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A craving for fast food presents few obstacles to most people, but for Japan's dainty, doll-like geishas, it calls for a daring undercover operation – and a cunning disguise.In the cloistered world of Kyoto's five geisha quarters, known as "hana-machi" (flower towns), seemingly little has changed since their rise in the 17th century.However, the strict convention governing the life of the some 175 geikos currently working in Kyoto sits in stark contrast to the freedom and mod cons enjoyed by the upwardly mobile women of modern Japan.Perceptions of geishas are often far from reality.Many among Kikumaru's profession were horrified by the novel – and 2005 Hollywood hit movie – "Memoirs of a Geisha" whose subject, the former geisha Mineko Iwasaki, sued the book's writer Arthur Golden for allegedly likening Kyoto's famed hostesses to prostitutes.While some past geishas in other parts of Kyoto and Japan offered sex, those in Gion complain that foreigners often mistake them for prostitutes because of their showy outfits.Walking with tiny steps, a geisha nonetheless follows three steps behind a man.
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