished?
I didn't do anything wrong. Stroking myself until I found pleasure wasn't wrong, though I was often overcome with a rising desire, a hunger that threatened to explode within me. I wanted to love and be loved. Until then, I had so much sexual energy I had to do something to release it.
But not in a nunnery.
I can't go. Please.
The world of flowers and willows is my destiny, I wanted to tell my father, no other.Didn't the geisha possess the high qualities of heart and spirit? Didn't they inherit a compelling destiny? Didn't Father say I was uprooted from my homeland like a beautiful flower re-planted in uncertain soil? Didn't a geisha also leave her home to find her destiny?
But it was not to be. "Don't dawdle, Kathlene!" my father whispered harshly in my ear, pulling me through the railroad station, my small suitcase banging hard against my thigh. It hurt, but I didn't complain. I'd have a bruise on my leg by morning, but it wouldn't show through my white stockings.
Morning.Where would I be then? Why were we here now? What happened to my peaceful world? The girls' school in Tokio run by the Women's Foreign Missionary.
Rain pelted me in the face. I had no time to anguish over what lay ahead of me. I noticed the lack of noise and scurrying all about me, as if everyone had disappeared in the mist. That was strange. Rain never stopped the Japanese from moving about the city as quickly as hungry little mice, seeing everything, nibbling at everything. They never thought of rainy days as bad-weather days, but rather a blessing from the gods because the rain kept their rice baskets full.
As I plodded through the empty train station with my pointy shoes pinching my toes, wishing I were wearing my favorite clogs, with the little bells, the ones my father bought for me in Osaka, my entire body throbbed with the slow, steady beat of the ceremonial drum. No, it was more like a sexual lightning that struck me at the oddest moments. Since I'd reached my fifteenth birthday, more and more often the hint of such pleasures came to me. When I bathed in the large cypress tub, I wiggled with delight when the warm water, smelling of citron and tangerine, swam in and around my vaginal area, teasing me with tiny sparks of pleasure.
And at night when I lay naked in my futon, the smooth silk lining rubbed against the opening between my legs, making me moist. I wished for a man who would fill me up inside so deeply the wave of pleasure would never end. I dreamed of the day I'd feel the strength of a man's arms around me, his muscles bulging, his hands squeezing my breasts and rubbing my nipples with the tips of his fingers. I smiled. I had the feeling the nuns would frown upon me thinking such delicious, sexy thoughts.
I asked, "Where is this nunnery, Father?"
"At Jakkôin Temple, not far from here."
It isn't far enough. "Why did we leave Tokio in such a hurry?"
"Don't ask me so many questions, Kathlene," Father said, popping up his large, black umbrella to keep the rain off us. "We're not out of danger yet."
"Danger?"I whispered in a soft voice, though I was certain my father heard me.
"Yes, my daughter. I couldn't tell you this before, but I've made a powerful enemy in Japan who wishes me great harm."
"Why would someone wish to harm you?"
I played with the torn finger on my glove, ripping it. I couldn't help it. I was worried about my father, terribly worried. A gnawing ache told me something worse than going to a nunnery had taken place.
"If you must know, Kathlene, a great tragedy has occurred," my father said, his voice muffled by the rain. His harsh words shot through me, making me hear the pain in his voice.
I dared to ask, "What do you mean?"
"A man has lost what is most dear to him and he believes I've taken it from him." My father looked around the railroad station, his eyes darting into every corner. "That's all I can tell you."
"What could you have done -- "
"Don't speak about what doesn't concern you, Kathlene. Something you're too young to understand," my father said, never looking at me, only at some hidden enemy I couldn't see. He held my hand so tightly my bones felt as if they would break.
"You're hurting me, Father. Please..." My eyes filled with tears. Not from the pain, but from the fear for my father's safety, making my heart race.
"I'm sorry, Kathlene," he said, loosening his grip. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"I know," I said in a quiet voice, but the pain in my heart remained.
Father continued to look everywhere, then, satisfied the platform was empty except for the old stationmaster on duty at the wicket, he kept walking. Faster now.
I forced myself to put a skip into my step as I struggled to keep up with my father's long strides. He'd barely spoken to me on the long train trip from Tokio. His head turned right then left, checking to make certain I was at his side. Even now, he dragged me behind him, wet, hungry and tired. He continued to hold on to me tightly, so tightly, as if he feared he'd lose me. He grunted like an unhappy samurai, his head bowed low so no one would see his face.
That was so unlike my father. Edward Mallory was a giant of a man, towering over everyone. He had a booming voice that carried fast and far. Here, voices were as soft as stockinged feet scurrying across wooden floors so sensitive they creaked if a nightingale landed upon them.
My father was also pigheaded, stern, and he didn't understand me. How could he? I didn't see him as often as I wished. He worked for an American bank, he was proud to tell anyone who asked, investing the bank's money in this new land. The English had built the first railway and my father had to work hard to keep up with the competition. Every day more overseas banks were opening up branches, so he told me, and investing in the railway system spreading out over the island. He was often gone for days, meeting with officials from the Japanese government and ruling families, and drinking cup after cup of foaming green tea. Sometimes, he drank the tea with me. It tickled my mouth and made me giggle. Not my father. I doubted he ever laughed at anything.
"Stay close behind me, Kathlene," Father ordered, his voice stern. "The Prince has his devils everywhere."
"The Prince?" My curiosity was piqued. I'd heard my father had many meetings with the foreign minister and other dignitaries, but a prince? My heart quickened, my eyes glowed, then dimmed when I felt my father's body stiffen, his hand go rigid around the umbrella. "Forget what I said about the Prince, Kathlene. The less you know, the better."
I had no time to wonder what he was talking about. My stomach jumped when I saw a young man pulling a jinrikisha, racing out of the shiny blackness of a narrow street.
My father looked pleased, very pleased, to see him.
So was I.
Instead of wearing the cloak made of oiled paper the jinrikisha drivers wore in the rain, he was nearly nude, exposing his sinewy bronze flesh in the most delectable manner, as if he enjoyed showing off his muscular body to the rain goddesses. I imagined being a raindrop and landing upon his lips and tasting the sweetness of his kiss. I giggled. Kissing was very naughty to the Japanese, an intimacy they rarely exchanged, though I was eager to discover its pleasures.
I eyed the bulging muscles on the boy's arms, naked and pleasing to my eye, as were his powerful-looking legs. He ran barefoot with only a bit of rag tied around his big toe. What intrigued me most was the swath of dark blue cotton he wore around his torso. I giggled. It wasn't much bigger than the bit of rag.
Most days, the station was filled with jinrikisha boys waiting for passengers, Father told me, noticing my avid interest in the young man. They were well-informed runners who knew what stranger arrived when, whose house you were passing, what plays were coming out, even when the cherry blossoms would unfold. The station was empty today except for this boy, the only one brave enough to run in the rain.
He stopped in front of us and bowed low.
Dusty, bare-legged coolies, I often heard the English ladies call the jinrikisha drivers. How could that be? Not this boy. I closed my eyes, letting my mind drift through a whispering darkness. An irresistible urge rose up in me that made me yearn for something, something, but I couldn't grab on to it. As if an invisible spirit with cool fingers dropped icy dewdrops upon my naked belly and made me squirm with delight.
I opened my eyes. I couldn't contain my curiosity about the young man who pulled the big two-wheeled baby carriage. I craned my neck to see him better, but his face was hidden from me by a low-brim straw hat. No matter. I knew in my heart he was handsome.
A bigger surprise awaited me. Without a word my father hustled me into the black-hooded conveyance. I drew in my breath, somewhat in awe. Excitement raced through me. Only geisha were allowed to ride in jinrikishas. I swore I could smell the scent of the camellia nut oil from their hair lingering on the seats.
Closing my eyes and resting my head against the seat, I imagined I was a beautiful geisha. What would I do if I found a handsome young man when my frenzied sensations were at a peak, my face flushed, my breasts swollen, my nipples hard, my throat dry?
Would I lie down,raise my legs up as my lover kneels between my thighs, his hands on the straw mat?
Or would he lie on his back and stretch his legs straight as I straddle his body, my knees to his sides?
I inhaled the fresh smell of rain in the air. I found such thoughts so romantic and amusing, but I lost my smile and kept my eyes straight ahead when I saw my father staring at me.
"I'm troubled, Kathlene. Something is amiss. There's no one here from the temple to greet us." He rubbed his chin, thinking, then: "I have no choice but to trust this boy to take us to our destination."
"I trust him, too, Father." I grinned when the jinrikisha boy turned around and lifted up his head from under the flat straw plate of a hat he wore and smiled at me. I lay back on the seat, relieved. He wasn't much older than I was. And he was handsome.
Surely my father couldn't keep me hidden away in a nunnery forever, without a chance to see anyone? Nevertheless, these irrational fears chilled me, flowed through me, and crawled up and down my skin like tiny golden-green beetles. Cold perspiration ran down my neck.
How was I going to become a geisha if I was shut away in a nunnery? Nuns were kept out of sight from visitors and spent their time in meditation and arranging flowers, not in ogling the muscles of jinrikisha boys. As if the gods decided to remind me I had no choice, thunder rolled overhead. A downpour was on the way.
I heard my father give the boy instructions where to take us, the boy nodding his head up and down. He bowed low before raising up the adjustable hood of steaming oilcloth covering us. A canvas canopy arched over the seat to protect us from the rain.
"Hurry, hurry!" Father shouted with urgency to the driver, then he sat back in the two-seat, black-lacquered conveyance.
The boy grunted as he lifted up the shafts, got into them, gave the vehicle a good tilt backward and took off in a fast trot.
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